People Who Should Never Set Foot in Ikea


Tanasan Sungkaew/shutterstock

Cheapism is editorially independent. We may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site.
Tanasan Sungkaew/shutterstock

Should You Be Shopping at Ikea?

Having shopped at Ikea for the first time recently, the experience is still fresh in my mind. I am itching to get back there, though I'd readily admit — and my shopping companion seconds this thought — a visit to the nearest location of the Swedish-founded company in the USA since the '70s isn't for everyone. Here's a playful look at the type of people who just might not be ideal Ikea customers.

Olivia Lin also contributed to this story.

Related: 11 Types of People Who Shouldn't Set Foot in Costco

People With No Patience

People With No Patience

Ikea isn't a quick in-and-out kind of place. Large in scale, the locations can be crowded — but there's also a lot to see, first in the Showroom and then in the Marketplace. Prepare to spend some time here, first looking and then sometimes standing on long lines, and you won't have a meltdown on your hands.

Related: 18 Secrets and Hacks for Shopping at Ikea

People Who Only Like Traditional Furniture
Martin Barraud/istockphoto

People Who Like Only Traditional Furniture

If someone's idea of home is old-fashioned and, yes, staid, Ikea might not be the ideal shopping ground. That's because vignette after vignette offers options galore — from mod to glamorous, funky to practical. Those trained to look hard to isolate the "bare bones" basics will miss out on the design fun.


Related: Vintage Ikea Furniture Pieces That Resell for Serious Money

People Who Like Small Shops and Warm Environments

People Who Like Small Shops and Warm Environments

While the vignettes throughout the Showroom lull you into daydreams of the ideal life, you never really lose sight that you're in a huge store where people are pushing around shopping carts, filling out order forms and heading to a Marketplace to grab all they can. An afternoon at Ikea is far from a trip to the old-time mom-and-pop where you chat with the owner, hear what's new, and deliberate over a purchase.

Related: 25 Best Finds at Ikea for $10 or Less

furniture store mask
Kemal Yildirim/istockphoto

People Who Expect to Be Waited On

If you're a personal-shopper kind of person or someone who thrives on interaction with a store's staff, there might be an issue here. On our visit, not a single employee (here called "coworker") approached to see if we needed help. We were okay with that, as we were browsing, but for those who like a bit of hand holding, it might be a problem.

Related: Why Trader Joe’s Employees Are Surprisingly Helpful and Happy

People Who Have Trouble Making a Decision

People Who Have Trouble Making a Decision

If you want a couch, there are dozens to choose from. Same goes for beds and bedding, lighting and appliances. Ikea is mega — from its physical size to the range of goods on offer. For some it's a wonderland of options, but for those who would rather choose between two items rather than from, say, 10, it might prove overwhelming.


Related: The Best Ikea Mattresses

People Who Like to Make Their Own Way, Literally

People Who Like to Make Their Own Way, Literally

At Ikea, the store design guides you through the shopping experience to make sure you see everything on offer. There are arrows on the floor to keep things flowing and even floor plan/maps along the way to help you see where you are and what's ahead. There are shortcuts so you can cheat your way out of the maze, but it always feels like a maze.

Related: 22 Insider Hacks and Secrets for Shopping on Amazon

People Who Prefer One-of-a-Kind Finds

People Who Prefer One-of-a-Kind Finds

It's all about quantity at Ikea. You can buy 100 tea lights, for example, and people routinely stock up on essentials, often randomly grabbing impulse buys throughout the Marketplace. This isn't an antiques shop or art gallery, so you're not buying something unique. But sometimes that's okay if you're outfitting your first home or apartment, or if the budget's tight.

Related: 21 Priciest Ikea Products

People Who Think They Know it All
Dan Kitwood / Staff / Getty Images News / Getty Images Europe / Getty Images CC

People Who Think They Know it All

Ikea's vignettes are filled with clever ideas on how to use and display what you buy. You might see products that offer novel storage solutions or, around another corner, see a fresh way to create singular display areas in your own home. Yes, you can learn something here.


For more helpful shopping tips, please sign up for our free newsletters.

Hej då!
Hej då! by Joe Goldberg (CC BY-SA)

People Who Refuse to Embrace a New Culture

Ikea's Swedish roots are never far from thought — or sign. Shoppers can learn a few Swedish words and phrases as well as find products created by contemporary Swedish designers and artists. And, of course, there's all that Swedish cuisine in the restaurant and café sections.


Related: Delicious Foods Worth Buying at Ikea — and Some to Skip

People Who Are Techno-phobic

People Who Are Techno-phobic

Technology is an integral part of the Ikea experience. There's an app to download to make the shopping experience easier. You can sign up for the Ikea perks program, apply for credit, or create or access a gift registry — all without any human interaction. Computers throughout the store, sometimes with touchscreens, offer further digital help.


Related: 11 Types of People Who Should Buy the Extended Warranty

People on a Diet
People on a Diet by Quinn Dombrowski (CC BY-SA)

People on a Diet

Have you heard of fika? It's the Swedish tradition of a chat over coffee and a cinnamon bun. The signature buns were touted like crazy at rollout, like other foodstuffs including the much-referenced Swedish meatballs available in The Restaurant (or frozen in the Swedish Food Market) and hot dogs as cheap as they are tasty in the Bistro. But what really dazzled us? An array of never-before-seen, by-the-pound Swedish candies that we are still daydreaming of eating again one day.


Related: Exceptional Restaurants and Cafes In Your Favorite Stores

People Who Want Instant Gratification

People Who Want Instant Gratification

We were in the store nearly two hours before we even hit the area we had envisioned the whole store would look like — the cavernous space with ready-to-assemble goods reaching the rafters. Yes, there's a lot to see, and much of that you will make yourself (with options for paying to have it done for you). Ikea, you see, is a process.

Related: 13 DIY Furniture Makeovers for a Weekend Project While Stuck at Home

People Who Don't Like Boasting
John Moore / Staff / Getty Images News / Getty Images North America / Getty Images CC

People Who Don't Like Boasting

Ikea does a lot — from sustainable practices (solar panels on the building's roof) to a People & Planet Positive initiative, from sharing the mindful origins of many of its products to being active in store communities. How do we know that? Signs, signs, everywhere signs share the good news. They say informative; some might say self-promoting.

Related: 24 Earth-Friendly Habits That Can Save You Money

… But Don't Sweat It If Life Happens

People With Busy Lives

Everyone has errands to run, but those with truly limited time may be better off shopping at a store that delivers assembled furniture. Ikea trips can take anywhere from a few hours to an entire day, and that doesn't include the time required to put a piece together.

Related: 10 Ways Shopping at Ikea Can Cost More Than You Expect

Your Design/shutterstock

Pinterest Addicts

Obsessed with home decor photos on Pinterest? Daydream constantly about redecorating? Stay away from Ikea. The store's stylish sets are put together by expert designers and are almost impossible to recreate. Plenty of Ikea shoppers have bought something that looked cute in the store but simply weird in their living room.

Related: Home Improvement and Decor Trends for 2021



Ikea provides illustrated step-by-step instructions, but people lacking in fine motor skills should proceed with caution. A small cube shelf is one thing, but larger pieces like bedframes and couches take more time, attention, and skill to build.

Related: These Ikea Products Are the Hardest to Assemble, Experts Say

People in Their 'Forever Homes'
Paul Bradbury/istockphoto

People in Their 'Forever Homes'

If you have no intention of moving anytime soon, you might as well invest in more permanent furnishings. Whether you're building equity and claiming tax breaks or sitting pretty in a rent-controlled apartment, use the extra money to buy solid pieces that will last (and don't require assembly!).

Related: How to Create a Home Office From Ikea Under $200

Sitthipong Pengjan/shutterstock

People Who Live in Walk-up Apartments

Buildings without elevators don't easily accommodate large pieces of Ikea furniture that come in sets of big, heavy boxes. People who live on second and third floors may be able to manage, but anything higher is a strenuous workout without hired movers or delivery people.

Related: The 5 Must-Dos of Apartment Hunting

People With Small Cars

People With Small Cars

People with two-seater cars and sporty coupes won't get far at Ikea. To get larger pieces of furniture home, a truck, van, or SUV is required. Delivery of large items starts at $49. Compare that with the cost of renting a vehicle.

Related: 50 of the Smallest Cars Ever Made

People Without Power Tools

People Without Power Tools

Ikea provides tools for assembly, but hands start to ache from turning basic allen wrenches for larger pieces of furniture. A power drill and a proper set of tools make everything a lot easier.


Related: 10 Tools Under $20 That Everyone Should Own

Impulse Buyers
Stephen Chernin / Stringer / Getty Images News / Getty Images North America / Getty Images CC

Impulse Buyers

Many head to Ikea for essentials but leave with much more. Can't focus on shopping for necessities? Don't go to Ikea. It's possible to load up an entire cart with impulse buys, especially from the marketplace section near checkout.

Related: 80 Things You Don't Need to Buy