Last Thursday, Josh and I did something we’ve been told is a must-do- activity for all engaged and married couples… WE WENT TO IKEA. We took a trip down to Cincinnati to pick up a friend and had some down time, so what else are you supposed to do on a rainy day?! We followed our GPS and soon the huge building loomed tall before us, visible from a mile away, with a row flags leading us into the parking lot. Had we reached Mecca? Or had we made a terrible mistake? We were about to find out!
It turns out we had not made a terrible mistake! We actually had an awesome time! Sure, our wallet suffered a bit by the time we wound our way out of the never-ending path filled with enough furniture and fixtures to furnish our entire neighborhood and more. All I could do was admire the person who designed the place… how ingenious he must have been. If you’re never been to IKEA, I’ll try to describe it for you. You walk in and find yourself standing in a large open lobby with nowhere to go but up the escalator. You can see check-out lines, but they are far away and without any visible pathway to get there, so they look like a distant world. I want to go to THAT world! you think. How do you get there? First join the IKEA Family via one of the many kiosks situated off to your left, then journey up the escalator where you see several signs pointing you in various directions. You can choose Showroom, Cafe, or Marketplace. We wandered through the cafe, decided to come back later, and then entered the Showroom. There are bed, kitchen setups, mock-up living room, and various knick-knacks everywhere. It’s not like a regular store with aisles that you can criss-cross in and out of – it’s a journey, with an arrow on the floor pointing you in the direction to walk next. We found a few room designs that we LOVE, and started scheming about how to create a similar space in our own home desperately in need of some redecorating love.
Then there was lunch. The cafe at IKEA is actually extremely affordable, but they serve fancy-sounding food like Swedish meatballs with herb-mashed potatoes and lingonberry sauce. Add the free coffee for anyone who’s a member of the IKEA family, and naturally you’ve got a winning combination. We played to their marketing plan perfectly– walk the showroom, rest and refuel over a lunch conveniently located between you and the exit, and then venture downstairs… to the Marketplace.
The best way to describe the Marketplace is what would happen if Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, and Home Goods all got together and had a baby. A really HUGE, oversized baby. It’s a little overwhelming at first, but again, those nice little one-way pathways keep you from getting lost. Those convenient paths also make it difficult to run and put something back once you’ve picked it up… so you just have to keep on going. We walked out of our first trip to IKEA with some pretty exciting goodies…
– pretty lace curtains for my office! yay!!!
– new bedroom curtains to replace the ones that were already in the house when we moved in… yeah. I know.
– coat hooks to go next to our front door
– and our biggest purchase– a GIANT photo canvas of a jungle scene that I was immediately obsessed with… I’m sure I’ll show it to you soon. It’s amazing.
If you’ve never been to an IKEA, go. It’s an experience you won’t forget. But be prepared to either spend lots of money and spend at least three or four hours there. The one good thing about IKEA for the money-conscious among us? If you leave your wallet in the car and end up seeing something you want, the twenty minute hike to wind your way out of the store to grab your credit card might just be enough to make you think twice about it. 😉
And of course, a shot of Josh’s DREAM office… and also of when I got a little overwhelmed in the warehouse section and sat down to take five in a lawn chair covered in a canopy.