Decorating on the Cheap: The Pros & Cons of IKEA Furniture

Decorating on the CheapLet me just go ahead and make it clear: I L-O-V-E IKEA. I mean, what’s not to love? The stuff is great. But, even though IKEA has been there to save the day many a time when I’ve had an apartment furnishing crisis and very little cash in my post-college bank account, there are some unfortunate downsides to the stuff. Before you run off to your nearest IKEA store (if you can call it that — it’s more like a magical decorating dreamland, where you lose track of all time and rationality about what you really need for your new place) or mosey on over to their website for a little online browsing to purchase all your furniture on the cheap, you might wanna take a look at the pros and cons list I’ve put together. It might make you think twice before buying that “collapsable-portable-fit-anywhere” table and chairs set.

The Positives

  • Inexpensive — As I mentioned above, IKEA is a great place to get furniture for a steal when you’re working with a teeny-tiny budget. It’s amazing what you can get there for $100 or less!
  • Cute/StylishIKEA style furniture is not for everyone, but their modern-meets-minimalist style works well with almost any style and it’s super-duper easy to think up creative, easy, and cheap ways to give the pieces an upgrade (new knobs here, a coat of paint there… and boom… you’ve got furniture that looks like it cost a fortune!).
  • Compact — There’s a reason so many apartment dwellers opt for IKEA when furnishing their first itty bitty apartment… the stuff is just so compact and perfect for small living spaces!
  • Storage-Friendly — The IKEA designers and engineers are geniuses when it comes to dreaming up pieces that are great for multiple purposes and creating extra storage space. Seriously, I can’t even count how many times I’ve picked up something from my local IKEA store that solved multiple apartment space issues for me.

The Negatives

  • Cheap — This time I don’t mean “affordable.” I mean that sometimes you get what you pay for and you end up with a product with sub-part quality and long-term durability.
  • It’s Recognizable — Although IKEA stuff is decently cute and can be upgraded with a little utilization of your crafty side, their pieces will almost always be instantly recognizable. So, if you have qualms about it being apparent all your stuff came from IKEA, you might want to mix in a few finds from other affordable stores.
  • Putting It Together — Here’s a fun little fact about IKEA: practically everything you buy at their store does not come put together and ready for use. That’s right, friend, when you buy a bed, a table, or even, in some cases, a couch, it comes in lots and lots of pieces. You’ve probably heard the jokes about wanting to commit murder while assembling one of their product… well, it’s not an exaggeration. You. Will. Be. So. Mad. by the time you’ve gotten through a trillion steps in one of their pictures-only instruction booklets. No lying — it took my boyfriend and I 5 whole hours (filled with lots of arguments about which pieces goes where) to put together our recent purchase.


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Audra is a recent college graduate and an aspiring writer based in her home state of Georgia. She’s a lover of the sweetest Southern tea, warm weather, and decorating with lots of color, DIY projects, and shabby chic pieces. Her apartment living journey is still young, so she’s busy navigating the ups and downs and learning along the way. For more from Audra, follow her on Pinterest or check out her website

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