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the love-hate relationship continues

    My best friend K.C. and I {and our seven children} took a shopping trip to IKEA yesterday.

    I love that it is close enough to just pop in on a random thursday morning.

    I hate that even on a random thursday morning the play area was full. Only two of seven children made it in.

    I love how inexpensive daily-use items like paper napkins and juice cups are.

    I abhor those terribly wonky roll-all-over-the-place shopping carts.

    I love the textile department. Curtains are long and affordable {these are my absolute favorites}, you can buy striped fabric by the yard, and down pillow inserts are super cheap.

    I hate that long trek through the warehouse once you make it out of the showroom to checkout. Especially when the pager is going off because your hour is up and its time to pick up the kiddos from Smaland. It seems to take forever.

    I love self checkout. I’m serious. It’s like playing ‘store’ for grownups.

    I really don’t love how sweaty I am by the time we make it back to the car. The whole experience is exhausting.

    But I sure do love unloading all my goodies and seeing what was thrown into the cart this time.

    1. simple picture frame {ribba}

    2. non-slip carpet mat {stopp}

    3. plaid throw blanket {hermine}

    4. cocktail paper napkins {fantastisk}

    5. striped throw blanket {eivor}. I’ve had my eye on this for a while. Not sure where it will go, but stripes are always a welcomed addition to my home.

    6. clay pot {mandel}

    7. juice cups {reko}. $1.49 for six. This is what my kids use as drinking cups. They chip eventually, but replacing is so inexpensive, I don’t mind.

    8. fabric by the yard {sofia}. Nice canvas weight. I’m thinking about cutting some on the bias for diagonal stripe curtain trim.

    9. faux greenery {fejka}. Pretty cheap looking, but from a distance, it adds a nice pop of color.


    The items I come home will always make the trip worthwhile, but you probably won’t see me and IKEA together for quite a while. We need to take a break from each other so we can fall back in love.

    I posted to the JDC facebook page yesterday and I’ll ask you again here … how do you feel about IKEA?¬† Are you a lover or a hater?


    {p.s. I don’t usually use the word hate. I sort of cringe at it because it is so strong. I don’t actually hate anything about IKEA. Well, except for maybe the sweaty, exhausted part.}


    61 thoughts on “the love-hate relationship continues”

    1. Love- I experienced Ikea for the very first time about a month ago. Pretty sure it was one of the most ridiculous stores ever (in the overwhelmingness of options!!). My husband might be between love/hate as his very first comment was “Why is this store so weird?”

    2. Love for sure. I can pick up one plate or bowl in a color I love to use as a container in my office. Great for photo props, too :) I’m adding those juice glasses to the list. My kiddos will feel so adult using REAL glass.

    3. I feel much the same about IKEA. I am glad that it is an hours drive for me, so that ensures that I do not go often. But when I do go… I usually have a list a mile long! I love that plaid throw you bought. I may have to scribble that to my IKEA list. — I agree about the word “hate”. I also cringe. Probably because my mother taught me to never say it. She used to say… you only “hate” evil and the devil himself.

    4. Ooo! I love all the stuff you bought! I’m a sucker for black and white (my blog is mostly b&w with some natural textures)…so I’ll probably head to Ikea tomorrow to get some of that fabric and the b&w striped blanket.

      And I totally feel ya on the love/hate thing. I always wear workout clothes when I go to Ikea because it’s seriously like working out. lol

    5. You pretty much summed it up! I love my Ikea. But after a trek there, I do need to take a big long break before I would ever dream of going again. Like more than a year! I just moved a week ago, so now I’m excited to go scoop up some stuff we need. I always start on a high, and by the end of the warehouse, I bid Ikea a fond, exhausted adieu!

    6. I everything about IKEA. If there is anything slightly annoying about IKEA it is vetoed by all the positive things that are so wonderful about IKEA. I am not far from the Atlanta IKEA and I love any excuse to go there!!! ( well, the Atlanta traffic getting to IKEA is a negative but that’s on Atlanta not IKEA – LOL!)

    7. I LOVE IKEA. Seriously. But like in every good relationship there are a few things that you’d like to change about your partner. Like the quality of my dining table top (the first two chips in the paint were on its second day). Like that I sometimes drive there to buy something that I need and it’s not in store. But overall, IKEA and I have been going steady for almost twenty years now, so I think it’s love ;-)

      PS In Germany Smaland lets you leave your kids longer than an hour. Not that I’d know, I’d only sometimes like to leave my husband there when he starts complaining ;-)

    8. I feel exactly the same way! Although our IKEA is over an hour away! :( And how funny… we were there last Thursday too!! It was actually a pretty productive IKEA trip though. Meaning, found exactly what we needed (college stuff for my son), not too long, not too much money, & not too grumpy! :)

    9. I’m definitely a lover of Ikea! I buy everything there now since it’s just as close to me as our closest grocery store.

      I HATE those carts, too. I can’t go to ikea in cute shoes. I have to wear grippy sturdy shoes in order to manage the cart.

    10. I love Ikea and our only non-thrifted furniture in our house has came from Ikea BUT I HATE their carts….My kids hang on them and the carts go crazy. We signed up for Ikea family so they get 1 1/2 hour in smalland but that might be after a half hour wait. I have a love-hate relationship too.

    11. my secret is to walk up where you can eat and to go down the stairs directly into the shopping area without having to walk thru the showrooms. especially if there is something i already know i want/where it is, then it’s the fastest way to get there!!! i don’t know why they don’t give you an obvious choice to just go there right away! lol

    12. Emily, can I just say how much I have enjoyed your site since discovering it a few days ago? Thank you for sharing your talents and experience (love the ikea post!). Just signed up for JDC monthly and I adore September’s designs; looking very forward to these treats in the months to come.

    13. I totally agree with all of your love-hates. I’ll add a few more loves to the list. I love the meatball dinner. We always make sure we go to IKEA during a meal time- lunch or dinner. It’s an hour drive so it ends up being a big trip. I love the paper napkins and I love the funky photo frames. To help us recover from the sweaty part at the end we get an ice cream cone on the way out. That’s when I really hate the wonky wheeled carts. Try steering them with one hand while eating ice cream with the other. :)

    14. I absolutely love IKEA but shopping with my three kiddos is a challenge. The funny thing is that I am going there tomorrow with a good friend — without the kids. I love them so much but I think this is the first time I am going to actually be able to really look at everything. It is going to be a whole new experience!

    15. I don’t usually leave comments but I just had to this time.
      Ikea is about 45 mins from me and one of the things I LOVE is the roll of white paper in the kids department for 4.99. I use it all the time to wrap and tie pretty bows. To make templetes for my homemade vintage signs and when my kids were younger we used to lay a sheet out and trace their body. Then they would use markers and crayons, fabric…whatever we could find to decoarate their figures. Then cut them out and dispay them happily on the wall. Funny, my daugheter brings the paper to babysitting jobs.
      OK..HATE those shopping carts.. I’m soooo glad to hear so many of you hate them too. What the heck?? I finally figured out, that pulling it from the front end really helps. I apologize to all the people, whose heels I have run up, trying to navigate around the store with those darn carts.
      LOVE Ikea… unscented candles..picture frames.. beds… omg their closet system is the bomb!! and so much more.
      Hard to find help sometimes but all in all, such an awesome store!!

    16. i am very jealous that you can just pop on into ikea :)
      the closest one to me is 6 hours away :(
      i know what you mean about the love/hate though. i seem to come home with a variety of items when i do get to shop there…..i just throw it in the basket and go! {especially when you have kids with you!}

      the cinnamon rolls all make it worth it, right??!!!

    17. I am a “liker”, not lover of ikea……but am loving the idea of those juice glasses (since I am have them in 2 sizes and need more). question: does Ikea sell 2 sizes of those juice cups (the “juice size” and a little bit larger version)?? thank you!

    18. I LOVE Ike!!! Lliving in Central Queensland, Australia, the closest store is around… ooh… 700km away. You are so LUCKY to have one you can just drop into – I’m sure I would be there every weekend if I could be!

    19. I like Ikea. Our shopping carts are great and the kid’s area has always had space during the week. Checkout lanes are something else! I live 20 minutes from our West Chester (Cincinnati ,Ohio) Ikea.

    20. I haven’t been to an IKEA since we lived in Germany, but I have never left one without a purchase or two or twelve. I loved all the little gadgets in the kitchen section, but loathed the winding maze to get out. Imagine the first time I went and had no idea how to get out, no one spoke English and I was too new to speak much German. It’s actually a pretty funny story that is way funnier now than it was then. At least to me. My friends have always thought it was hysterical.

    21. Yes, love IKEA! It’s a trek for us but well worth it. We make it a day out and have lunch there, usually on Thursdays for the yummy roast chicken dinner for only $2.99 each. We did go today (Friday) for another pair of those long white textured curtains, some curtain rings in white (which we could not find anywhere else), a couple of fry pans, and a laptop holder. As for the walk to the checkout, it’s good for us! We also make a trip to Trader Joe’s the same day for their specials, and we always pick up some Toscano Cheese with black pepper. It’s amazing!

    22. I feel the same way and was just at Ikea this week. The worst was not getting the kids in the play area because the middle one had a pull up on! I always forget what I came for too!

    23. I totally agree with you! My biggest complaint is how crazy complicated they make it to leave the store, and if you try to follow the exit signs, it take you literally through the whole store, god forbid there was ever a fire in the store, people would be running everywhere. I’m pretty much exhausted from all the walking once I hit the registers, and always make a mental note not to go back anytime soon.

    24. I feel the same way! Love the fun products. The shopping carts drive me crazy, and our childcare area is always full too. I pretty much have to get there before noon on a weekday if I want any chance of my little one getting in- forget any chance on a Saturday. My biggest pet peeve is the layout of the store. It was a fun novelty at first, but trying to maneuver out of that store in a quick fashion stresses me to the max because usually the kids are being nightmares at that point. I always think about how panicked I’d be to be in there during a fire.

    25. I love that Ikea is a great place to furnish my daughters’ living spaces at college..$19 for a fabulous gray rug to cover the yukky dorm room floor. I definately love our Ikea in San Diego over the one in Chicago…I think we had to run in more circles in Chicago to get to the self-check out..which I love!

    26. These are my thoughts exactly! I love ikea for accessories, texties, and kids stuff but it also gets on my nerves in a million ways. Thankfully, the renton one is a little bit of a trek so I can space out my visits! HAHA

    27. I feel EXACTLY the same way about IKEA!!! HATE HATE HATE it — but there’s a lot of great basic & inexpensive stuff that you absolutely can’t find anywhere else — and so I go once in a while. I wish the “marketplace” were set up as a separate store — but then they wouldn’t be able to force me to wade thru the rest of the stuff.

    28. I love IkEA, i think i always will. Its super close to where i live and i take the kids (3year old boy, and 6 mo girl) and my husband. Breakdowns do happen though, (mostly to my 3yo… ;) ) but i think ultimately we all enjoy going. The kids section i think is my favorite, i really wish my room as a child was so fun and bright!
      And they have everything… I guess if you can imagine it, they probably have the hardware so you can make it!

    29. you make me laugh. we don’t have an Ikea very close to us so I think I’ve only been once but I would take the sweaty mess, exhausted, wonky carts any day if I had one close to shop in!! Love their style and most especially prices!

    30. I have had my eye on that striped blanket for months! I LOVE IT. I also have a love/hate with IKEA, for all the same reasons you mention. I hate those carts…but loooove thier textiles. I hate Smaland lines…but love the $1 Cinnamon Buns :)

    31. This post made me laugh a little. I am SO looking forward to a trip to Ikea this weekend actually. I know probably crazy on a holiday but I am a lover. I do have some of the same thoughts though as you about the “hates”. But I live in Everett and don’t get down that far too often. Hope get some great finds as well. :)

    32. We live in Portugal, so IKEA was our resource when stocking the guest houses we run for pastors and missionaries. It took me months/maybe over a year to rekindle the love after that enormous task. We’re used to those baskets–they’re wonky all over Europe! I’m with Christy on the free childcare (except our daughters have reached the height limit) and discounted meals with a Family card. I don’t mind the meatballs–we even buy the frozen ones downstairs. Also, look for those cut-through doors that help you bypass crowds and spaces you don’t want to walk through–saves lots of time and steps!

    33. This post made me smile because I’m with you on almost each one of these points. The only difference at our IKEA is that there is pretty much always space in the Smalland. And seriously, childcare while shopping? The best thing ever! Oh, that reminds me of one dislike—that the smalland start is judged by height instead of age. Not fair for vertically challenged families like us. During the winter I sometimes roam IKEA merely for the break from the oldest’s questions and a warm place to get some exercise while enjoy the displays as a museum. 2 more likes: free kids’ food once a week, and the membership card that gives you extra time with childcare.

    34. I miss our Ikea terribly. We had one just down the street from us when we lived in San Diego and I could pop in whenever my design whimsy needed a nudge. Here in the islands, I think it will snow before they bring one out here. There just isn’t enough population to support it. Only 2 more years till I see one again!

    35. aprairiegirlincalifornia

      K I love ikea. I honestly do not remember a time in my life when ikea was not around. Does that mean I am young? I am 24 and I grew up just a ways from calgary and there has always been one there:) we would go there on rainy days just to hang out the guys loved it as much as the girls and now I live in California and I am 2 hours from one so I for sure delight to go! But ya those carts? Dislike. The frozen yogurt and the cinnamon rolls Love!!!!

    36. I guess I like Ikea….No love….No hate.
      I am older and don’t have little children to entertain when shopping.
      I rather enjoy the stroll around the store but only when I am in the right mood.
      The food is just so, so…..disappointing to me.
      I don’t like the long trek to check out either… my feet are pooped by then.
      I do like certain things that seem to be very inexpensive.
      I bought a farmhouse sink there and I recently purchased two outdoor chairs there in the weathered grey look…I still thought them rather pricey but compared to Pottery Barn they were “free”. That is what I call a great deal…to my husband.. ” but honey, they were FREE”!
      There is one twenty minutes from me when at my home in Gilbert, AZ but I still only go about once a year. Like…. yes, Like would be my word. :)

    37. I have the same kind of relationship with IKEA.
      And, the same kind of relationship with the word “hate”.
      Luckily, IKEA in Portland is all the way on the other side of town, so I usually only go there when we are picking somebody up at the airport…4-6 times a year.

    38. I love Ikea through and through! Ok, I reaaaaaally don’t like putting together complicated furniture so I think long and hard before I buy any of their furniture pieces but we move a lot and good furniture sometimes gets knocked around so they are an affordable alternative until we settle down somewhere. I live 20 mins away from one and really love it if I can make a trip without the family in tow! It does come under the category of an ‘expedition’ still though. It just isn’t the kind of place you can duck in and out of. I would say their kitchen wares, textiles and storage stuff are my favourite sections.

    39. I am not a huge fan. I like the imagination of the place and the merchandise design, but abhor inexpensive, throw away stuff.

    40. I love Ikea, unfortunately we have to plan the drive. We live hours from our nearest one (the one you shop at). But when I plan to go it becomes a girl’s day out, no kids, just the moms and Ikea. It is awesome!! That reminds me, we are due for another trip….

    41. Ikea is a 2 hour drive for us, so when we go we make it a good trip. I would love to go sans kids some time though so I can really poke and dream!

    42. I know what you mean! Thankfully I live too far away and rarely make it there. I try to think I will and I make a list of things to get when we do….but then I get antsy and take the list to Target or do without the things I really didn’t need to begin with!

    43. I have a love-hate relationship as well. :) We are missionaries overseas and are so grateful to have two IKEAs near us…and with many things written in English, which makes this foreigner love IKEA even more. But one of the funniest things is that IKEA has the BEST shopping carts in the entire country here. Seriously, the best. They are also the only ones that have straps to buckle your kids in the cart, which is kind of helpful with squirmy little ones! So if you think they are bad, just imagine what the rest of the shopping carts are like here. :) And I love that plaid throw. I looked it up on our country’s site, and we have it. Yeah! Sometimes the US has stuff that we don’t, and vice versa.

    44. Hi Emily,
      Funny you should ask. I’ve been wanting to go to Ikea for over a year, and I longfully look at others’ purchases, such as yours. The closest one in the U.S. is 4 hours away and in Canada 2 1/2 hours away. Sigh……you are very fortunate to be close by. I just love Ikea.

    45. LOVE Ikea – but only during the week there is no way I would venture in there on the weekends. It has been a great place to add finishing touches (in small amounts) to make our new place look pulled together. Plus I am obsessed with all the ideas I have been finding on how to make IKEA furniture pieces your own and more unique looking. So many great and inexpensive options out there to add pieces without having your house end up looking like the showroom!

    46. I LOVE Ikea… but I also don’t live near one anymore! Right out of college I was able to furnish a very small apartment on a budget, and thus started my love affair with Ikea. Now that my needs and income have changed quite a bit, I buy less, but love to peruse their textiles and get ideas from their showrooms.

    47. So funny that you don’t like the word “hate” because when I read the title, I had to double-check that it was from you because it doesn’t seem like a word you use. When we were kids my mom always said hate is such a strong word that we shouldn’t use it. I never really got that until I was much older and now I rarely, rarely use it. Love all your IKEA finds! I think the only thing I could say I “dislike” about IKEA is that it’s so far away… :)

    48. I have a love/hate relationship with it as well! I always leave hating IKEA; but like childbirth–you forget about the experience and do it again. Ha ha.

      I don’t like:
      ~ that you can’t take your shopping cart to your car, especially when your 4 kids are with you…and they don’t give you bags to put it in…
      ~the rules for the play area. Only 2 of my 4 kids qualify
      ~I too hate those carts! Why are they like that?
      ~shelf-checkout drives me bonkers

      There is so much I love about IKEA, which is why I keep going back…

      Glad I’m not the only one with this dysfunctional relationship.

    49. Those fake plants? I have them all over my home in spots where no light reaches. When out of town this summer, a friend was watering my plants and checking on my home.

      She watered those fake plants for three weeks. Had no clue they were fake. I love them!

    50. LOVE Ikea. You are a lucky girl to have one close. Whenever we go through Dallas, I always want to stop. Or whenever my husband goes for business, I always have a list of things I want him to pick up for me. I’ve never used their childcare, but with three itty bitties, I’m thinking I may need to employ that service next time. Great purchases! I’m a fan of anything striped. Seriously.

    51. True True. Especially the sweaty part. The parking lot is downright scary if you’re trying to maneuver one of those wonky carts. I (and my husband) are smitten with Ikea as it is helping to outfit our home. The curtains? ADORE.

    52. I love basically everything about Ikea! But, of course, I don’t have kids to worry about so that helps a lot! :) I’ve been drooling over that striped throw for a while now, too!

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