ahhhh... Ikea.

Today is a BIG day in the Thomas family household. It happens only once a year typically, and it usually happens on a whim. Today I make my trek to IKEA Burbank. If you live in Los Angeles, you probably have done this once or twice or twelve times before. The showrooms, the wonky carts, the big yellow plastic bags, the aisle traffic rules, the arguing couples, the MEATBALLS. You go in wanting a rolling cart, you come out with a whole kitchen dining set, a few lamps, a quirky objet d'art, and definitely some loganberry jam for those frozen meatballs you never ate from last time. Again with the meatballs... but I do love them and if you haven't tried their cafeteria, the trip is worth it alone.


And for those of you who are interior design snobs, you might turn your nose up at Ikea. Ikea is cheaply made, mass produced, and associated with temporary living. Ikea came to the rescue once or twice in my dorm room decoration life. But Ikea has a little secret that has kept them going all these years. Ikea is COOL, it is design-forward and it is AFFORDABLE. There are several things I would never buy from here for my forever home, but let's take a gander at the stuff that might actually be worth more than what you spend.


lights


Most of these cost between $50 and $150 bucks. Now scale aside, let's compare a high end lights:



Most of these cost between $400 and $800... so if you're bank account has been hurting lately you have my permission to throw that beautiful IKEA box on top of the pile!


pillows

I usually put pillows in the category along with other disposable trendy decor. Mostly, they get abused and punished and are meant to only last through one season of Netflix binge-watching. I say this as I watch my husband snore on a pile of ALL the pillows we own.



They are so fun and fresh! Prints, texture, and color! Oh my. I did feel a little like Dorothy following the yellow brick road toward the Emerald City as I passed through each zone, squealing with joy every time I across another beautiful pillow.


STORAGE HACKS AND OCCASIONAL FURNITURE


For some reason in our household, we have a lack of trash cans and storage furniture. Mostly we've been using plastic bags from the grocery stores until we figure it out. I initially planned my trip to IKEA when I finally for the last time had to walk downstairs to throw away my dental floss. And for some reason, trash cans are always so gosh darn expensive everywhere else. I wanted something simple and clean and no fuss. I also wanted to find a rolling cart for my husband's office.


Boom, mission accomplished. And the great thing is if I want to change the color of the trash can, I can easily paint it!


Speaking about paint... I bought one dining chair for a little DIY experiment I have planned. IKEA is great for experiments because it is so affordable and strives for interesting shapes.



These will serve as a perfect backdrop for what I have planned (as I malevolently clasp my hands together and evilly grin).


So here is what I bought:




ikea and you.


Just like any shopping splurge, you might be tempted to buy ALL of the beautiful products you see since it all looks so nice together. However, in order to create a well-balanced design you must restrain yourself. I know it's hard. I personally love IKEA items when they are mixed with vintage items or paired with opposite design profiles.

There are a few things going on here. First, I wanted use my two pink rugs in the same room and needed to find a color that would calm it all down, while not grunging it up too much. It was supposed to be bright and light and organic. I also wanted to feature the Vittorio Fiorucci green poster for a nice zing (plus who doesn't love two big white heads tonguing each other unromantically?). Next, I wanted a very organic looking table lamp that fit with the two campaign night stands without doubling down on the gold. I tried a lot of different lights -- organic, chrome, color, flush, crazy -- and nothing worked. Until I decided to go ultra modern to balance out all the vintage vibes.


Here are how other people have peppered the design with the special IKEA spice (which tastes a lot like dill I imagine):


You see? Simple yet interesting shapes, textures, patterns, size, and color. IKEA is for everyone! (and no IKEA did not pay for any part of this post!).


**on a special note: to the man who was yelling at the IKEA cafeteria servers who didn't know the EXACT ingredients of his vegan meatballs: if you have special dietary requirements, do your research before you eat anywhere. This information is available online and there is no need to yell at people who are probably earning minimum wage but overtime on a Saturday just to serve you during a pandemic.

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