The Most Useful IKEA Products for Every Situation, According to an IKEA Employee

published Apr 13, 2021
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Credit: Sarah Crowley/Apartment Therapy

Anytime I ever need something functional (and affordable) for my home, my first stop is always IKEA. But the home goods superstore can be overwhelming. Apartment Therapy spoke to IKEA’s U.S. interior design manager, Barry Reidy, to help sort things out and pinpoint a few product suggestions for the most common reasons people stop into the store.

The First Thing You Should Buy at IKEA If You Just Moved into a New Apartment

Think about the things you need that will anchor your main rooms — like a sofa (something with legs; if it’s off the ground it gives the illusion of more space, Reidy says), a rug, and a dining table. Once you’ve got those, you can add personal embellishments to make the space your own.

“Your home should represent you,” Reidy says. “Bring in elements that show your passion and truly make you feel happy at home. For the sofa, layer up with textiles for comfort and to show your personality. Place floor cushions on your rug to create a more inviting atmosphere. Around the dining table, consider mixing and matching chairs to make your space unique to you.”

The Best Housewarming Gift at IKEA

Housewarming gifts can be difficult to shop for because you want to incorporate the giftee’s style into your present. But if they’ve just moved into their home, you might not know how they want to decorate. So choose something that’s easy to fit in, regardless of its aesthetic.

“A plant in a plant pot is the perfect gift,” Reidy says. “Real plants bring a sense of peace and relaxation, and they’re also easy to work into any space in the home. Whether placed on a windowsill or grouped together with a mix of large- and small-scale plants, this gift will help your friend create a green statement in their new space.”

The IKEA Product You’ll Always Need to Do Some Cheap Redecorating

Redecorating your home doesn’t have to be a full-on ordeal with new paint, new furniture, and new statement pieces. It can be as simple as reorganizing your things onto new shelves — ones that either take up a small area or cover an entire wall.

“For a versatile and affordable piece that will help transform the look of a space and provide great function, I recommend the BILLY,” Reidy says. “This hardworking family of bookcases tackles both storage and display in one and comes in a variety of sizes and styles that can be customized to meet your needs. The shelves are adjustable, so you can store and display anything from books, vases, and picture frames, to handbags and shoes.”

The IKEA Product You’ll Definitely Get the Most Use Out of

When you’re not zoning out in front of the television, the pandemic probably sent you to one place more than others: the kitchen. So if you want to score the most useful product at IKEA, think culinary.

“Our IKEA 365+ clear glass containers make it easier to see what food you have, helping to reduce food waste and contribute to a more sustainable everyday life,” Reidy says. “I love our chopping boards for their function while meal-prepping, but they’re also beautiful when used as a serving tray for charcuterie.”