For Scandinavian style on a budget, IKEA can't be beat. It became one of the world's largest retailers by providing affordable furniture that looks good, and its iconic brand is both praised and critiqued in a way that few furniture stores ever experience. Maybe it's because of its omnipresence that we haven't added it to our store guide until now.
Almost everyone who has visited IKEA remembers their first trip to the Swedish megastore. As a resource for affordable home basics, it’s the place many people go when they leave home for college, move into their first apartment, or buy their first home. For renters, it’s got a huge selection of inexpensive furnishings, lighting, textiles, and cookware. For homeowners, it’s a one-stop shop for kitchen and bath remodels.
On the other hand, IKEA has received criticism for its lack of sustainability and the disposable nature of some of its products. We’ve personally found that the quality of products varies. We’ve had good results with many of the solid wood or metal product lines, and we’ve found that the fiberboard pieces generally don’t hold up as well. Certain favorite products that show up again and again on the pages of Apartment Therapy include classics like the PS cabinet, Frosta stool, Expedit shelves, and Grundtal kitchen hardware.
MORE IKEA ON APARTMENT THERAPY • The New IKEA 2010 Catalog! • IKEA 2009 Catalog: 10 Best New Items • Best IKEA Classics • Best Buys at IKEA • Is IKEA the Least Sustainable Retailer?