What is the best/worst thing you ever bought from IKEA?

Do you love or hate shopping at the Swedish mecca for homewares? Have you bought something wonderful that has lasted you forever and you recommend it to everyone? A bargain Billy bookcase or an Antilop highchair, perhaps, or a steal of a sofa?

Or does the thought of heading into the warren of fake rooms send shivers up your spine (and into your wallet)? Did you try any of their food products and wonder what all the meatball fuss is about?

Tell us all what you love and/or hate about shopping at Ikea and any recommendations for best/worst buys. We’d love to use your comments in an article on the CHOICE website so rant away!


We ensure that we only buy solid timber products whether from Ikea or not. We have learn’t from our friends who have bought manufactured board products from Ikea that they have a very limited life (3-5 years) compared to a long life with solid timber. We have bought the odd solid timber items (baby cot), but steer away from other non-solid products.

Somethings can be hit and miss. Some of the plastic storage containers are good value and good quality, but others fall into the disposal product range after a few uses.

We used to buy some GU10 LED bulbs from them but also had some fail early. We now have a collection of good quality ones we acquired in the Master’s demise which were int heir fire sale, very cheap and have enough to now last a lifetime.

We have also bought single bed sheets which don’t fit very well (are slightly longer in length than the standard Aussie single bed) and pull out easily as a result when one sleeps on them…we thought about taking them back for a refund, but the cost of returning was more than the value of the sheets.

We have also bought things which didn’t last very long (or as long as they should)…kitchen tapware where the rubber seals leaks after they dried out while away on a vacation…this one is waiting for our next trip near Ikea to return for a refund.

In relation to food, we used to go but after once or twice, don’t enjoy the food. We tend not to consume ready made/processed type foods which are often available at the Ikea foodcourt. Also, the first time it was a novelty, the second time it was a little disappointing (unless one likes blandish type foods).


Many years ago I bought a desk lamp from Ikea, it looked nice, but after a while the ring which covered the wires fell down and could not be made to stay put. Then the lamp stopped working altogether.

There’s not much that I’d buy at IKEA, maybe a catchy print, or nice vase, or cute soft toy…if only they would allow me to make my own decision as to where to look next without the irritating footprints and signs which say ‘Exit’ but only lead into sections of the store which are of no interest to me at that moment.

Sometimes when I visit the Springvale Cemetery I go in the Springvale Home Centre nearby where there’s an IKEA cafeteria for a snack and coffee. I tried to have lunch in there but the food is too insipid, even if very inexpensive.
I’ve learned to walk around a passage for the exit, because the stairs which face you as you leave the cafeteria lead right into the maze of the store!


I don’t recall ever seeing an IKEA store, let alone setting foot inside one :slight_smile:

Given you only buy ‘solid timber’ products there I can see why!!! the fibre content is probably great, if not a little ‘chewy’? :wink: sorry, couldn’t resist !


We have bought a number of good items from Ikea which lasted for years. Like @phb we buy solid wood rather than chipboard etc. so the goods last. We have bought two different Ikea queen size mattresses which have been great.

The two worst were A) a wok which lasted two uses before the teflon wore off in a 5cm diameter circle, and B) a pan which was labled as suitable for induction, but didn’t work on our induction cooktop. When we returned to pan the lady who handled the refund said that she had an induction cooker and it worked, but quite a few other pans had been returned with the same complaint.

We never returned the wok because of the one hour drive each way didn’t make it workthwhile.


I never buy a pan with a “teflon” type coating. They never seem to withstand the very hot heats generally needed to stir fry, the coating starts to break down very quickly we find. All our Woks, frypans and pots/saucepans are either cast iron (raw or enamel), carbon steel or stainless steel. We do not use aluminium or those type alloys either.


I am a sucker for a “bargain”. At the ‘as is’ section of IKEA Springvale Victoria some years ago, I purchased a ‘Billy bookcase’ It was some time later when I finally got a handy person to do a few jobs including assembling the bookcase.
When he opened the box it was a random collection of pieces - not a bookcase, Or Anything useable!
I photographed the bits and the box and took it to IKEA - was told “passed the return period”, I sent this information and photos to many places - IKEA is/was not contactable by email grrr.
No response was received.
It was very many years before I returned to IKEA - I love the children’s four legged stools and little tables.


I’ve bought stuff there - the (vanity cupboard and a few other bits) were of appropriate quality and fair to good price, BUT! - the place was such a warren and so hard to get out of - and the exiting via storeroom delivery - made the shopping experience one I shan’t repeat.


Guilty as charged, your honour. Three, with the half-glass doors. What I found truly amazing is that they have a cut-out at the bottom rear, which perfectly ( and I do mean perfectly ) accommodates our skirting board. Our house was built in 1952, and the bookcases circa 2008. How is this even possible ? Is it some kind of Scandinavian magic ? :open_mouth:


I’m also fond of Lingonberry jam, but not enough to make it worth a trip to IKEA.


Over the years 9 Billy bookcases. Easy to put together and they have come apart and moved twice.
I liked Ikea when they were nearby but they are now far away - they moved, I didn’t. Its a good environment, I like to see what it looks like put together.


Undoubtedly the best …
Jansjo white LED work lamp as a reading light bedside.603.860.61.
Presents beautifully, gooseneck flexibility, narrow light beam to keep the partner happy, will last forever and a real bargain at $15.
Just between you and me I have bought about 16 of these for 3 homes.


I am completely obsessed with IKEA (and Kmart - both of which are an 8 hour round trip away from me :disappointed:) and own a good range of their stuff, although most of it is bigger stuff.
I LOVE our Hemnes Queen bed, which has been far far better than we expected. For the price it is really great and absolutely solid. We’ve got two of the Hemnes dressers - the black brown stain in our room and the white foil finish in my sons room. Both bought at the same time, and I’ll admit the finish on the solid timber one has lasted a lot better than the other.
That being said though, I’ve got a white foil finish sideboard I bought about 10 years ago that has been through a house fire and still looks really great. It’s possible they’ve changed the way they do it to save money over time, it fits with their MO.
I’ve also loved my Poang chair with “robust” leather cushions for a decade, until my husband did a goldilocks on me and broke it. IKEA isn’t anywhere near alone in this, but they don’t make a lot of chairs for people over 110kg. Our dining chairs are the moulded plastic “Urban” chairs IKEA used to use in their cafeteria, and they are looking a bit worse for the wear but I haven’t replaced because they don’t make anything else strong enough for him.

I’m not a fan of their cookware, though it’s cheap enough that if it breaks and you didn’t live four hours away you’d just go get another one.


I’ve bought a few things over the last 30 years…
… Billy bookcases - still okay
… a coffee table -metal and bamboo mix that I still use/ love
… a couple solid wood TV units about 20years ago, used for about 15, sold about 5 years ago (in perfect condition)
… kids cutlery 28 years ago that I still have and is perfect (also, some inexpensive rugs)
… Wardrobes - about 12 years ago - the Drawers were solid wood and beautiful - I recently, replaced a Mirror door bcoz looking a bit worse for wear at the edges.
…some deep Salad bowls 4 years ago - only about $3 each - they get used heaps and look much more expensive…
a kitchen 5 years ago - Faktum - still looks great … and, then a year ago, a Metod kitchen
… most recently, for the Powder Room - some Metod cabinets and some Bathroom Mirror cabinets.
. odd other stuff over the years…

On the negatives -
. the worst purchase would be the Kitchen Drawer dividers that I bought a year ago with the Metod kitchen - IF you try to ‘move their position’ in the drawer, they SNAP - … a few months ago, I returned a few of these - and, whilst at the Tempe Store, I noticed that some of them in ‘their display kitchens’ were also broken/ snapped…

  • you do have to be selective what you buy - bcoz like a lot of other stores, they are getting things Manufactured in China, Thailand etc NOW…

for example, WHY would you buy an ‘Ikea bunk bed’ ?

  • I bought AUSTRALIAN ’ Bunkers Beds’ - great, solid, long-lasting, chemical-free, easy to pull-apart/ assemble as many times as you like… sell them on when the boys got older…

Ektorp sofas. Had them 10 years. And we bought them secondhand. These things are great - you can buy replacement covers and with normal sensible clean use they’ll last for for their lifetime guarantee. .
We also have several of their chipboard type items - a TV unit and Besta storage unit. Had them over 10 years and no problems. There is no reason they won’t last as long as modern solid wood if correctly assembled and used appropriately, all modern furniture is pretty much the same blow away quality.
And who hasn’t enjoyed an Expedit some time in their lives?


32 hours round trip to my nearest IKEA :wink: but as luck would have it, I’ll be close to one in the near future - perhaps time to educate myself on ways Scandinavian …


I really enjoy their Swedish meatballs with ligonberry sauce and mashed potatoes with cream sauce. It is pretty darn good (as long as you aren’t worried about kj counting). Three different sizings (# of meatballs they place on the plate). The meatball and mash supplies can be purchased as frozen packs for those who wish to again sample the delights at home. Most of the other food products can also be purchased to take home. I like the ligonberry jam/sauce to make a sandwich, dress over icecream, or add to sodawater to make a nice drink as well as with the meatballs.

Some of their desserts are pretty good. For me anything with marzipan I avoid as I just can’t handle it others obviously don’t mind it…horses for courses as they say.



Markus chair is way better than the stupid ‘racing’ gamers ‘ergonomic’ ones which I got suckered into :frowning: though I will say the casters are annoying (its the anti-rollaway job) but it was either this or struggle to find somewhere in SA that I could sit in a $2k HM before committing to that.

Also got a little fold up close line for inside (over my laundry sink) it was awesome then and it still is now (~8+ years later).

wooden coat hangars are good/well priced too.


I bought my first set of IVAR shelves in 1980. Still have them and have added more sections, depths, heights etc over the years. They are solid pine and have been brilliant–easy to break down and move, easy to put together, very flexible in arrangement (although I have some parts that are no longer available).

Bought 2 child’s mattresses 10 years ago and they are still good.
Pyrex storage containers are better quality than those from Aldi, and cheaper than most others.

I usually buy my 100% cotton sheets there. Yes, they usually don’t offer std single, only King Single (and Queen rather than double). As with most of their ranges there are cheap, moderate and expensive options. The cheap ones are OK–at least they are cotton, but a bit scratchy. The middle range are pretty good (~200-400 thread count) and great value.

We did have 6 PAX wardrobes/cupboards for a while, and they were also very versatile in arrangement. But not good for moving house–you really have to disassemble them as they’re not tough enough to withstand a move. And they take some time to reassemble. I would choose them again for a long term situation but not if renting. And many places have built-ins in any case.

I also have 2 adjustable trestle legs and a solid beech desktop, bought in 1980 (and no longer sold). It can be used at various heights, even sloped. Right now it’s up high and used with my treadmill (walking/standing desk).

Overall though I’m pretty judicious about what I’d buy there. And I always research what I’m after at home–compare other shops, prices etc. Some of their products are cheap junk, lots of plastic, short life-span items etc. But there are a few things about the company that I really like:

  1. Spare parts are available for free. I’ve even had parts mailed to me (for free), and since they were no longer sold here, IKEA had to get them from o/s. It took ~2 weeks to arrive. I’ve also had simple parts replaced immediately, such as screws and lugs, either in-store or mailed to me (all for free). Best spare parts service ever.
  2. They seem to be doing a fair bit to be environmentally sensitive with choice of materials, flat-packing etc. Of course, some folks hate flat packs. I like them due to better cost and less energy for transport. And if I really want an item then I’m happy to assemble it. (Some are more fiddle than they are worth, IME.)

The worst thing:
Not all IKEA flat packs fit easily into a 1960 design Sprite or Midget! Although the 12-14 hour each way comes a close second. (There is now online ordering and delivery.)

The best thing:
After driving for a day to go to a competitors special store, and walking out having seen everything in 20-30mins would seem a disappointment. No chance ever of that with IKEA. A close second is the feeling of victory on the first purchase, of having found the stock items in the warehouse, and the way out. (There is now online ordering and delivery.)

The greatest thing ever:
Knowing a return trip isn’t compulsory. Or is it that there is now an IKEA just 50 minutes down the M1? Allow extra time to find a park, the store entrance, and be out in under the three hrs free parking limit. (There is now online ordering and delivery.)

Having made modest purchases over time, the flat packs for large items such as wardrobes etc are great for appartments with limited access. The MDF seems to be very stable and moisture resistant.