The Ultimate IKEA Shopping List: 9 Cheap, Chic Classics

updated Jul 15, 2020
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

I knew I was a grown up the moment I switched out my IKEA mattress for a much more comfortable mattress I could invest in (and it was the best decision I ever made, but that’s a different post for a different day). Still, there’s a lot of great stuff to be found at the Swedish furniture giant. These nine pieces are tried and tested purchases that even grown-ups with grown-up money should consider snatching up for their homes.

Based on how often they’re spotted in tours and projects on home blogs (including right here on Apartment Therapy), here are the 9 Best Things to buy from IKEA.

(Image credit: Emily Henderson)

Pricey, for IKEA standards, but this black and white striped rug has been holding ground in some of my favorite spaces.

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(Image credit: Chris Gardner)

BILLY Bookcase, $79.99
Adjustable shelves and the ability to stack and layer pieces from the entire system makes this basic bookcase the most versatile storage in any home for any price. It’s so popular, it’s also used as an economic measurement tool.

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(Image credit: LeSueur Interiors)

KALLAX Shelving Unit (formerly the EXPEDIT), $34.99-$169
Anything looks better stocked up in the perfectly square cubbies of this bookcase. They’re literally everywhere.

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(Image credit: Lonny)

DOCKSTA Table, $179
This knockoff of the iconic Eero Tulip Table is just as modern and versatile, but way more affordable.

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(Image credit: Glitter and Goat Cheese)

RIBBA Picture Ledge & Frames, $1.99-$19.99
The frames themselves are great basic frames for gallery walls. Solid and sturdy, use it to hold books, cords or, you know, pictures.

As seen in…

  • Mini Gallery Wall / Glitter and Goat Cheese
  • Matt and Ben’s Traditional Eclectic House Tour / Apartment Therapy
  • Use an IKEA Ribba Shelf for Cord Control / Apartment Therapy
(Image credit: The Everygirl)

LACK Side Table, $9.99
One top, four legs, and a world of possibilities. They’re literally everywhere and last forever. OK, they last long enough to save up ten bucks for a new one (or fifty).

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(Image credit: The Everygirl)

MALM Chests & Dressers, $49.99-$199
Whether three drawers or six is enough to stash stuff, the perfect dresser is out there. The clean lines make it perfect for painting and customization.

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(Image credit: Southern Living)

DALFRED Bar Stool, $39.99
A cool adjustable stool you’d see sitting at the desk in an architect’s loft, but just the right price to buy a whole row of them to cozy up to a kitchen island.

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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

MELLTORP Dining Table, $65
Whether used as a dining table or a desk, this melamine table comes in two sizes and works as a basic piece in any decor.

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And as a bonus…

(Image credit: IKEA)

GLIMMA Unscented Tealights, $3.99
Four bucks for a hundred candles, and they take up, like, negative space almost.

(Image credit: IKEA)

FRAKTA Shopping Bag, 99¢
It’s huge. It’s a workhorse. And it’s 99¢. I buy one every time I go just to lug my haul to the car, then keep them around to have a supply of sturdy bags I don’t mind leaving behind at a friend’s house after an ambitious potluck or at my parents’ house full of Christmas presents.

Our Editor-in-Chief Shares Our Best IKEA Shopping Tips

Re-edited from a post originally published 5.15.14-NT