11 IKEA Products Every Renter Should Know About
Two monumental things happened to me in June 2008: my son was born and an IKEA opened a mile from my apartment. Any New Yorker who’s stood in line in the bowels of Port Authority to take the shuttle bus back and forth to the Elizabeth, NJ IKEA will understand that these events were nearly on par with each other. I’m a lifelong renter and IKEA products have come to the rescue for many of my rental conundrums over the years. Here are, in my opinion, the most renter-friendly IKEA products out there to know about.
SCHOTTIS shades are an easy and cheap way to get your windows covered fast. They’re great for privacy when you’ve just moved into a new place or, like me, you’re taking your sweet, sweet time deciding on more permanent window coverings. The shades attach with an adhesive strip so you don’t have to drill into the wall. You can cut them to size to fit windows 35.5″ or less. For $2 more, you can get them in light-blocking black. IKEA has a similar shade in teal called SOMMAR.
One of the most challenging renter woes, and one I’ve faced in my last few apartments, is the lack of closet space. I’ve lived in apartments with tiny closets as well as one with only a small broom closet, but no bedroom closets. Each time I’ve ameliorated the problem with PAX wardrobes. They’re large and highly customizable both in function and look. Depending on the options you choose, they can be expensive so you’ll want to really think through what you need. Since the PAX wardrobes are so large and heavy, I’d only recommend them if you’re planning on staying put a few years. Check out some of the smaller, lighter (and cheaper) wardrobe options if you tend toward a more transitory life.
If a PAX isn’t what you’re looking for to solve your small or no-closet situation, take a look at the ALGOT system. Part of the system is wall-mounted, if you’re allowed to screw into your walls and is super customizable—check out the version Apartment Therapist Nancy created in her small NYC studio. If you prefer (or your landlord prefers) something freestanding, there’s a plethora of frame and basket options. The tall ones with hanging options will still need to be secured to the wall, but require far fewer holes than wall-mounted options, but the shorter ones (like shown above) are truly freestanding.
IKEA has another closet system called ELVARLI—slightly more expensive (and slightly more attractive, in my opinion) than the ALGOT—but perhaps not as useful to renters as it must be either secured to the wall or the ceiling. (But worth checking out if screws in the walls are ok in your rental.)
Forget worrying about mounting a full-length mirror or, worse, standing on the toilet to try seeing your outfit in the bathroom mirror. The GARNES hooks over any door and can be taken to your next apartment. Other renter-friendly options for a full-length mirror, are the standing KARMSUND or IKORNNES floor mirrors or the KNAPPER OR ISFJORDEN which also have a hanging bar behind for clothing.
For renters with bare bones bathrooms, the TISKEN series—intended for use on tile or glass—uses strong suction to attach to walls and can really beef up the storage opportunities in a bathroom with a hanging rail, hooks, and bins as well as accessories like a mirror, soap holder and toilet paper holder. Similarly, the IMMELN series also uses suction and includes hooks, shower baskets, and a mirror.
Also with a lot of potential for the bathroom, these plastic hangers can be fastened to the wall with screws or renter-friendly, self-adhesive tape. The colors are on the juvenile side, but I’d love to see someone paint them for a more mature look.
Although you’ll find more selection at other places (like Etsy), IKEA has started to offer a small range of removable wall stickers to decorate rental walls without a single nail. Shown above are the KLÄTTA chalkboard adhesives.
Don’t think you can’t have an organized entryway if you can’t nail hooks into the wall. IKEA has several standing coat racks, my favorite being the powder-coated steel HEMNES with hooks on two levels and adjustable feet in case, like every rental I’ve ever lived in, your floors are slightly uneven.
Renters with a pedestal sink (especially with exposed plumbing) may lament a lack of undersink storage. If this is you—try two RAGRUND sink shelves pushed together to fit around your plumbing and, voila!, instant storage. If you have space for a chair, the RAGRUND chair’s high back serves as a towel rack — one less screw in the wall.
Rentals are notorious for having poor or harsh overhead lighting. Floor and table lamps can go a long way to remedy this, but a sconce-like lamp, like the
RANARP is handy to have in your arsenal, too. It can attach to the wall with screws or used wherever you like when clamped onto a surface. Another clamp-on lighting option is the smaller
JANSJÖ, perfect as an accent light for showcasing art or books.
What have I missed? What’s your favorite, renter-friendly IKEA product?
Re-edited from a post originally published 09.29.2017 – LS