How to Shop at IKEA
Tue 8th, May, 2012
G’day Beach Cottage people, a little IKEA boutique love today, come on in
Do you know what? one of the most questions in my inbox is about IKEA who woulda have thought it eh? I mean it’s not like I go on about the little Nordic boutique with my name on it or anything.
I get so many questions about IKEA - questions are normally in three very distinct camps….do I recommend the furniture and cupboards, what are the standalone kitchen units like and thirdly what sort of things do I like to shop for and how do I do it?
And then there’s the whole how can I shop in IKEA for a Beach Cottage coastal beachy decor question.
So here’s how I go about shopping in there without ending up with a trolley load of cr*pola that you don’t want …
Here’s how I do it below and what I have learnt to give my old cottage easy budget pieces for a new look that’s a bit country coastal beach decor..
…but also how I turn it into an enjoyable outing for me…cos I have such an exciting life that I write on the internet about trips to IKEA and worse that I love it and take selfies while doing it, just so up myself, love it
How to Shop at IKEA
My Simple Tips to Shopping at IKEA
1. plan your trip with military precision – avoid the weekends AT ALL COSTS
IKEA is always very busy at the weekends, indeed it’s a different shopping experience totally, if you can avoid the hoards of people trawling around at the weekend it will be much better for you
2. try to not take your children, but if you do take bribes by the bagful and use the crèche
Ikea prides itself on being kiddo friendly and it pretty much is, and having three lovely Beach Cottage babies it wasn’t until recently that I could make the trip alone, they did love the playland at IKEA for sure, but now being able to go on a weekday alone it’s bliss…so if you can wangle it go on your own!
3. devise a plan of attack including arrival time, refreshment time & what time you hope to leave to avoid traffic etc.
Through years of experience and research optimum arrival time is just after opening (but not at opening time). Head straight to the cafe upstairs and buy a coffee and treat for one dollar fifty. Other good times to visit are early evening, you will virtually have the whole place to yourself.
4. write a list, or just do it in your head of ‘look-at’ (things you want to check-out) and must-haves (things you must buy)
unless you have planned a full on big trip to IKEA don’t spend ages wandering around the room set-ups upstairs, wishing that you too had all white books in perfect rows, and storage containers in your kitchen with nothing in them. I love looking around this section and you get some great ideas, but you can spend ages and wind up getting nothing but a head bursting with stuff.
5. in the marketplace get a trolley, do not use the yellow bag unless you want a trip to the physio the next day
6. don’t buy any gadgets in the kitchen section unless you REALLY need them ask yourself if you would pay double for it? If no, put it back pronto.
IKEA has lots of little gadgets to make your life easier, in my experience many of them are fantastic ideas, beautifully designed and when in the shop you think they might just change your life, in reality they get shoved to the back of the drawer
7. do buy mason jars, plain china, bake ware, chopping boards, cutlery, glasses & saucepans, especially stockpots…peruse everything in the 365 range, it’s so very well designed and so very good on your pocket.
8. do spend time in the fabric section with the neutrals…only buy fabric if you are sure it will not sit in your fabric stash for ahem years, while you stroke it
IKEA fabric is very good quality and much cheaper than any fabric store I have ever been in…
9. be wary of the organisation section, you may find yourself in there for a long time planning, scheming and buying things to make your life more organised, no that shoe organiser will NOT mean your shoes will be sorted and no you do not need another pretty cardboard box to store junk in. Ditto the frames section…
10. Stock up on baskets and candles. Believe me you won’t find anywhere that gives better value on baskets and if you are into a coastal country look like me a basket or six will change your life….probably Candles are super good value at IKEA and the lanterns are purrfect for coastal style beachy decor without costing a fortune.
11. Spend time in the lighting section. IKEA does lighting well, it’s good design and a new lamp can change the look and ambiance of a whole room.
I went to IKEA for a chair but came back with lamps after having searched everywhere recently for new lighting for this old cottage…I found some great lamps but did not want to pay the prices some boutiques were offering for a made-in-china lamp…IKEA suited both my aesthetic requirements and my purse. Sorted.
12. stock up on the frozen meatballs and the coffee, both are delicious and your kiddos will squeal in delight, ‘mum’s been to IKEA’
(I am currently trialling my own copycat IKEA meatballs and gravy recipes, so far I have made three recipes, none have hit the mark – anyone tried making them for that IKEA taste? love to know if so )
13. Be very careful about any kinda cupboard / drawers…I LOVE IKEA as you know and have dabbled with everything over the years and cupboards/drawers have not been my better purchases and nearly always disappointed.
14. Do buy chairs. Unlike the cupboards IKEA chairs are well-designed and last well. I have everything from stools to my linen covered dining table chairs to fold up extra seating from IKEA, all are comfortable and have survived the demands of the Beach Cottage Crew.
15. Soft furnishings, slip-covers & bedding, curtains. I have never been disappointed with any fabric, soft furnishing from IKEA and most of it can be thrown into into the washing machine and/or on a hot 60C wash – that’s an important factor for me because I have three kiddos and like pale colours…I need the ability to put pillow covers, chair covers, bedlinen all in the wash easily…I have many IKEA curtains in this old cottage, some of the neutral linen ones actually came with us from England and are still going strong, thanks to IKEA…they are regularly thrown in the wash and are a little bit sun-bleached from the Aussie sun now but in terms of performance…little beauties.
And here’s what made it back to this old cottage with me…plus a few other lights that I will post about too, the lighting situation in this old cottage was dire, IKEA has helped with that alot!
…these lovely vintage style white plates, paired with a nautical stripe and the odd shell or two…a great coastal decorating idea (find them here)
these are plate stacking thingies…pretty ones! I love and collect vintage plates but the piles are getting large now, I am hoping this might be a good solution, I only bought these in case they don’t work too well but will go back for more if they are good
these are the same range as the plates above but little bowls – see the fluted edge? nice! (find them at IKEA here) I know a very expensive range of china doing an almost identical product/line as this, I have lusted after it for ages, but with 3 kiddos and china getting chipped often it’s not in my scheme of things to buy exxie china these days…so these fit the bill nicely (they were pretty in pink too)
I loved these white lace topped little metal pots, how many ways could you fit this into beach cottage decor? Hmmm, just a few….herbs would look lovely in here, but really I thought candles…I tried some little tea lights in them the other evening on the deck, yep they dance beautifully…
these are the lanterns IKEA have been stocking for years, only the white version, I bought them with something specific in mind, I will show you that tomorrow, but also the ones I have of these already (the silver colour) are so weathered now that it’s tricky to shut the doors…they’ve done really well though…
and a few more things that have a new home in a this old cottage here
And that’s it friends, what I have learnt shopping at IKEA for beach cottage /coastal decor ideas..
What are your best IKEA finds then and how do you like to do it????
p.s. don’t even think about that yellow bag xo