Confession: until this past weekend, I had never set foot in an IKEA.
I'll give you a minute to let that sink in.
The night before my maiden voyage to the Swedish motherland, I was asking myself, "Why have you never been?" I think there are a few reasons. One, in Boston, the closest IKEA is in Stoughton, which isn't exactly nearby. Two, I inherited a lot of furniture when my parents moved and again when we sold my grandmother's place, so I've never really needed to decorate from scratch. Three, let's be real, we all know that anything that involves self-assembly, just isn't going to happen.
My inaugural visit was sparked by the chance to accompany my friend Stephanie as she prepares to stage a house next weekend. If you don't already, follow Stephanie's blog, where she chronicles all of her renovation and staging projects.
We hopped in the car on Saturday morning and headed south. I was worried we'd be stuck behind every car going toward the Cape and the Vineyard, but it wasn't that bad.
As we walked into the complex, I was so curious to see what all the hype was about.
We started on the second floor, which is the showroom. I could not get over how beautiful each vignette was. Whoever is the stager or visual merchandiser for IKEA has the most fun job in the world.
It took me a few rooms to really get into it, but by the living room section, I was starting to understand the IKEA devotion. I loved this room with the black and white polka dot walls. It felt like being inside a Kate Spade hand bag.
I paid careful attention to the shelf organization, since I am constantly trying to fight my hoarder tendencies, especially in my guest room.
How adorable is the set up on this coffee table?
As we transitioned to some kitchen areas, I was attracted to all the greenery over this farmhouse sink. One of my 2018 resolutions is to become a plant lady and IKEA was giving me all kinds of fresh ideas.
When I saw this bedroom, my eye went straight to the Marilyn Monroe print. This whole space is completely over the top, which is probably why I couldn't get enough of it.
As we turned a corner, I spotted an advertisement for IKEA's famous Swedish meatballs. Any time I've talked to someone about IKEA (which has been a lot in the past few days), at least half the people respond by saying, "Oh, I love their meatballs!"
I was very excited by the next kitchen we saw. When I noticed the storage on the counter top I felt like I'd been struck by lightning. How had I never thought to display all my festive straws in a vertical storage container?! Mind. Blown.
I also thought the use of plants in this mudroom was super cute.
I'm an open concept girl myself, but for a galley kitchen, this is a fabulous one.
i almost lifted this entire tray off of the counter and into my cart. I need that blush glass pitcher.
In this living room, Stephanie and I were both impressed by the easy-to-store ottomans.
These can be used as foot rests for the couch, additional seating for guests or easily tucked away under the TV stand. Brilliant!
I have been thinking about turning my back porch into a home office for the last several months. As we walked toward that area, I was getting very excited. I love the way all the potted plants pop against this all-white set up.
This next area felt like it could be home to an architecture or design firm. Again, as I think about trying to manage all my clutter, this design, especially the bookshelves, gave me some hope.
I really liked this desk / work bench.
As we strolled towards the next space, I almost dropped dead. I think I may have stopped walking and stood still in awe. This is the office of my dreams.
I couldn't stop smiling, I was feeling so inspired by this space. I felt like I finally had a vision for my future office!
Can't you see me here in all my boss babe glory?!
I really didn't want to leave that space. When Stephanie and I were in Turks and Caicos together in March, anytime we were feeling totally blissed out, our expression was, "I live here now." That is how I felt in that IKEA office.
Eventually Stephanie peeled me away from my girl boss dream space and we kept walking. I was magnetized to this pink, birdcage-like desk.
Next we saw a few bathrooms. This ship print shower curtain would be perfect for a New England summer house.
The next bathroom's color palette was a bit dark and moody, but I was very into these blue plant holders. Like I said, I am really trying to infuse more greenery into my space and I hadn't considered the bathroom as a plant spot.
From that bathroom, we went straight into a walk-in closet and I was dying of jealousy. This is some serious Bethenny Frankel level shit (pardon my French).
We were both swooning over this jewelry organizer, which is hiding an entire three-fold mirror inside!
I liked the jungle / tropical vibe of this next bedroom, though I'm not sure I could ever really live in a space that dark.
This next area felt like it could be a nursery. I was very into the hanging plants above the big, comfy chair.
Next we walked through a kid zone and holy crap, there were so many stuffed animals! I felt like Tom Hanks in BIG when he goes to FAO Schwartz.
The last stop on the top floor is the famous IKEA restaurant. The bright yellow chairs reminded me of DryBar.
The restaurant is beautifully designed.
We were on a mission to get everything on Steph's staging list, so we didn't have time to stop for grub.
Down the stairs, we entered the kitchen supply area. There were shelves and shelves of dishes, in every color of the rainbow.
How adorable is this drink cart?
I've always wanted a bar cart for my place, but after I put a sideboard in the dining room, there isn't any more space.
Next, we pushed our carts through the bathroom section. I noticed this station where you could pick up a tape measure and a little pencil. My architect dad would be in heaven! He's obsessed with drawing floor plans with pencil (I only ever have pens and it drives him crazy).
I stopped for a smooch in the pillow section.
I was shocked to discover IKEA has a pretty substantial pet section. They have food and water bowls, toys, beds and even these adorable leash holders / hooks.
There was an entire bin of dog butts!
We saw another kitchen area in the storage / container section and we both swooned.
Chef Steph was right at home.
Just mixing something up real quick.
I am always looking for new ways to get things off my kitchen counters, so these vertical storage ideas were giving me some light bulb moments.
I almost went home with these electric pink candleholders, but I resisted.
Towards the end of the route on the ground floor, we found ourselves in the plant / gardening area. As I mentioned earlier, one of my 2018 resolutions is to become a plant lady and while were in this section, I picked out my very first plant! Isn't it so tiny and precious?
As we made our way into the warehouse area, there was a quick survey about the shopping experience.
I couldn't wait to hit the "overjoyed" button!
Since we were in the giant furniture warehouse, I wasn't expecting to see any new staged areas, but apparently we hadn't seen the outdoor furniture and patio stuff!
I will take this entire corner. Just go ahead and pack it up.
I was very into this plant cart turned bar cart situation.
Just like TJ Maxx, where they get you at the register with all that cute, small stuff, so does IKEA! For example, I didn't need these patterned tins, but my god, did I want them!
Same with this tray and set of glasses. I mean, just gimme.
After filling two shopping carts and a flat bed cart, we needed a little rest.
We checked out and on the other side of the registers was the grab-and-go food market.
Did you know they serve $1 dollar slush?
You can purchase the famous meatballs to keep in your freezer.
They also make a veggie meatball. Who knew?
The cinnamon buns smelled amazing. I had to snap this photo and then walk away before I purchased multiple packages.
I noticed the lingonberry flavored items, a Swedish favorite I learned about in Marcus Samuelsson's book Yes, Chef.
I have no idea what a cloudberry is, but this jam looks yummy.
How sweet is the message on these cookies?
There is also a penny candy wall.
We walked back to the car feeling very accomplished. We got everything on Stephanie's list (except one final item), setting her up for success next weekend. We also found the office design of my dreams, making me extra giddy about this back porch renovation.
In addition to my first plant baby, I also picked out a new welcome mat, a table runner, brightly colored napkins (y'all know I can't resist the paper goods), a gold napkin holder, a desktop organizer, a poster and a hot pink frame to go with it.
Tell me, are you an IKEA lover? What has been your favorite purchase or your biggest score?