The idea of going to Ikea often elicits one of two reactions: general excitement (Swedish meatballs, yay!) or the immediate desire to return to bed for the rest of the day. Basically, it’s your kind of place or it’s not. If your view of the furniture and home accessories megastore falls in the former category, or you're thinking about shopping there for the first time, here's a cheat sheet to help you better understand how Ikea works.
Ikea specializes in assembly required furniture, appliances and home decor. It was founded in Sweden (hence the meatballs) but has since grown to be a global company with hundreds of stores. Its one-way layout funnels shoppers through the store, requiring them to view the entire collection of items.
Ikea offers a number of sales throughout the year, so we’ve put together a calendar to help you time your purchases.
Semiannual Kitchen Sale. Twice a year (one event is usually during mid-to-late summer), Ikea hosts a sweeping sale on kitchen products.
Black Friday. Get holiday shopping done early with the annual Ikea Black Friday sale. This event traditionally occurs on the day after Thanksgiving.
Monthly offers. Check the “offers” section on Ikea’s site for an updated list of store promotions.
Ikea’s Family Rewards Program offers numerous benefits to members, including product discounts, free coffee or hot tea at Ikea restaurants, and 90-day price protection. As a rewards program member, you’ll also receive insider store scoops and sneak previews. Consider joining the program if you shop at the store frequently.
At the moment, there is no Ikea credit card account offered in the United States.
Ikea offers occasional coupon and promotional prices, so monitor the retailer’s website for the latest deals. And if you’d like to be the first to know about store offers and events, sign up for the Ikea email list. If you don’t have an Ikea catalog of your own, you can view a digital version online.
Shipping and returns
Unfortunately (for fans of cyber shopping at least), Ikea doesn’t offer free shipping, even if you order a certain amount. Instead, the site includes a rate calculator so you can determine how much shipping would cost before you make a purchase.
If you are not satisfied with your purchase, you can return it within 90 days with your receipt. For online purchases, products can be returned at an Ikea store or via mail. You can also contact the Ikea Customer Support Center to get an item picked up or exchanged (return and/or delivery fees may apply).
NerdWallet takes you shopping
Ikea is the mecca for those interested in affordable yet chic furniture. The massive number of products and maze-like layout, not to mention the need to follow sometimes-difficult assembly instructions at home, make buying from there a significant time commitment. However, the results can be worth the investment — especially if you’ve consulted our store guide before making a purchase.
Images via Ikea.