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.

Auction house picks for Sunday, May 19 2019

All items will be auctioned by Bluegrass Auction and Appraisal in Lexington, KY. All photos belong to them. Note that this link may be broken in the future or changed as they update their site to the next auction. You can bid online or in person and here are their instructions.

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with this company nor do I claim to represent it. I’m someone who likes auctions and I like to keep track of the interesting items that appear and let others know how to get them too.

Here are the items I’ve curated from their 12 pages of content:

  1. Glass perfume decanters The dark ruby red is gorgeous. I’m imagining myself sitting at my dressing table, record playing as I sip from a delicate stemmed wine glass.
  2. Oil on canvas signed “Daniel” I’ve bought several original art pieces from BAA and I love each and every one. I like this piece especially because I admire still art as a solid traditional subject. I like the sense of depth created in this painting and the rich coloring of the fruits.
  3. Pendant light This is funky and I dig it. What are the clear pieces on the end, tiny boots? Whatever they are I’ll take three.
  4. Pair of red lanterns At first glance I thought these were a little too garden chotsky but consider the possibilities. They would look positively ethereal with a large pillar candle by the poolside at night or in your garden walkway.
  5. Tiffany & Co sterling silver chopsticks Now this is fancy eating. I’m impressed they still have their dust ruffle (carrying case?).
  6. 1920’s Persian rug I’m a little obsessed with rugs.
  7. Custom upholstered settee Holy cow what a piece of furniture! I’m not one for cow prints but this is truly a one of a kind little couch. Whoever purchases this is brave and I hope they will honor it. You’ve got to have the proper aesthetic to bring it home.

I hope I’ve piqued your interest in auctioning. You can find some truly unique finds and great deals if you know what to look for, when to go, and how to bid.

The Beauty of Unsplash.com

I could not recommend a better website for free photos. There is a huge selection, great variety, categories, and search tools to help you explore. You can sign up and create collections if you want but it isn’t necessary to sign up. Downloading is free and unlimited.

Check out their license statement:

All photos published on Unsplash can be used for free. You can use them for commercial and noncommercial purposes. You do not need to ask permission from or provide credit to the photographer or Unsplash, although it is appreciated when possible.
More precisely, Unsplash grants you an irrevocable, nonexclusive, worldwide copyright license to download, copy, modify, distribute, perform, and use photos from Unsplash for free, including for commercial purposes, without permission from or attributing the photographer or Unsplash. This license does not include the right to compile photos from Unsplash to replicate a similar or competing service.

https://unsplash.com/license

If you see a photo on In Via Lex that isn’t tagged “personal photography” then 98% of the time it came from Unsplash. I’d love to create a shoutout page to credit artist’s photos I’m using but the list would be huge. Perhaps I’ll settle on trying to add credits to photo descriptions.

Make an account– or not. The choice is yours. Go forth and bring art to the world.

Have a favorite website for photography? Tell us about it.