I mentioned a few months back that I'm buying an apartment. This month I spent a lot of time planning out the finishing process of that apartment.
I'm buying the apartment completely unfinished in a new-construction building and the construction won't be completed until March of 2022 (if it's completed on time). And when taking into account the inspections and bureaucracy (bleh) that needs to happen before I'm actually handed the keys, I probably won't get to start doing any work on the interior before May of 2022.
That gives me a lot of time to plan out the finishing of the apartment. And considering this is my first real estate purchase and that I'm planning on doing a lot of the finishing myself (lord help me), all this planning time is going to come in handy.
It also will come in handy because I have a lot of time to buy and store away products for the apartment ahead of time, perhaps during a sale.
The #1 priority of this apartment
3 words: bang for buck.
This apartment is not meant to be my dream home. Far from it. The apartment will have 2 units, 1 which I will live in for the time being, and 1 which I will rent out. The goal is for both apartments to be rental-grade, i.e. nice places to live, not necessarily luxurious. But "not luxurious" doesn't mean crappy.
I despise low-quality stuff. It doesn't last long, which means you have to replace it often, which usually means it costs more than it would have if you just spent a little more for a longer-lasting product at the get-go, and it means you create a lot of pointless waste.
So with that said, the number 1 priority for the this apartment's finishes is bang for buck: products and finishes that offer long-lasting performance for their price. By "products", I mean everything from the waterproofing coating that will be put under the tiles in the bathrooms, to the furniture, to the faucets for the kitchen and bathroom sinks.
And when it comes to bang for buck and interior home finishes, it just doesn't get any better than IKEA.
A significant amount of the products that I will put into this apartment, including the kitchen cabinets, lighting fixtures, desks, most of the beds, and many others will be from IKEA.
This post can be considered my love letter to IKEA.
IKEA and their pricing
When in comes to price, IKEA products compete fiercely with even the cheapest budget options of big box stores, and yet the quality of the comparable IKEA products is easily 2–10 times better.
But "bang for buck" is about much more than just the price of a product, it's about the ratio of price to quality, performance, features, etc.
And where IKEA really stands out amongst... any other company in any industry IKEA has their hands... is in their ratio of price to quality, performance, features, warranty, etc.
IKEA and their warranties
IKEA has warranties for basically all their products, across the board.
Not only that, but their warranties are industry standard, if not industry leading, in most cases.
Not only that, with IKEA, you have the peace of mind that:
- they will likely still be in business in 25+ years (which is the warranty period for a lot of their products) and
- they will actually honor their warranties when you come in for a claim.
I have only returned or replaced a handful of IKEA products in my life (and I have purchased probably a truck load of them), and when I did, I have never had a problem (other than a long wait... 1 time... during the COVID-19 pandemic).
I have a feeling that not enough people take this into account when purchasing a product for their home.
IKEA and their design
IKEA's products are well designed.
I have yet to have personal experience with an IKEA product where I could truly say it was poorly designed. Not even poorly designed for the price point the product was at, but poorly designed, period.
Almost every time I hold an IKEA product in my hand I think to myself: the designer of this product "understood the assignment".
I could go on for days about how well IKEA's designers understand their assignments.
Even something as seemingly simple and unimportant as a toilet brush... IKEA's cheapest toilet brush, which at the time of writing this costs 0.99 USD... even that cheap-ass toilet brush checks every box that it needs to:
- The handle is stiff, which allows you to put a lot of force on the brush, even if you hold the handle at the very end.
- Not only is the handle stiff, but it is equally stiff on every angle of its main axis, meaning it does not matter how it is rotated when you apply force to it.
- The entirety of the brush goes into the holder, making it practically impossible to accidentally graze the potentially dirty brush when walking past or doing anything around it.
- The holder is widest at its base, so that it is well-planted on the floor and not easy to tip over.
- The holder has a smooth and seamless surface where the brush is inserted, making it easy to clean.
- The holder has cutouts for your hand, allowing it to easily be picked up off a flat surface without touching the brush or interior of the brush holder, which both may be dirty.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have used significantly more expensive toilet brushes which do not check all these boxes.
Do you fathom that? NOT EVEN 1 FULL DOLLAR, and yet: exceptional design and function.
But enough about their toilet brushes.
Let's talk about something that is more conventionally interesting, like their kitchen catalog.
Unless you work in interior design, as a finishing contractor, or like me... you just know practically the entire IKEA catalog by heart, you cannot look me in the eye and tell me that these kitchens don't look like custom, $100k+ kitchens designed by Porsche-driving, Prada-wearing, LA-based celebrity home designers. And yet, they weren't. They are all IKEA kitchens that just about any middle-class family can afford, and any qualified IKEA employee can plan.
From classic, to retro, to modern, and everything in between... IKEA has such a wide variety of options, you would have to be outlandishly picky not to find a combination of products that fits your taste.
IKEA and their accessibility
IKEA products are not only accessible in the sense that they are affordable, but they are accessible in the sense that... YOU ACTUALLY HAVE ACCESS TO THEM.
Where you might be waiting weeks or months for custom cabinets or designer furniture, IKEA will likely have anything you want ON HAND, not to mention in a store or warehouse which is driving distance from your home.
And if they don't, it will likely be back in stock in a matter of days.
IKEA and their marketing
Although it doesn't have a direct impact on the actual quality of the final product that you take home, I have to take a moment just to appreciate the great job IKEA has done with marketing and documenting its products.
IKEA's entire catalog is online. Everything is well pictured. The user manual/build instructions for everything is available online. The critical dimensions for every product are given for each product.
They did an outstanding job adapting to the societal shift towards ecommerce and they're doing a great job keeping up with that continuously shifting landscape.
I <3 IKEA
IKEA, I love you. Never change.
Did I mention you can have a freaking delicious dinner while you shop in the store and top your shopping experience all off with a so-cheap-it-might-as-well-be-free hot dog and vanilla ice cream cone on your way out!?
The only thing I could love more than IKEA... is you. Thank you so much for reading this post ❤️. I hope that we may meet at an IKEA one day!