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I Want To Be In The Beatles
Member Name: assethound
Date: 17/09/01, updated on 17/09/01 (610 review reads)
Advantages: Good design
Disadvantages: No good for impulsive people, you can feel like you are in Dawn of the Dead
Let me first state my position on IKEA unequivocally.
I like it. Well I love it. Well I hate it - let me explain.
IKEA is like many shops, designed to shift merchandise, and process customers.
It scores highly on both these points.
Furniture, kitchen utensils, prints, fabric carpets, light bulbs, kids toys... All laid out in "realistic" settings, so that there is no big leap of the imagination to see it in your home.
Obviously the version of my home that I use when I am in IKEA is very much the same as the mental image I have of my body. Smooth sleek lines, beautifully maintained and infinitely desirable to the masses.
The reality is somewhat different. Things that sag, grubby paintwork, and that general air of being lived in.
IKEA is designed to propel customers steadily along, peeling off from the convoy occasionally to test out a sofa or boing on a mattress, and indulge openly in the furtive pleasure of peering into someone else's kitchen cupboards.
IKEA makes you feel that you too can aspire to a house straight out of a glossy magazine.
It is all too easy to drift along on a tide of shoppers, picking up an unbeatable bargain set of tea lights here, a small but perfectly formed table lamp there, and suddenly find yourself beached in the vast warehouse, at the tail end of a massive queue filled with strained looking families, screaming toddlers and only the smell of the hotdog kiosk beyond the checkouts to keep you going.
Halfway round my nearest store is the restaurant, serving up Swedish meatballs, pasta, pastries and even lager and wine to keep your strength up. Interesting enough, this is located next to the start of the children's section, which could leave you needing a stiffener as your kids run amok
It is best to avoid hitting IKEA at peak times, such as weekends, when nest building is at its peak, and foot and mouth has left many wal
kers with no alternative to milling about in DIY stores and of course, IKEA.
Obviously avoiding weekends is a problem for most people who work during the week, but IKEA does open reasonably late so it could be feasible to pop in on the way home from work to browse or buy.
The sense of being herded around in a convoy of stupified consumers can be alleviated by getting hold of a copy of the store map as you enter the main doors. This shows you the quick routes and shortcuts through the store - vitally important if you have children whose bladders miraculously fill when you are well away from a toilet.
It is also a good idea to pick up a catalogue and browse through it before you go - in my area we get an IKEA catalogue posted through the door a couple of times a year. Hopefully this is from IKEA and not from a neighbour unimpressed by the view through our front window. The thought of vigilante groups trained in flat pack assembly and minimalist flower arranging fills me with horror.
The only problem I have with the catalogue is that it tends to give you a broad overview of what you can buy. Once you get to IKEA you will find that there is much, much more than in the catalogue - and it is this that can leave you prone to impulsive purchases.
Generally I have found the quality of furniture bought from IKEA good, with the rider that it is usually fibreboard, with associated problems - you only really get one chance to assemble it properly, and if you make a pigs ear of it you may have lost any chance of making it look decent, or even to fit together at all.
However, the prices are ok, some of the furniture is really good value, such as the trademark Billy bookcases - see my opinion on those for a guide to buying and assembling them - and the design is still slightly quirky, although much more mainstream now simply because many stores and manufacturers followed IKEAs lead when they first came to Britain.
can only feel relieved that my most nightmarish idea of furniture - that weird "cherrywood" colour with high gloss varnish and unnecessary twirly bits and glued on plastic wood detail seems to have got a lot less common since the IKEA revolution.
Generally I like the design and convenience of IKEA.
What I don't like is the way the store is designed to make people impulse buy, and then strand them in huge queues at the checkout.
I also don't like the fact that I always feel like I need to go again, because I have seen other things I like when on a trip planned with military precision to avoid impulse buying.
Anything that feeds my partners insatiable desire to buy light bulbs "just in case" (we have a cupboard full already, many bearing the IKEA logo) is generally a bad thing.
I love the textiles, although I suspect that the quality may not be as good as I would like.
On balance, I like IKEA - unfortunately too many other people do, and as I am not living in the sixties and a member of the Beatles, no-one wants to open a shop just for me and my entourage to browse in.