Six months after the well-hyped grand opening I made my first visit to IKEA. I had heard many good things (and nothing negative) about IKEA from a variety of sources. The reason that I didn’t go to IKEA before was that I felt no need to go browsing through a bunch of stuff that would make me want to spend money. I was right – and wrong.
IKEA is not a Home Furnishings store as the building states so simply. It is a design philosophy, and a perspective about how we should live life.
I had heard about what great furniture they have – and they do, it’s just the kind of furniture that suits me. I had heard about the children’s play area that makes it possible for parents to shop without boring their kids. Two of my kids could not go there because of the “they must be potty trained” rule (which is perfectly reasonable) so we learned that it is actually fun for the kids to go shopping at IKEA too. My older daughters don’t know what they are missing by staying in the play area – and I don’t plan to tell them for a few more years.
What really sets IKEA apart from other manufacturers is that their understanding of life comes through in everything they do. All four wheels on their shopping carts rotate so you can move the cart in any direction and avoid the 20-point turnaround if you get in a tight spot. Their furniture is modular, so they don’t have to define how large a bookshelf you get to buy – you can just add 30 inch sections to your heart’s content. Everything they sell just begs to be used in real life, and not just in photo-shoots and movie-sets. And they sell all this furniture (which I would be tempted to pay premium prices for) at prices that compete with Walmart.
For people like me who like to design custom solutions it’s nice that I have more options than just taking my pick of what I see in the showroom. Some people might not like it, but I love the fact that I get to assemble the furniture myself after I get home.
In short, I don’t think I’ll even look at furniture at other stores in the future.