IKEA: A Beginner’s Guide

img_4076-1Believe it or not I’ve never been to an IKEA before this past weekend. The new Jacksonville store has been drawing huge crowds ever since it opened last month and I have been waiting for a chance to check it out.

It turns out IKEA can be very overwhelming for a first time visitor! After my adventure I feel as if I have developed some helpful tips to store in my “IKEA tool belt” which may help fellow newbie shoppers. Checkout my top 10 essential tips and suggestions below. Enjoy!

shopping list ikeaMake your shopping list online.

One of the great things about the IKEA website is that you can make your own shopping list online. Head to ikea.com and click the little paper and pen icon at the top right of the screen. From here you’ll be able to search the site and pick out exactly what you are looking for.

img_4095Check IKEA’s stock online before you go.

That’s why I love IKEA’s online stock feature. This feature allows you to look up any item on their website, select your store and then just like magic, it will tell you if the store has it in stock. If they don’t, no sweat! Just order online and you’re good to go!

img_4084Bring a friend!

For this trip I travelled with my trusted friend and sweet roommate, Megan. She is a seasoned IKEA shopper and has a special eye for interior design. Plus she’s a ton of fun to shop with. I highly recommend bringing an IKEA buddy with you on your first trip. They can help you navigate the craziness, keep you focused, and two more hands, eyes, and opinions are always better than one!

img_4093Try to avoid a Saturday if you can.

Saturday? Check. Gloomy weather? Check. Smack dab in the middle of the holiday shopping season? Check. IKEA store less than a month old? Check! This was the day that I entered the blue and yellow doors of my local IKEA. The perfect makings for an overwhelming, loud, and crazy shopping trip. Now this is not to say I didn’t enjoy it, it was just a little much for a first timer. With that being said, think carefully about going on a Saturday! If you can go during a weekday, you will have a much less crowded experience.

img_4094Eat at the IKEA Restaurant.

Home shopping can really work up and appetite! What’s great about this European shopping model is that they have incorporated a food court into their store so that shoppers can stop for a quick meal after a long period of shopping. You can check out the menu before hand online…and seriously those Swedish meatballs are no joke, TRY THEM!

img_4086Keep your eyes and ears peeled for the IKEA kitchen sale.

So, the IKEA kitchen sale is a bit elusive in that there are no specific dates released in advance on when their kitchen sale is happening. The sale happens roughly 3 times a year in early spring, mid-summer, and late fall/early winter. Why is it so great? There are great discounts! Check out the Modern Kitchen Pros article on more detailed tips and dates for scoring big at the kitchen sale.

img_4085.jpgLook into becoming part of the IKEA Family.

If you are always finding yourself wandering through the show and stock rooms of IKEA you may want to think about joining the IKEA Family rewards program. This loyalty program offers exclusive product discounts, special offers, and lots of ideas and inspiration. The best part? It’s FREE. Read more about it here.

img_4087IKEA’s moving program.

Moving to a new home or city? Looking to stock it with tasteful and affordable furniture? Check out IKEA’s moving program. Not only will you save $25 on a purchase of $250, the moving program offers reminder emails, checklists to help you stay organized, and lots of moving advice. Sign up here.

img_4077Shop IKEA for cute and affordable decorations.

If you are planning a wedding, hosting a shower or throwing a party check out IKEA for great decorations like candles and flowers that can add a little extra bit of style to any gathering. These items are really affordable and you can mix and match with a variety of different decor items.

img_4088Make your returns in the mornings.

If you aren’t happy with any of your items, you are more than welcome to return them. My tip here is to return them in the mornings, weekday mornings if possible. This is when IKEA is least crowded. IKEA returns run on a “take a ticket and wait” system (kind of like the DMV or your local deli) so save yourself some time and frustration and get there early!

I hope you have enjoyed this beginner’s guide to navigating through the aisles of an IKEA superstore. If you have any of your own helpful tips make sure to leave them in the comments section below. Now get out there and go shop!


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