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Try IKEA online and find the inspiration you’ve been missing out on

IKEA is the world’s largest furniture retailer but many Americans still live far from their stores and have never visited one. Here’s how to shop online and why I think it’s worth it.

There are 37 IKEA stores in the United States. Image from Google Maps.

My first trip to my local IKEA was in February this year. I drove over 4 hours that day and went alone. It was exhausting and I should have prepared better for this trip or at least had lunch at their café. There are obvious benefits to shopping in-store: you get to see and touch items firsthand, measure them in person, access to the showroom, sales only in-store, etc. However, I think that IKEA can be successfully shopped online. Since February I’ve placed three online orders and I’m pleased to report no serious mishaps. In fact, I ended up with an extra item by mistake and I got to keep it. Non-furniture small item shipments start at only $9 through FedEx (at least in my area) and you can basically pile your cart as full as you’d like without any upcharge. Of course, do get a shipping estimate on your cart before you check out to avoid any surprises.

One reason I will continue to shop IKEA is that the retailer plans to offer fully sustainable materials in its furniture and textiles by 2030, either through recycling or renewable resources. I find this to be an admirable step to ensure responsibility and restraint when it’s so easy for big companies to ignore and shrink away from the reality of global climate change. IKEA is also notable for its flat-packing methods which also helps cut down on material usage and transportation costs.

Navigating the IKEA website

It doesn’t feel as user-friendly to me as say, Amazon, but once you know the general layout you’ll be fine. These guys here are your buddies:

I recommend creating an account if you plan on saving items to lists because it could wipe them out if you don’t. I also recommend joining the IKEA Family program because it’s free and you get access to exclusive sales. No credit card number necessary.

Across the top header of the website there are general menu options. The Products menu provides a drop-down of all IKEA departments. Inspiration takes you to what is essentially IKEA’s blog. You can find anything from news on press releases to gardening ideas to tips on styling your shelves. These are pretty self-explanatory. The parts of the website I most enjoy, however, weren’t readily apparent to me. The galleries.

The galleries are my happy places. Unfortunately I haven’t found anywhere yet that links all the galleries together. You would think that Inspiration would but it doesn’t.

Pssst. The gallery is all the way at the bottom. Image source.

Each gallery is essentially a showcase of a department. It’s a glorious place where you can view all the styles your heart desires without the excessive text of the catalog. It’s easy on the eyes and will leave you wanting more. Simply click on an image to view the room and scroll down to see all featured items.

Since I think it’s a pain to have to sift through departments to find the galleries I’ve collected all the prominent links I could find and here they are.

A lovely retreat provided by the Outdoor Gallery.

Time to go gallery-hopping.

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