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How to survive a trip to Ikea, from the people who work there

We asked three longtime Ikea employees for their best tips on how to survive a shopping trip and emerge victorious.
You'll never love Ikea as much as this couple, but there are ways to make the shopping trip less stressful. Credit: Getty Images
You'll never love Ikea as much as this couple, but there are ways to make the shopping trip less stressful. Credit: Getty Images

We love Ikea’s clean Swedish lines, clever storage ideas and affordable prices — but walking into the store can still be overwhelming.

Even Rocky Brewer, who’s been with the furniture giant for about 10 years, acknowledges that the experience of first walking in and seeing the size and selection of the store “is definitely a challenge for a lot of people.”

Many a relationship has been tested on an Ektorp sofa or over a Hemnes coffee table. Choosing is already hard, but when there are so many choices and so many ways in which your boyfriend’s furniture aesthetic really should’ve evolved beyond black by now, things get heated fast.

This is where having a solid game plan and knowing how to navigate the store can make all the difference. And a few people will get even luckier when the Ikea Home Tour Squad knocks on their door to transform a space in their home with expert advice.

For their fourth cross-country tour, the squad will be coming to four cities: Philadelphia, New York/New Jersey, Washington, D.C. and Boston, and you can submit a short video (under 3 minutes) about a dream you have and how a little interior design magic can help make it come true.

Because the Home Tour Squad all come with years of experience on the Ikea sales floor, we got them to share their secrets to not feeling overwhelmed by the big blue box and making the most of your next Ikea shopping trip.

Come with an open mind

Arrive knowing what you need, but with an open mind on how to achieve it.

“The best mindset is openness and to let yourself inspired,” says Stephanie Recupero, one of the designers on the Home Tour Squad who’s been with Ikea for over seven years. “The room settings that we have are a unique way to present how a home can be set up and how you can function in the space with that furniture. I think that’s a great advantage to shopping at our store.”

Take advantage of the in-store experts

When you’re not at your shopping best, Brewer suggests relying on those who are: “The overall tip I would give to people is to be willing to seek help when you need it,” he says. “There are co-workers all over the store who are knowledgeable and professional in their areas. They can really help people break down the needs of their space and help find the best solution.”

Let your ideas digest

We learn early on to never shop hungry — but saving your meal at Ikea’s restaurant for the middle of your shopping trip rather than the beginning can be helpful. “Sit down and enjoy your meal while going over your plans of what you’re doing and get inspired through the catalog,” suggests Jesse Myatt, the squad’s cameraman and seven-year veteran of Ikea. “It’s a cool place to hang out and just evaluate the rest of your shopping experience.”

 
 
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