My first experience at IKEA was like being lost in a wonderland. It's rare that I walk through any store and feel like everything around me is a bargain. It's also rare that I walk through a store where I am so thoroughly entertained by the displays. As you weave your way through the levels of IKEA shopping, you will encounter a variety of different rooms, or even whole "apartments" that are completely staged like actual living spaces, down to the dishes on the shelves and clothes in the closets.
IKEA's strength is furniture and organization for small spaces, and they show that strength well. Walking into a 350 sq ft space on the showroom floor, you will see it laid out like a fully furnished apartment, and somehow you can envision how easy it would be to live in a space that small.
Until your 4 kids pile in behind you, anyway. Ahem.
But still, it's fascinating to consider, and a definite reality for any city dwellers around the world.
I don't live in 350 sq ft (thank God!), but I have found many things at IKEA to organize and decorate my home, and at very affordable prices. I have compiled a list of my favorites in this post. Be sure to take notes so you don't miss these gems on your next (or first) trip to the blue-and-yellow-wonderland.
Ya'll... curtain rods are expensive! Especially when you move into a new house and need approximately 3,829 of them all at once. No joke. Well, kinda of a joke. But really, I'm thankful for windows, but by the time we replaced them and bought fabric for curtains we were pretty much broke. Then I looked for the rods and hardware and nearly fainted.
$60 per window was not in my budget.
So, of course I journeyed to IKEA, where I found these gems.
They come in black, silver, and white, and they are about $5-10 each depending on the size. Finials and hanging brackets will run you another $4-5. So, for a really big window or french doors like this, the total cost is $15. Smaller windows will be about half that. They're also well made and very sturdy. You can see them on IKEA's website here.
Food Storage Containers
We eat a lot of leftovers. My husband takes leftovers to work every day. We use a lot of food storage containers. These are the best I've found.
Not only are they BPA free, they're the perfect size for lunch leftovers, and the oval shape makes them fit into the fridge and a lunch bag without hogging more than their share of space. At $2.49 for 3, you can buy quite a few without breaking the bank.
I like to change my toilet brushes frequently. I'd rather not clean them, because... ew. So I buy these.
Now, at .99 cents each, they are not top quality. But I can afford to use and toss a couple per year. I'm calling that a win!
Towels are one of those things. You know, those things that you get when you get married and never replace because, while they may all be pink and olive green (looking at you, Mom!), they're still functional and you'd rather spend the money elsewhere. Especially when decent towels can be $10-15 each.
Enter IKEA towels. These bath-sized towels are just $5.99 each, and come in a variety of colors, including black, white, grey, and beige. They dry just as well on the clothesline as in the dryer (probably because most Europeans don't have clothes dryers) which is a major plus if you like drying your clothes the old fashioned way.
Pillows are something I've only recently purchased at IKEA. The store rotates all of their fabrics about once per year, and each year the designs seem to get even more fresh and fun. I purchased a mix of covers for pillows I already owned, as well as a few forms to add to my sofa decor.
The fabric options range from velveteen to cotton and sweater-like knits. Covers range from $5-$15 and forms range from $3-$15 depending on the quality of the filler used. They also have smaller, lumbar style pllows starting at $1.99!
If you're searching on their website, it might help to know that they call all sofa and decorative pillows "cushions."
This is one of my favorite kitchen gadgets ever. So much so, that I made room for it in my suitcase when moving home from living overseas!
It comes with 2 grating "blades", a container to catch the cheese, and a lid for storage. You can grate your cheese, put the lid on, and pop it straight in the fridge until it's time to use it. You can also store leftovers without using another container.
I have owned several IKEA rugs through the years. I currently own just this one, and it's in my office under my rolling chair. IKEA rugs are not premium quality, but they are very good for the price and will last for quite a while with some basic care.
Where else are you going to find a rug for $12.99?
Most IKEA bedding comes in the form of down duvets and duvet covers. Choosing a duvet is an experience within the IKEA experience. You get to choose your heat rating, your filler, and your fabric. Then you get to choose the cover (which is the fun part, of course). We've had several of these over the years and they hold up very well.
Duvet covers start at $9.99, and duvets range from $39-$111 depending on rating and size.
Coffee and Chocolate
If you weren't already sold on IKEA, you are now, right? IKEA is da bomb for coffee and chocolate.
From an affordable french press ($9.99), to bags of whole or ground beans, IKEA rules the world with their espresso. Ok, so there are some other great brands out there... but not at IKEA prices!
They also sell some amazing dark chocolate. It's not sold online, but you can snag yours in the checkout lane. Yum!
Dining in the Cafe
Ok, so I know this isn't really a "thing" you buy at IKEA, but a visit to the store can't really be considered complete without dining in their affordable cafe. Whether you try the signature Swedish Meatballs, or go for some familiar pasta and marinara, you'll surely enjoy the experience. They also offer breakfast for $1.99, with free coffee, if you happen to be there early.
Now, tell me your favorite IKEA buys! I want to know what you can't live without when you visit the Swedish shop.
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