How to Survive The Ikea Shopping Trip – My Guide, and Yes it Includes Meatballs!

I use Ikea alongside salvage yards and junk shops to bring the rooms to life and make them my own.

How to Survive The Ikea Shopping Trip – My Guide, and Yes it Includes Meatballs!

How to Survive The Ikea Shopping Trip - My Guide, and Yes it Includes Meatballs!

I love interior design. I adore art. I love beautiful things and want to be surrounded by them. Sadly my budget doesn’t always match my aspirations.

Over the years I’ve lived in rented one room apartments, mortgaged victorian terraces and larger ex-council properties. Whilst renovating my various homes over the years, I’ve made no end of mistakes, some more costly than others. I’ve learned by them.

Let me help with a few tips to keep you safe and sane.

They may just save you from making those time consuming or expensive mistakes.

The best friend of the interior designer on a budget is Ikea. Can you believe it’s nearly 30 years since they opened their first UK store? I’m a self confessed addict. It started with a mutual love of wood and candles and has developed over the years as we’ve both aged and matured.

I use Ikea alongside salvage yards and junk shops to bring the rooms to life and make them my own.



Here’s how I do it…

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How to Build Ikea Flatpack Furniture – My Flatpack Assembly Survival Guide – ( Without Breaking a Nail! )

Things that were minutes ago just squares and shapes laid snugly in a well fitting cardboard box are now a three dimensional gorgeous addition to your home.

How to Build Ikea Flatpack Furniture –  My Flatpack Assembly Survival Guide – ( Without Breaking a Nail! )

How to Build Ikea Flatpack Furniture - My Flatpack Assembly Survival Guide - ( Without Breaking a Nail! )

Do you hanker after well designed furniture but can’t afford it?

How about flat pack? Scared of it looking cheap and wobbly, with poorly fitting doors etc? Be scared no more, Ikea could well be the answer to your problems. Never shopped in Ikea before? Have a look at my shopping advice here.

If you followed my previous advice, you got home safely with all your bargains and flatpacks and are ready to make your house into a home.

Many people, sadly often the lovely men in our lives (I’m not sexist but guys, you know this is true) do not like following instructions. If this is you, then walk away. I can’t help you.

Walk away, with your big hammer, your tool belt and be prepared to break things.  Get your ‘might come in handy stuff’ box, aka toolbox, for all the left over pieces you didn’t think were necessary. You may want to keep the drill handy too, you know you love a power tool. For those who are less gung ho and want to do the job as suggested by Ikea, this post is for you.

Right then, who’s still here?

You did swot up and buy, or borrow, all the required tools didn’t you? No? Oh dear, you may have a problem, or not. DO NOT PANIC! I can help. You will just be reading instructions, or rather following text free diagrams with little pictures of people helping you along the way. No language difficulties here.

Check your watch, it’s not a race, this is a task that could take time. If you don’t have time, leave it. A panicky last minute build could be disastrous. Happy? OK, we’re going in.

My Flatpack Assembly Survival Guide – My 5 Practical Tips

1. Prepare your Construction Zone

Are you ready to go? Great. Get changed, be comfy, wear trainers not slippers or barefeet (bare toes and sheets of glass or wood don’t make for a healthy mix.) Grab a glass of water, it can get heated.

It’s a good idea to cover the floor area or table (only use a table for small projects. Picture frames usually have glass in them, you need to keep it flat. Furniture is heavy, you need to keep it as low as possible.)

Bedsheets / blankets to protect your flooring or carpet are ideal.

You don’t want to produce one gorgeous piece at the cost of scratches and marks on another.

You need as big a space as you can wrangle, spreading out will help you keep track. It’s also safer, you don’t want to be stepping over or on the flatpack pieces during construction.

At this stage it’s worth putting your drink where it won’t get knocked over but you can reach it. You may need extra energy so bring the Ikea Dime pieces, you DID buy some didn’t you?

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How to organise your bookshelf

Beauty-and-the-beast-disneyscreencaps.com-6089I guess the question is really how do you fit all your books on a shelf system that isn’t big enough. Is a bookcase ever big enough? Sadly I do not yet own a library like Belle in Beauty and the Beast, yet. (copyright Disney etc) I don’t own a room high enough to install a sliding ladder either, yet. One day…

BookcaseThis image is my humble bookcase, currently. Horror! I hear you cry, you have books lying sideways…I know…I hate it too but needs must.
So back to the question how do you organise your bookshelf? I’ve had a few in my time so I’ll give you a few options to ponder.

  1. Genre – I’m with that currently, subsplit by author, you know classics, horror, thrillers, biographies you get the idea
  2. Reader – children books together on low shelf
  3. Author – you can go down the full alphabet route, although I prefer to keep all my reference books together by subject and that can fall down quickly with that method
  4. Size – yes size matters! My shelves are higher at the base of the system so I sometimes have to split up any system purely because a book is larger, see my previous moan about airport size books
  5. Value (not just monetary, but personally) – I put my valued books in the far corner so they are protected from the sun by the curtains you could choose to wrap them in fabric or make paper covers, Pinterest is packed with such ideas (spoiler alert! my own Pinterest account coming soon)
  6. Subject – especially with reference books, my study books for example are all together, as far as size allows, so I can dip into them for reference whilst writing
  7. Access – or should I say ease of access – all my dictionaries are next to my reading chair, then when a writer like Stephen Fry baffles me with something I can quickly look it up. Did you know Marilyn Monroe carried a dictionary with her everywhere so she could learn constantly from others, what a gal?
  8. Colour – I haven’t done this one but I have seen it done, it is literally sorting out your books by the colour of the spine, yes you do judge a book by its cover. It is stunning but I think a bit too strict for me, also I’d never find anything. Never say never though
  9. Misc -I have a shelf with books someone in the household hasn’t read yet, a book not worthy of staying on the shelf for life or even long term. It’s the ‘charity shop next’ portion
  10. DVDs and movies – really annoyingly they are on the bookcase, needs must, these are sorted by genre, in the main.

How do you sort yours? Are you a book snob who puts the heavy going stuff in line of sight (think politicians when they are having a quick interview at home etc.) or are you someone so organised that you don’t even have a system?