I haven't visited an IKEA store for well over five years as I had begun to feel that their prices were becoming out of my range. I have always liked their simple style and their products are undeniably well made but I didn't feel their products were worth the cost. After moving house recently I found myself in need of a number of pieces of furniture and kept coming across IKEA products on my internet searches. Most of the pieces were quite reasonably priced and in line with other furniture stores so I decided to take a trip to the store in Warrington. I am not sure whether my perceptions of the pricing was wrong over the years or whether they have indeed lowered their prices but I was pleasantly surprised. Many of their products were really attractive and I came away with a good haul for under £100. I also managed to buy a number of smaller items for really good prices. I particularly liked the plant pots they offered right at the end of the store. My only problem with IKEA is the layout of the store. I love their ready-designed rooms that enable you to see how you could use their products in a real room and gives you ideas and inspirations for your own decoration, however I don't feel the store allows for easy shopping. As it is such a large store everyone follows a single path through the store and especially as it was busy it didn't feel possible to go back to an area once you had passed through. I imagine the design would be useful if you knew what product you were going for but as someone looking to browse a number of areas I found it a little frustrating. Other than that, I was very impressed with the products and the pricing.
I just love this store. It's amazing what kind of furniture, customer service and prices they present. It's a joy going to IKEA. Me and my partner have been going there on a monthly basis and always end up with something in our cart. One of the products we love the most are the sentenced candles. The IKEA restaurant offers great tasting food for a very good price. You can feed all the family on it. The stores do get busy on Weekends but me and my partner always go during the week. Sometimes we find ourselves alone walking through some sections. IKEA also offer great entertainment for kids, if you want to have an adult time shopping for new furniture for your home. You can simply drop your children off at their playground where they offer to take care of your kids while you enjoy some shopping. IKEA also offer a home delivery service and a build up service. It's very professionally handled and the delivery happens quick. The customer service is extraordinary. They give up to 10 years of warranty on their mattresses for example. I once had to return a mattress as it was already worn out after 2 years and they happily exchanged it. In fact, I bought a new more expensive mattress and they refunded the old price of the old mattress for the new mattres. So I only ended up paying the difference in price and it was delivered for free. They also took the old mattress back for free. So, anyone who loves good lasting furniture sure has to shop at IKEA.
Ikea's DIY concept is undoubtedly a winner in its market. It's also a very nice place to shop and eat (Swedish meatballs!) in, provided you are willing to travel to your local store every once in a while.
Most of its products are innovative, well-thought over and well designed. Personally I have no complaints over any of their products I have bought. I just have tons of them sitting at home because I get sucked into the realm of IKEA goodness whenever I stop by and end up getting everything that crosses my line of vision.
After moving to a new place it has become significantly tougher for me to get to IKEA, thus I opted to shop online for something I actually needed for once. Shopping online with IKEA sucks :(
Firstly, the online shop does not guarantee everything you want, some items are not available for purchase online. Secondly, there is a delivery fee. Charging a delivery fee is sensible, but they charge way too much. I bought 3 Dimpa Bags and a shoe organiser, all of which came in a flat medium sized parcel via Parcelforce. I was charged GBP 9 for that. That brings me to my third point. They do returns, but they charge for a collection and will only refund the value of the products that you bought even if you return the entire order.
Obviously I am unhappy with my purchase this time around, so I'd ONLY recommend shopping at IKEA in-store and not online, unless you have really seen the product in person and have made up your mind to buy that product.
Over the last 18 years I have used ikea and always admired their ethics and the way they done business, however over the last few years I have heard some horror stories about how they behave and felt that their standards are slipping. About 9 months ago I was refurbishing a property I own and decided to put in ikea furniture so I went to my local ikea (Milton Keynes) and bought items that I wanted apart from stuff that they didn't have but on their website it clearly stated that they had 30 of them and 6 of the other item I needed, I questioned this to a member of staff but was dismissed with a comment stating that they had been sold whilst I was on my way to the store which I found odd. I then asked if I could be contacted when the items were back in stock and waited 2 week but no call so I looked on their site and it stated that they had replenished their stock, I also contacted the store and they confirmed this but when I got there there was no stock at all and denied that a member of staff would say that which enraged me. Whilst I was in there I bought a child's kitchen as a Christmas present for my daughter which was £65, on Christmas Eve I opened the box and put it together and I was dismayed that it was not complete (top section was missing) I spoke to the contact centre which was a waste of time (44 minutes on the phone) operator was unhelpful and wasn't really bothered with my problem so I decided to go to the store and speak to customer services, they advised me that they are sold in separate boxes, however on the box I bought it didn't state 1 of 2 and clearly showed an image of the kitchen complete, I gave her my details so that she could chase my transaction but but she told me that would be difficult and would not be prepared to do that, again I felt that ikea fell short of their standards and have come to the conclusion that they use distraction tactics so they evade issues that they come across so my advice is either consider carefully buying anything from ikea,
Some people regard the Ikea experience as hell on earth. I quite like Ikea, but I'm lucky (or unlucky) as my local store is only a few mikes away so I can regularly pop in. When my partner and I set up our home together, we made numerous trips to Ikea, because we couldn't afford expensive things. Many of the things we have bought are still going strong.
Here are my tips
1) plan your trip in advance so you can head directly to the department's you want to visit. Most products are on the internet, so if you want a bookcase, look at them online first and shortlist the ones you like. You can also check the stock levels online, so you will know what is available before you go.
2) avoid taking a trolley to the showroom if you can get away with it. Those big yellow plastic bags should be sufficient for anything you pick up. You can take shortcuts through the store by walking through the displays,but you can't always get a trolley through. Most stores will have trolleys at the start of the market hall should you need one.
3) many stores have a creche for children aged 3-8. I haven't used it, but it looks fun.
4) go early/late to avoid the crowds. My local store opens at 10am and closed at 10pm.
5) take a picture of the items you want on your phone. This is handy if you struggle with the instructions later on. Focus on the small details, which tend to be the most difficult parts to put together.
6) sigh up for an Ikea card, as this entitles you to free tea and coffee during the week.
7) when you have finished in the showroom, have a break in the canteen and sort through the products you want to buy, so that when you get to the warehouse, you will know the locations of the items you want to buy.
8) beware of ikea standard fittings - some products are only compatible with ikea products. Bedding is an example, some of the mattresses and sheets are in continental sizes so don't fit Uk beds properly.
A couple of weeks ago I again relented, much to my disgust and deep regret, to accompany my wife on a shopping trip. I am afraid when it comes to shopping I am the worlds most impatient and easily bored person around. So off we went to the large shopping centre on the other side of the Dartford crossing..... After about ten minutes I had had enough.........I have the patience and concentration span of a flea.
After I had finished winding up all the egg timers in Robert Dyas and Debenhams (Sorry) and made a calm and hasty retreat, much to my amusement, my wife had finally finished shopping she asked if we could pop into Ikea. Smiling through gritted teeth I kindly agreed. I think the last time I went to Ikea was about 10 years ago and memories of the pain and trauma must have subsided somewhat for me to agree to go there again. I can understand why my family do not like shopping with me because I wouldn't want to go shopping with someone like me!
What is Ikea?
Ikea was originally a Swedish company set up by a mere child but it is now Dutch owned and one of the most successful companies in the world. IT has quite simply gone viral and expanded throughout Europe and the rest of the world selling home furniture and home wares. It is the largest home furnishing company in the world it has even got stores in China, ironically that's a bit like selling sand to the Arabs or ice to the Eskimos.
The layout of the store.
There is a one way system where you walk through various mini show rooms of different rooms in the house from bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchens all set out with different furniture and fittings. Along the way there are household items you can pick up and place in your basket. The idea is that the mini showrooms show you what your room can look like with the furniture already assembled so that you get a good idea of what your Kitchen/bedroom/living room will look like. There is a clear pathway to follow with no windows in the building. It is almost like a massive warehouse. If you see something you like you make a note of what it is or take one of the tickets by the display and when you eventually get to the warehouse checkout the numbers are typed into the till and you then queue up to collect the flat packed piece of furniture. Can you feel my pain!!!
I had forgotten how I hated it the first time round and after being in the store for about 15 minutes I had had enough but no you cannot walk to the nearest exit because there isn't one apart from emergency exits you have to carry on walking for ages until you get to a ramp going down to the lower floor. On reaching the lower floor you feel a sense of relief but wait a minute where is the exit. Nowhere near!!!!!!! I can tell you that you have to walk through more and more of the showrooms until eventually you reach the paying tills and then you can make a rapid exit from here. At one point I distinctly thought I was getting a bit panicky and almost wanting to get the hell out of the shop. I can honestly say I will never ever return to an Ikea as long as I have breath in my body.
What does it sell?
Ikea sells literally everything you could require for the home. Most of the stuff is modern looking and of contemporary designs. Obviously this type of furniture or homewares will not suit every type of home but some of the furniture and fittings may do.
Tables, chairs, beds and large electrical appliances abound all in different colours and different designs. Book cases, cabinets wardrobes you name it then it seems that you will come across it somewhere in store. Soft furnishings are available for example towels, bedding, rugs, curtains, pillows cushions etc. etc.
Kitchen equipment including dinner sets, glass ware, cutlery, pots and pans small electrical appliances such as kettles, toasters. I could not find the egg timers!!!!!
Outdoor and gardening equipment. Flowers and shrubs and garden furniture.
So did I enjoy my experience?
Absolutely and categorically no. Although I think it is brilliant that there is a store that you can get more or less anything you need to furnish a home in one go but for me I was not particularly keen on the type or quality of the furniture and some of the items in the shop. At one point I seriously had given up the will to live. All I wanted to do was get out of the shop. If I am ever forced to go into this shop again I think if I get an overwhelming feeling of wanting to get out of the shop like that again I will go through the emergency doors as it was not a very nice experience for me. It was almost like being in a never ending maze. Whilst the staff were cheerful and happy to answer question or offer help this did not make any difference to my shopping experience but guess what ? My wife thought she had died and gone to heaven and absolutely loved it.........Now that's just plain crazy in my opinion.
This I think is possibly one of the worst shopping experiences known to mankind. Obviously time is a great healer I had forgotten how horrible it was once captured inside I nearly had the urge of going back out as soon as we reached the top floor but then I felt guilty as my wife does like shopping. At the end of this shopping trip my wife had bought a few bits and pieces certainly it came to less than £100 but it is an experience I am unlikely ever to repeat again and will try to remember writing this review as a reminder of why I should never go back again even if memories fade I shall remember this review!
If I had my way I would only be giving it a measly one star due to the fact that you are being forcibly trapped inside the shop but have to upgrade it to 4 stars because it sells all sorts you may need in the home.
I truly believe that if it wasn't for IKEA, I still wouldn't have any furniture in my apartment. They offer an incredible combination of low prices, great design and function. They seem to really understand the fact that homes are getting smaller. They also have an increasing number of facilities in their stores such as cafes and loyalty card scheme (IKEA Family).
No store is perfect of course. IKEA does charge for carrier bags, delivery (if required) use of credit cards, and of course almost everything is self assembly. The quality is occasionally questionable, particularly if you're not great at putting the thing together in the first place, but overall it is an outstanding place with pieces to suit most tastes. Customer service is usually very good, e.g. when I moved house and lost the fittings for an office chair, they sent me some more free of charge. The only trouble with staff, sometimes, is that they are hard to get hold of as they are busy with other customers - hardly their fault and probably so the store can keep their costs down. It would also be great to see more IKEA stores - I know many have to travel far to get to one.
It is nice that the firm also has a big environmentally friendly ethos and treats their staff well, according to various friends I have that worked there in the past.
Almost everything in my home is IKEA, from the bathroom cabinet, TV stand, dining table and dressers. The few things that are non-IKEA are because I didn't like their range at the time, such as my sofa and bed. I previously had an IKEA bed but it basically started falling apart - however, as a percentage of my purchases, the disappointment rate is rather low.
I am very disappointed with ikea at the moment they have got free picking and delivery service if you spend £400 or more on pax wardrobes and interiors so I chose my wardrobes package got all the part numbers went to the wednesbury store only to be told sorry we don't do them doors any more and the frames are being changed as well I said we'll they're on your website still there excuse is that's because some stores may still have some in stock I said there was no indication on your website of any discontinued items I have come from stoke to wednesbury for nothing what others can you offer me not much they replied until April when new stock arrives what a waste Of time they did say you can check stock on line which I never saw anyway very very disappointed that they got an offer on that you struggle to spend £400 because everything is discontinued absolutely crap cost me £10 in fuel and 2 hrs driving and you can't buy from there and have them delivered from another store if they haven't got it you don't get it you wouldn't get this at b&q and argos they have sister shops that will help not independent very disappointed to any one reading this pls check stock before turning up otherwise you may be as disappointed same as me.
I have seen many Ikea stores around but I had never realized that they had great value furniture.
When my husband and I moved into our new flat as we were expecting our first baby, we decided to get new furnishings for a fresh start, as we really disliked our previous flat and the furniture.
It was in the course of my extensive internet research that I discovered Ikea, as we had to get quite a lot of furniture on quite a small budget and we did not want to get anything second hand. And that was how I came to plan my grand trip to Ikea.
The website was the most useful tool in planning. I must say that Ikea has an excellent website, with all the products described in detail with the images, the various colour and size options available and the prices. You can also note down from the website the actual in-store location of items, so you don't have to wander around looking for things. There is also the option of finding out online whether the item is in stock at the branch that you want to visit, as well as the option of just shopping online and getting it delivered. There is a feature for customizing wardrobes and calculating the exact price, which I found very useful. At the end of my website research I had quite an extensive list of things I wanted to look at.
I went to the Ikea Wembley store, which has all the furniture display arranged in sections on floor one and the household items and check out are on the floor below. The store is designed like a one way system, so after you get in through the entrance you walk through the various furniture sections and note down the aisle/location number of your chosen item. After you have finished selecting the items, you go down to the huge checkout area, get a trolley and go to the respective aisles and load your item onto the trolley, after which you pay for it.
All the furniture is arranged in sections like sitting, bedroom, kitchen, dining etc. The prices and options are prominently displayed and you are free to try out the furniture. The staff are quite helpful as well. I did not particularly enjoy the one-way system as you have to walk back and forth quite a lot if you want to check something out more than once. Also the process of going to the checkout area and getting all the furniture yourself is not very easy, especially if you have a lot of big pieces like bed and wardrobe. It is definitely going to be difficult if you go alone. It would have been better if Ikea kept a lot more staff here to help people get things off the shelves.
After you pay for the items you have the option of getting things delivered at a very reasonable cost, depending on the value of your items. This service is near the exit of the shop, and is very easy to arrange.
All Ikea products come flat packed in neat cardboard boxes, so assembly is required for most of them. They come with detailed pictorial assembly instructions and sometimes even the necessary tools. It is quite easy, in fact we assembled all our furniture ourselves, although rather time consuming. There is an assembly and installation service available, and there is warranty on this service as well I think.
Price & quality
The best thing about Ikea products is of course the price. They are quite cheap and it is the best place to get furniture if you are on a budget. We spent around £1000 and got nearly all our furniture, including a double bed and a single bed with a pullout underbed with the mattresses, a sofa, armchair, a side table, wardrobe, bookshelf and a few other bits and bobs. The products are all of fairly decent quality, and I haven't had any problems with them yet.
The customer service is also pretty good, both the phone lines and instore. We needed a couple of screws replacing on one of the beds and it was done promptly and with no hassles whatsoever.
There is also a restaurant instore with lot of places to sit and eat and a small area for kids to play as well. The menu is fairly decent, with a standard selection of mains, salads and desserts, especially Swedish ones and as much tea/coffee/drink as you want. There tends to be a queue at mealtimes but it moves quickly enough. The tables are kept clean and tidy.
The IKEA family card is a scheme that gives you a few benefits, like discount on the food, free tea/coffe on weekdays and sometimes discounts on the products. There is also some kind of insurance on the products purchased for Ikea family members, and a good returns policy. You also get occasional offers in the mail.
My husband and I both enjoyed our Ikea visit greatly but we had to go back to pick our items from the checkout area as we took a long time going through and selecting the items. You can do this online but we still had a few things to pick out.
Ikea is a great place to get new furniture on a budget, get some ideas for redecoration and a generally enjoyable shop.
IKEA may be one of the best places to go for flat pack furniture and/or soft furnishings (personally, I think they should specialise in maps and sat-navs so you can find your way ut of the place)...or it may not. I wouldn't know. What I do know, their restaurant is certainly one of the best places to go for breakfast
So, instead of telling you all about tables and chairs and spoons and lamps, I'm going to dissect the breakfast on offer at that well known purveyor of furniture and meatballs.
I'm not what you'd call a typical IKEA customer, in fact previous to just a few months ago, I'd only been once and my abiding memory of that ordeal was trying to escape through the maze that they call a shopping floor to the safety of the car park. It's like, once you're in, you ain't leaving till you've bought something.
Be that as it may, it just so happens that I've recently been working very close to an IKEA. Not only that, but for a while I was working seven days a week and, as we all know, Sundays wouldn't be Sundays without a decent brekkie...they'd be Tuesdays probably.
So, with that in mind, and having tried all the various other options around (not many), I ventured into said IKEA store to sample the breakfast. (The said IKEA being at Straiton Retail Park, Edinburgh.)
The restaurant is a cafeteria-style job and first impressions were not good. Two lanes for queueing and both fit to burst with hungry shoppers. Oh dear. Not to worry though, the serving area was well staffed and the queues moved along at a brisk pace past the salads, sandwiches and cakes on display and on to the hot food area.
There's not a huge range of choice on offer but how much choice do you need? As far as I can remember, they did a breakfast ciabatta roll thingy, a kid's breakfast, a small breakfast and a regular breakfast (same as the small but with two of everything). Guess which one I went for?
I can't remember the price for the ciabatta, but the kid's brekkie was 85p, small was 99p and regular was £1.95. Certainly nothing wrong with the prices.
The breakfast consists of: hash brown, sausage, bacon, tomato, beans and scrambled egg. The kid's brekkie was a choice of any three items. I think you could also mix and match items for a custom breakfast, but don't quote "me" on that... I said DON'T quote me!
The regular breakfast, as I said, is just the same but doubled. Not only that, you also get a roll and butter!!!
Coffee / tea/ hot chocolate comes in at 99p with free refills.
It's a bit of a jostle getting your grub, paying for it and then fixing your tea/coffee, but it WAS pretty busy. However, there were plenty of seats available and if you can manage to get one at the window, you get a fantastic view of Aurthur's Seat thrown in for free.
But how was the breakfast? Thought you'd never ask.
It was good. Not great, not as good as home cooking, but it was good.
All the items were well cooked and had some flavour to them: juicy bangers, crispy bacon and moist-on-the-inside hash browns. I'm not a great fan of scrambled eggs, but they were not bad at all...in fact I'd say they were better than most fried eggs you get dished up when eating out. Even the tomatoes were grilled properly - not raw, not mushy, somewhere in-between. None of it was greasy.
The rolls on offer could be better though. Perhaps a Scottish morning roll instead of a Kaiser or a poppy seed. Still, a minor (very minor) quibble.
To cap it all, the coffee (from a push button dispenser) was excellent and I was sorely tempted to have a refill.
Since first having breakfast at IKEA, I've been back a few times and the standard has been pretty consistent. Sometimes the queue takes longer than other times (sometimes it's quite quick), but the food is always the same and always good.
In conclusion, I can heartily recommend breakfast at IKEA. Good, tasty food at a ridiculously low price. Why, you can even get your coffee or tea free if you get yourself an IKEA family card (Mon-Fri only).
I still haven't ventured back into the shopping area though.
I will be moving into my halls of residence at the end of September and I've already made multiple trips to Ikea for the essentials. The 'big blue box' is absolutely brilliant for cheap bed linen, pillows, duvets and desk essentials.
All of the linen has funky and modern designs and there are some real bargains to be found! I picked up a single duvet and 2 pillowcases for £3 (I think it was Bladvass for anyone who's interested) with the double option with 4 pillowcases being £4. The quality wasn't as good as the more expensive sets, and having bought a set before I knew that the cotton was a bit itchy to start with. Once it's been wash a couple of times it's much better and you'd never be able to tell the difference. I also picked up a duvet for £15 (for a single) and a plain fitted sheet for £1.99!!
The home and office organisation is definitely the best section and some real bargains can also be found in there. A set of cardboard magazine boxes and larger boxes for A4 paper can be purchased for less than £5 and these come flatpacked as well. Desk lamps can be bought for £2, although you must be wary - not all of them come with included bulbs, but these can be bought for around £2 also.
I found that the kitchen utsensils and crockery were also very good value for money and you can buy cheap plates, glasses (shot glasses) individually, rather than having to buy an entire set. The quality of the glassware really is exceptional as we used them before and many of the glasses are suitable for hot and cold drinks and are pretty resilient.
All in all, Ikea really is the perfect one stop shop for all things university! You really go in there and buy an entire room's worth in one go and it won't cost the earth. They also do more expensive items, such as the kitchens which always look very sleek and nicely designed. They must have pretty amazing kitchens in Sweden from what I've seen!
AND you can also grab some meatballs halfway through your shopping trip. What could be better?!
I first went to Ikea when decorating my bedroom a few years back. I had never really heard of it before but it was recommended to me by family member and definitely didn't disappoint, I love it there now and go there all the time!!
The major selling point of their products is the price. I bought two bedside tables for £15 each, a massive matching three door wardrobe for £79, a wall mounted fold up computer desk for £25, a rug for £12, a large pink swivel chair for £20 and other small bits and bobs like candles and lamps which were all also brilliant value! So I pretty much furnished my whole bedroom for less than £200 (the price that the majority of other places I looked were charging for a decent wardrobe!). Now I know everybody is probably thinking it is all rubbish quality for those prices but it truly isn't. I was amazed too but the Ikea products are the same or in some cases better quality than other places I had looked. Due to their flat pack nature, I was dreading putting them together as I am terrible at DIY but in fact it was remarkably simple as the instructions were easy to follow with detailed instructions and corresponding pictures. All are still in my room today and look as good as new.
Shopping in Ikea comes with an experience too, which I also love! It is sort of a structured shopping experience in that you first walk round the showroom by following the marked out little yellow feet. Personally, I quite like this as I enjoy just browsing but I can see why some people would get annoyed with this as you have to walk through the whole designated path before getting to the warehouse where you can get what you want! Also, the showroom has ready-made rooms dotted around it using solely Ikea products which I particularly like as you can get ideas and inspiration from them.
So customers don't have to carry wardrobes and desks etc around with them, the showroom is where you can buy the smaller products but for any large ones, there is labels on each item in the showroom with an aisle and shelf number on. You simply have to jot these down on the notepad and pencil provided by the store on entrance so you can find what you want when you reach the warehouse. When we got to the warehouse and seen the mass of products, I was dreading having to find the items I wanted but the system actually works and is set out really well and simply.
The one negative I can think of with Ikea is the high delivery prices. My nearest Ikea is only around 10 miles from my house and think they quoted £89 for delivery (more than my wardrobe!) which I refused to pay. Luckily, a family member of mine had a van which I used so this is something I would definitely recommend you to bear in mind beforehand if you're looking to purchase large items.
Overall, I think it is clear to grasp that I love Ikea and couldn't recommend it highly enough. The products are so much cheaper than anywhere else without compromising on quality. Only thing I would say is take a large car/van or be prepared for high delivery charges!!
Literally if it wasn't for Ikea my new house would have no furniture.
I would be Miss Honey from Roald Dahl's Matilda sitting on a wooden crate and warming toast over a camping stove.
I have changed from someone who found Ikea completely baffling to someone who actually enjoys pottering round looking at all the household goodies for a day out.
My husband actually introduced me to the wonders of Ikea. Before that I associated it with flat-packed furniture, which I thought would surely just fall apart after a few days, and that was if you even managed to get the thing together correctly in the first place.
Not to appear xenophobic but the whole Swedish thing put me off as well. I had heard people talking about those cheap meatballs they sold at lunchtimes and thought that's not the best image for a furniture store. Best avoid that one like the plague.
My overall thoughts were cheap, nasty, too difficult to put together and what's with the meatballs.
After my first trip to Ikea I wasn't completely converted. I can't recall what it was we went to look at. I think me and my husband, who was my boyfriend back then, had moved into our first place together recently or something - fully furnished - and we were just looking for a few things to dress the house.
I don't think we came away with anything and I found the whole system of having to stream around, convoy fashion behind all the other customers peeking into little room sets where all the furniture and other household items were laid out so you could see just how nice it would all look together a bit odd to be honest. And don't even get me started on that big basement area where all the flat-packed furniture was stored. I think I actually asked my husband how on earth you worked out how to find the item of furniture you were looking for amongst all those identical cardboard boxes. I had a lot to learn.
It was when we were kitting out my daughter's nursery I started to see the light. I started enjoying looking around all those rooms sets now - perhaps it was something to do with the fact I was pregnant and going into the nesting zone - but that's bye the bye - I suddenly saw Ikea for what it is. An excellent way of getting modern, serviceable and well-made furniture at a fraction of the price you would pay almost anywhere else.
I was truly surprised at the quality of the stuff. I expected it to be really sub-standard for the money but they appear to be able to get away with cheaper prices as it is the customer who has to find their own furniture in the warehouse, reducing staffing costs, you have to put it all together yourself at home and it must have something to do with it being imported from Sweden but don't question me too much on this aspect as I'm no expert.
We picked up quite a few bits and pieces to decorate my daughter's nursery for only a few pounds really.
So when we knew we were moving house - our first house which we would have to completely furnish on a very small budget - I immediately thought of Ikea.
I don't know how many trips we took to that place but it was several - first to get an idea of what we wanted to buy and then several more to actually buy the main furniture and then all the accessories.
I think we managed to furnish the whole house for around £2,000. Try and do that anywhere else and it is all good quality.
We bought the cheapest dining table imaginable for example. It was around £40 and OK it is quite cheap looking wood but with a table cloth thrown over it it does the job, is incredibly sturdy and I anticipate us getting a number of years use out of it.
We also got all our curtains and light fittings from Ikea. I did spend a fun afternoon taking up all the curtains myself with the wonder web they provided, as all the curtains come measuring two metres. This is a little odd as who has two metre windows but again at around £50 for a pair of curtains I was prepared to get the iron out and take those curtains up.
We took all the furniture to our new house in our car but they do deliver. The reason we chose not to do this was because we moved to a small village and smaller places are not always on their routes. It also saved on money.
So how does Ikea work. I have already mentioned it appeared extremely complicated on first glance. Well there are a host of items on the shelves which you just pick up and put in your trolley like usual but if you are interested in a piece of furniture, you pick up a little form and a pencil which are dotted around the store in dispensers and look on the label on the piece of furniture. There should be a code on there which details the aisle number where you will find your item all boxed up down in the warehouse area.
You jot that on the form - which is a lot like an Argos form in appearance - and carry on around the store until you have jotted down all the codes of all the furniture you want to purchase that day. Next stop you get in the lift down to the basement and there are all the boxes of furniture. You look for the aisle numbers you require and the items you need should be fairly easy to locate. There are staff around if you do need a bit of a hand. Then once you have all your boxes and other items you go to the checkout and pay.
The other thing I must mention is the mother and baby facilities. They are great. I read in a baby magazine that Ikea facilities had been rated as top across all stores in the UK and I can see why. There are changing facilitates on all levels as well as feeding rooms if you are nursing your baby. There is even a play area and in the café there are child's meals and colourful children's cutlery - it's all in the details.
This made what could have been a difficult number of trips to Ikea with a baby under a year old much more pleasant and by the end of it rather relaxing.
There are always car parks provided and you get free parking if you spend more than £10, which invariably you do even if it is just in the cafe.
I found it is much better to go during the week as you have a lot more space to browse at your own leisure. At the weekends it can be packed and even getting into the car park can take time.
The only real negative I would point out is the lifts. There are stairs but more often than not you are going to have a trolley with you so the lifts are really the only way to navigate the various floors. They can take a while to get down to your floor when you call them so you do have to have patience and not be claustrophobic. I incidentally am claustrophobic but the lifts are nice and roomy to give space for the trolleys so that took the edge off it. Besides I could bare a few moments of uncomfortableness for all those wonderful bargains and our house looks just great.
As someone who is currently renovating a house, I take great joy when we get to the decorating stage of a room's progress, and even though my other half has spent many painstaking hours plastering rooms, laying floors etc, I like to take credit for the final result by decorating and furnishing it with lovely homely items.
I love a trip to Ikea and enjoy making a night of it. It's kind of tradition now that if we need to go, we go on a Friday night and get a takeaway on the way home. I wouldn't ever go on a Saturday as I've made that mistake once before and never thought I was going to get out of there it was so busy.
We go to the Warrington store, although I've heard a rumour that there is one opening up on the Wirral. I rarely look through the Ikea catalogue before we go, because I know they'll have plenty of affordable stuff at reasonable prices. Sometimes the stuff can be out of stock, which is annoying because it's a long way to go to be disappointed. I think they offer a delivery service but you have to pay and we've never tried it. Part of the fun is seeing if what you've bought will fit in the car, and taking it home straight away to start building it.
Ikea specialise in flat pack furniture, and it's very good quality for the price. We've had dining table, chairs, coffee table, TV table, bookcases, CD racks, wardrobes and bedside tables from Ikea (blimey, didn't realise how much of our furniture was from there!), and it's all still going strong with no issues. We did have to replace some Ikea wardrobes recently (with new ones from Ikea), but this was only because we'd had them about 8 years and they'd been overfilled. They were only cheap so we definitely got our money's worth out of them.
The wood is solid and looks more expensive than Ikea. When we got our new wardrobe we picked all the inserts and rails to suit what we wanted, and I absolutely love our new storage.
There is a café at Ikea but I've never tried it.
Ikea also specialise in soft furnishings, and when you go round the store and get to the downstairs bit it's a haven of candles, cushions, pictures and plants. You can often come away with lots of bits and bobs for not much money.
The only problem with Ikea is the fact that you have to follow the one way system all the way round the shop, going through the showrooms for every room in the house. This is only a problem if you're after one thing specifically, and you have to trawl round the entire shop.
All in all, Ikea is the first place I think of when I need new furniture, as it's the best quality I can get on my budget.
So Im reviewing Ikea because I shop there an awful lot and I think its amazing and I want people to appreciate it. I thought about reviewing Ikea because I was just looking at their website and their holding a HUGE sale starting next week! I've only been to the Ikea in Nottingham so I cant compare it to any other, but the Nottingham one is great. Its bit. Im pretty sure they are all layed out the same and obviously they do the same products.
I'd obviously heard of Ikea before but to be honest I didnt even know what they made, I just knew it was a shop. But my boyfriends family took a trip there last year and I decided to go with them. I was amazed, it was huge and I loved how it was layed out. It takes you through each section on like a path which is great because its not just all over the place like other shops. When I went I actually had no money and no intentions on needing anything so it was a bit pointless. But when me and my boyfriend moved i together we needed furniture. Ikea is great because they sell practically everything you need. These are the diffferent departments. Bathroom, Bedroom, Childrens, Cooking, Decoration, Dining, Eating, Garden, Hallway, Home Office, Summer, Youth Room, Kitchen, Laundry, Secondary Storage, Small Storage and Textiles.
So I've been many times since my first visit and bought many things. The quality of the items are awesome to say they are soooo cheap. I bought a set of drawers for my new bedroom and they were around £35 and £10 for the glass top which was optional. The items are really easy to put together and the instrustions are very clear. If you was looking for something like the drawers I bought from any other shop I would say they would be £70 atleast!! I've also bought a wardrobe a while ago which was mega cheap (£50) and was a really good size. It looked great and once again it was easy to put together. I actually enjoy putting things together from Ikea because I the instructionier and my boyfriend does the work. We have fun doing it together. Other things I've bought from Ikea are small and really cheap. They do great little bits and bobs, for example cutlery sets, wardrobe spacing, coat hangers, candles, pictures and little things like that. They are much cheaper than your high street.
There are many stores around the UK. These include: Belfast, Cardiff, Croydon (London), Edmonton (London), Glasgow, Leeds, Milton Keynes, Southampton, Birmingham, Bristol, Conventry, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Lakeside (London), Manchester, Nottingham, Warrington and Wembley (London). The opening times are really great. Like a lot of people dont have time through the week, they are open till good hours on weekends. Most of them are open till 9pm on a Saturday and 5pm on a Sunday. I will admit at the weekend the store can get very busy.
The one thing I do hate about Ikea is the delivery prices. Its like £45 to get something delivered from Nottingham to Grantham. Always remember when your buying things that you have to fit it into your car. We have a small Ford Fiesta and I dont know how we manage to get somethings in there, but we do! If your part of 'Ikea Family' which is a free reward scheme you can sign up to on their website. I think you get discount on delivery.
In Ikea its clever how you go through the store and write things down as you go through the 'path'. You dont have to carry anything big around with you until right at the end. You can pick up the little bits as you go through such as candles and things like that. When you see something you want to buy, it has a lable thing on it, which tells you if its in or out of stock and what colours it comes in. Then it tells you where to find it in the warehouse part of the store which is last. There are bits of paper and pencils all over the store so you can write things down.
When you get to the warehouse part, you can get a trolley and go find your products. Its easy to understand. They have isles and then the items. For example, isle 20 item 24. So you go to the isle and then go along it until you see the number. Thats when you find out if youll be able to fit it in your car or not.
After the warehouse bit is the checkout, there are self scanners and normal checkouts. There are many staff around if you need any help or advice. There is also a food bit there, where you can get hot dogs and drinks. Its quite cheap but the food is nasty. I wouldnt recommend.
Also in the Nottingham Ikea there is a cafe/restraunt bit. Im not sure if there is one in all of them. The food is an ok price but it isnt very nice, also there isnt a lot to choose from. The best thing they do are the breadrolls and butter :-P The seating bit is quite big and there is a place to put your trolley. Also the toilets are near by.
If you dont want to go around the whole store, although its a path there are shortcuts around the shop to get to the bit you want quicker or the toilets or the exit. There is only one set of toilets, and a baby changing bit and a disabled toilet. But there really easy to get to and quite big. ive neevr had to wait in a queue.
I would recommend Ikea to anyone as its an all round great experience. Whether your buying or not. The quality is good and the prices are even better.