I knew we had a bit of an IKEA issue, but it was only when one of my daughter’s American friends came over, that I realized quite how bad it had got. She sat on our IKEA dining chair at the IKEA kitchen table talking to me as I sat on our IKEA corner sofa drinking coffee from my IKEA mug putting down it on the IKEA coffee table with my feet on the IKEA rug.
“Everything in your house is IKEA” she exclaimed. She looked at her glass “even this glass!” I wanted to protest and looked around at the IKEA bookcase, IKEA media stand, IKEA floor lamps. Oh my god she was right. I am sure we didn’t always live in an IKEA catalogue but the habit must have crept up on us!
I do know that Americans have a different taste in furniture. Lots of dark carved wood that would be seen as old fashioned in the UK. But against that our white lacquered ply board does start to look cheep, especially where the surface is peeling off.
Something would have to be done. I was not thinking a complete American makeover. But some new American pieces. Maybe a coffee table.
“Where do you get your furniture?” I asked. “Oh its mostly hand me down from our family. ” she said. Since they were unlikely to start handing me furniture I realized I would have to take another tack.
I went to the recycling and fished out the flyer for a new ‘Rooms to go’ store in Roundrock. “Right’ I told my husband we are all going furniture shopping. So it became a family trip complete with the inevitable meal out in a pizza bar!
‘Rooms to go’ in Round rock was bustling. Every other bed had someone lying in it. Sofas and chairs were still warm from the last person trying them. Clerks wandered around with iPads ready to take peoples orders. I was pleasantly surprised by the range and type of furniture. Things made out of real wood. Proper upholstered arm chairs. And the hugest variety of ‘sectionals’ (corner sofas).
My husband was less impressed. ‘You can’t actually buy any of this stuff’ he said. ‘They have to order it for you. I bought the truck, I thought we could just pick it up and take it.’
So in the end we didn’t buy anything.
Today we tried again. Macy’s and Sears trying out sectionals to replace our worn out IKEA corner sofa. The sofas were all ‘super’ (as an aside – I knew that I was getting American when I started substituting ‘super’ for very!) fancy – they reclined, had drink holders and USBs ports. But it was like being Goldilocks. They were too high, or too narrow, too hard to clean. So again we didn’t buy anything.
So now I sit on my IKEA office chair at my IKEA desk and start to feel nostalgic for IKEA shopping trips: the large yellow bags that you can fill with stuff as you go round the show rooms; the Swedish Meatballs and cranberry sauce; the large flat bed trollies that the kids like to push each other around on; the large ridiculously heavy cardboard boxes that somehow transformed into to all our beds and desks and bookshelves.
I remember that our first weekend trip when we moved to Texas was to IKEA and how comforting it felt to be in the familiar room displays. Truly we could have been in IKEA in Cardiff.
Then I realize that kicking the IKEA habit is going to be harder than I thought!