DIY

7 IKEA Shopping Secrets Only the Allen Wrench Pros Know

Find the products you’re looking for and score the best deals to make the most out of every IKEA shopping trip.
Ikea boxes on top of car.

Photo: istockphoto.com

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IKEA is well-known for their affordable furniture. The brand offers many different categories, designs, and finishes for every room in the home. The only catch: When you purchase furniture from IKEA, you’ll have to put it together yourself.

However, assembling furniture doesn’t often phase shoppers who have mastered following IKEA directions and have tried some of the impressive IKEA hacks for their backyard or home’s interior. Ahead, learn what to do before you leave home and while in the store, so you can get the most out of each IKEA shopping trip.

1. Mondays and Wednesdays are the best days to shop in the As-Is section.

Couple talking over chairs sale.
Photo: ikea.com

Returned products or those with minor scratches or damages are sent to the As-Is section in each store. Because these products are used or slightly damaged, they are discounted, allowing shoppers to snag a great deal.

If you’re looking for the greatest selection of products to choose from, shop on a Monday to view all the products that were just returned over the weekend. If saving the most money is your goal, however, you’ll want to stop by the As-Is section on a Wednesday. As long as you’re an IKEA Family member, you can take an extra 10 percent off the price of any item in this section.

RELATED: IKEA’s New Secondhand Store Could Be Everything DIYers Dream Of

2.  Take measurements at home before you go—and bring a tape measure with you.

Person measuring cabinet door.
Photo: istockphoto.com

Whether you’re planning to install an IKEA kitchen or you just want a new table for your dining room, experienced shoppers know the importance of taking measurements at home before they head to the store. With accurate measurements, savvy shoppers can avoid the mistake of assembling new furniture that doesn’t actually fit in the space.

Beyond measuring the actual space where you’ll put your new item, don’t forget to also measure your car’s trunk and the doorways and hallways in your home to see how easy it will be to get your new furniture piece (or its box) into the intended location.

Bring your tape measure with you to the store, too. Even though there should be overall dimensions available for each product, you might be able to better visualize a piece of furniture in your space by measuring the details yourself.

RELATED: 7 Secrets of Assembling IKEA Furniture

3. Check store availability online before your visit.

Person on Ikea app.
Photo: ikea.com

When you decide that you want to upgrade to new furniture, be sure to check store availability first. Depending on where you live, you may have a long drive to get to your nearest IKEA. Plus, the store can be a bit of a madhouse at times. If the item you want isn’t actually available for purchase, you don’t have to subject yourself to these unnecessary hassles by going to the store.

Fortunately, you can check whether something is in stock through the website. After searching for the product you want, scroll down the page under “How to get it.” Delivery and pick up options will be listed. If your local store isn’t showing up, click on “change store” to view the stock at the IKEA closest to you.

4. Grab a copy of the store map and look for shortcuts that will save you time.

Couple with shopping cart.
Photo: ikea.com

Sometimes, you might go to IKEA to wander around and see everything that is available. Other times, you’re on a mission and only want to look at certain sections of the store. In these cases, it is a good idea to pick up a copy of the store map, which should be available near the entrance (snap a picture of it on your phone in case you misplace the paper copy). As you look at the store map, search for the “shortcuts” that will allow you to bypass sections you don’t need to visit in order to more quickly find what you want.

5. Become an IKEA Family member for price protection, delivery savings, and exclusive offers.

Person holding Ikea membership card.
Photo: istockphoto.com

If you’re going to shop at IKEA, even occasionally, it is a good idea to join IKEA Family. This free store loyalty program offers a range of benefits for shoppers. Family members can receive special offers (keep your eyes out for the blue IKEA Family labels around the store), birthday gifts, and other special rewards.

As an IKEA Family member, you also receive 90-day price protection. This means that if the price of an item that you purchased decreases, you can bring in your receipt and get a refund for the difference.

6. Bring swatches with you to the store.

Man using swatches on couch.
Photo: istockphoto.com

Coordinating the different colors and finishes in your home can be a challenge. When you’re looking at a piece of furniture or a decor item in IKEA, you might have a hard time telling whether it will look good in your space or not. While you could paint old IKEA furniture, you could use your current decor colors as a guide.

If you bring some swatches with you, you’ll be able to hold them up directly to the item in question to see whether it actually matches or not. If you don’t have swatches for the paint or furniture that is already in your room, take a picture of the space and the key features before you go shopping.

RELATED: This is the Ultimate IKEA Hack for Plant Parents

7. Save money and get a delicious meal at the Swedish Bistro or Swedish Restaurant inside the store.

Plated meal on blue plates.
Photo: ikea.com

It is generally not a good idea to go shopping if you’re hungry. However, the opposite can be said about shopping at IKEA. With their in-house Swedish Restaurant and Bistro, you can grab a snack or even a full meal to fuel your shopping experience.

IKEA’s food offerings—like their home products—are known for being affordable. One entrée from the restaurant that frequent shoppers recommend trying is the Swedish meatballs. Made with all-natural ingredients and served with delicious lingonberry jam, these are a customer favorite. If you aren’t in the mood for the Swedish meatballs, there are several other options available, including Greek salads, marinated salmon wraps, and chicken tenders.