A budget-friendly DIY & lifestyle blog

Monday, November 12, 2012

Why I Mostly Love and Sorta Loathe Ikea

Ikea, known for its Scandinavian design, is a budget designer's dream.  From traditional to modern they have something for every taste and for a cost that won't leave you on a saltine diet.  We've been known to hit the big blue box now and again and I always seem to find quite a few things that I absolutely love and I'm not just talking about those amazing cookies.  Then again, love ain't the only emotion we feel for our favorite little one-stop-home-shop - we're also pretty loathesome.  But let's start on a positive note, shall we?

Wall Storage Options - Above all, we love the organizational tools that Ikea has available, specifically their wall storage options.  We use the Grundtal magnetic knife rack, bygel rails, and ekby valter bracets to maximize storage in our small home.

Grundtal Magnetic Knife Rack - This handy wall organizer is found in the kitchen department and is typically used to hold knives.  We've used one for our knives and our spices.  BUT, there's a slew of other amazing ways it could be used.
Pick up some metal spice jars like ours and store your jewelry, or round up your screws and nails in metal cans, mount a few in the garage and keep all your tools and supplies at arms reach.

Bygel rail & S-Hooks - Another handy wall organizer that I've used throughout the house - in the kitchen to hang wire baskets to hold produce, in the hallway to hang bathroom supplies (fail.) and on Luke's activity table to hold art supplies.  The possibilities are endless.

Ekby Valter Brackets -  We used these simply constructed brackets for our kitchen's open shelving, but we're not the only ones.  With their ability to be easily customized with just a little paint, it's no surprise that they're so popular.

Baren Glass Shelf -    I was on the hunt for some glass shelves for our tiny bathroom.  Everything I found was more than I was comfortable spending and then I found the Baren glass shelf.  They are simple yet a beautiful addition to our bathroom.

Elly Dish Towels - These classic looking tea towels are both beautiful and durable - not to mention crazy inexpensive.  We've stopped using paper towels so these babies get lots of use at home.  I've also hand-painted a few for a simple and useful gift.

Children's Ikea - You can't go wrong in this department.  And from the look of Luke's room we can't say no to a single item.  He loves the Lillabo train set; the art supplies like the chalk set and the paper roll; his elephant, dog and moose; abacus; Ekorre rocking moose and the Bild Number poster which is sadly no longer available.

We also love the washcloths, the Barnslig Ulven bedding, and the Lekplats play mat. For christmas we've set aside even more art supplies like the paint box, the long-sleeve apron, and craft scissors.  Obviously we need to steer clear of this department.

Ribba Frames - You can't go wrong with the frames, either.  They have simple, classic lines that go with any type of decor and you won't be able to find frames any cheaper.  I've used them throughout the house, but most recently in the framed postcard wall art project.

Here's where I have a little Dr. Jekyl- Mr. Hyde moment.  Generally speaking, Ikea furniture looks great and we're big fans.

Manstad Corner Sofa:  Honestly, I LOVE our Manstad sofa.  It's sturdily built and the foam cushions and pillows have held up nicely these past 4 years to a couple of heavy couch potatoes, plus it's a breeze to clean.  I also love it's pull out bed and it's storage area under the chaise.

Now let's get on to all things negative...while I just went all lovey-dovey listing all the things we absolutely love there's one simple thing about Ikea stuff - and especially their furniture - that we just hate.  Most of it is pretty cheaply made which is not much of a surprise when you consider the prices, but the realization of how cheap stings nonetheless.  Especially when you consider how often we have to fix or provide special reinforcement so they can actually handle normal use.  Both our old white Ikea Ektorp sofa and our Vanvik slipcovered bed required extra reinforcement to keep them from sagging. 

What it should look like.

A more honest representation of my dear Hemnes.

And then there's Hemnes.  Our well-built black bedroom furniture got the boot for the white Hemnes furniture when we needed to lighten things up.  In hindsight, I wish I would have kept the sturdy stuff and just painted it white.  I have nothing bad to say about the nightstands - they look great.  But if I have to fix the sagging dresser drawers one more time this dresser is going to end up firewood.  I'm sure this one's my fault.  I cram tons of clothes into it.  But c'mon, that's the whole purpose of a dresser.  To.Hold.Clothes.  And when you're boasting "extra roomy drawers" I expect them to handle a few pairs of jeans.

And along with that, I expect your mattresses to last a little longer than 4 years.  Aren't mattresses supposed to last for like 10 years?  Our Sultan Finnvik memory foam mattress was like sleeping on a cloud the first year we had it.  4 years later it's more of a folded pita rather than a fluffy cloud.  I'm sure this is our fault too because we're queen size people sleeping on a full size bed.  It's probably not rated for our size, but still.

In actuality my complaints are few but that doesn't make them any less important, right?  So this one goes out to all you big wigs at Ikea that read this little blog (...right.)  I plead of you, Ikea, please provide extra reinforcement for your furniture.  Obviously, it ain't your strong suit and I really want to keep our relationship strong.

So what about you guys?  Have a love/hate relationship with Ikea, like me?  Or do you try to avoid it altogether?


1 comment

  1. Yikes! I wouldn't call IKEA a hit or miss, but it's really easy to get swept away with the pricing and the attractiveness of their furniture. Granted, I haven't bought furniture from IKEA - just little stuff like picture frames, lamps, coffee tables, etc. Thanks for sharing!


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