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Frugal Home Decor: The Dos and Don’ts of Shopping IKEA

Frugal Home Decor: The Dos and Don’ts of Shopping IKEA
Kate Loweth

If you are lucky enough to live near IKEA, you know that it is so easy to go there looking for a great print to hang in your new apartment and leave there spending way more than you intended. Maybe it is the smell of Swedish meatballs combined with the maze of cleverly designed furniture that hypnotizes shoppers? Whatever it is, if you follow these dos and don’ts of shopping IKEA, you will be well on your way to becoming an IKEA shopping wunderkind!

Do: Prepare Yourself

You know that a store with its own “How to shop at IKEA” webpage will need a little advanced planning before you get down to business. Make your list, drop off the kids at Smaland (IKEA’s supervised play area for potty trained kids) and head upstairs for some coffee (free if you are an IKEA FAMILY member – more on that later).

Grab a map of your store and strategize. Are you here for a furniture purchase or do you need kitchen equipment? When I am shopping at IKEA, I try to avoid sections of the store that are not specific to my shopping needs for the day. “Window shopping” these extra areas tends to put unneeded items in my cart.

Don’t: Buy Furniture That is Beyond Your Capabilities to Assemble

One of the reasons why IKEA furniture is less expensive is that it needs to be assembled after purchase. This means that the quality of your item is directly related to your ability to assemble it. I try to stay away from particle board furniture that requires precision when assembling – such as desks and dressers with lots of cabinets and drawers. These items are difficult to assemble perfectly and then you are left with a dresser where a drawer is always falling out. Annoying!

Do: Look for Solid Wood FurnitureIkea Poang Chair

Some of my best purchases at IKEA have been furniture. My son’s GULLIVER crib was easy to assemble and made of solid birch. I feel that it is a safe place for him to sleep and at $99 it was a steal of a deal!

The POANG chair should not be overlooked on your IKEA shopping excursion. It may look a little odd but it will quickly become the most sought after seat in your living room. It is remarkably comfortable, easy to assemble and has removable cushions in many different colors, including a new multicolored leaf pattern! There is a POANG for everyone with a child-size version and even a rocking chair alternative.

Don’t: Choose Quantity Over Quality

It is easy to get swayed by the low prices. I have found myself with a whole set of knives and five different sized sauté pans in my cart because they were so cheap I could not pass them up! But maybe I should have. Consider how much you will use your items before you choose the inexpensive IKEA set. Maybe one high-quality knife will do a better job than a set of 10 cheap knives. Can your cabinets even fit five different sauté pans?

Do: Decorate with Styleikea lamp

IKEA is one of my favorite places to shop for interesting décor. The low prices allow me to step out of my design comfort zone a bit without having to take a huge financial risk. If it turns out that I keep my MASKROS pendant lamp for six months and then decide I want to swap it out, no big deal because it only cost me $49.99.

Pillows, table linens and glassware are also good bets at IKEA. You can pick up some colorful items for your next party without spending an arm and a leg doing it.


Free coffee and tea. That should be all that you need to know to get you to register for IKEA FAMILY. It is the member benefits program that provides product discounts, sneak previews and in-store events – all for free! IKEA FAMILY wants to take care of your whole family and even offers you an extra 30 minutes of Smaland time for your smallest family members.

If you follow these easy Dos and Don’ts, you will be a smart, stylish and thrifty IKEA shopper.


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