8 Mistakes To Avoid When Shopping In IKEA That Could End Up Costing You A Fortune

Avoid serious embarrassment, too. 😳

Trending Editor
The exterior of an IKEA store in Canada. Right: Beds inside an IKEA store.

The exterior of an IKEA store in Canada. Right: Beds inside an IKEA store.

Anybody who's ever bought a house, decorated a space or wanted a heaping plate of Swedish meatballs has probably taken at least one trip to IKEA.

It's a world of words like Docksta, Malm, Hemnes and Ektorp, flat-pack furniture and huge stuffed animals, and you can get lost in the adult-sized furnishings and homeware playground.

Regardless of whether you consider the Swedish superstore a dream day out or a hellish experience, there are a number of things you should always, always avoid doing when shopping there.

From failing to take measurements to packing your vehicle totally wrong, here are eight mistakes to avoid at IKEA so you can save money, time and embarrassment, while also ensuring the employees won't hate you forever.

Forgetting to take measurements

It may seem like an obvious one, but forgetting to take measurements before you go to IKEA is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.

In the store's giant showroom, everything (especially furniture) looks much smaller than it is likely to in your house or apartment.

Before you fall in love with a giant sofa or super king-sized bed, make sure you know what will fit in your space to avoid the stress of getting the items home and assembling them, only to realize they're never going to fit.

It's also worth taking a tape measure into the store with you, so you can check the dimensions as you go and be totally confident that whatever you pick up will make sense in your space.

Not checking availability

Before you spend hours exploring the showroom and agonizing over your favourite items (and measuring them!), make sure your local store has the products you like in stock.

Not all IKEA items, especially furniture pieces, are available in all stores and sometimes availability can vary based on demand.

So, it's always worth checking if your nearest location has what you need before you head out.

It's easy to do this online and will save your heart from breaking when you have to pay big bucks for delivery when the dresser you just fell in love with is out of stock!

Grabbing a cart at the start

At some IKEA locations, it's possible to pick up a shopping cart right at the front of the store.

However, you may find that you are then forced to push a cart around all of the showrooms, which can be both inconvenient for you — and annoying for other people.

Some of the rooms can be narrow and difficult to navigate, especially when the store is busy.

It's even more frustrating when you consider that most of what you'll want to buy is right at the back of the shop, where there are usually more cart locations anyway!

Unless you're expecting to pick up a lot of smaller bits from the showroom area, wait until you reach the warehouse section to pick up a cart or trolley from there.

Getting meatballs every time

While the Swedish meatballs are easily IKEA's most iconic restaurant option, there are loads of other tasty and cheap meals on the menu.

Consider switching for something different every once in a while, or maybe test the plant-based balls for a veggie-inspired change.

In Canada, you can also sample meals like poutine, salads, salmon, fish and chips and butter chicken, which could be a welcome switch from the meatballs time and time again.

Getting distracted

If you want to avoid accidentally spending a fortune in IKEA and having to leave behind a few items when you get to the checkout, consider making a list before you go so you don't get distracted.

Of course, IKEA wants you to pick up and buy as many products as possible as you navigate the store, so they'll put anything and everything in front of you to convince you to grab it.

Keep your focus and avoid picking up random bits to avoid your checkout bill being much higher than you anticipated — you probably don't need another plant pot, mini mirror, storage box or lamp!

Skipping the loyalty program

Almost all stores have some sort of loyalty or membership program and IKEA is no different.

The company's loyalty system — IKEA Family — is free and offers exclusive discounts and promotions. You can often get deals on food and drink at the restaurant, as well as products in-store and online.

If you don't shop in IKEA often, it can be easy to assume the program won't benefit you too much. However, by sleeping on this you could lose out on discounts of up to 20% and even gift vouchers.

Missing the discount section

IKEA doesn't often have store-wide sales, but if you're looking for discounts, you should make sure to check the "As-Is" section, which is usually located in the warehouse section of each store.

It's where returned, damaged, discontinued, and other less-than-perfect products are sold, often at rock-bottom prices.

Another bonus of shopping in this section is that many of the items are pre-built, so you don't even have to assemble them when you get home!

Items, including furniture, can be nabbed from this spot for up to 50% off, so you could save a fortune by checking out this section before you head to the checkout.

Overestimating your vehicle's limits

You've measured your home, you've measured the furniture you just bought, but have you measured your car?

Remembering to be realistic about what you can fit in your vehicle is so important because you could end up damaging your goods by trying to squeeze them in.

Plus, it's an embarrassing walk back to the return section of the store after you've tried for hours to force your purchases into your car.

You could even get in trouble with the police if you store your buys in your vehicle unsafely.

The best thing to do is be aware of the dimensions of the inside of your car so that you can pack the flat-pack safely and avoid any cringe-worthy explanations to the employees at the returns and refunds desk.

You've been warned!

Helena Hanson
Trending Editor
Helena Hanson is a Senior Editor for Narcity Canada's Trending Desk focused on major news. She previously lived in Ottawa, but is now based in the U.K.
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