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5 Tips for Surviving your Trip to IKEA

For me, a trip to IKEA is like I’ve died and gone to heaven. That is, if heaven was filled with Billy bookcases and served endless one dollar hotdogs. The truth is, I simply can’t get enough of the place. Not everyone is in the same boat, of course, which is why I’ve devised five top tips you get you through your trip to IKEA.

If you follow these guidelines I’m certain that you, like me, will come to enjoy the bliss that is IKEA – and come to understand why, in the past, I’ve easily spent five hours in the store (just for fun!).

1. Go early.

Most of the friends and family who tell me they get stressed by a trip to IKEA are always hitting it during its prime time. Rookie error, Creatives! I hit the joint when it’s first opening and I assure you, it’s like that scene in Vanilla Sky where Tom Cruise walks onto the street and it’s completely empty. The store is yours at this point – and it allows you to stop, drop and roll in the goodness of every department.

TLC Interiors at IKEA2. Choose your co-shopper wisely.

Nobody wants to be THAT couple in IKEA. You know, the ones arguing over whether or not they should buy the RAGRUND Towel Rack Chair (sidenote: you should always buy the RAGRUND Towel Rack Chair). I find the best way to eliminate this threat is to remove it altogether and shop alone. Flying solo in IKEA is the best thing I’ve ever done; there’s simply nobody there to say no to your decor desires! I find the best way to broach the fact that you’ve made a new homewares purchase is to bring it home to your partner and ask them to assemble it. Mission accomplished!

3. Stick to Your Budget.

I know what you’re thinking; a homewares lover shouldn’t have a budget! The sad fact is, though, that some of us have cats that need to eat (and believe me when I say that you don’t wanna mess with them when they’re hungry). The reason you need to stick to a budget is because the Market Hall, in all its glory, is the place where you mindlessly collect decor in your glorious yellow bag, only to hit the checkout and realise you’ve actually spent $20,000. It’s always best to be mindful of your budget as you go along – to avoid embarrassment at the checkout when you have to split the total across six cards.

4. Don’t Rush

IKEA is a marathon, not a sprint. The amateur mistake is to try and shove your way through people and take short cuts to get to the register faster. The correct approach is to follow the ‘happiness is a journey, not a destination’ philosophy. I go through every department in the store – even the kids section (and I don’t have kids), because you never know what alternative use you mind find for an IKEA product. They’re very versatile, I’ll have you know!

5. Always have a Back-up Plan

You do not want to be the rookie who gets all the way to the warehouse section to discover your product is not in stock. Have your pencil and paper at the ready early and jot down a few possible options. Getting to the end and having nothing to purchase is like being stood up for a date by someone you were really hoping to find love with. Always have a backup and you’ll leave IKEA with your perfect beau (just don’t ever tell them that they were your second option!). 

IKEA Entry - Market Hall

Have I missed something? I’d like to know what you love about IKEA or how you make the most of your shopping experience at this mecca for all things marvellous. Drop me a comment below and share – I love to read your comments! 


Chris Carroll

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He’s also spent time on TV, on Channel 10’s Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7’s Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you’d like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

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13 Responses

  1. Oh I have a serious love affair with ikea… It borderlines obsessive. I’ve been 3 times in 4wks! All-be-it to get business supplies (ahem & maybe some extras… Shhh). Prob not that bad except it’s about 40kms away from home.
    Very much looking fwd to the Marsden Park venue opening… although I don’t think my hubby is.
    Oh & I pre-study the catoulouge / web b4 I go… Always a plan & a kinda budget. lol

    1. I hear you. The closes Ikea used to be about a 40 minute drive from home for me. Now, thankfully, it’s less than 10 minutes up the road.

      I never pre-study! I look at and touch everything.

    1. I have made the same mistake Chelsea. Now I am fully prepared with at least two alternatives (one can never leave IKEA empty handed!) 🙂

  2. I’ll have to get the other half to read this . He isn’t a huge fan of Ikea. Although I would be happy to almost live in there lol.

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I’m interior designer Chris Carroll, and at TLC Interiors we’re all about helping you create an amazing home without breaking the bank. It’s affordable designer style at its best, and we make the whole process easy and fun for clients & readers alike!

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