Recent Comment in this post:
"Generation Ikea... give it to me now, give it to me for a buck, I don't care how well it's made or how long it will last."
Although I occasionally purchase things from Ikea, my answer to your question...NO! Often, I would rather go without something until I can afford the quality I really want.
as a boomer, I regret that I am probably "generation Pottery Barn" with all the schlock design that implies. Would have been "generation Laura Ashley", but that went the way of all flesh. We buy stuff at Ikea, but it never seems to last.
I think Ikea is a company that is very quickly realizing that its consumers want things to last longer. I think that the meaning of "Generation Ikea" will change, especially in light of the economic downturn.
This made my day ; )
if you check out Craigslist you can see the true cost of IKEA- very expensive when things are used for such a short period of time and then posted for sale, with few buyers and then given away for free and then they end up in the landfill shortly thereafter. The detroment to our environment is huge. It's fine for glassware and that kind of thing but furniture? no thank you.
I'm not 'generation Ikea', I'm 'generation grew up with flat pack furniture because we were too poor to afford anything else, so we even have the flatpack from my mother's childhood' (it's these horrible metal bookcases I used to cut myself on).
I will be once I go check out that black stool!!!I LOVE THAT!! I hope it's not Euro only....it seems like it
I'm part of "Generation I didn't get married at 21 and have all my parents friends and family buy me everything I'd need for the next 30 years." When you're DIY, you have to get scrappy. Thanks, Ikea!
Think about the fact that people will be more likely to abuse an item that they paid less for. I think it accounts for a slice of this pie.
Hellno - IKEA certainly has it's place, but not as a lifestyle the way some folks make it out to be.
as someone who is about to install a second Ikea kitchen and who loves 100 tealights for $5 and cool paper napkins for $3, i think there is *part* of Ikea's...message or philosophy or whatever you want to call it, that is more positive than that. and that is that design is for everyone. that cobbling together this and that to make something work, works. that you can be creative about your design and about how you organize your home in a way that's satisfying even if you can't shell out big bucks for furnishings. i am far more a craigslist/thriftstore/freecycle person than an Ikea person, but i appreciate that aspect of its brand.
I don't agree with the quote. When I shop at Ikea, I first look for design and then I'm pleasantly surprised by the price. It truly is DESIGN WITHIN REACH.
maybe it's just me but i resent the statement.
I like Ikea a lot, but have a strict rule - I won't buy anything made of particle board or other flimsy, cheap items. I will only buy items there that are solid wood, metal, glass, etc. Only honest materials, and I try to stay away from plastic if I can.
I do love though that Ikea is now 'hacking' their own stuff, that pillowcase skirt above is lovely...
Who would think like that?
Ikea is great for trendy pieces, like Forever 21 is great from trendy clothes. Those trends are in for only a few years, then it's something new. Why would you want to throw away hundreds to thousands of dollars on a trend that will be over in a few years? That's why Ikea is great. You get the look you want now for less, and when the look changes you don't feel like a idiot because you spent so much money on a passing trend.
I agree with the last two comments. Ikea brings sleek, modern design to the middle to low income population who cannot afford trendy design icon pieces showcased in magazines. It does not matter if you hate it or love it, there is a market for it and it is truly a unique brand amongst all that is out there.
so MEAN to ikea... I had no idea!this is like piling on to Disney for restoring ONE 1920's theater on 42nd street, respectfully and accurately by the way (it's way too erotic for the brand), and grizzling on and on about the disneyfication of Times Squareikea allows people to make homesand mistakesit's a corporation that actually seems to LIKE its customersto my mind its only recent missteps have been in the area of its higher priced new high quality stuff (dull and stolid)I love the honesty of the showrooms: you can see how the stuff wears very readilynothing is grimmer than a home full of DWR, pottery barn or restoration hardware (all that good taste)and three cheers for urban outfitters gloriously nonchalant and jazzy THROWAWAY home furnishings while I'm at itand five cheers for this blog and the forum it provides(yes, i'm a total suck-butt)those little Lack tables are ETERNAL, and very pretty when they start to scuff up a little: wabi sabi becomes them.
No. I have purchased small items there like outdoor planters, kitchen items and frames. I refuse to buy furniture there as I think most of it is just junk. I'd much rather get a well made hand-me-down from Craigslist, family or friends. I recently found a sofa with down cushions, hardwood frame, and McCroskey Airflex mattress (it's a sofabed) in excellent condition for $75.00. I had it cleaned and it's almost as good as new. When the time comes, I can have new cushions made and even have it reupholstered. I shudder to think how much IKEA furniture ends up in landfills.
In a recent issue of House Beautiful, Liz Lange's country home w/interior design by Jonathan Adler was the subject of an article. Her kitchen is from none other than IKEA. I think Adler said something to the effect that it was made well enough.Some of IKEA's products, like their kitchens, have good warranties. Some products are disposable. Being discriminating as a buyer of anything is a plus, I think.
love the skirt!!
@profumodibergamo: It depends on where you live. I'm in a university town and there's a lot of IKEA on Craigslist (and by the curb) at certain times of the year, but it tends to get snatched up pretty quickly. Sometimes the same set of bookcases or coffee table will be used by multiple students. You won't get retail value for it, but you'll know that it's going to be used again. It's not ALL junk.I abhor the idea of being branded by a corporation like this. But it's interesting how one can interpret the label in two ways: cheap, fast gratification (empty calories) or the democratization of stylishness (real design within reach, as someone above me put it).Again, coming from my perspective as a grad student, buying furniture at IKEA just makes sense. The thrift stores around here are few and not very well-stocked. The next best option is Target, which is pricier and still not particularly great quality. If you take care of your IKEA stuff, then it'll last a lot longer than the knee-jerk IKEA critics think.
Ikea allows me to have a huge dining room table and lots of chairs to have friends and family over. I couldn't afford that at any other furniture store and entertaining makes me very happy. It has allowed me to furnish my house when I had very little money. Ikea is allright with me.
I'm part of their demographic and I'm conscious of that.I have purchased many things from them and haven't had to trash much of it.What I think about when I purchase there are things like, where would I have gotten a pull-out keyboard shelf before Ikea? Where would I have purchased nice looking storage boxes before Ikea? Where would I have purchased modern looking diy cabinetry for my bar before ikea? Where would I have purchased floating shelves before Ikea?I also think about things like what did I do before I had a cell phone? What do I do before I had the internet in my pocket?I also think about things like, how did my dad build both of our houses without a Home Depot? And how would I have remodeled my own place before if there wasn't a Home Depot less than a mile away from my house?Like everything I purchase, even Ikea, I look at it as a long-term purchase. I've never looked at my Ikea purchases as throw-away. That said, I have lived in some pretty dingy apartments and have purchased Ikea furnishings to make the apartment more functional and comfortable. I have left things in those apartments and am confident that they have been used by the next tenant. I have also given Ikea objects away to other people so that they can put them to use.The objects I tend to discard are typically the result of my own mistakes or things that I have been stuck with.
jacksonlalonde's quote is deserving of its own post.
I absolutely adore their bedding. The fitted sheets are the only ones that fit my deep mattress, and don't tear at the corners. The fabric patterns are fantastic and unique. Being able to get a million tealights for mere dollars makes me happy. Yes, I am Generation IKEA for their home accessories, but not necessarily the furniture. I don't own any IKEA furniture.I LOVE the skirt! I would SO wear that...getting ideas...
I've just recently begun to sell all of my "student" Ikea stuff for some classic pieces that really make my place, well, 'mine'.You walk into several different houses on 123 Boulevard and everyone has the same black-brown LACK coffee table....
Alas, no.I only want things that last and that I will love forever. I want to be able to hand down my sofa to my grandchildren. When I fall for a piece of furniture, it is forever. Hence, I have been yearning for a Vervoordt sofa since... ? '96? and I own the sofa I fell in love with at age 9. I have no problem paying for the work of true craftsmen, who have pride in their trade, even if it takes me a decade to afford to pay for it.
I sell Furniture and I can tell you that this is 95% of your average customers problem when buying furniture. They want it now and cheap before they think about quality or sustainability.
No. Thank goodness.
"and three cheers for urban outfitters gloriously nonchalant and jazzy THROWAWAY home furnishings while I'm at it"Big raspberries for disposable crap imported from China - especially from retailers who sponsor hate for the people they market to.
I agree with all the above posters who said that they only buy Ikea items with the intent that they will last. I love my "Urban" chairs with a passion and wish that I'd grabbed one in the beige color when they had it. There are just some things that Ikea does really, really well.I think that it also appeals to many of us because their allen wrenches and flat-pack design imply a certain faith in the consumer - maybe that boosts our ego a bit? It reminds me of the kits I had as a kid to build my own metronome and other small electronics.
With Ikea, it's like magicsbm said, you just have to be discriminating about what you buy there. Ikea makes a lot of good quality items at great prices, and they get a lot of love from AT. I'm always excited to get the new Ikea catalogue in the mail.But I don't think that Jacksonlalonde's point was just to bash on Ikea -- I think that he was expressing frustration over a lot of people's unwillingness to pay for high quality and hand craftmanship. We do have an instant gratification mentality a lot of the time. We'd rather go out and buy a set of Lack endtables so we can set our freaking drink down when we watch TV, than spend the time and money and effort to wait and hunt for something unique and with more lasting value.His comment makes me wonder if he is a designer or artist or shop owner himself-- in this economy places like Ikea and Walmart are booming, while our small businesses and craftsmen are left eating dust.
I've been to an Ikea store once. Didn't buy anything. Well, I did have the Swedish meatballs at the urging of my companions.So, I'd say No to being a member of generation Ikea.
I don't agree with the quote, probably because I'm an IKEA addict :)
I dissagree with the statement. I buy from Ikea because its a store that allows me to achieve the look and living solutions I want, that I could not afford from another store.We have a lot of Ikea Stuff (I used to work down the st from the store) but its interspersed with furniture and items from elsewhere. The furniture I got rid of after college was mostly from garage sales or craigslist, all rundown, stained, and broken. The things I've bought from IKEA I plan to have for a long time.
I feel sorry for people who glean superiority from across-the-board upping their noses at IKEA.
I'm generation "Get what you can afford but make sure you love it". If it happens to be from Ikea (and yes 80% of it is) then so be it.It's not about getting what is how and now it's about finding my style on a budget.
that philosophy seems to fit more with Walmart or a dollar store; while some stuff at Ikea isn't intended to last long, I do have some items I bought in 1991 at Ikea that are holding up fine.
There are some things that Ikea does REALLY well. I adore their expedit line, for instance. For those tried and true items, I use Ikea.For everything else, I use Craigslist. Better furniture at Ikea prices!
You make it sound like it's a bad thing.
(Oh yeah. Trade CL secret for those who want a tip... Go to 'furniture by owner', put $2 in as a minimum and $50 in as a maximum, click the 'has picture' box, and execute. I've found some AMAZING steals and interesting treasure doing that.)
What about "Generation SNOB"?"Give it to me NOW, give me something new every month, I couldn't care less if that chair costs 3 mortgage payments, as long as it was in DOMINO...I WANT IT!!!!!"
re: i don't care how it's made and I don't care how long it will last.I think there's plenty of luxury goods consumers for whom either or both of those philosophy would apply as well. Instead of the term ikea-generation, maybe we should check out the term entitlement-generation.Most ikea- buyers that i know, surprisingly, aren't as inflicted with entitlement-syndrome as the Restoration Hardware/Pottery Barn crowd. Maybe it's just me.I think the percentage of folks who can afford to throw away older ikea furniture and replace with new ikea furniture _every_ season is low; and doesn't really warrant the term coinage "ikea-generation." That ikea has designs that appeal to a wide spectrum of taste is a business-savvy decision, as I have seen pieces thatas for long-lasting/durable -- last time i dropped a piece of particle board on myself it actually was quite painful. what are you guys doing to your particle board furniture?! yes, they get all wierd when you leave a glass of icy water on it w/o a coaster, but water on other wood furniture isn't exactly a recipe for success either.one last anecdote and query: i got an expedit bookcase for like $200 when I was furnishing my first apartment after college. 4 years later, it's still with me, and is one of the most loved pieces in my place. I expect it to last several more years, by which time I expect to give it to my sister (Who will be getting her 1st post-college apt at that time). is that realistic? or should I tell my sis to expect woodshavings by fedex?
to the posters bashing Ikea or claiming that the quote does not pertain to them.. Where do you buy your clothes? Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, H&M, Uniqlo, Topshop, Club Monaco, J Crew? These are all the fashion equivalent to Ikea.
When I was younger, I declared to all who would listen: "I hate sushi!" ...having never tried it in my life. Of course, like everyone, I'm now fully addicted to my weekly feast of raw-fish-and-seaweed.I have had my Ektorp 3-seat sofa for 5 years and counting, and that thing is THE perfect couch.-- It's comfy (true, a different KIND of comfy than the $7000 custom-made sofa set I used to own [and which I sold on Craigslist for $500 when I got bored of it].).-- It's white, which matches my design esthetic AT THE MOMENT. My design taste changes often; luckily my Ektorp can be any colour under the rainbow, or even covered in snobby Marimekko fabric (Bemz.com).-- Two weeks ago, I spilled a whole glass of red wine on my white couch. 30 minutes later, the slipcover came out of the washing machine crispy and bright white.If you're going to say - right across the board - that Ikea furniture doesn't stand the test of time, I'm going to have to ask you to back that up with some tried and tested experiences. Otherwise I might just come to the conclusion that you are saying that only because "that's what people say about Ikea."Pass the spicy tuna rolls.
I would agree that IKEA isn't for everyone, nor is all their stuff worthy of purchase but if you shop wisely there or anywhere else, you will find decently made stuff at good prices, new. I have several of their furniture pieces, including the Klippan sofa, an expidit bookcase and 2 lack tables and of course their table tops w/ legs, the black/brown w/ curry legs is part of my desk and I have a basic white one about the same size w/ short legs that a lamp and my turntable sit in the living room.I also agree that even cheap furniture can last if taken reasonably well care of but some things just don't last no matter how well you take care of them so places like IKEA or Walmart etc, it pays even more to really inspect the furniture you are eying.What I do love about IKEA is reasonably good designed stuff at good prices for those of us on beer budgets can afford and much of it of good quality, surprisingly and no matter the furniture, I see people kick stuff out to the curb that's obviously not been well cared for, if not abused, ripped and tattered and allowed the cat to claw etc, shame really at just how much of our society has embraced the disposable attitude.
I do not like IKEA and I do not like the physical state the girl is in on the advertisment. She is definately TOO THIN.I do not like IKEA, because the furniture is of bad quality and the price for that quality is too high.Of course it is something for the young person who buys furniture for the first time. But by thinking of environmental issues it is wasting of ressources as the furniture are built to just last maybe ten years.
I'm happy to be the impetus for such an intelligent conversation. Taken out of context this might be a hard statement to nail down, but I was commenting on the fact that the things that are offered to the masses as 'within reach' are not meant to last and end up clogging the disposal system. If people stop buying crap and insist on better quality, the quality of the offerings will increase, but of course, at a cost. However, if you amortize the cost of a well made piece of furniture over the cost of replacing something several times that was cheaply made, both fiscally and environmentally higher quality makes more sense even if you have to do without for the 'I want it now' time being. Everything has it's price in the long run.
I have a few furniture pieces from IKEA in my apartment right now. I bought them because they were cheap and did what I needed them too. I also bought them because I was still a college student and didn't want to buy expensive furniture when I know that eventually I'm not going to be living in a studio apartment. When that time comes (next month actually) I'm going to finally take some time to pick out long lasting beautiful pieces.I didn't want to buy something expensive that I fell in love with just to find out that it doesn't work in wherever I end up. I'd rather buy something cute and cheap from IKEA knowing that eventually I'm just going to put it on craigslist once I find the better higher quality piece to replace it once I settle down.
I hate generalizations.Just because I'm young doesn't make me wasteful, materialistic and demanding of instant gratification. Just because I shop at Ikea doesn't make me these things either. Just because the furniture is inexpensive doesn't mean it won't last. Just because you bought a used piece of solid wood furniture on craigslist doesn't mean it's better than something you could buy at Ikea (I'd rather buy a piece of furniture from Ikea that is PERFECT for my purposes than something from craigslist that is not).Also, I really want that skirt.
ha, forgot to finish my paragraph on ikea's vast selection in a previous rant. oops.so, to finish that thought -- I really don't think ikea should be penalized (via snide/snooty comments) for having something for every taste. It's not like they go out of their way to convince everyone that Poang chairs are the epitome of good taste. You no like the Poang chair? that's fine, checkout the tealights. Allergic to wax? make a skirt out of our curtains.(ugh, hate that poang chair...blech)
tip: just don't buy their flour sifter. some things are better left in the store.
That statement is harsh and inappropriate.I shop at IKEA because it's what I can afford. Does that makes me selfish and demanding? I don't think so. I think it means I'm living within my means.
The Generation Ikea mentality you are referring to seems to be more about the general carelessness with which people approach belongings than where they purchase those items.I am currently in the process of breaking a roommate of this mentality. My apartment is a blend of inherited pieces from relatives with eyes for design and purchased items from a variety of stores (including IKEA). Every time I make a big deal over how she treats a piece of furniture I explain the story behind it and get a response along the lines of "great, another thing with sentimental value." But slowly and surely she's starting to get it..."Have nothing in your home that you don't know to be useful or believe to be beautiful" and the unspoken follow up -- "treat those things with the love and respect they deserve."
i agree with n2demin's comment. It's easy to say "I never" when you're only looking at the smaller picture.
I think that quote describes a wide range of people today, not just Ikea customers.I work at a furniture shop where we build custom wood and upholstery pieces. Its very well made, and completely custom - you have to wait to receive your order. When I tell people they'll receive their furniture in approximately eight to ten weeks, they look at me like I have three heads. If they've never ordered custom before, they can't grasp that it has to be made, first - its not just Ikea or the Brick, sitting in a warehouse somewhere, waiting to be shipped.They want it NOW, and they want an amazing deal.Its sort of funny. I've noticed that people with enough money to afford it, WANT a piece of furniture that will last (who doesn't?). But they still want it at Ikea prices.
So many people like to stick up their noses and rip on Ikea. it's like the Walmart of furniture stores or something. The fact is, everyone can find something they like there, whether they admit it or not. Ikea serves a function and has its place in the marketplace. If you hate it, don't go there. get over it.As for 'Generation Ikea '- I think most of the world is part of it. That's why things are the way they are right now.
Sure, I'll be part of Gen: Ikea. I must be part of at least one of their target groups...On one (very large) hand, they have a healthy market which has to be on a modest budget. So I think this is almost everyone. You buy something, use it one way or another.On the other hand, which may be attached to the same body, are the design critics who loathe the disposability associated with cheap products. But...if you are going to have a conversation about design part of it has to do with not just aesthetics but also economy and utility and not everyone has the same wants/needs or means. The snobbery that I read just tells me some people's design appreciation is just superficial. They don't "get it" but that's okay. I dont know how many times now I've heard people go on about how good and reaasonably-priced the kitchen systems are. This to me is good design -- hey if it's good enough for Mr Adler...but this is just one of their products that speaks to part of their customer base. Not everything has to be super-high-end or disposable crap.
I'm sitting here and trying to think of a piece of Ikea furniture or kitchenware that I've ended up throwing out.Couch is still there after seven years and three moves. Lamps are still by the side of my bed. Lack coffee table, still there. Glasses and plates are still there - although I've broken a couple of each. Colander is still hanging on the hook. Tupperware is still being used. Pepper grinder is still there. Bookcases are definitely still there with their extenders as well. Dresser, which I've had for more than ten years is getting beat up but it still works fine. Duvet covers are still there.Aha! I threw out a bathmat! I knew there was something to the disposable Ikea culture theory. I think there was also a lamp that I inherited from my grandmother that broke. She'd probably had it for more than ten years before she gave it to me and I had it for a few years after that. An early adopter of Ikea, she's 92 now and a few years ago had to give up her poang chair because it was too hard to get up from. She still has her bookcases.Yes, there's a culture of cheap disposable stuff. I'm not going to point my finger at Ikea, I'd more likely point it at the people throwing things away.
I have to laugh when folks here turn their noses up at Ikea. Be glad you're not fourth-generation middle-American. I'm only a 3-hour drive from Dallas, but I'd hazard a guess that most people in this area haven't even heard of Ikea, much less the individual designers who are so popular at AT. Out here, we're the Walmart generation. Some of us are fine with that, and some of us are not. If we're lucky, we can be the Target generation. Until you've run the risk of being slapped with one of those labels, you have NO IDEA how awesome Ikea is.
I agree with whoever said there's something for everyone at IKEA. Some of it's junk, a lot of it is ok, and some of it is really great. More and more IKEA kitchens are showing up in shelter mags, an indicator that designers are realizing that they're worth using. They offer way more storage and home entertainment options than any other store that I've ever seen, and at better prices. We've had IKEA bookcases for years.I'd love to have a $15,000 sofa that will last forever, but I'd also like to put our third kid through college and have something to retire on, and pay for health insurance and stuff like that. Other stuff is more important to me than a very high-end sofa. I'm glad IKEA is there to take up the slack.p.s. I just bought a bunch of the very heavy terra cotta MYNTA planters---they'll last forever and were quite a bit lower in price than the same sort of thing at the garden stores--even the ones at Home Depot and Lowe's!
Yes, they sell the TRAKTOR stool in the US.
Well said, dinosara. :)I'm not really into antiques or rustic furniture or having whatever furniture my parents had in the 80s. For young people, our parents had furniture from the Brick and furniture warehouses, and it was always already fugly crap for us. Don't blame our generation for not wanting our parents' dusty rose and forest green couches, or brass bedframes, or black and gold coffee tables....Besides, I've had my billy bookcases through 11 years of post-secondary and graduate school, they are still in excellent condition, they've moved at least 5 times, there is no peeling in the veneer, they look great and they don't sag a bit under the weight of all my books. I would say I made a very sound investment in high quality furniture at a low price. I'm able to adjust the height to accommodate my changing library. They are awesome, period.
The proof is in the pudding. I have seen major funiture retailers go under or cut back in the past two years - Levitz, Breuners, Sears Homelife, Ethan Allen, Thomasville, even Design Within Reach, etc... The reason IKEA is still around is that that they know how to cater to their market. I like to buy quality as well and I pick it out cafefully from IKEA's affordable stores.
"However, if you amortize the cost of a well made piece of furniture over the cost of replacing something several times that was cheaply made, both fiscally and environmentally higher quality makes more sense even if you have to do without for the 'I want it now' time being."Couldn't agree more.
Nope.That said, I don't think "IKEA" is a dirty word and I won't apologize for having several pieces from there.
Generation Ikea...Give it to me now: Yes, please. I need a [thing] , and I need it know. Would hate to sleep/sit/eat on the floor for 6 months.Give it to me for a buck: Yes, please. Thank you for not overpricing.I don't care how well it's made or how long it will last: Actually, I do. That's why I shop at Ikea.
For years I've been calling myself the "Target & Tiffany Girl", meaning most of the time, I'm happy with decent quality stuff at a decent price (Target). I take care of my things, partly because that's the way I was raised, partly because it's an economical way to live, partly because I buy things I enjoy having -- not because I enjoy 'acquistion mode' (i.e. shopping).Once in a great while, there's a thing or an event that's important to me. Then, I'm willing to spend what it takes for the Henredon chair, etc. It doesn't have to be brand new from the store either. (And no, I don't like admitting things are important to me sometimes.)That said, I've found Pottery Barn, etc. to be more of an anthema than IKEA. Pottery Barn, etc. promote themselves as high style and high end. My observation is they are high priced but marginal quality (i.e. veneer, not hardwood). IKEA seems to know who they are, what there products are, and who their customers are, without too much pretense. And that's OK.
Wow. Great dialogue. What a conversation!A few years ago, I rented a pick up and drove to the Schaumburg IKEA to furnish a bedroom and office. When I moved 3 years later, the armoire and bookshelves went into a dumpster. On behalf of Mother Earth I shed a tear and and vowed to never again buy disposable furniture. The furniture did not stand up to regular use and wasn't worth the expense of moving to a bigger house. I was disappointed with the short shelf life and that it was disposable design.I still shop at Ikea but will not buy any major pieces. Instead, I'll save up and buy something that will last decades. Accessories, pillows (great pillows!), frames, maybe a lamp (but vintage is better), kitchen gear, textiles are the primary things I'll spend dollars on. It is 'design within reach." But, my conscience can't handle disposable. I expect more and there are better options.Reuse. Repurpose. Recycle.ps Did someone actually say that corporations sponsor hate? Can we agree not to politicize AT? Thanks.
Nothing lasts forever... You can turn up your nose to Ikea if you can "afford" to.
I think Phillip_Littell said it best: Ikea has allowed me to make a home for myself.I was poor, didn't have a computer (no Craigslist!), and (I think) have good taste and desired to make a comfy and organized home for myself. I love modern design--where else would I go? So now that I have a little more money why on earth would I get rid of the furniture I bought and love and doesn't show one sign of wear??I think Ikea threatens your design snobbery. Seriously, please tell me where I should store my clothes if I don't have more than $129 to spend on a dresser?I love AT but I am done reading the comments. Every day I am horrified by the nasty things people say about the homes featured. And this subject did me in.And by the way, I have friends who work for Ikea and they say it is the best place they have ever worked. No other company in their lives treated them as good and made sure their work life and home life complimented each other.Now excuse me....I'm off to Ikea to get a comfortable desk chair. Or maybe I should save up for a few months and get one at DWR and in the meantime sit on some cinder blocks??
Totally agree with jacksonlalonde and bepsf.I'd also add that I think a long-term perspective to buying stuff is really important -- economically and for the survival of the planet. That's why I posted the link to The Story of Stuff -- it's a message that needs to be heard.Heck, I'm old ;-) and my husband and I have had our stuff (or not) for 20 years now. So I guess I bring that perspective to this issue too... when you buy your second set of appliances, the footprint issue sort of hits you (well, it did me).Trends and things falling apart -- in clothing and furniture -- are part of planned obsolescence -- ways to make us buy more stuff when we don't really NEED, or shouldn't need, to. I think curbing short-term thinking in purchasing goods is important in changing the dangerous trajectory our planet seems to be on at the moment. Re-use is a good use of resources, but not everything makes it to that stage.
I love IKEA for many reasons, but I am absolutely opposed to the sentiment expressed by that childish quote.
Lord, yes. Recently I was telling my roommate I had to go to Ikea and his friend was there and asked "what are you getting?" and I said "coat hangers and a cutting board." He said; "You're going to Ikea just to get coat hangers and a cutting board?"...I should've said "I would go to Ikea for coat hangers and a cutting board even if it was 200 miles away"
A question to all the Ikea-haters:Do you not think poor people should have nice homes?
My friends hate helping me move because I have actual SOLID WOOD furniture. That said, IKEA does make some really lovely stuff, you just have to look for it, and be picky. Yes, I have IKEA bookshelves, because they're accessibly priced and easy to (dis)assemble, which makes moving that much easier and more affordable. I will continue to buy things from IKEA (dishes, for example), but I do watch for quality items. I avoid MDF as much as possible, preferring the fully solid-wood bookshelves (hence my friends' complaints!). And the quality of the better-made and better-material items is evident. My parents have IKEA furniture they bought before I was born (i.e. it's 30 years old), and it's still functional, and still looks great. Admittedly, they don't store records in the shelves any more, but they makes a great tv-stand/low photo album holder.Even at IKEA, quality can be found, and, not surprisingly, it costs more than the super-cheap fibre-board stuff. BUT it often costs less than the fibre-board stuff at "fancier" stores. I will never be 100% IKEA, but until I can afford quality items at *better* places, I see no reason not to purchase the better quality items from IKEA, they enable me to have a home on my currently less-than-perfect income. And I'd much rather have a solid IKEA couch than some status symbol couch that's going to die on me at twice the price.
all this has happened before. . .William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement -- responsible for mission-style furnishings -- was a REACTION to mass-production of the new industrial era.Designers like Charles and Rae Eames were a reaction to the Arts and Crafts movement and its upper-class exclusivity.They wanted good design to be accessible and used factory methods and mass production to produce beautiful and AFFORDABLE pieces. (well, they were affordable in the 50's).Who is right here?I love both William Morris and what he stood for, but I also believe that good design should be accessible.
I never shopped at Ikea until I got my first apt. I didn't even know anyone that had anything from there. I knew it was affordable and had attractive pieces though. Now that I've used Ikea furniture... I don't think I'd buy anything there again. If I do, I'll definitely check the materials beforehand. My particle board bed chipped the day we opened the box and put it together. My mom has furniture that is gonna outlast my Ikea stuff and is made of better materials and it's in the same price range as the Ikea stuff.
@jac7890 I was waiting for that. The various MCM movements of mass production of high style for the people were fantastic, but they were also well made. In fact so well made we can't get rid of the stuff, it increases in value despite current trends. Good, sustainable design is accessible.
Okay, AT, let's stop with the classism. "Generation IKEA" is somehow all about instant gratification and cheap furniture? How about "I'm a poor recent college grad in a recession and I need furniture?" As much as I'd love to be at a point where I can buy "real" furniture, I can't -- I don't have that kind of paycheck or job security. "Generation IKEA" as materialistic, cheap, and unwilling to save for something better is an offensive way of looking at a store that provides many of your readers with affordable furniture.Sorry, I cannot spend a couple grand on an accent chair, and shopping at IKEA (you know, being responsible and living within my means as a young, underpaid teacher) instead of DWR is not something one should look down on. Shame on you, AT, for presenting IKEA in this light. It's incredibly off-putting, classist, and self-righteous.Really, AT? During the middle of a recession? This post? When a lot of the cool, young hipsters who read your blog are worried sick about unemployment?Have fun with your brand-new DWR Eames chair and credit card debt. I just lost a whole lot of respect for AT.
Of course this is not meant for recent grads and the recently laid off, come on, get a grip. This is an important topic about sustainability, respect for the waning crafts, and an appreciation of lasting beauty. We all know some people are dirt poor, so by all means, load up on the Ikea, that's what it's there for... but please try to reuse, recycle or repurpose your crap. Why are some people taking this so personally?
I understand the sentiment, but I think associating it with IKEA is unfair and detracts from the point being made. "Disposable" goods can be purchased anywhere and, as many commenters have pointed out, IKEA has been the source of many well loved and long lived items in people's homes, mine included.People get rid of all kinds of stuff. Yes, it's terrible for the environment to be wasteful, but it's not only IKEA stuff that gets thrown out or sold on CL, or donated to the Salvation Army or left on the street corner. Hopefully most of it will find its way to a new owner and be reused. But even beautifully well made vintage furniture is disposable if the person who owned it doesn't want it anymore. Obviously this happens all the time, otherwise where would all the, "I can't believe I got such a great deal on (blank)! I'm going to fix it up and blah blah blah, etc.", stories come from. And I certainly don't hear any of those lucky people who found a sweet deal complain that they didn't spend enough money.Of course, it would be great to have the resources to spend as much money as I wanted on the best furniture (because I totally would), but I have a mortgage and a family and different priorities and it's just not feasible for me (and I'm guessing a lot of other people) right now. As far as I'm concerned, loving and using and taking care of the things I already have, IKEA stuff included, and not buying new things I don't need (from anywhere, not just IKEA) is just as responsible as whatever it is the anti-IKEA generation is doing.
I would like to add to that actually, that this recession, as mentioned above, might also be blamed on the same mind set... I want it now and I want it for a buck.
@twitteringbirdie--yes!People living beyond their means is part of the reason we are in a recession.AT--so many of your readers are not rich and count on Ikea for the basics. This is horribly offensive. Please stop the Ikea bashing and focus on great design and inspiration at every price.
I disagree with the statement above! Mostly because I'm an Ikea addict...and that for good reason!I got married right out of college and had kids pretty much soon after! Not only could we afford Ikea but we have the most sturdy and practical stuff and let's not forget trendy!I hate it when ppl try to compare Ikea with Laura Ashley or other brands...some of us might not like Laura as much as u do:)I have never had a problem with Ikea and along with other items as i get older i will continue to shop at Ikea. My entire apartment is Ikea right now and has been for the past 6 years and with 2 kids and a 3rd on the way, multiple playdates and my husband's less than human behaviour, no other furniture could have lasted us and still looked great!
Jacksonlalonde, because "generation" kind of implies that there's an age bracket, the general attitude expressed in the quote implies (in a very direct way) that somehow those who shop at IKEA and are affiliated through their purchases with IKEA somehow share the overall mentality of needing instant gratification.If the quote directly addressed sustainability, crafting, and (relative) lasting beauty, that would be one thing, but asking a question with these kinds of implications to the absolute wrong target audience is going to ruffle some feathers.Recent grad, laid off, unable to blow 5 grand on a couch, I don't care. The quote aligns conspicuous consumption, irresponsibility, and a complete lack of care for the environment with a store where many buy furnishings out of necessity. It's incredibly classist.
Because, jacsonlalonde, most of the IKEA bashers never qualify their bashing by tacking on a "[o]f course this is not meant for recent grads and the recently laid off".Quality is becoming a rarer and more expensive attribute these days. IKEA is an easy target, but I just saw a post on AT yesterday about a Room & Board sofa that probably cost a couple grand that became saggy after 1 year of use. There were posters on that thread who actually suggested that the owner had not spent enough on his/her sofa and it was not surprising that it hadn't held up well.Jeez. Where does it end? Do I have to spend over $5000 to get a decent couch?Everything is crappier these days. Look at shoes--even shoes costing hundreds of dollars are poorly constructed out of inferior materials and must be tossed after normal wear (as opposed to vintage shoes which can last decades with proper care). It's not just low-end mass retailers who should be targeted for this kind of criticism.I think there's a strong whiff of snobbery coming from those who can afford to not shop at IKEA. That's what's irking us, jacksonlalonde, not "sustainability, respect for...waning crafts, and an appreciation of lasting beauty" (as if people who choose to shop at IKEA don't understand or value those things too!)
Hi,Im from Portugal, and the first Ikea store opened here about 5 years ago, and it was a blast on furniture industry in our small country. For bad and good reasons. People stop buying portuguese stuff and we find Billys and Pax wardrobes and Expedits EVERYWHERE! Portuguese furniture traders really felt the Ikea effect. On the other hand, the Ikea design inspired portuguese furniture industry and were we used to find awfull but full of quality design, we now find new pieces with fantastic look made with quality and reasonable prices...I just bought my first house and i must confess that im going to buy A LOT in Ikea but some pieces are made by a local carpenter, based on BoConcept, for example.(sorry for my poor poor english...)
"I would like to add to that actually, that this recession, as mentioned above, might also be blamed on the same mind set... I want it now and I want it for a buck."Or living beyond their means and accumulating a ton of debt...?I see more people playing "keeping up with the Jones'" with DWR and Restoration Hardware than IKEA on AT.
I don't think overt consumerism is the way to go- ever. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with carefully choosing pieces you like. And yes- 3 cheers for a company that is well run, well designed, and well intentioned. They certainly helped make my apartment (first time out of mother's house, on a new teacher's salary, with student loans to pay off) into an honest to goodness home.
@twitteringbirdie: Absolutely. People can live beyond their means at any income bracket. I hate that some here on AT seem to equate a lower income with irresponsibility and unthinking consumerism. I love how IKEA-shoppers are now being blamed for the recession.
Jackson...I totally agree that there are people who cycle through cheap junk with no regard for where it came from or where it goes when they're done with it and I agree with many of the points you made regarding the consequences of those actions. However, you did make a rather unflattering generalization about a group of people you don't know based on where they shop. It's not surprising that people would take that personally.
@jacksonlalonde: But you're placing ALL the blame on the consumer. Some of us were born into an era of low-quality crap. You can't blame people for trying to live within their means and buying the things that are available to them and that they can afford.Do poor people have to sleep on the floor while saving up for a bed that you and the other AT tastemakers deem to be 'good enough'? Sheesh.
I'll add that the original quote is precisely the kind of inflammatory generalization that will generate a lot of comments. The statement so lacks nuance (and thus is as thoughtless and superficial as the generation or attitude it deplores) that I now wish I hadn't responded to it at all.
I shop at Ikea. I have absolutely no regrets. If it wasn't for Ikea, I would still be sitting on milk crates. We had to move to a new city for the husbands job, and I was critically ill as well. All our money went to moving costs and medical bills.Now, a couple years on, I still have that Ikea furniture. Most of the pieces are good and solid. I'll keep them until they die, like I do with everything I buy.One fold out couch for $150 is cheap, and will fail far sooner. It's not a big deal. I have plans for the foam. I'll just make up floor cushions out of it. Foam is expensive in the raw, so reusing that will work well enough for me.I agree with some other posters. This is pretty classist. It's all well and good to turn your nose up at Ikea, or the other lower cost stores, but some of us just don't have a choice if we don't want the waffle imprint of a milkcrate on our bums.
"We all know some people are dirt poor, so by all means, load up on the Ikea, that's what it's there for..."oh dear. jackson, can we dial this rich-poor crap down a little? seriously. Ikea may be crap to you - kudos that you can appreciate workmanship where everyone who disagrees with you must be blind to the value of human handiwork; good work on recognizing that wood should be priced above particle boards. Guess what? to other people, crap is buying a $7000 couch on credit card, or even with cash, when they could spend $200 on a couch, and put the rest towards, gee, i dunno, retirement? tuition/loan? are you saying they don't know the value of workmanship/sustainability?dirt poor people needs beauty in their lives too.....and sometimes, it's in the form of a well designed, well loved ikea furniture -- are you saying you've NEVER seen a piece of ikea furniture that's beautifully designed in terms of both functionality and aesthetics? did you write the book on design-beauty?did someone forget to eat some humble pie this morning? :)
I'm so fascinated by this thread -- at first i thought people are taking this way way way too seriously, but then i realized that this quote is very much a criticism formed in a rather narrow vacuum, devoid of understanding for so so so many variables that makes up this complex society (even if it's just w/i the confines of AT).for me, i was a bit miffed. I think i have a decent reason.When I was growing up in china, getting a set of furniture was so much work.My mom and dad saved up some money over 2 or 3 years, then My dad knew a guy who knew someone at the lumberyard, and got the wood for a good price; then he found a carpenter and that guy took a whole summer to construct two sets of studio furnishing. Then, he asked my uncle who's knowledgeable about painting and staining furniture to paint the varnish on the furniture, then, we had to arrange transportation to get a set of furniture to my cousin who was getting married. Years later, the extended family fought over the set we left behind after we left.Really? is that enough worth for you? Cuz my mom never for a day missed that furniture, even tho the craftsmanship is pretty good. (so i was told.)You know what piece she loves? she loves my ikea furniture -- because i didn't have to go thru all of that crap she and my dad had to go thru to add some sense of home to my place. She loves that I didn't have to save up for 4 or 5 years just to get a freaking couch -- because at the end of the day, it's just stuff, it's how much comfort it provides you, and how much warmth it adds to your home.
Heh. It's a little strange to me how people always speak of IKEA as so ubiquitous in the U.S., yet if you look at their store locations map, the whole middle of the country is pretty bare. I kind of wish I could shop there sometimes.
I love Ikea, and I get the quote.I think Jackson missed his calling - that kind of crafty soundbite (or blogbite?) calls for a career in media or politics!Anyway, I'm 40ish and remember thinking like this but have really come around in the past decade, like many other people. I've had bad experiences buying cheap furniture, and I've learned to recognize and respect quality. I like to think today's youth are more aware of the impact of their consumption from the get-go.I think if you shop Ikea with an eye for more durable things, the things made of solid wood, bedding, etc., it does not have to be disposable.
DON'T BRAND ME IN. (don't box me in, get it?)
I think the phrase 'Generation Ikea' is overstatement. I think human beings are more diverse and complicated than what such a limited phrase would imply - we are more than what what we buy or use everyday no matter where it came from.I am surprised at the class issues popping up. I thought Ikea was more democratic as a concept than that - there are interesting and thoughtful designs that have appeal that cuts across class lines. People with little money shop Ikea and people with a lot of money also shop Ikea because many of the designs are appealing in a universal sense. I think Ikea has several products that have transcended class boundaries - expedit is one, the ps cabinet is another, many of the kitchens series are another....I think most people who shop at Ikea do so because they like the products - how they look, how they function, how they can create a home with the poducts.
i'll admit there are some crappy products at ikea. and it's pretty obvious. but a lot of it is good enough quality for me. other than those crappy twelve dollar lack side tables, everything i've own has been fine for years.i'm someone who changes their mind constantly about everything. interiors is one thing. i'd rather spend a fraction of the price on ikea furniture that i can sell and buy new styles of anytime i want, rather than dropping a years paycheck on a designer armchair.
Thank you, liddybird, for your comments.I've been reading this site for a while now because it has interesting design ideas, though most are pretty preposterous when it comes to transposing them into my life. To qualify my commentary: I'm approaching 30, was well trained in various art mediums and have designed professionally, and have lived in a handful of major metropolitan areas. I've traveled extensively through the US and Europe, am one of those "over-educated" people you hear about, and grew up rubbing elbows with the obscenely rich as well as the "dirt-poor". Born and raised New Yorker. My parents are both professional designers; interiors, industrial, graphic, they studied at the knees of some of those designers AT likes to laud and whose work you'll find hawked at DWR.I was trained from birth to value "great design" and "good craftsmanship". Believe me, I understand jackson's argument. Or, at least what I *assume* is the genesis of that argument.What I take great offense at is the haughty attitude that comes through in that sentence. I read the other blog post. Seriously? This all stemmed from a piece about a $500 dimmer switch. Are you kidding me? Talk about arrogance, Jackson...Trust me, I was trained as an electrician; when it mentioned the "cloth-woven cord" and "Hand-wired with both male and female receptacles" I oohed and ahhed as much, if not more, than the next person. But honestly, the comments that followed were just ridiculous. Someone mentions the fact that the price thing gets over the top at times, and someone else jumps in with the opposite argument lambasting cheap crap. Are you kidding me?Screw "Generation IKEA". The stuff there can be crap, but a lot of it can be good as well. Some of it is cheap, but a bunch of it can be far to expensive for me to rationalize buying. I'm a teacher and I am struggling to start a family. I love design and was raised to appreciate and understand it. You know what? My family taught me that who sits in the chair is more important than where the chair was built or the name of the guy who first doodled it on a page. Mom and Dad had Eames furniture, and this blog has eight pages of search results for the name of the guy who taught my parents and whose furniture riddled our home. And as a kid I was welcome to crawl all over that stuff.My parents don't own any of it anymore. What they do still have are the sushi plates I bought for them over a decade ago from some department store in China Town because I knew they loved to order in dinner once a month. I'm sorry to say, Jackson, the plates weren't all that expensive.Does that mean I'm a part of the cheap consumerist generation?Or do you put my parents into the trash-it-and-move-on category because they don't still have the George Nelson chairs from twenty years ago?But to turn to IKEA for a moment... I was sent on a shopping trip two years ago, since I have a car and there isn't an IKEA around where my parents are (they who live in nyc and therefore don't have a car of their own). I was charged with buying some IKEA furniture to bring down on my next trip home, because dad needed it for the highly expensive installation that he was doing in a major department store, for a multi-billion dollar fashion company. He needed them because he wanted the clean design, the easy construction, and the good wear.When I scrimped and saved enough, I went to IKEA for a pair of bookcases two years ago. At the same time I was given my aunt's couch - a couple-thousand dollar piece of furniture from a fancy downtown Boston boutique design store. I'm moving soon and I'm not taking the couch with me. I'll be taking the bookcases.IKEA isn't about class, it's not about money, it's not about fast consumption. Because people from all tiers shop there, it may be cheap for you but it's hella expensive for me, and it's only fast consumption if YOU turn around and throw away what you just bought.People who spend thousands on "good" items are just as wasteful as anyone else. My ex spends loads on stuff from Craigslist - high-end pieces of furniture that wind up being used briefly and then disposed of when the allure wears off. I don't know about you, but THAT to me is the real crime of wastefulness.
Laroya made my day. :)
Cheap and not well-made, but stylish in a college-dorm / MCM sort of way. I think Ikea is great for people on a tight budget of if you need a quick home decor fix for your home. However, when you scan craigslist and see the 'for sale' posts dominated by Ikea furniture... might be a signal that you're not buying timeless classics of long lasting quality!
I love Ikea for 2 reasons. 1) my husband is in the military. We move every few years and whether it's Ashley or Ikea with crappy movers it's gonna break. At least I can afford to repurchase Ikea. 2) I have kids. I'm not going to buy couches that we can't eat popcorn on or drink chocolate milk on. I'm gonna buy Ikea stuff with slip covers that can be washed. The stuff I've bought hasn't broken (except in aforementioned moves by crappy movers) and hasn't looked like crap. I love my stuff from Ikea.
"Long-winded twat"? Wow.That aside, I just wanted to add that not all MCM furniture is well-made. Some of it's crap.I bought two vintage Eames Dining Chair(s) Wood at auction years ago. The back on one had come unglued and someone had repaired it by putting a bolt through the whole thing. I thought I could fix it.Shortly after getting them home, the back on the second chair fell off its post. I did some research. Turns out this is a very, very common occurrence with these chairs. The neoprene shock mounts are glued to the plywood and the glue just doesn't hold up. I've heard that this has even happened with new DCW from Eames. That would make it a rather major design flaw.The edges of the chair become chipped with use, too, since it's essentially all veneer with no protective edging. IKEA chairs made the same way are deemed junk.I had a vintage Bertoia Diamond chair (coated wire mesh). A bunch of the wires were broken and the coating was badly chipped. Looked pretty junky to me. (It was also not very comfortable.)I've had many upholstered pieces from the 50s and 60s where the original latex foam padding or cushions had long dried up and turned to powder. Junky!I had some gorgeous rosewood dining chairs designed by Kai Christensen, made in Denmark, that were inherently weak. One fell apart at the joints with normal use. They all were wobbly. I ended up selling them because the design was flawed and they'd never be 100% functional. Essentially they were very beautiful junk.
There is some crappy stuff at Ikea... well, just like in about any other funirutre shop I know. There's also good, solid stuff, stuff that's highly adaptable. When I moved into my very first studio apt, I had 26m2 to fit everything, kitchen, bed, books, desk. The Ikea desk chair died after a year, it was bad quality. The next Ikea desk chair ? I'm still sitting on it and it's still just as comfy, and it's been in use daily for 7 years. I still have all my other Ikea stuff as well, the desk and the bookshelves. They've moved 3 times, and they're still around. Being solid wood which, but for the desk, I set up and varnished myself, they also age pretty welel and look better over time. They're still around also because they were adaptable. I'm now settled with my husband into the house where we intend to spend th erest of our lives. We have 120m2, and I have to compose an ode to the adaptability of Ivar shelves. Over time I've gone back to Ikea and bought a few more shelves and poles to accomodate my growing book collection. I've changed the configuration of them multiple times - actually we're in the progress of tweeking it one more time - and they've always served me well. They might not be high design but they're discreet, inobstrusive, highly customizable and last forever. Even if I had splurged on some higher priced designer piece 8 years ago, I probably wouldn't have kept it because it wouldn't have worked in the other places I've lived in since. That's something I haven't found anywhere but at Ikea...
Wow. You know, when my husband and I "splurge," it's usually on something from Ikea. Frankly, even if we could afford to spend thousands of dollars on furniture, we wouldn't. I think saving for retirement, emergency fund, car fund, daughter's college fund, paying student loan debt, preparing to care for sick parents, etc. is far more important than having a "quality" couch.
It doesn't have to be Ikea or high-end designer furniture. There are other options. In Massachusetts you can buy overstock pieces at a big discounts at Building 19. The store doesn't look slick, there are no meatballs, and I highly doubt you'll find an Eames chair, but there are plenty of reasonably priced furniture options that match Ikea prices. Quite frankly, the nicest solid wood bureaus, coffee tables and chairs that I have purchased have been via craigslist and it's much much cheaper than anything I've seen at Ikea or Bob's or Jordan's, etc. The downside is that you have to wait till you see something decent, so if you need furniture asap, then you're out of luck.
I agree with GreatFriend. I like Ikea's design, and they are among very few places one can get modern and practical stuff that is very affordable. I think that the quality is usually quite good for the price. And, not everyone can afford even to save up and buy higher quality furniture or find anything worthwhile at craigslist in their region.
"However, if you amortize the cost of a well made piece of furniture over the cost of replacing something several times that was cheaply made, both fiscally and environmentally higher quality makes more sense even if you have to do without for the 'I want it now' time being."This is a nice idea, but I can't afford to "amortize the cost of a well-made piece of furniture" over the years. I need furniture now and I get the best stuff I can afford. Some of that is from Ikea.Fortunately for me, I don't care what some privileged rich person on the internet thinks about that.
If Ikea generation means my parents re-did their kitchen in an old Victorian house with Ikea fixtures because they had the only ready-made cabinets that fit and although it was the early 80's they have NEVER even had to consider re-doing the kitchen because the look and feel is so clean it's pretty much timeless then yes, I'm generation Ikea. If only I too could AFFORD their furniture!
After raising kids on a tight budget and LOTS of dumpster diving paint overs.....I thought anything I bough now at IKEA was an upgrade....not the bottom of the line. lol!
I break out in hives when I go near Ikea, therefore, the answer is NO!
OOooh! Did someone call me a "long-winded twat" and I missed it?!?!? Damnit...
Yup, laroya, but it's gone now. It was the author of the quote that started this whole thing. PWI?
Love me some Expedit. My kids' rooms are lined with them. Of course I could wait until I could afford something made of solid wood. But my kids will be in college by then.....This way I can use my savings to help them through ;-)
Maybe Ikea is anathema to all the trustafarians who have money to purchase a sofa for a couple thousand and fill their McMansions with overpriced antiques. But as a lifelong poor person, single parent trying to make ends meet on a budget most people consider unlivable I am here to say that the my secondhand allerum sofa and my going on 15 year old ivar shelves and five assorted lamps of the same age have meant I could have reliable, functional and relatively attractive furniture to add to the two truly beautiful pieces my parents handed down. I have lived in apartments most of my adult life and Ikea creates furniture in sizes that don't eat up floor space. Compared to the riotously hideous and overpriced crap available at most furniture stores, it's nearly wonderful. I purchase 99% of my furniture from craigslist and when I have to move I tend to pass on the excess to others who can't afford to purchase anything at all.I'm not thrilled with the ecology of most furniture or home decor available but I'm not handy in anyway but painting and stretching a dollar. I am grateful for secondhand furniture and craigslist and yard sales. I am reusing, not trashing.The prices for so called antiques I see are staggering. And many of the things I see were the equivalent to ikea in their day. I used to rent from a woman who purchased (for a mere $300) a beaten up, paint chipped, sagging at every join, dried out "rustic" wooden pantry style cupboard that she got from someone selling out their parents farmhouse. It actually looked a bit like a mini outhouse with shelves. It had lived in the barn and looked like it. It wasn't rustic, it was trash.I suspect the people who trash ikea furniture probably haven't had to think twice about the cost of their choices since they left the dorm after their parents paid for their educations.It's a bit like the ads I see in craigslist. The same ikea furniture advertised from addresses in traditionally lower income neighborhoods is always priced cheaper than the same stuff from the high dollar real estate. The folks moving out of their apartments tend to price things lower than the folks who are "upgrading" their whatever room of their house. Even thrift stores in the wealthier neighborhoods charge more for the same broken down bits and bobs that the more numerous stores in my neighborhood do.Lucky for those of you who can choose to live and purchase high end, but I long for the day when the concept that most of us don't actually live like you finally lodges in your privileged minds.And I remain happy with my ikea and my secondhands and grateful to know that I'm lucky to be happy with them.
Oh, and didn't some international design organization put ikea at the top of the design list a few years ago for making good, clean design affordable?Well, the answer is yes cause I read the article but my brain won't pull up the name of the group. Apparently it caused quite a stir in the upper echelons of fine design. Maybe they heard their pretensions being shot down...
What about that particle board Credenza from DWR? i think it was 4,000, i would much rather pay 400 @ ikea for a similar one (stockholm collection).i bought my credenza on ebay for 300. it is from the 1950's. already stood the test of time. but it sure looks nice in contrast to some of my ikea items........
Cometz said it, "Oh, and didn't some international design organization put ikea at the top of the design list a few years ago for making good, clean design affordable?"There have been other phenomenons like this in the past decade as well. How about Trader Joe's and their 2 Buck Chuck drawing the attention of the wine world.Before Ikea, in this country, we had a few options for home furnishings:1. Hand me downs. I and my brothers lugged the same family dressers, beds and desks to college and apartments throughout the state, out of state and back. Even the family car was handed down 3 times. It was Scandinavian too--a SAAB. It died after a couple hundred thousand miles of abuse.2. Thrift stores or garage sales. There are some treasures there--not so convenient but maybe you'll get lucky. Garage sales are still treasure troves though--my mom is a testament of that. She bought basically all of my niece's baby clothes, furniture, strollers, etc. hardly used from garage sales (wealthy suburbs of chicago--lots of young people with big salaries that get rid of their stuff).3. Buy new. If you are buying custom or high-end you must have a lot of money. Or, you can put it on your credit card. If you buy cheaper "new" then you are buying stuff from a broker that brings in containers from China. And if you want to buy affordable new "cool or modern" you are basically out of luck.4. Buy nothing.Ikea saw a gap in the US and they filled it. Quite successfuly. All of sudden, there was a CHOICE for many people! We love choices in this country, having choices is evidence of a vigorous marketplace.All of a sudden there became an alternative to the black dimming halogen floor lamp that caught bugs and caught drapes on fire.When I made my first trip to Ikea I really didn't have a clue what it was all about. I knew that they sold chairs to all the talk shows, that was about it. But I also didn't have what I would consider a "home" at that time. I would say it was more my roommate's home and I lived there. They ended up buying their first "expensive" piece of furniture there. It was a nice, small couch, yellowish in color, they had to order it and have it delivered. After it was in place they had rules--no eating on the couch, no shoes on the couch, etc. It was a nice piece of furniture and it fit all of our "style" and it was looked after.That was about 12 years ago. A generation is something like 20 years? I could see myself buying something from Ikea 8 years from now. My parents do. I could see buying a kitchen for my fantasy LV country house for example. Or some picture frames, or a cutting board or some kids toys...
"...you must have a lot of money." meaning you either have to make a lot of money or save a lot of money in order to spend it on something that is expensive.
Nope. Definitely not. Do I buy accessories at IKEA? Yes. Do I buy furniture? No. Even though I really need new furniture, I'd rather buy quality pieces that I can trust to last.
If you cannot make your point in a single paragraph, you probably have no point. Im just saying...
And, just to get the vernacular down... I'm allowed to type twat, post twat, but I cannot call someone a twat, even if they are being a total twat?
I love IKEA. It's design within MY reach.Come on, some of the comments reek snobbery...are you saying that IKEA has not at all played a positive role in the design world?Oh, puhleaazzzzeeee....For me..it's plain and simple...it has actually enabled me to have a slice of good design in my home ...which i don't have to just dream and ponder about until i can afford an expensive-oh-so-great-design couch whatever....
t'wat's the best of times....t'wat's the worst of times...:)
"If you cannot make your point in a single paragraph, you probably have no point. Im just saying...""And, just to get the vernacular down... I'm allowed to type twat, post twat, but I cannot call someone a twat, even if they are being a total twat?"posted by jacksonlalonde ----------------------------------Apparently your attention span is as short as your ideas. I spose that any literature longer than a billboard is just excessive verbiage in your book, er, post it note.And calling anyone a twat is a very good indication that not only is your mind small and reactionary but a tad on the rude, dismissive side as well.None of the qualities you've displayed here give me any pause to consider the validity of your ideas. In fact, calling them ideas is overstating the point.As for waiting till one can afford that expensive, quality built piece of whatever it is... does that mean one sleeps on the floor, eats off a stool and sits on a pillow till they run into an extra ten thousand or so? Terrific idea. Really. I'll consider it the next time I have an extra grand or five. Until then I'll live with all my great, reused furniture. I'll wait till you kick the bucket and buy your high quality stuff from your offspring at a yard sale.
Oh, and jacksonlalonde, no hard feelings. I'm just sayin'.....You know, cause you were so sincere and all.
As a mom to 3 young kids - I am absolutely Generation IKEA. I don't care how much money you spend on a piece of furniture - if it survives (and most of it won't!), it won't look pretty after a few years in my house. I totally get why parents used to have those hands-off living rooms.
I think this quote is more applicable to Forever 21, rather than Ikea. I think my Ikea tealights will out last my party dresses from Forever 21. But, either way, I'm guilty.
hehe, just to be an absolute twat, and a nerdektorp couch: $500; lasting 10 yearscost per year: $50Vervoordt sofa: $10,600, lasting 120 years ( just about 3 generations)cost per year: $88.33I'm not sure about the "cost less in the long run" argument anymore.further math basically indicates that if you manage to pass that couch to your great-great-grandkid (5 generations, or about 200 years), one breaks even at $53.00/year.Info Source: Ikea website, and www.wealth-bulletin.com"At Kanaal, the enormous warehouse nearby where he sells his collection of furniture, art objects and antiques, the exposed brick walls, rough wooden floors and industrial lighting showcase his vision of “limitless special purity”. A Vervoordt sofa covered in crude burlap might set you back €8,000 ($10,600) but will look to the uninitiated like something you have found in a flea market."
Yikes. The dialogue is very interesting and heated. Is anyone losing their login/comment status because of violating AT's comment policy? Does chest thumping qualify as "adding value to the conversation?"
Unfortunately yes.... ikea/thrift store generation.I would love to invest on things that last longer... but right now the money I have goes to rent, gas, food, and cheap furniture.... and of course, travelling!
Perhaps, to redeem the IKEA lovers amongst us, we should start a thread about the piece of IKEA furniture that we have had the longest and still use prominently in our homes...Circa 2001: I've got 2 MALM dressers that have moved across country and are doing just fine. And I've got 2-lamps...I had 3 but a glass shade broke on the move. And a desk with drawer unit. And a poang chair. None of those articles are going to be phased out of my casa any time soon, thank you very much.Circa 2009: Trofast storage unit that I'm using for my recycling. Because I'm tired of having brown paper bags in the corner of my dining room...ostentatious purchase, I'm sure. But I'm sure that the storage unit will be in my household for 10-20 yrs...and I could have spent much more for something at THE CONTAINER STORE.I don't think of anything I buy as disposable. Even if it is from IKEA.
I have never thrown away anything I purchased from Ikea. I have always sold it on eBay (bed, bookshelf, etc.)--and recycled the stuff that broke (glasses and a hamper). Luckily I have replaced most of it with real furniture, and only have a single bookshelf left, soon to be replaced.
Don't know what the quote is talking about. Everything I've bought at Ikea has held up fine.
What's "real furniture", m?I think the IKEA thing we had the longest was a NIKLAS wall unit. They don't sell it anymore. It had birch veneer shelves and a cabinet hung on metal side pieces that were like ladders with rounded tops. It was very useful. We bought it in the IKEA in Gentofte, Denmark, and used it there for a year, then brought it back and used it for 3-4 years at two houses here in the U.S. Then our oldest child used it in her apartment for a couple of years, then she passed it on to our younger daughter who used it for a year. She just moved into a house where it doesn't fit, so she sold it to a young teacher who just got a place of her own.That thing has been moved a LOT and it was still going strong last time I saw it.
At the risk of sounding like an old fogey, I remember trying to furnish a first home before there was any Ikea in the U.S. My post-college friends and I got almost everything used, because that was all we could afford.Indeed, the reason MCM is so popular today is because the fashion-forward people in the 80s rescued 50s furniture from trash heaps and made it fun and ironic. (It's hard for younger ATers to realize that MCM, at the time, was considered tacky bland suburban bad taste, but it was.)Young people today (here I go sounding like a geezer) don't want to make-do with unstylish used furniture. They want everything brand new, and want it to look just like the pages of Domino.
Yes. Almost every student I know has loads of Ikea, and we can all trade off when someone moves, because the furniture matches. Whether you have a lot of Ikea or not, I think that style reflects Ikea and Ikea current style. Just look at a lot of the posts here on AT. Even if there isn't a single piece of Ikea furniture, it would probably be easy to do in 100% Ikea. Clean lines, a good deal of white, light woods...On another note... If the model's dress was for sale at Ikea, I'd buy it, even if I doubt the quality of clothes made by non-clothing brands.
I own very little Ikea, but completely disagree with the quote. "Cheap thrills" can be gotten at Walmart and Target, but many people prefer Ikea because of the design.When I moved the the Ikea-less Midwest, I spent quite a lot of time looking for just the right bookshelves. I needed a bunch of them, and wanted decent quality and modern clean design. Short of Vitsoe (which would have set me back 10k), I did not find anything I really loved. I ended up ordering nine black-brown Billy bookshelves from Ikea online. They look great and are not sagging even a bit under the weight of my books. My only regret is that I did not order an Expedit as well. I owned both Billy and Expedit back in CA (bought secondhand from Craigslist) and both units served me faithfully for 7 years of graduate school and were as good as new when I sold them basically for the same price I paid for them.The Billies are the only Ikea I own now - the rest is vintage. I prefer vintage, but would love to have an Ikea nearby. It's good design and cheap, and some of it is very durable. I will not be surprised to see some Ikea designs become collectible 40-50 years from now.
IKEA all the way.Maybe there are people who can afford to decorate their house with DWR, but for me that's out of the question.
I think the model's skirt is from a contest that IKEA had recently challenging designers to make garments out of their fabrics. I don't know if it was part of a reality TV show or what. The Baltimore IKEA has a bunch of garments on display right now from an offshoot competition at one of the local colleges. Some of them were quite nice!
Lucky Money-- Your comment is exactly what I'm talking about. The choice isn't Ikea versus DWR. It's Ikea versus hand-me-downs and second-hand furniture. Today's 20-somethings shun anything that isn't sparkly new.
I love IKEA's products and designs and would love to shop there more often, but the store itself makes me dizzy. It is not a happy shopping experience for me.I resent the way it is layed out so that one is forced to walk around and around a maze before one can exit. It scares me no end to imagine what would happen if --heaven forbid -- a fire broke out.I will be 60 this year, and remember very fondly the days of "dumpster diving" for street treasures back in NYC during the 70s as a starving student and haunting low cost-high style shops like Azuma, the "old" Pottery Barn and various odd-lot stores. Amazing how ones creativity can blossom with a tight budget.When I got more flush in the 80s, Conran's was the spot for me.How I would have loved an IKEA back in the day!
Yes. I'm 28 btw, Ikea came late where I used to live.If you treat stuff well, it's going to last... of course not all your life, but who wants that? Even basic furniture changes over the decades.
aychihuahua, there are shortcuts through the IKEA stores. They're not marked but they're there. Look for doorways in corners. You don't have to walk through the entire store to get out.Lisa (Montreal), my kids are 19, 24 and 27 and they all have a lot of used furniture that I got cheap at auction. (So do their parents, for that matter.) They love it and they've all called dibs on our unshiny, un-new furniture when we croak. My son had a vintage Eames-style lounge chair in his college dorm room this past year. His friends thought it was quite hip.
Lisa (Montreal), Maybe your kids or the kids you know only want sparkly new but don't assume that is true of the entire 20 something generation. My son is 28 and he went thru a deep MCM phase for about 6 years, buying everything at yard sales and thrift stores. When he left town it went to friends who also embrace used and MCM. Now he's into mid-19th century, which means he is buying more used stuff, a lot of used repro to be exact. He hates ikea. Always has.This wholesale condemnation of generations and/or owners of certain brands is pretty narrowminded and, as broad generalizations often are, pretty ignorant. I also suspect it says heaps about the kind of people the authors know and very little about the rest of "everybody else."It's also very tiresome to read. The only people I know who buy new, well made, very expensive furniture are a couple who are also extremely well off, have one child, both work in a business they own, and take fabulous vacations all over the world. They don't represent the majority of anyone in any country.
nothing lasts forever. also, give me an ikea kitchen over those awful brown home depot kitchens anyday.
I was generation Ikea, untill I realised how Ikea copies designs from other designers quite often. That's not right. But I understand why people buy at Ikea; it's so cheap and still looks pretty good.Also I hate their throw-away design. Their stuff isn't made to be as good and look as beautifull as possible but to be as cheap as possible.There are lot of companies who have better design philosophy:I really like Iittala's design philosophy: http://www.iittala.com/web/Iittalaweb.nsf/en/iittala_iittala_philosophyHerman Miller is great to, but their stuff is harder to find in europe.
Hallelujah mabaihua. To each their own. I just get tired of them that has the means putting down those who don't, or who choose differently. The hubris is staggering. And annoying. And very depressing. I love AT cause it includes everything from ikea hacks and the small cool spaces to info on high end resources and new design. It's inclusive, not exclusive. It's how most people choose or have to live their lives.
nonsense!Ikea is the one of the only stores where you can get design stuff for a decent price. Ikea customers can't afford to go and get themselves a new decor every year, so the quote makes no sense. I would, tough, like Ikea to be more 'green' and fair trade (they seem to have some dirty trading manners).I agree on the comments where you would like to buy furniture and items that will last for a long time; and I can find them at Ikea. Just combine them with thrift store/craigslist items, and you have a smart balance. And, nr 1 rule shopping at Ikea, find the real material stuff that WILL last forever, the birch fake wood is a no no! I love their kitchen stuff, very very durable and basic, modern design. Their fabrics too...As an European living in the US, I had great trouble finding a decant, modern, well priced (second hand) couch, they just didn't exist! Second hand is way more expensive in the US then in Europe, especially for just random items like a down to earth couch. Finally I had only one choice; IKEA! got a nice couch and saved myself a couple of hundred bucks compared to the crappy ones offered on craigslist. My couch will certainly last for 10 years, then, will sell it to a student. Just put on a new cover, and it is as new...that is green thinking!Ikea, love it!
My first Ikea purchase was in 1976, when they opened a store in Vancouver BC: I bought two Billy bookcases for my bedroom. My folks still have them, and they're still in great shape (I think they used better materials back then).Agreed, Ikea is cheap, often poor quality furniture, but I've now moved to a place without one, and trust me, I miss it. Most of my stuff is MCM, all from thrift stores bought over the course of grad school, and I love it -- but Ikea is a fabulous source of affordable, interesting furniture. And great fabrics.
Several people said it already, but I'll repeat: to each his own. And along those lines, enough with the IKEA-bashing! AT, you too - find some other issue to provoke arguments, the love/hate IKEA's been overdone recently.
Used to be, about a decade ago, but the quality was better back then (and I was living in Europe). I was so excited when they arrived in the States, and bought a few things, but two bookshelves "decomposed" quickly and couldn't even be glued back together. So Generation IKEA? Not anymore. Now I buy well made new, source vintage, or learn to make it myself. However I'm still inspired by the odd IKEA hack story and will likely buy a couple pendant lights to re-work.
I'm "Generation where I can get the best deal" Ikea or not.
Cometz said it best.And I don't know about you, but I've been able to sell Ikea items for a fair amount of money on Craigslist. The only piece I ever had to give away was a $15 Lack table, and only because I didn't think it was worth the time trying to find a buyer for it.No, I do not want my home to look like an Ikea catalog, but like many other, I don't have the money to go crazy at DWR. I think it's just as bad for everyone to have an Eames lounge chair in their living room.Nearly everything I've bought from Ikea has been of good enough quality to last me many, many years. I would rather have slightly cheaper furniture and have money to live in my home comfortably.
I'm 25 and the only pieces of Ikea furniture I like are the lack shelves and the expedit. I've had bad experiences with all of their seating. Poor quality, generally uncomfortable, etc...That being said, the cheap prices do make it affordable for most people in my age group who are getting by on occasional freelance gigs while paying student loans. And I don't believe in the generalization that all 20-somethings love Ikea. I know some who love it and others who hate it. And I know some who hate it, but can't afford to shop anywhere else.
Ikea should have a buy-back program, the way Hanna Anderssen used to do with kids' clothes. You return the gently used piece for a sizable discount off your next purchase, and the used stuff gets donated to something worthy. Everybody wins.The resale market for Ikea is huge. I've got Expedits that are on their 4th owner. Not all the stuff falls apart easily. I love my Varde kitchen, and I didn't buy any of it new.
For a college kid like me, ikea is an amazing solution.
I have a lot of IKEA in my home and i fully expect to live with it until I die. (I don't have kids, so I don't know what will become of it after that, but probably any heirs can sell it since I take care of all my things a nd it will last.IKEA is the only contemporary furniture around here apart form prohibitively expensive things.Heirlooms are very often disdained as things begin to look outdated.Craigslist finds in my area are very often real trash -- very few treasures.Dumpster diving is illegal in my town. No sidewalk finds.The whole issue is colored by where you live and whatyour options are.
It seems that jacksonlalonde has made his point -- most posters are IKEA proponents -- they want things cheap, they want them now, and don't like these "rights" to be questioned or criticized in any way.IKEA is the biggest furniture company in the world -- that makes a huge economic power capable of shaping the industry in profound ways. It also means that it is totally appropriate that their business practices be examined and questioned.I have to thank jacksonlalonde -- because of him, I actually went and researched IKEA. I was shocked by what I learned. IKEA styles itself as an ethical company, but that seems to be a clever illusion.Sure, http://www.storyofstuff.com/ already had me primed -- it details simply and clearly how "cheap" for consumers usually means that the costs of production are actually being borne elsewhere -- in the countries where the resources are acquired and where the goods are manufactured. As with other industries, "cheap" means outsourcing production to the developing world -- for IKEA this has meant 32% in 1997, growing to 48% in 2001. Needless to say, they now get more of their goods from China then any other single source.Outsourcing to the developing world in order to achieve their unbelievably low prices means that IKEA does not even attempt to hide that there are child labourers in its supply chain, and it does not put an end to it. In 2006, it acknowledged that that there were child labourers in its Chinese supply chain; it did not terminate relationships with those suppliers. Further, IKEA relies on local standards to define what constitues a "child", not the U.N. definitions we may expect; consequently there are 12 to 15 year olds labouring in factories producing the famously cheap IKEA goods that posters here want -- and it is perfectly acceptable to IKEA.Outsourcing to the developing world means that workers are paid the local minimum wage, not a "decent living wage" ("this does not mean luxuries - televisions or mobile phones - just enough money to buy food, keep their children at school without needing to do two jobs, and have a proper day off every week.”).Something to ponder: Shiva, an Indian woman employed by an Ikea supplier, earns 2,300 rupees a month (about 40 euros) but her monthly transport costs to and from the factory came to 500 rupees (about nine euros). At least she got paid, as little as it was. "In 2003, an investigation of 2,000 Ikea workers in Bulgaria, India and Vietnam found the national minimum wage was frequently not being paid and employees often worked seven-day weeks."As big as IKEA is, it has the power to usher in fair wages, but it chooses not to in order to keep prices low.This is the sort of exploitation one expects from WalMart, not what one expects from a purportedly ethical corporation such as IKEA.What about IKEA and deforestation?"IKEA is now the world's third-largest consumer of lumber after Home Depot and Lowe's—and though it likes to tout its sustainable harvesting program, the responsibility of policing the logging has fallen on just 11 forestry monitors. As Mother Jones has reported, up to 25 percent of IKEA's furniture is made with wood culled from the vast forests of northern Russia—an area notorious for illegal logging—and milled in China. There's just too much to keep track of, as one monitor admits in a company report: "It's not possible to be everywhere all the time." The larger point is this: When IKEA says its wood furniture is made from a "renewable material," it reinforces the idea that disposable is okay."Contrast this with the Vervoordt sofa that liddybird mocks and ridicules.The price tag reflects the fact that the Belgian workers, the craftsmen, who manufacturer it make a good wage, sufficient to support a middle class lifestyle and contribute to the continued economic vitality of their communities. They have universal healthcare, and a high quality public education. The wood used for the frame is from a farmed source which meets exacting European requirements. And because this sofa is so well made, and lasts so long, the environmental costs of 12 IKEA sofas (by liddybird's own calculations) -- the deforestation, the industrial pollution, the transportation from the developing world to ours -- will all be avoided.Gee - wonder which is a better deal for our planet and our children?There is a book being released on July 2nd which speaks to many of these issues: it is Ellen Ruppel Shell's "Cheap: the High Cost of Discount Culture".Given the importance of these issues, given the rather superficial discussion of the topic on this board, given the values espoused by AT, I hope that the AT editors will post about these issues once the book is released, and provoke a more thoughtful discussion than the one on this post.
My goodness, this got everybody going.
I don't know why I bothered to come back and read these comments, or why I would be surprised at the hilariously elitist attitudes expressed in them. Its a design blog, after all.
Sciencegeek - I've thrown away my 99c toilet brush from Ikea, but I think that was kind of the point of it. :^)JenPDX said it very well - I don't think of anything (save something like a toilet brush) as disposable. You CAN want something cheap and you can want something NOW, AND still be thinking of using it for as absolutely long as you can then recycling it, donating it, freecycling it, etc. I'm pro-Ikea b/c of price and style. I like that I can afford to get simple products that I can customize/make my own. My many Ikea purchases have held up VERY well.Thanks to jacksonlalonde, for provoking the discussion!
Thank goodness for IKEA. Even though I'm a college-educated professional with a good job, I can't justify spending the big bucks on DWR, Room & Board, or other high-end and/or "classic" MCM furniture purveyors. Instead, I'm saving my money for a house, for retirement, for my future kids' college fund, for that unexpected rainy day.Nonetheless I do appreciate thoughtful modern design. That's why I really appreciate IKEA's reasonably priced, aesthetically pleasing furniture... And no, I don't trash my IKEA furniture after a few years. All of my IKEA purchases (bed frame, bookcases, desk, bedside tables, lamps) have lasted through several moves and are at least 8 to 10 years old.
I am the author of CHEAP: The High Cost of Discount Culture--the book so kindly mentioned in a comment below. In the book I do an entire chapter based on a visit to IKEA headquarters in Sweden--a place where few American journalists are allowed entry. At IKEA, the focus is on hip DESIGN--not craftsmanship. The company designs TO PRICE--they set a "goal"--say a 50 cent coffee mug or $100 table and chairs--and then design to that goal. This would be no problem were it not that to reach that goal the company must take drastic shortcuts that have serious negative consquences for the environment, human rights, and product quality. If a IKEA supplier cannot meet the low price, they are "re-educated" and if this "re-eduation" does not work, they are dropped. This means IKEA--like Wal-Mart--squeezes its suppliers to the breaking point--and as the world's largest seller of furniture, they have the power to break with abandon--whether it means using timber poached from the forests of eastern europe or Indian and Asian workers paid too little to live on. Meanwhile, IKEA founder Igmar Kamprad--a tax refugee who lives in a villa in Switzerland--enjoys the great success of the IKEA forumula-he is one of the world's richest men.So yeah, many of us swear by IKEA. But let's not fool ourselves that we're doing good for the world or--ultimately--for ourselves by buying there.
My family has two bookcases in our sun room that we bought from Ikea in the late 80s when we lived overseas - they have survived one transcontinental move, two cross-country moves, and more than 10 in-town moves. Anything will last if you don't treat it like throw-away. Now that I'm furnishing spaces for myself, I have been carefully making Ikea purchases wherever I can, so I can graduate from the Yaffa blocks I have from college and still afford to pay off my college. So, in answer to your question, yes. I am Generation Ikea. Maybe it's our placeholding-forbears that are giving Ikea the bad name it seems to have with some posters.
no surprise that IKEA is a subject that begets strong feelings --- witness me registering for the express purpose of commenting on a 2006 'survey' (more like free-for-all, really), in 2011!I love Ikea. I am Indian, and I live in India, have lived here most of my life. There are no Ikea stores in India. They do source products from here however.Why do I love Ikea? It's affordable design that LASTS! yes, get that --- it lasts! not compared to antique mahogany and teak that is handcrafted 4 generations ago, or reproductions thereof. but compared to the handmade poor-quality everyday furniture most people (middle classes) here buy, or the 'designer' poor-quality claptrap with trashy inside and bones but latest-trendy-look shoddy-veneered exteriors that are in all the shiny malls (for the rich). Which start to both fall apart and look dated within 2 years (I say this from experience, living in rented accommodations as well as looking at stuff friends have).There are no thrift stores here. It is rare to see secondhand furniture on our local ebay or craiglists, forget covetable secondhands. there are a few secondhand markets in major cities that sell antique or vintage. the skills to put them to rights are increasingly being lost, though, as they are affordable and attractive only to those rich enough AND interested in the old-world look. Too many of our rich and super-rich (think business tycoons and movie stars) prefer a cutting-edge modernity to show they are with-it --- an important value to set their position apart in a very traditional country, where an ordinary middle-class person (like me) may have inherited a beautiful handcarved teak four-poster from her grandmother, which was made for her wedding trousseau for the equivalent of a few American cents. No, not even a whole dollar. And I'll leave it to you guys to do the math on how many $$$ you need to buy that today! Many antique/vintage furniture sellers have switched to renting the furniture out for period movie sets and the like --- apparently it is more lucrative than outright sales here!So back to Ikea... where do I buy if they don't have outlets here? Well, overseas --- I'm a freelance lifestyle and travel journalist, so I make a couple of trips overseas a year. If there's an Ikea nearby, I'll bring a chair or a lamp home with me, you can bet on that!Why bother? (a) I CANNOT get equivalent quality, let alone design sensibility at twice the price locally --- EVEN THOUGH SOME IT IS MADE IN INDIA! The local market is not mature enough to sell real design (this is the analog to 'real furniture', much bandied about above) to the middle classes; what is sold to us is the 'designer dream', aka what was 'in' in Europe 20 years ago is our 'latest' because some actress or cricketer has it in his/her home. case in point, my dad bought a shoe cabinet a few weeks ago that was likely shipped in (flatpack) from malaysia or thailand (local technology not widely able to duplicate it, though there are some options now; so most stockists ship in from overseas, aka southeast asia). it cost twice what my ikea flatpack did, which has twice the space. and dad's is already chipped --- it got chipped when the guy from the store came to assemble it (no, we couldn't assemble it ourselves, even though we actually could, because it would void the 1-year store warranty! does said warranty get me a replacement for damage during *their* assembly? no!)(b) cost. I *can* get real wood, custom-made furniture if I can (i) hunt down a good carpenter, few and far between these days (ii) source the wood myself, but that's not AS difficult as finding the woodworking dude, since my city actually has a few hardwood timber yards. It is much cheaper than the storebought furniture. Much better quality too. But Ikea is cheaper still! and I don't have the hassle of having my house turned into a woodworking workshop for a month while four chairs are made. because the poor craftsmen here are just that: poor. they can't afford power tools, they use manual lathes and saws and planers. they can't even afford a spirit level. forget a workshop! so they take longer and need *my* space to work in. and because they are poor and they don't get paid much in this country where machined is priced above handmade, there are fewer skilled craftsmen. The *skilled* craftsmen are paid more so the stuff costs more --- though still less than store-bought, it's more expensive than Ikea!(c) Ikea sources from India. I do NOT profess to know all the ins and outs of their trading practices. BUT, I do know that Ikea's care for their workers and the wages they pay are far, far superior to what local patrons would pay them. at those scoffing about the low daily wages, let me tell you, that low daily wage that seems unliveable to you IS often a comfortable living for a traditional artisan or craftsman here. At least someone is keeping them *AND* their crafts alive; there are too many dying crafts and crafters in this country, which one can hardly bear to think of but one sees all day, every day. Is a 14-year-old sewing a wall hanging ideal. Far from it! But it's a step above a 9-year-old doing it, or the family starving their newborn daughter (because she's a girl, hence would be a less valuable labourer, plus would cost money to marry off) because of the LACK of that 14-year-old's income; and far better for the boy to have a marketable skill and dignity, than having to beg on the streets to eat --- even if that means forgoing what should be every child's right, a primary education. I do NOT equivocate: no child SHOULD hv to live like this. BUT the resources aren't available, the reach is not there yet. It is a VAST and grossly overpopulated nation. Every little bit that helps, is a step in the right direction. We do have child labour laws. If they could be implemented across the board, all other economic factors unchanged, MILLIONS (not overstating) would starve. Let's get priorities right: the right to life comes before the right to safe water and food, which in turn comes before the right to education. Again, NOT arguing for child labour, and indeed it is abhorrent in ANY circumstance. I'm explaining, however, WHY my country's child labour laws protect those under the age of fourteen, not 18. Because there are other pressing realities. (14 is high-school graduating age, by the way, so yes, they are hopefully getting an education before that).As for the meagre salary a person above me quoted, I again DO NOT know if Ikea pays those. BUT I can tell you that is only a little less than my entire month's household expenses --- and I'm not poor, but middle-class; not 'well off', but not scraping a living. I have a house that I bought on a bank loan. My significant other owns a secondhand car. We eat really well, indeed consider ourselves foodies. We can afford to eat dairy and meat or fish daily if we wanted to. This is NOT the same as the average artisans life. YET we can make do. Well enough that I can afford to choose what projects I take on. To be a freelancer rather than have a soul-killing job in a corporate office. So don't sneeze at that salary, please, just because it seems ridiculous to you. Many things you take for granted are superluxurious the world over (or at least in developing countries. These include, and aren't limited to: bottled water; new clothes that are NOT secondhand or are actually made to your body size/shape; furniture for the sole purpose of sleeping or sitting on (ridiculous to many! what's a floor for?); a toilet INSIDE THE HOUSE; HOT water on tap!; plumbing!Ikea's not necessarily an angel. I don't KNOW if they are, or whether their trade practices make them a devil in disguise --- BUT nothing I've read so far suggest unusual hardship or unfairness to workers in India at least. (though I'll now make more effort to find out locally; I've only heard good things, like training for workers, education for their children, basic healthcare for both, and new designs and techniques that then spread into the local market as well, making skills in danger of obsolescence marketable again).Their design however works, and looks good, and lasts --- on the cheap.okay, i'll stop sermonising now.
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