10 Secrets for a Stress-Free Trip to IKEA

Those blue-and-yellow IKEA signs have become synonymous with Swedish chic, good deals—and a dose of frustration. Whether it’s the crowds, DIY furniture, or enormous inventory, IKEA shoppers can feel overwhelmed. Navigate the aisles without breaking a sweat by following our insider’s guide.

Download the App


IKEA PLACE, now available for both iPhones and Androids, lets you visualize before you buy. Thanks to virtual reality technology, interior design has never been easier. Simply scan your floor with your phone, choose an item of furniture through the app, and see if you like it in your place.

Related: Hello, Homeowners: The 8 Most Useful Apps for Your Phone


Have a Game Plan


Walking through an IKEA store is like traversing a maze, as you weave through all the showrooms. In theory this means you won’t miss a thing, but it can also be overwhelming, especially when you're shoulder to shoulder with other shoppers. Whether you’re looking to leisurely shop or not, it’s best to make a plan beforehand. Browse the IKEA website to search all possible options and narrow down your top choices. Next, set your budget. Decide whether an in-store pickup (for a $5 fee) is a better option than having items shipped to your home. And of course, plan an optimal time for your IKEA visit—preferably a weekday morning or a Saturday after dinner when the store isn’t as busy.

Related: 8 Sneaky Ways to Furnish Your Home for Less


Make a Good Entrance—and Exit

IKEA Layout

If you’ve zeroed in on your ideal items, you can skip the showrooms and go straight to the exit, where boxed furniture is ready for purchase. Only need kitchen supplies? Scan the IKEA map, locate the right department, and make a beeline for preferred destination.

Related: 20 Best Ways to Spend $20 on Your Home


Monitor Blood Sugar


While IKEA's restaurant has made international headlines for some health blunders, the company is cleaning up its act, halving food waste, and offering special deals for kids and families. Shopping while hungry has been shown to increase impulse buys, so keep well-fueled and hydrated.

Related: 10 Best-Bet Kitchen Buys from IKEA

flickr.com via Mark Cameron

Know the Deals


If you are a frequent IKEA shopper, sign up for the free IKEA FAMILY loyalty program. Membership grants you 90-day price protection, monthly product discounts, restaurant offers, and other great benefits. You can also shop the as-is section, where display merchandise is sold at reduced prices. Finally, check out IKEA deals on Amazon Prime and have items shipped for free.

Related: 9 Worth-It Home Services and Subscriptions That Give You Bang for Your Buck


Stick to Your List

IKEA Shopping List

Prevent buyer's remorse later by sticking to your shopping list now. You can easily compile a list on the IKEA website—the website will even tell you where the items are stocked in the warehouse. When you get home, your wallet will thank you.

Related: Skip the Store: 9 Things Always to Buy Online


Know Your Space

Measure Furniture

Prevent return trips by measuring the space where you plan to put your new couch or bookshelf. Take photos of the surrounding room and furnishings too, so you can double-check color and design compatibility. With your photos in hand at the store, you may find an item you like better in-person than online.

Related: 7 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Shopping for Furniture


Use Your Phone

IKEA Shopping Tips

Snap photos of the item tag and article number on the display floor, so you can easily find the correct box in the warehouse aisles. Also use your phone to monitor time: If you dropped your kids off in SMÅLAND, remember you only have 90 minutes of free childcare.

Related: How Big-Box Home Stores Get You to Spend More


Be Kind

Stress Free Shopping

Especially on sale days like Black Friday, shoppers can turn nasty. The safest way to enter IKEA is with the right mindset. If you or your kids are feeling stressed, take a deep breath. You can always come back another day when the store is less crowded.

Related: 9 Things That Always Go On Sale in January


Plan Your Transport

IKEA Shipping

Don't forget to consider the size of your car and the pieces you're buying at IKEA. Considering a piece that you know won’t fit into your vehicle? Hire a U-Haul cargo van for about $20 and avoid higher delivery costs. If that's not an option, keep in mind that IKEA has recently lowered its shipping rates, which could put your purchase directly on your doorstep and save you the stress of a shopping trip.

Related: Designers Reveal Their Top 10 IKEA Go-Tos


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