After driving 4 and a half hours to Hotlanta, I was super stoked to see the giant yellow and blue building standing before me.
I honestly had no idea what to expect as this was my first trip to the big Swedish home store, but I felt so excited it was hard not to run all the way to the front door (although the sweltering heat did help me to slow down a bit).
One thing I certainly didn't know, was how HUGE this store is. I should have realized by the extensive website and catalog, but I was in the dark on that one. I walked in and I was confused and astounded.
After getting a snack, I managed to find the shopping carts and headed through the marketplace.
This handy map was my travel guide through aisle after aisle of low-priced goods and hordes of people. I had been viewing the website for quite a while before we made the trip and I knew mostly what I was looking for so thanks to the map I was able to find exactly what I wanted pretty quickly and also see similar items while I was in the section.
Next on to the showroom and boy oh boy oh boy was it pretty and boy oh boy was it crowded. I loved the showroom because:
1) It gave me a lot of inspiration for the house. Each small "room" that I passed was fully decorated and there were many things I saw that planted ideas in my head for things I could do to decorate my own home that would be pretty easy. That was the most fun part to me.
2) Thinking about my home's layout, I could look at each mini room and see ways that our furniture could work and which ways definitely would not work. For a few weeks now I've been attempting to figure out how I would like certain rooms arranged and getting to see so many ideas in the showroom really helped out.
3) It was extremely well organized for walking through. Everything made sense and was well put together. I could see how the things I wanted would look and then after I picked out everything, I coasted on over to the self-serve area.
This part was the hardest. I had thought that I was going to leave with more than I did, but the truth is the car just wasn't big enough. Also, one of the items we wanted was unavailable! My heart was broken over that one, but I survived.
I loaded my purchases onto a flat cart and made my way to check out and that was the end of it. It was a positive experience and if there was one closer I would definitely go back more often, but alas a 4 and half hour trip cannot be made all the time...
So what did I get?
About a billion white Kassett boxes.
That awesome metal Emu box (with another box inside it).
These cute containers that I love.
This super cute and comfy green blanket that I've been cuddling up with every day since I got home.
And last but not least, several curtain rods also pictured with the box holding my new Expedit bookcase!
I can't wait to put that together, but for now I have some tips to hopefully make your Ikea shopping experience more pleasant.
The Ultimate's Ikea Tips:
1) Don't go on a Sunday like I did. I fortunately had plenty of time to cruise around and take things slow, but the experience would have been a lot more pleasant if I had gone on a weekday where there had been less people. Seriously, there were tons and tons of people everywhere and it was so difficult weaving through the crowds with the shopping cart and having to wait for people to move constantly. If I had been in a hurry, I know I would have been so stressed out by the trip. I still had a lot of fun and enjoyed the trip, but that's due to having an exorbitant amount of time to navigate the huge building and deal with the people.
2) Go with a teammate. It's so much easier and faster to have someone leading the way and picking up items while the other person pushes the shopping cart. Plus, when you get to the really heavy items you don't have to wait for an employee to come help you because you two can just do it yourselves. It's also just nice to have company while shopping, at least to me.
3) If there's a section you don't need to go through, look on the map and use the shortcut. Trust me, I ended up just walking through several areas "for fun" and it took forever because of all the people. After that I took a shortcut whenever I could and it was so worth it.
So now I have an awesome Expedit bookcase and I can check 'going to Ikea' off my life's to-do list.