I'm partial to IKEA. I love the place almost as much as I love life itself. I dedicated a whole blog post to why everyone should love IKEA.
Nothing gets me riled up faster than someone saying they got a low-quality item from IKEA... Yeah, Denise? Your $1 pair of scissors from IKEA only lasted 6 years of heavy use in your kitchen and office? What a disaster. I feel SoOoOO bad for you.
And this blog post changes nothing. I commend almost every single IKEA design — they are a fixtures of function, quality, and economy.
But I can admit that IKEA makes the occasional blunder. For about every 100 things they get right, they get 1 or 2 wrong... Here are 5 IKEA designs I noticed that weren't quite right.
1) No matching bathroom sink/bath faucets (with exceptions).
IKEA makes awesome faucets, sometimes with better warranties than companies which specialize in bathroom plumbing fixtures... but IKEA doesn't make matching bathtub or shower fixtures to go with their sink fixtures.
Bathroom design 101: you should have matching faucet fixtures for the bathtub, shower, and sink.
But IKEA makes many different styles of bathroom sink faucets, and basically none of them have matching shower/bath fixtures.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with thinking outside the box and designing a bathroom with different styles of fixtures, or picking different, but closely-matching fixtures... but the accepted wisdom is that these fixtures should match. IKEA is a company which is all about mass appeal... so I was very surprised to find that they don't make lines of basic fixtures for more than just bathroom sinks.
As a matter of fact, the only reason I found out about this is because I'm currently in the process of purchasing products to finish a rental apartment unit and I was certain that I would buy IKEA faucets for the bathroom because of their impressive price:quality ratio and warranty... but then I realized that I can't buy a matching set of bathtub and sink faucets (that was of interest to me). So I didn't (and won't) buy any IKEA fixtures for this bathroom, or likely any bathroom in the future, unless they start making matching sets.
2) No holes in the handles of their top-tier cookware.
Ahh, the SENSUELL series... IKEA's most expensive, best line of cookware. A hardy, thick, heavy assortment of heavy-duty pots and pans with 25-year warranties that obliterate the price:quality ratio, and probably wouldn't feel out of place in a commercial kitchen. Knowing his criteria for a good pot and pan, I'd bet Gordon Ramsay would approve of this line of cookware. There's just one problem with it: the long-handled pots and pans in this series doesn't have holes in their handles — you can't hang them.
Speaking of professional chefs and commercial kitchens, have you noticed how they love hanging their pots and pans? It's space-efficient and IMO, looks cool — especially if you have quality pans like the SENSUELLs to show off.
Oven-safe, efficient, thick, stainless steel pots and pans with aluminum cores that can undoubtedly last you a lifetime... but you can't hang them up.
These pots and pans can put top-of-the-line, professional cookware to shame with the performance and durability they offer for a fraction of the price... But the true shame is that you can't hang them. Every single cheaper pan at IKEA has a hole in its handle to allow you to hang it, but SENSUELL cookware doesn't.
3) No dedicated lid for their large, top-tier frying pan.
Ahh, the SENSUELL series... again. Such a perfect line of cookware — did I say there's just one problem with it? Oops... there's one more: there's no matching lid for its large frying pan!
The pots (4 L and 5.5 L) and saucepan in this series come with awesome lids that have windows through which you can see what's happening inside the pot without taking the lid off, but when it comes to the SENSUELL pans (24 cm, 28 cm, and 32 cm), they don't have dedicated lids.
That said, coincidentally (or not) the lid from the SENSUELL pots fits the smaller SENSUELL frying pan.
But when it comes to the large SENSUELL frying pan, you can't even purchase a matching lid separately.
Of course, you can get an appropriately-sized KLOCKREN lid from IKEA — which does cover the pan nicely — or get a lid that fits from a completely different brand's cookware line, but when you're buying the most expensive stuff from a distinguished company like IKEA, you would just expect to be able to get everything you want and need in a matching set.
Other than the universal KLOCKREN lids, no other lid from any other line of cookware that I tested worked nicely with the large SENSUELL pan (I tested the 365+ ).
4) The trash can that you "can" only fill half way.
A tisket, a tasket, The IKEA TRÄSKET could be the poster child of "form over function". It's a little, baby trash can that feels like it belongs in a bathroom, but IKEA claims you can put it anywhere (IKEA is great at embracing unconventional and unexpected uses of its products, and that's another reason why I love them). While the overall design of this trash can probably can't be originally attributed to IKEA, they did decide to recreate it, and it's overall... awful. While it's just sitting on the floor, sure... it's sleek, it's stylish — not my style, but someone's...
The beef I have with this trash can is with its lid. It has a pivot which forces you to open it downward to throw something away.
Not only that, but you can only open it from one side, and which side that is isn't abundantly clear just by looking at the trash can, so you might have to try a couple times before you successfully open it. That, right off the bat, is poor design. It should be clear how something like a trash can works. You should be able to work it without needing to test it or put any thought into it.
But that's not even the worst thing about the lid.
The worst thing about this lid design is that once the trash can starts to get full... the trash itself will prevent the lid from opening downwards. So you are left with 4 options:
- To keep your clean, sleek aesthetic, you have to empty the trash... even though it's barely half-way full.
- You can take the entire top off and store it somewhere (you have lots of spare space for storing random junk, right?), then the trash can will just serve as a traditional, open-top trash can (bye bye, sleekness).
- In true, "lazy teenager" fashion, you can just start piling trash on top of the trash can's lid (now that's a real "fashion" statement).
- You can stop throwing things away (fun fact: of all your options, this is the most eco-friendly).
IKEA is so embarrassed of this design, they only have 1 picture of the trash can on their website, and they don't even show how the lid opens.
Even their assembly manual doesn't show how the lid opens.
But don't worry, I'll throw them under the bus:
- it was a released as a test, to see if people would like it, or
- European people like stupid trash cans that are stylish.
I think the latter is likely, judging by the numerous, 5-star reviews on IKEA's Europeans websites, many of which rave about how great the trash can looks (and few of which mention anything about the functionality of the lid).
Hey, to each their own.
One way or another, I hope it's one of those 2, because I hate to think that IKEA actually thought this was a good design.
It's just funny for me to think how many competent, talented designers and/or engineers at IKEA had to approve this design before sending it to production. They literally had to look at it, think through how it will be used and say "yes, we should make this". And then they likely got a prototype (or numerous prototypes) of the product, physically held it in their hands, tested it, and still decided to go through with production.
As the true fanboy I am, I can still spin this positively for IKEA: I'm all for testing products that you don't expect to work, just to see if they do. And again, judging by the, albeit limited, but hugely positive feedback I saw, it might be safe to say this product was a huge success. And who's to the say the customer is wrong? If the market loves a product, there's nothing wrong with IKEA making it!
Thank you for reading!
It's easy to be a critic. I want to re-emphasise that I love IKEA. The amount of exceptional design that comes out of that company is astounding. These are just a few designs that — in my opinion — were mistakes.
Great work, IKEA team, designers, and you, for reading this whole blog post! Thank you so much for being here. Have an amazing day!