Insane for IKEA

Dual Confession Of The Week: First, as a person interested in all things style, fashion and décor, I love IKEA—it’s an icon for intelligent, interior design. Second, as an editor I absolutely adore alliteration.

Here’s my best example of both confessions: I integrated IKEA into our home interior years ago and I’m inclined to tell you what the “I” in IKEA means to me: ideally inexpensive, inspired ideas for all my “I” moments: “I love that comfy couch;” “I need that luxe lamp,” and “I have to have that Billy bookshelf.”

Thanks for humoring me. Now you see what comes of my “blog beat”—mild bouts of ticker tape activity flickering across my mind randomly conjuring up ideas about words that begin with the letter i. Thankfully, a style blog beat is the best outlet for ticker tape thoughts, especially when you receive an invitation from one of the best stores that actually begin with the letter i.

A few weeks back IKEA Pittsburgh’s marketing specialist Jenn Strang sent me an email with an invitation wondering if I’d like to come out to the store one day for a behind-the-scenes tour and some lunch. I was quick to reply with a hearty “yes.” The ticker tape across my mind Sofas by KIVIK on the showroom floor.flashed: fashionable surroundings…food…fashionable food…no, that’s not right…food and fashionable furnishings. In any word order, the two are my favorite mix. I also love to browse, eat and mind-buy (it’s when you envision buying all the things you see and pretend you’ve purchased all of it)—a torturing mechanism I often self-inflict.

IKEA is all about a customer on a budget. It’s a store keen to the mindset of families, living-single customers and college students stretching the mighty dollar. So, I easily comprehend IKEA’s speak-easy terms of good quality, function and low prices. There’s no other home décor store that sells swanky Swedish designer furniture, houses a play area for kids, stocks bags of Swedish Fish candy on the end of every aisle, and has a café that sells Swedish meatballs (I need to research my genealogy—this place is oddly a perfect match to my DNA).

An IKEA fully designed bathroom display.When I arrive at IKEA the sliding doors slide to the side and the air conditioning engulfs me on this random warm day in May. I can see the endless sea of sofas and the bags of Swedish fish, as the smell of Swedish meatballs wafts in the air. As Jenn welcomes me in the lobby, I remind myself that I’m visiting for work—not play. Ticker tape rolling again: focus on the fashionable furniture…get details…focus…oh, look at that lamp…I need a new lamp…it goes with that pillow in our upstairs closet I’ve been wanting to pull down—and it’s not too matchy-matchy…focus…I better make dual lists on my paper…one list of things for me and…there goes another lamp…what’s up with me and lamps today…focus…and I’ll make another list with details for my blog.

Done. The ticker tape taps out and the lists are complete—labeled of course in adored alliteration.

IKEA’s Inspiring Ideas & Ideal Deals

  • There’s new lower prices, but the same great quality (check out the KARLSTAD sofa, last year’s price was $499, today you can pick one up for $399).
  • Second floor is the showroom and is meant to inspire customers to say, “I never thought to put these things together,” says Jenn.
  • IKEA 365 is a line meant for everyday use with a lower price point. It’s kid-friendly and durable.
  • The 3 IKEA design categories are Modern Country (neutral theme with a splash of color), Modern Scandinavian (sleek) and Young Swedish (for the 20 something bachelor, room mates, or a first apartment).
  • They have the new KARLSTAD tufted leather sofa which is brand new to the United States.
  • Recently redesigned their mattress department.
  • Full line of kitchen appliances for IKEA by Whirlpool.
  • The only IKEA in the world that has a gift registry.
  • There’s Social Media Saturdays, the first Saturday of each month, between 9:30am-5pm. IKEA Pittsburgh Twitter followers and Facebook fans will receive a free tote and $10 in IKEA bucks.
  • The marketplace on the lower level offers textiles with fabric by the yard
  • IKEA is partnering through their Social Initiative program with UNICEF and Save the Children Worldwide Federation.
  • Jenn’s style tip: Convert a Lack & Expedit wall shelf, flip it on its side and use it as a TV stand. It’s perfect for cds, books and home entertainment.
  • Home shopping is available by pittsburghphoneorder@ikea.com, 412/294-0001. Browse IKEA’s online catalog, call and place the order
  • IKEA’s most FAQ: “Does this match?”

My Many Must-Haves—Munchies Mandatory

  • 6-drawer chest with built-in mirror ($149)
  • Mirror chest ($279)
  • Step stool ($19.99)
  • Tempered glass table and four chairs ($179). Last year’s price was $100 bucks more.
  • Printed and embossed shelving unit ($49)
  • Table lamp ($4.99)
  • Powder-coated steel floor lamp ($110)
  • Meatball plate with mashed potatoes ($4.99)
  • AND a 2.5lb bag frozen, easy to prepare Swedish Meatballs (7.99)

Visit IKEA Pittsburgh, 2001 Park Manor Blvd, Robinson; 412/747-0747. The IKEA Pittsburgh website has lots of great information about sales. events, services, the gift registry and more.