What's so important about IKEA?

I can’t see why people get so exited with those IKEAs. They sell overpriced, medium quality furniture that you have to assemble yourself. What’s the big deal then?

I’m not sure, we don’t have them in Alaska, at least not yet. But I remember loving to go there when we flew into Seattle. At the time I visited, in the mid to late 90s, the prices were really good, much better than what we see in anchortown (but then, the cost of living is pretty high there).

The selections were kinda fun, I could see college students furnishing their rooms, or young people first starting out loving the variety. My tastes ran more to traditional french country type furnishings, but there were still some neat little decor type stuff a person could pick up.

I once got some really pretty painted parasols there. IIRC under ten bucks a piece. But, I haven’t been there for about ten years so it could have changed a lot.

Oh, almost forgot, as to the “have to assemble it yourself” furnishings? That’s kindof handy if you don’t have a large vehicle to haul fully assembled stuff in.

Beats me. I never liked their stuff and it was always a poor value for the money.

Speaking for myself alone, I like wandering in IKEA looking at the stuff for sale, and I’ve bought a number of smaller items there - for the kitchen or for gifts. I certainly wouldn’t furnish my house all in IKEA, but when I was younger and broke, I can see where I might have bought some things there.

Each to his own, I suppose.

Well, because the presence of IKEA will of course lead to the growth of Fight Club.

Oh wait…I’m not supposed to talk about that…

I have absolutely no IKEA stuff because their maze-like store bewilders me, and because a good friend of mine is into her fourth week of hell caused by IKEA’s idiocy, incompetence, heel-dragging, screwing-up, voicemail labyrinths and general lack of concern for customer satisfaction.

My niece, however, thinks it’s the greatest store in the universe.

I have several items of furniture from IKEA. I’m not particularly fond of shopping, but it’s fun and funny to pick items out by name. I keep hearing about how their stuff is poor quality, but I think it varies - my bookcase from IKEA is perfectly nice. IMO, it’s a plus that you have to put it together - it comes in smaller boxes that are easier to pack into an ordinary car, so you can get quite a bit at once and you don’t have to spend loads of money on delivery fees. Moreover, a lot of their stuff is very plain and unadorned, which I like.

I realize not everyone is in my position, but me, I’m 25, single, have a small apartment and am not pulling in a huge salary. IKEA allows me to furnish my house in a decent, simple way that I like. In my dreams, someday I’ll own a house and be settled and be able to buy nicer, solid furniture, but until then, IKEA is great for my purposes.

It might differ from country to country, but at least here they offer very good value for money. Of course it isn’t the best furniture in absolute terms but within their price range they do very well.
Personally I had to regret every single piece of furniture that I bought somewhere else. Ok, my choices are limited because I am a poor student and can’t buy in stores that send four guys to deliver/assemble your stuff for you.
In addition to that many affordable alternatives are just unbelievably ugly, but tastes are different of course.

On preview, yes, I am young and broke :wink:

Most cheap furniture is butt-ugly stuff with very traditional lines in horrid fake dark wood laminates. IKEA stuff has an interesting, modern design and comes in whites and interesting lighter colors. Some of it may be poorly constructed but a lot of it is pretty sturdy. My IKEA sofa bed was $599 four years ago and still looks pretty good with clean simple lines. For that price in other furniture stores, I could only find big, overstuffed monstrousities in either beige (shudder) or a horrible print. I know 'cause I hit every furniture store in town and then gave up and drove three hours to the Houston IKEA where I was able to buy a sofa, a bd, a matress, some shelving, and some knicknacks for around $1500 and fit it all in my car for the trip back.

People have said a lot of things about IKEA, but “overpriced” is a first. If anything, their stuff tends towards the cheap side.

That said, IKEA is to furniture what K-Mart is to general goods – low-priced, workable stuff that will save your ass when you can’t drop $2500 for a hand-carved living room set. I’ll go for IKEA furniture when I’m looking for something where I don’t need longevity or elegance, and my wife does find some of their non-furniture stuff (vases, prints, potted plants) to be useful.

I’m waiting for the same IKEA branch that the OP mentioned. We are planning to redo our kid’s room with inexpensive furniture that ought to last a few years, until he goes off to college. I love modern design, and I’m cheap, and I don’t buy heirloom furnishings. I’d rather have cleverly-designed, cheap stuff that lasts 5-10 years, then buy something different.

Good meatballs in the cafe, too.

But, hey, if cheap modern do-it-yourself isn’t your thing, then no, IKEA isn’t very exciting. It happens to be exactly my thing, hence the thrill.

Agree with that. Their products are cheap, varied, and relatively to the price, of really good quality, and in particular long lasting. Of all the furnitures I owned or bought during the first years after I began to live by myself, only the IKEA ones are still around, and all the IKEA ones are still around (a couple chairs are living their last days, though) . Except if the quality has dropped during the recent years, or is lower in other countries, I would certainly recommand IKEA and wouldn’t hesitate to buy stuff from them.

One of the main reasons I have shopped at Ikea is because it’s non-tacky stuff for cheap. So I don’t know where you’re getting that it is expensive. Everything I have gotten from there has been excellent.

Let’s see:

Pine bookshelf, about 7 feet tall, $25. What a good deal, and it will last me forever.

Pine coffee table, sofa table and end tables, all for under $100. I finished them myself and they look great.

Computer desk, in a medium maple finish. It is a traditional looking, almost shaker- or Amish-style desk with room for a big computer monitor, and has shelves and a drawer. It was under $150, and I would never have found anything comparable for less that $300 (I tried). I also got a chair to match.

A matching TV cabinet. This was less than $100. It has two doors on the front with glass fronts, and shelves inside for my stereo, DVD player and other stuff. It looks very nice.

Maple butcher-block microwave cart/kitchen island. This was about $70. Very nice and sturdy and will last forever.

So as you can see, Ikea stuff can be very nice and inexpensive. And the good thing is, someday when I buy a house and have more money and want to get new, expensive furniture, I won’t have any qualms about getting rid of it.

Never been disappointed with price at an Ikea. They tend to sell inexpensive items with the lines of much more expensive furniture retailers. That “medium quality” furniture is all some of us can afford, and for the price, it’s a pretty good deal, quality and all. I’ve never bought something there that broke because it was crappy quality. Come to think of it, nothing I’ve bought there has broken…

Go figure!

I figure the OP has either never been to an Ikea, never bought from an Ikea, and doesn’t know anyone who’s done either.


P.S.- Hi Kyla!

The meatball lunch at the cafe is pretty good, and no more expensive than a McDonald’s Value Meal, too.

That’s all the attraction is - decent quality stuff at low prices.

For their furniture, my experience is that as long as you stick with stuff that is made of actual wood or metal, you’ll mostly do all right. Like some others here, I much prefer the IKEA’s clean, simple designs to most of what’s out there in the States. Moreover, I really don’t know what the OP is talking about when her or she says their stuff is ‘overpriced’; I don’t know of any furniture maker that has lower overall prices for their goods. Of the several items I’ve bought there, the best is my sofa, which is simple, elegant and extremely comfortable, and was just about half the cost of its equivalent from another store. Another area where they excel is in materials for storage and organization. They also sell useful things that simply don’t seem to exist anywhere else, like separate sets of sturdy legs and tabletops that allowed me to put together a custom home office layout for next to nothing.

OTOH, and lest anyone think I’m just a zombie member of the IKEA cult, in their vast range it is easy to find plenty of goods that are basically nicely-designed, attractively-priced shite. I was actually thinking about starting a Pit thread devoted to particle board alone, which on a pure weight-to-strength basis has to be the worst of all materials, and IKEA’s abundance of offerings in this regard are utter crap, like anyone else’s. I’m also less than impressed by their cloth goods, which in my experience very quickly begin to look shabby. The Houston outlet, for some reason, always seems to be out of much of their catalogued stock. And the way they more or less force you to transit the entire labyrinthine store even if all you intend to get is, say, a little box for a few CD’s drives me mad; I can’t think of anything more nightmarish than navigating through there on a Saturday afternoon, when the place is crammed to the rafters with family groups of six or more, each with at least one screaming infant.

Whew, got a bit carried away there. It’s just furniture, for cryin’ out loud. Sorry.

Oh, uh, ‘he or she’, of course. Man, I’m the worst proofreader ever.

They just opened an IKEA store here in Connecticut. With the kind of local press that it has been getting, you’d think that the store opening was nothing short of revolutionary for the state. They were even worried that the store was going to cause all these traffic problems. I guess it actually has caused some traffic problems, or so I’ve heard. I’ve never been in an IKEA store so I can’t comment on the quality of their furniture. I’d love to know why this store is such a big deal myself.

IKEA is like legos for your house. I did this in a couple weekends. I planned it with the help of the IKEA catalog, ordered all the pieces, and assembled. It’s da bomb and a half.

One word: Lingonberries.