Thursday, August 16, 2007

A pop-o-matic Review

For most people, myself included, shopping at Ikea is like a nostalgic trip to an early adulthood playground. I remember Ikea furnishing my first off-campus college apartment and even my first post-college pad was predominantly Ikearific! As I grew up, my own personal tastes emerged and I started to gravitate away from Ikea's Danish modern decor. This fortunately coincided with the time in my life when I could afford to spend more than $20 on a coffee table.

I still look forward to the annual Ikea catalogue, which arrived at my home yesterday and I quickly tore through it like a trashy Jackie Collins novel. Similar to one of those novels, the 2008 catalogue is filled with interesting characters who go by names I've never encountered in my daily life (no Turkey, no one is named Dallas). I met Ektorp Jennylund who I can already envision in my living room, Leksvig the rustic-inspired coffee table, and of course our hero, Billy the bookcase.

Don't be fooled by the explosion of color on the catalogue's cover, Ikea hasn't gone south of the border. For some reason every year's cover is extremely busy and hurts the eyes. Once inside the book, whose prices are guaranteed through June of 2008, you will find more traditional looking furniture than previous years and flipping through the pages, you will notice more big ticket items and stylishly un-Ikea pieces. Don't worry, the shinny functional furniture at ridiculously low prices that have made Ikea a global success can still be found in abundance but there definitely appears to be a broader design direction emerging.

The catalogue's prime directive is to entice you into visiting the store where those crafty Swedes know you will spend hours wandering through the marketplace maze stocking up on bags of tea-lights and inexpensive frames. For this reason, Ikea still refuses to fully embrace online shopping but you can purchase some items through the website.

Today I look at Ikea in the same way I view the Gap - I don't want everything I own to come from these stores but both are good for a few simple staples such as T-shirts or book shelves. If you are looking to spruce things up around your home and, like most of us, money IS an object, consider buying a couple of nondescript items from Ikea to complement your decor. Unless you really want to live in an Ikea catalogue, don't reconstruct one of the store's life-sized dioramas or catalogue pages in your home.

You can order a catalogue of your own here and don't forget to let me know the next time you make a trip to Ikea.


  1. Going to IKEA is actually fun. The cafeteria is pretty cool, as it has all of these great Swedish foods there. Have you been?

  2. haha - I sure have! I love the hot dogs.

  3. The meatballs are like crack. I have a bag of those swedish meatballs in my freezer right now....damn you IKEA!

  4. 90% of the reason I signed up for a Zipcar account is so I can go to Ikea whenever I want.

  5. Last time I was at IKEA, was in the UK. They're always located so far off, usually at the perimeter. It makes it tough to get there. I need to find a friend with a car.

  6. Entries like this is why we've been friends for so long!