Tuesday, October 10, 2017

A Millennial Love Letter To IKEA

A Millennial Love Letter To IKEA | Kayla Lynn
Photo: The Everygirl

Oh, IKEA. You are the Swedish furniture warehouse of every college student and twenty-something's dreams. When back-to-school season starts, you had better believe that the line just to get into the parking lot extends a block or two past the massive shopping complex itself. Young people preparing to move into new dorms and apartments attempt to weave their way through chaotic parking lots and overcrowded loading docks, wheeling their purchases on unruly carts that attempt to go in any direction but forward. Then begins the attempt to stuff long flat-packed boxes of disassembled furniture into parents' cars or into rented Zipcars (millennials don't own cars, after all). 

The trip to IKEA is a ritual that almost everyone in my generation takes part in eventually. On a shoestring budget, you just can't turn down an $8 LACK side table or the infamous KALLAX shelving system (whose uses, by the way, are practically limitless). It may only last a year or two, but shoot, everything is cheap and you can pretty much furnish your entire apartment for a fraction of the cost of shopping elsewhere (and without having to brave awkward Craigslist encounters). Beds, futons, tables, dishes, a cute little desk plant-- IKEA always comes through. The IKEA pilgrimage has basically become a symbol of my generation's lifestyle; broke, constantly on the move, and remarkably unconcerned about quality furniture. That isn't to say that we won't develop a taste for finer things eventually; we'll buy cars and houses and have kids at some day in the future when we strike it big and land our dream job, right? Right. 

IKEA seems to have cracked the millennial code, enjoying tremendous success in catering to consumers in the 18-30 year old bracket who are far more concerned about saving their money or spending their money on experiences like travel rather than on things. Not only are the people in this category on the move, flocking to large cities to chase dreams and avoid settling down, they are also attempting to navigate a job market that is far and away more competitive and tough to catch a break in than what our parents before us faced. In their time, if you had any college degree at all you were pretty much set; life was figured out. In the case of their children, however, you can pretty much forget about mortgages and car payments (and definitely forget about buying expensive furniture sets); for many in my generation its a small blessing just to come up with rent for your tiny 500sq. ft. studio apartment that costs $1300+/month  and doesn't even have a bedroom door (hello VIDGA). 

So with little money leftover after paying for our ridiculously expensive city apartment, we scrounge up whatever furniture we can get for free from friends and family and fill in the rest at IKEA. What I love about the Scandinavian retail giant is that, while you may sacrifice a good deal in quality materials (who really cares though, the furniture is just going to get lost or damaged when you move to your next apartment anyway), you don't have to sacrifice a sense of style. If Scandinavian or minimal interior design styles are your thing, there are a lot of charming products to choose from. The new 2017 STOCKHOLM collection is especially captivating, with tons of creative yet simply-crafted Scandinavian pieces that have the potential to make your space look much more expensive than it actually is with a little design magic. I mean, you could tell me this rattan chair came from Serena and Lily and I would totally believe you. If this isn't really your style, then you can "IKEA hack" pretty much anything in the store to make something completely custom and awesome. A simple search for "IKEA hacks" on Pinterest will take you down a long and pleasant rabbit hole of DIY delight.

Without further ado, you now have my permission to go shop till you drop. IKEA and Target have basically fully-furnished my entire apartment, so below I've picked out some of my favorite items for you to head over and take a look at.

XOXO

A Millennial Love Letter To IKEA | Kayla Lynn


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