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24 IKEA Shopping Tips That You’ll Love Even More Than the Swedish Meatballs

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Who’s ready to shop!?

If you’ve heard of IKEA, you probably know about everything from their impressive price protection policy to scoring free coffee or tea! I’ve rounded up some helpful shopping tips to make your visit a piece of cake (even literally if it’s your birthday)!

Before you go

1. Request a copy of the catalog.

Be in the know about the latest product offerings from IKEA by subscribing to the catalog. You can download the digital version, but the print copy makes for a lovely coffee book table!

2. Know the best times to shop (and return).

ikea shopping tips — know what times to shop

Like most retail stores, weekday mornings are the best time to shop around since you’ll come across less traffic in the store. If possible, you may want to avoid shopping during July and August, especially on weekends, as students and recent grads are buying furnishings for their dorm rooms or new homes.

As far as returns, you’ll want to do those first thing in the morning as it’s a take-a-number-and-wait system.

3. Sign up for IKEA’s moving program.

ikea shopping tips — join the moving program

Not only will you receive a coupon for $25 off of a $250 purchase, but their moving guide is full of helpful lists, calendar alerts, and organization ideas to help make your move a breeze!

4. Download the IKEA Place app so you can view furniture in your home before buying.

ikea shopping tips — download ikea place app

This incredible augmented reality app, available on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, lets you view IKEA furniture in your house before you buy! Simply browse through the collection and place in your room. You can even snap photos of non-IKEA items you like and the app will search for similar ones they offer!

5. Make your shopping list online.

ikea shopping tips — create an online shopping list

Why is a shopping list probably the greatest feature on IKEA’s website?

  • You can add by item number, meaning you can browse the catalog and make a list of your desired items without having to navigate to their product page on the website.
  • You can see the stock levels of inventory, along with when unavailable items might be shipped in.
  • When printing, you can sort your list by time added, weight, or location to make picking them up in the marketplace so simple.
  • You can email it to someone, making wish lists and gift-giving easier than ever!

6. Check store stock before you go.

ikea shopping tips — use stock prognosis to see inventory levels

It’s one thing for a website to show whether or not an item is in stock, but IKEA’s Stock Prognosis shows the stock amount and the likelihood of it still being in stock when you arrive. You can check this on an item’s product page by selecting your desired store and clicking “view stock prognosis” underneath. It’s also visible on your online shopping list as well!

7. Take advantage of planning tools and buying guides.

ikea shopping tips — in store virtual planning tool

The virtual design tools are as functional as they are fun! You can arrange furniture pieces to make sure they fit in your space and start crafting your order. The buying guides are also worth checking out for inspiration, coordinating pieces, and accessories.

Keep in mind that if you’re looking to take on a semi-custom kitchen project, you’ll need to design the space first before purchasing the cabinet pieces.

8. Don’t rely on your phone for service.

ikea shopping tips — download content before going to the store

Just looking at an IKEA building will give you the sense that it’s built like a fortress. Your cell signal may likely be weaker (or even non-existent). Make sure you download anything, like online lists, images, or other helpful shopping resources before you go.

9. Bring the size dimensions of your room and car.

ikea shopping tips — measure room and vehicle and bring measurements

While you probably have the ability to measure your space instantaneously when shopping online, you’ll have a little more trouble when you find something unexpected in store. Having the room sizes (and car door dimensions) gives you peace of mind that it will fit right in, whether it’s in your house (or in your car).

10. Bring your own bag if you don’t feel like buying theirs.

ikea shopping tips — bring your own bag

Most people are familiar with the massive bright blue bags from IKEA because their size and durability (and super cheap price point) make them a must-have. It’s also because your only two bagging options are buying theirs or bringing your own. If you want to save yourself a couple bucks, bring your favorite reusable bag with you.

When you arrive

11. Get an IKEA family card for discounts (it’s FREE!)

ikea shopping tips — join IKEA family for savings and benefits

Look for the orange kiosk and grab an IKEA family card (or you can also sign up online beforehand) right when you get to the store. Why? It’s FREE and the benefits include:

  • Free coffee or tea when you visit the restaurant (not eligible for to-go cups).
  • An extra 30 minutes for kids at Småland (since every customer already gets 60 minutes for free, that makes for 1.5 hours of FREE babysitting for IKEA Family members!).
  • Exclusive discounts on certain items.
  • BOGO free frozen yogurt when you pick up your card for the first time at an in-store kiosk.
  • 90-day price protection so if your purchase drops in price within 90 days, you’ll have the difference refunded.
  • A FREE Swedish Meatball birthday meal with cake and $15 off in-store purchase coupon to redeem during your birthday month — SWEET!

12. Pick up complimentary shopping tools.

ikea shopping tips — shopping tools

  • Store map — IKEA can be a bit overwhelming, but with the store map in your hands, you can navigate to the areas you need to check out and see where the shortcuts are.
  • Tape measure — Measure on the fly so you can be sure the furniture will fit in your home (and your car!)
  • Notepad with a pencil — You’ll want this to write down product information so you can find it later in the marketplace.

13. Consider entering through the exit door to cut down on time.

ikea shopping tips — enter through the exit

If you’re not familiar with the layout of IKEA, there’s the showroom and the marketplace. While the store is laid out so that you browse through the showroom first before you get to the marketplace (aka the area where you actually pick up items to purchase), this can eat up a lot of your time, especially if you’re on a time constraint or already have a shopping list.

By entering through the exit, you’ll start closer to the marketplace to maximize your time. Keep in mind that if you need a tape measure and store map, those items are more commonly found at the actual store entrance.

14. Visit the restaurant on Tuesdays for deals on Kid’s Meals.

In addition to the store’s showroom and marketplace, there’s also a restaurant (home to the infamous Swedish meatballs) along with the bistro which is located near the cash registers. If you’re shopping on a Tuesday, you can score a yummy offer to buy one Adult Meal, get two Kid’s Meals FREE! You’re likely in for an hour or two of shopping so it would be wise to get some food in first and keep the kids satisfied throughout the trip.

15. Take advantage of Småland if you have children.

ikea shopping tips — drop kids off at smaland

Just in case you skimmed over the IKEA Family member benefits section, IKEA has their own daycare center where all guests are entitled to the first hour of child supervision for FREE! Even sweeter, you get an extra thirty minutes for free if you’re an IKEA family member.

While you shop

16. Snap pictures of the price tag.

ikea shopping tips — take down the information from product tags

This actually has nothing to do with the price and everything to do with the vital information about the product’s location in the marketplace, which is printed on the red portion. Either jot the info down on your notepad or just take a picture with your phone to recall the details later.

17. Look for limited collection pieces.

ikea shopping tips — shop limited collections for unique finds

Do you love IKEA? I bet your friends do too, which is why you’ll want to look for special limited collection products so you don’t all end up with the same home furnishings! Luckily enough, they collaborate with exciting companies and designers to create fun and fresh home goods. Most are only available in store but you can check out the product galleries here.

18. Buy wedding or party decorations.

ikea shopping hacks — shop for cheap wedding decor

If you or someone you know is getting married or hosting a big event, IKEA is the cheapest place to find things like vases, candles, picture frames, and tons of other inexpensive decorating pieces. You can also create your gift registry there!

19. Search for yellow “Last Chance” labels.

ikea shopping tips — last chance labels

If you love it, get it now! In order to continually introduce new and improved products, IKEA needs to make space on the shelf, thus discontinuing certain items. If you see one of these yellow “last chance” labels, know that it’s not going to stay in stock much longer.

20. Browse through the garden section.

ikea shopping stips — shop the garden section

Yes, you read that right. IKEA even has a garden section! Peruse for inexpensive greenery, which all include gardening tips and instructions.

21. Shop the As-Is section.

ikea shopping tips — shop the as-is section

This section starts at 15% off retail and is usually made up of customer returns, so you’ll find the best selection on Mondays from the returns that came in over the weekend. However, if you hold out until Wednesday, you’ll get an additional 10% off!

22. Consider the flat rate delivery options.

ikea shopping tips — look into delivery options

Let’s say some items just won’t fit in your vehicle, or you just don’t feel like lugging it all home, or you decide you don’t even feel like shopping once you actually get to the store — no worries! IKEA has different delivery options like home delivery or picking with delivery to help make sure you get what you want without lifting a finger.

When you get home

23. Call IKEA if you’re missing a part instead of going back to the store.

ikea shopping tips — call for missing parts or replacements

You get home from IKEA and you start assembling your new stuff, only to realize that something is missing — darn! Instead of driving back to the store, figure out the missing part number (it’s listed in the assembly instructions) and call your local store to ask for replacements. They’ll mail you the pieces so you don’t have to make a second trip!

24. Make your furniture last longer with wood glue.

ikea shopping hacks — use wood glue to make furniture last longer

We love IKEA but some of the products aren’t meant to last forever. Extend the durability and lifespan of your favorite furnishings by applying wood glue to seams while assembling! It will add strength and stop that slightly wobbly effect, though it will make disassembling much harder.

Other things to know…

ikea shopping tips — shop the kitchen event or get a price adjustment

You can get up to 20% off during the kitchen sale.

This happens 3-4 times a year, but considering the 90-day price protection you get with IKEA family, you’re almost guaranteed to get the best price on cabinets, small appliances, and all your other kitchen purchases. So if you make a purchase outside of the sale window, make sure to keep your receipt so you can get the refund credit when the next sale rolls around.

Shop with a gift card to save up to 10% (or more). usually offers both online and in-store IKEA gift cards in their marketplace. Before you head into IKEA, calculate your spend from your shopping list and buy the number of gift cards needed to cover slightly less than the amount of your order with tax (that way you’re not stuck with an unspent gift card). Pay attention because egift cards are typically for online purchases only, while physical cards and vouchers may be accepted both online and in-store.

Check out IKEA on Amazon for free or low-cost shipping on tons of items.

You can buy some of your favorite IKEA items on Amazon! Yes, it’s convenient and most are available with free shipping. That said, only purchase if the overall price is cheaper than purchasing with shipping from IKEA’s website since Amazon sellers tend to inflate their prices.

Only plan one room at a time.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your renovation project won’t be either. As stated by many DIYers, plan your trips with only one room in mind. This helps you stay focused and avoid feeling overwhelmed by the vast product offerings around you. And hey, it means another free coffee on the next trip! ☕️

Hip Tip: Search IKEA hacks on Pinterest for some ridiculously cool ways to repurpose IKEA furniture!

Written by Emily for Hip2Save. Emily lives in Buffalo, NY where she spends her time drinking lots of coffee, scouring the internet for deals, and tackling DIY projects. She’s a big believer in self-care and living the fullest life possible, all while saving money of course.

Join The Discussion

Comments 11

  1. je

    Going there an hour or so before closing is also a good time to avoid crowds, but only if you know exactly what you’re getting since you only have a limited time to shop. Knowing the shortcuts also cuts down on shopping time. Before our IKEA built a new store, I knew every shortcut in the store and could go through and get what I needed in less than an hour.

  2. bdubs

    I belong to a FB Group of parents with kids who are in the late high school/ college/ first job stage of life. Those IKEA blue bags have become the holy grail of college/apartment move in/out equipment. We used two of them this year & they are amazing! They hold more than you would expect and are squishable in the car since room is usually at a premium! There’s also a model with a zipper — otherwise you can tie the handles together. Best part? Unlike boxes, you can fold them up and stash them in the closet or under the bed until it’s time to move again! A few people have reported using them as checked luggage (zipper model) and many people give them as part of high school graduation gifts.

    • Emily (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      I love the idea of giving them as graduation gifts since they are so perfect for moving bedding, towels, clothes, etc. and they won’t take up space in dorm rooms or apartments — great tip!!

  3. Pamela

    I used to work at IKEA and please follow all of those tips you’ll really and i mean really save time that way, people don’t understand certain popular items run out fast or they sold out that day and at that moment there isn’t anything you can do about it anymore. Please don’t lash out at the employees they can only do so much and there hands are tied. They can give you an estimate of a certain item coming in but its not guaranteed that’ll it’ll come that day due to trucks not coming in with the shipment or delay happened.

  4. CherryBlossom

    Awesome tips! Love Ikea ❤

  5. Jackie

    Great tips! Thank you! We are moving in a week and will be looking for new furniture. I love IKEA!

  6. Mizz Mo

    Check out IKEA Hackers website for some awesome ideas that are outside the box:

    Cheers! 🙂

  7. Joe Shopper

    First, going in through the exit is foolish, you will have to backtrack though half the warehouse just to get to the marketplace. You can directly access the marketplace from the entrance, just don’t go upstairs to the showroom. Look for the clearly marked signs. As to the bad cell service, IKEA has WiFi, no need to be offline.

  8. Jeremiah2911

    Great tips! I always go in the exit to check out the as-is section first and it’s our favorite place to grab a less expensive bite to eat (pizza, cinnamon rolls, drinks). We have scored some AMAZING deals and I have been lucky enough to negotiate some of those even lower (if there’s lots of that item or it’s taking up a lot of space/huge eye sore it’s worth asking. I have received an additional 10-50% off those as is prices)!

  9. Kate

    You missed the Tuesday buy one adult meal and get two children’s meal for free perk.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      What a great offer! Thanks a bunch for mentioning that!

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