Me and IKEA

I have a weird relationship with IKEA.
There is a big part of me that thinks IKEA is overrated. The idea of big box design (here, buy this whole room!) has creeped me out ever since I saw the chain Rooms to Go. If you buy an entire room, you do realize that someone else has that entire room in their house, too? And not just someone else, lots of someone else’s. It feels like time and space run-ins (“other people have slept in this same hotel room bed and other things”) and deja-vu (what if you become friends with someone who has your living room?!) and Farenheit 451 (dystopic in general). So let’s just say that I can not base a room in my house from a room I have seen in IKEA, nor do I think it is healthy or fun to buy an entire room from IKEA, no matter how cheap they claim it is.
This is the other problem I have with IKEA – it is cheap, but not inexpensive. Bear with me here. I own one new piece of furniture. One. It is the Norden table we bought this year from IKEA. I love it. It folds out eight different ways (or so it seems). It has little drawers. It can disappear into a form no larger than those drawers. It is perfect for our living room meets dining area meets kitchen 900 square foot abode. But it was not inexpensive for a table and I do not think it will meet my grandchildren. I could buy any number of tables on Craigslist or at St Vincent de Paul or at a garage sale or at Goodwill or from my friend who is moving for a third of the price and probably made from real wood that would meet my grandchildren (remember the desk Daniel paid $10 for that turned out to be a real wood antique). And what about Goodwill Find of the Century? Not only is it more fun not to spend my hard earned money on something cheaply made, but it is better for the environment.  People used to reuse furniture all the time. Now everyone wants something new. The fact that IKEA cons middle america into thinking that new is a better option by pretending middle america can afford IKEA annoys me. A $1200 couch is not a good deal, I don’t care what anyone says. When I am shopping on Craigslist and someone wants to sell their couch for $800 because they “paid $1200 for it at IKEA” I want to write them an email that says “I’m sorry, you’ve been had. Now sell me your couch for $100, which is what it’s worth.”

Our country is in debt because of places like IKEA. But then they go and make a table that folds eight ways and I say yes, I have to have that.

Because that’s what IKEA is for, or at least where it came from – minimalism. Have you seen the size of the houses in Sweden? Do you know how large the standard refrigerator is in Europe? IKEA has got some major corners on the space maximization market. There are reasons to love IKEA when living in a small house, and despite the mass consumption mass production, I have managed to dodge the mine field of the $1200 couches and bring you this:

Rail bar – 1.99

 This nifty number comes in two sizes and holds both our kitchen towel and our bathrooms towels. Towel bars were my biggest frustration when outfitting the house because I cannot fathom why towel racks are $14.99 and higher. I have never in my life thought “Now that’s a nice towel bar.” Gross. The crazy thing about this is that the next price level up from this is, I am pretty sure, $14.99.

Dish rack – 1.99

You may remember this from my floating dish rack post. This is the cheapest one at IKEA and was the most perfect for my purposes.

Plastic bag holder – 1.99

Worth every penny.

Garment bags – 2.99

 These are another item impossible to find for less than $5 each, and this package at IKEA came with THREE. Now that is a deal.

Last but not least, the pillow at the top of this post came from IKEA. It cost $10. I bought two. This is a little more than I would care to pay for a pillow, but I rationalized it by the fact that even if I tried to make it, the embroidered fabric would cost as much, and I have wanted a pillow like this since I saw them in Anthropologie for significantly more.

So, if IKEA and I were in a relationship on Facebook, it would definitely say “It’s Complicated.”


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