Product Type: Ikea home furniture
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Angelic looking but a devil to put up
Ikea Expedit Bookcase
Member Name: historywitch
Ikea Expedit Bookcase
Advantages: Pretty, shiny, modern, cheap
Disadvantages: Really bloody hard to put up, especially the second time
Several years ago we had to make a move abroad at short notice as my husband got a job offer we couldn't afford to turn down. So we had three months to sell our house, find somewhere to rent, find a removals company, organise the move and learn some basic French and German. We also made the move from a teeny two bed ex-council maisonette to a four bedroom, two bathroom spacious flat. Much of our furniture was sold so we didn't have to pay to move it, so once there my husband made a trip to IKEA to buy everything we needed to furnish the flat (we had a bed, a cot and a sofa, plus kitchen stuff etc). For our daughter's room he chose this Expedit bookcase in white at £70.
The Expedit range comes in many different sizes and shapes e.g. a small, medium and large cube, long and thin, with a desk insert or a gap for a TV. It also comes in four different colours (black, light wood, dark wood and white), each of which has a different price. My daughter's room was a single room with white walls and a pale wood floor, so we went for the medium cube in white which was also the cheapest colour - the others all retail at £80. Its appearance is very simple, lots of squares stacked together; it isn't delicate or elegant and its extremely modern looking, all of which suited our needs at the time. For £69.90 we got 16 squares to fill with junk.
When you open the box you get four wider pieces for the top, bottom and the sides, then three horizontal shelves and finally 12 small vertical pieces. The shelves are all held together with little wooden dowels and the sides screw together with long screws. The side pieces are heavy, I could only lift one at a time and the whole unit is pretty solid and massive once put together. My brother put it together the first time and it was a constant topic of conversation with him, it was clear that he found it difficult. I put it together the second time when we moved and I can see why he had problems. IKEA recommend two people put this together and its probably a good idea to choose someone who doesnt mind getting screeched at by a red-faced harridan with a hammer. In order for it all to fit together you need to lay it on the floor and gently construct it by sliding the dowels in the holes and then screwing on the sides. This of course sounds very easy but even as a hardened veteran of flatpack furniture I found this one of the hardest things I have ever put together. The dowels are wobbly and snap easily, you need to have it on a completely flat surface to get the correct alignment and the shelves are apt to fall like dominoes if you even shift it slightly. I struggled for an hour before I called my husband to help, he came with a hammer which helped enormously to get things aligned. You do need to put something between the hammer and the bookcase as the surface cracks quite easily, foam, wood, cardboard, your husband's hand are all good. Once everything is aligned you need to screw it all together, again a hammer comes in useful. It took two people to lift it to vertical and shift it into position.
IKEA recommend fixing it to the wall, which we must have missed as it happily sat in my daughter's bedroom for 2 years, being pulled against and used constantly without toppling, but I guess if you have a climbing child or animal you might want to make it more secure. The item is finished on both sides so you can use it pretty much anywhere in your house, IKEA suggests it also as a room divider.
So how is it to live with? It makes a very good multifunctional unit and stored linens, books, clothes and toys for my daughter. However it wasn't quite the right size for any of these tasks, things slipped easily down the back and nothing really fitted easily. IKEA market a box which fits the shelves (LEKMAN) but 16 boxes at £8.99 each was beyond us and even 8 were more expensive than the unit itself. The gap was too small for standard plastic storage boxes so we just put up with everything not quite fitting and the space not being fully utilised. It was quite difficult to fit toys in the gaps anyway, so after a while it became solely a bookcase, but getting books to fit was frustrating- most of the time there was huge amounts of wasted space above the books ; stacking them just left them vulnerable to falling down the back of the unit. We were really looking for a storage unit that we could just fill with stuff, that would then be easy to access but were left with an additional bill for extra boxes and bags to contain what we wanted to store. It looks good and went well with the modern flat we had before, but when we moved to a Victorian semi it looked quite out of place in the decor. When we moved a third time we took it to the dump and merrily waved goodbye; most of the dowels had snapped and the surface had cracked in several places near the screw holes. The prospect of lugging all the bits up another flight of stairs and struggling for two hours to re-erect it was definitely unappealing
So, overall, if you are buying this to store a lot of things in a small space its not a good idea, unless you are prepared to spend more money on containers to store things on the shelves. It would make a cracking room divider in an uncluttered house, with a few things aesthetically displayed in a pleasing way. It would also make a good bookcase for larger coffetable style books/picture books, files or similar. For us though, it was a piece of furniture that is heavy, impractical for our uses and really bloody hard to construct without serious domestic ructions. It has been replaced by an incredibly simple shelving unit, that took ten minutes to put together and stores linens, toys and books in a very efficient and helpful way (and was about a third of the price and burnable once it breaks). I am certainly not sad to see the back of the thing!
****Vital statistics from the IKEA website****
Width: 149 cm
Depth: 39 cm
Height: 149 cm
Max. load/shelf: 13 kg
Basematerial: Particleboard, Fibreboard, ABS plastic, Acrylic paint
Filling material: Paper
Fixed shelf: Particleboard, ABS plastic, Melamine foil
Suspension rail: Steel
Summary: Ours is mouldering in landfill somewhere.
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