A Certain Lack of Focus

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

More from Ikea

Everything we bought from Ikea this Saturday is now in use. Except for the puppets, but more on that later (I promise. And sooner or later I'll get around to posting about Dragon mating as well). For now I'd like to talk about putting together our new furniture.mattbuildingIkea has a diabolical business model, unlike stores like target and home depot that make their money by setting up in every city with more than two cows, Ikea's appeal is that it a little ways away. labelIkea is right now building a store in West Chester, OH but that's nearly four hours from Cleveland. The closest stores are the one in Pittsburgh (2 hours, 20 minutes), where we went, and a store in Canton, Michigan (2 hours, 40 minutes). Ikea will never build a store in Cleveland (unless they change their business model) because we have three stores that are an easy day trip away. They want us to make the day trip. It could be argued (and has been on unrelated topics) that I'm just a paranoid freak, but the fact that many of their products are not available either online or by mail-order supports the idea that it's a conscious global design plan on Ikea's part.

amybagThe reason they do this is that they have a unique enough group of items that they know people will recognize the Ikea "brand" (without the necessity of a label), this makes their furniture more desirable than say Target's upscale furniture (which I have to admit, I do like) or other more generic designs. This means when you drive three hours to the nearest store, you're more likely to make impulse buys because, hey, who knows when you'll be back? Everything about their floor plan encourages those impulse buys. Before you get to the large rooms dedicated to JUST beds or chairs or kitchen gadgets, you're assaulted with teaser looks at nifty furniture in the room displays: "find this lamp in the lighting section!" Smaller items such as bathmats and wooden hangers are packaged haphazardly around with giant yellow bags close at hand.

Matt and I had several things we intended to pick up and we stuck to the plan pretty closely (except for the puppets). We've been wanting bedside tables and Ikea carries tables made of, wait for it... ACTUAL WOOD at a comparable price to the shitty particle board ones you might find most places. We got two of those and a bench for the entry way. We looked at bedside lamps but didn't see any we liked enough to impulse, and we decided we ought to wait since we weren't really sure how high the tables would be once assembled. We'd also been looking for a dish-drying rack for our dishwasher-dangerous items such as wooden handled knives and a rack to hold up the cutting boards, which tend to slide down the wall without proper supervision.

In the kitchen section we found the drying rack and cutting board rack (which is technically a dish rack, but I can't see the practical use of a rack that holds only four dishes, taking up as much horizontal space as the dishes would, and more vertical space than dishes stacked) without any trouble. I was sort of childishly delighted at how solid the cutting board rack was, putting it together made a sound like a toddler playing with building blocks. The drying rack probably wouldn't be that exciting to any normal human being, but it turned out to be the perfect size to hang over the sink, and doesn't take up any of the highly coveted counter space (or stove burner space, which is where I usually rest the drying knives and spoons. For some reason I think that since it's on fire most of the time it must be more sanitary).bedside

The solid wood construction of the end tables made me giddy in much the same way as the cutting board rack (only more so). We entirely failed to match the stain with any of the furniture in our bedroom, but we don't really mind. We're both much happier to have a place for mid-night glasses of water, kleenex and I'm happy to have a place for a journal, notebook and my vitamins. The wood actually doesn't look too bad with the red comforter on, but the green quilt brings out the yellow and really makes it stick out. One of the coolest things, which we noticed as an afterthought, was that the back bottom corner is taken out so that the table can sit right flush to the wall. Smart design.

The bench in the hallway worked out even better than we expected: Matt was able to move some of his shoes from the bedroom closet because the shelf is wider than we thought. Ikea actually intended the bench to be for the bathroom (it's cedar, or a wood that's meant to look like cedar) and the red tone of the wood is a beautiful contrast to the green walls.

All in all it was a successful trip. We didn't spend too terribly much money, we didn't pick up anything that we didn't plan to (except for the puppets) and everything's built now, and helping us get crap off our floor and put AWAY where it belongs.

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