For this post, all photos were taken by Devon Ault (@devonault).
It was exciting news for Columbus when IKEA announced its opening in the Polaris area. In fact, the anticipated crowds were so massive that the Columbus Dispatch wrote an IKEA survival guide to handle the traffic alone. Now that the crowds have died down, you should feel safe venturing to the iconic Swedish furniture store without spending an entire day on I-71; however, if you’re crazy about homes the way we are, you might end up spending a whole day there anyway. This week, we took a trip to IKEA. Below, we share our takeaways, fun things to do, suggest some items that we think will make any room pop, and, perhaps, we’ll come away with profound conclusions about how IKEA informs the greater human experience. We’ll see.
Join IKEA Family
When you walk through the giant revolving doors and into IKEA, you’ll see an orange kiosk labeled “IKEA Family.” Go there. It will take about 30 seconds to be adopted into the IKEA Family. There is no catch, unless getting a few emails about sales is a catch. With the card, you’ll have access to exclusive deals that no one else knows about, you’ll get discounts on food (always free coffee), and you’ll get to show people a cool orange card at parties. Want to sign up before going to IKEA? Head here.
If you’ve been to an IKEA before, you understand the importance of a carb-o-load prior to venturing through the entire establishment. With about a mile of furniture to see, people need their energy. God forbid you lose it all and fall asleep in a random living room halfway through.
The food is served cafeteria style. Some sandwiches, salads, or wraps are kept on refrigerated shelves. Other items, like IKEA’s famous Swedish Meatballs, are served by staff from behind the counter. Honestly, the place is a great deal. If you’re an IKEA Family member, something is always on sale. I got two entrées and coffee for $8. The food isn’t bad either. Granted, I wouldn’t drive to IKEA for the food alone, but I wouldn’t eat before going there. If you get there between 10 and 11, you’ll be able to snag breakfast. They have weird eggs. You’ll feel like an astronaut, but, again, not bad.
Grab coffee and take your time. For a coffee machine, their espresso is strong and tastes great. IKEA Family members always get coffee for free (do the perks ever end?). Go with friends. Take your time. Have fun and eat good food.
Have a Game Plan (or Don’t)
There are a couple dangers with trips to IKEA. First, you could go wanting something and never end up finding it. It’s pretty easy to get lost in the sea of things. Second, you could go not wanting anything except the IKEA experience, but end up buying all kinds of trinkets (does an easy chair count as a trinket?). Personally, I don’t think I’ve ever gone to IKEA with furniture buying in mind. It’s fun to go with friends.
Whatever your method is, they’ve put the effort in to make sure that you have a good time and want to buy things. If you’re one of the few people trying to make a quick trip out of IKEA, first of all, good luck. Second, the app can help you out a lot. On it, you’ll be able to browse items prior to your arrival and head straight to the warehouse to buy them. No need to sort through the maze of furnished fictional rooms. If you’re only browsing and see something you like, the app can scan the item (see photo above) and tell you where it is in the warehouse section of the store. It’s useful and saves you a headache.
After all, at IKEA, does anyone really know what they want? IKEA tantalizes us by offering the newest, most stylish pieces of furniture that we didn’t know we needed. For instance, I would never have wanted this silverware magnet had I not seen it in person. Now, for some reason, I can’t seem to get it out of my head. Lykens tenants, could you see something like this in your kitchen?
One of the best parts about Swedish furniture seems to be their knack for creative storage. If you’re living in a small space, but don’t want to sacrifice style for storage, I don’t know if there will be a more important store for you to head to. It’s odd and overwhelming to see the hundreds of different methods they’ve come up with for storing your things, but I found myself fascinated again and again by the ways they fit a whole house into a room.
There’s no such thing as a quick trip to IKEA. With that said, one blog post can’t do the Swedish furniture empire justice. Be sure to check out the second part of our IKEA trip and you’ll see our suggestions for furniture that needs to be in your Lykens unit, along with a boatload of other information.