The couple’s guide to roaming IKEA

In order to be closer to the centre of the city, we have decided to move to an apartment. One that is currently pretty much a shell. So where to for layout inspiration where you can actually have a true feel for space? In Italy, there is no place like IKEA for these cute layouts.

There’s something about small spaces (55sqm apartments, Hong Kongers?) that I find so appealing. Though I’ve never really lived in a small apartment, I imagine it would be nice to have a space so carefully curated, and so me (or fine, us).

So off we went, with no discussion of any type of “shared objective” of this trip to IKEA. We just knew that we were there to look at Kitchens. In my mind, I was thinking “use of space”. Fiancé was looking at ballpark price tags and what was available on the market today if we were to build as quickly as possible. So you can imagine the confusion when I was explaining my ideas for use of space and moving around, sitting at kitchen islands, trying to “live” in the kitchens to see if they seemed too small and cluttered or if they could feel like home. We ended up sitting down in one of the “dining rooms” there, mapping out our space and drawing, and re-drawing and re-drawing our layout plan for about an hour before we ultimately decided on what we should be looking at or paying attention to.

Overall, here are my top 5 tips for shopping for kitchens at IKEA:

  1. Go in with a shared plan of what you want to understand from this trip. I would avoid all the knick-knacks they place at the end because I’m a sucker for kitchenware and at those prices they all seem appealing. However, I personally regret every purchase of IKEA kitchenware I’ve ever made. You really pay for what you get.
  2. See if that space works for you. Each staged room will have the square meterage on a tag. Grab a tape measure to check the actual perimeters.
  3. Note that most of the benches etc. are customisable. But for the sake of understanding if a living space is suitable for your lifestyle, spend a bit of time in the staged rooms. That’s what they’re there for.
  4. Decide if you want to have an open kitchen/living room space, or whether you want to have a closed kitchen. There are so many arguments both ways, so decide this first so that you can stay focused when you arrive at the showroom/store.
  5. Pay attention to the colour schemes and the finishes on used in the staged rooms. This can give you an idea of what you like and what you really don’t like.

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