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IKEA-fied

I’m a big fan of IKEA.  I think their products improve my life and are a good value to boot.  As a parent, I often wonder how people furnished their kids’ rooms before IKEA, especially when I see the prices at stores like Serena & Lily.  Half of my adult furniture is also IKEA, because my kids ruin my furniture, and I feel better about them destroying a $600 couch than a $4000 one.

All that aside, if I get divorced one day, I’m fairly certain IKEA will be a contributing factor in my marriage’s collapse.  IKEA furniture generally requires that it be assembled at home, by you.  And there is nothing more unhealthy to a relationship than the joint assembling of furniture.  In my house, the experience of shopping at IKEA is a gloomy one, because Tom and I know that no matter how awesome we feel about our purchases in the store, something terrible is going to go down during the assembly process back home.

I’ve thought a lot about why the process of building IKEA furniture is so unpleasant for us.  And I think it comes down to the combo of two factors: my micro-managing tendencies, paired with Tom’s apparent belief that the ability to assemble furniture is a part of his manly essence.  It’s a perfect storm, where tempers collide and egos are left in shreds.

tom and finn, building together in 2009

The assembly process begins with the frenzied opening of boxes, during which some integral piece will go flying across the floor and down our heating register.  The haste is due to the fact we never return from IKEA before 4:00 PM.  It doesn’t matter if we start out at 10:00 AM, or 3:30 PM–we will not get home before 4:00 PM.  It’s one of the unsolved mysteries of shopping at IKEA, along with why the wheels on the shopping carts refuse to direct your cart in a straight line.  But I digress–we’re ripping open the boxes because it’s 4:00 PM and we want to get the thing built before dinner, which adds another level of stress to a situation already fraught with tension.

After the initial splaying out of the box contents, we will inevitably come to the moment during the first 15 minutes of assembly where Tom will throw his IKEA wrench on the floor and state with utter conviction that the item we have purchased is defective and/or missing parts.  Usually the part in question is either taped to the inside of one of the particle boards, or Tom is sitting on it.  It’s best to ignore this initial tantrum, which is merely an amuse-bouche for what’s to come.

Assembly will continue apace for another half hour or so before we get to the point in the pictogram instructions where we can no longer figure out what IKEA is trying to tell us.  IKEA’s pictograms were presumably designed to strip the instructions down to their barest elements and to make things as simple as possible for the builder, by removing all words from the process.  But words are not a bad thing, especially when you are confronted with a pictogram like this:

I mean, what the hell is this telling me?  For starters, you will note that in the first picture, there are slats on the bed.  Then: no slats.  What happened to the GD slats????  After struggling for an hour to get to this point, a pictogram like this can be rage-inducing in the extreme.

We will muddle through, until somehow, we make it to the last page of the instructions.  And this is when it happens: the OMFG Moment (“OMFGM”).  The point at which it becomes apparent that one of the pieces from early on in the sequence has been put on backwards or upside down, so that everything needs to be taken apart and put back together again.  The beauty of the OMFGM is twofold.  One, IKEA doesn’t play around with its screws–those suckers are meant to be screwed in exactly one time.  Try re-screwing an IKEA screw after you’ve already screwed it in once.  Fun!  Due to those screws, during reassembly, you’ll have the demoralizing sensation that you are putting together a Frankenstein, something that will inevitably fall apart as soon as it is complete.

The second thing about the OMFGM is that, about an hour prior, I will usually already have hinted to Tom that the incorrectly assembled piece is on backwards, or upside down.  We built the bed in the pictogram above for Finn last week, and about 30 minutes in, I suggested to Tom that the headboard was on backwards, and he informed me, with withering disdain, that the unpainted side of the headboard was meant to face out.  Even though this made zero sense to me, I didn’t press him, because it has been my experience that it is kinder to tell a guy that he has a small penis than to suggest that he is improperly assembling something from IKEA.

Of course, an hour later, as we finished up the bed by trying to insert the mid-beam into holes that were MIA, we discovered that the headboard was, in fact, on backwards.  I consider it a measure of my personal growth in recent years that I helped Tom take the entire bed apart and reassemble it without once saying “I told you so,” even though I had to bite my tongue so hard that it almost bled.  And it’s a measure of Tom’s personal growth in recent years that once the bed was finished, he looked at me and said “I’m sorry, you were right.”  If this incident had happened five years ago, one of us would have slept on the couch for three days.

This week, we bought and built a sofa and coffee table, sans drama.  Never mind that the only assembly the sofa required was the insertion of the legs–it’s a thing of beauty when your IKEA assembly works as it should.  The thing is built, it looks ok, and when I sit on it gingerly for the first time with my quads bearing my weight, it doesn’t collapse.  Great success!  When things end this way, I am so elated that I don’t even mind the four leftover screws laying on the floor and Tom’s scary assurance that “all the necessary parts are in.”  In that way, building IKEA furniture is a little like giving birth.  The end product is worth it, and you forget all the trauma you went through to get there.

karlstad sofa ($599), stockholm coffee table ($199).  both, IKEA

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275 Comments Post a comment
  1. Your 4pm is our 10pm. I can’t get out of ikea before closing. Probably because I am wandering in the maze of the showroom or marketplace that has only 1 exit and forever getting distracted by the cheap pretty things.
    I *heart* ikea. It is my happy place. Also their meatballs taste better there even if I buy the bag to bring home.

    June 20, 2013
  2. I too, am an IKEA junkie. Do you suppose there is some sort of support group for us? I heartily enjoy your blog – great writing!

    February 29, 2012
  3. This is one of the funniest blogs. I can totally relate…it’s the exact same way with my family. Thanks for the laugh.

    February 17, 2012
  4. I have been debating on going the IKEA route. I always try to find distressed pieces and “fix them up” and that always ends poorly with some horribly painted eye sore in my living room. Maybe I should just cave and buy something ikea and get it done with.

    January 22, 2012
  5. RoniLynn #

    I love IKEA, but your post is exactly why I’ve only bought comforters, duvets, throw pillows, votives, etc. LOVE looking in the catalog and daydreaming about the great furniture, but just don’t wanna go through the drama! LOL! Good post.

    January 15, 2012
  6. extremesaving #

    I only buy furniture from Ikea or second hand. Also, the Ikea restaurant is pretty good 🙂

    January 15, 2012
  7. James #

    Bravo.

    January 14, 2012
  8. Your stories of building Ikea furniture together as a couple hit a little too close to home… after one experience building Ikea furniture together, the Fiancee and I decided to hire a moving service to build it for us!! I used your post to support my decision on my blog 🙂

    January 11, 2012
  9. Umm, I stumbled upon your post about two weeks after beginning an Ikea Expedit quilt, celebrating/bemoaning the assembly instructions. I’m not even trying to build the thing and I’m confused.

    http://www.brittanypowell.com/what-im-working-on/ikea-expedit-quilt-in-progress/

    January 10, 2012
  10. This post made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me remember the days when I was in a relationship that seemed defined by IKEA and the like… oh, how well I remember the trials and tribulations of assembling furniture and how that would bring to the surface ALL of those relationship issues!! Thank you. You’ve written a WONDERFUL piece.

    January 9, 2012
  11. I really like how furniture from Ikea is so simple yet stylish. It reminds me of the simple white top we can match with another other bottom pulled out from our cupboard or the LBD we can don on for any occasion. Coupled with a few accessories and viola! You have it personalised.

    Many a times, I do engage their services at a price tag when it comes to assembling. Tried doing it once and the whole afternoon was gone. Their assembly team is really skilled in this area. Sometimes, it’s better to let the pros handle this while I use the time more fruitfully. Ha!

    January 9, 2012
  12. It’s been a long time since I’ve read anything this funny and right on! Lying on the floor of my studio apartment right now is an upside-down half finished table waiting for a handyman to come take it apart and put it together correctly, after my son and I put the leaf on the wrong side. You really made me laugh, esp. the part about the ” pictogram.”

    IMO you ought to submit this piece to top tier publications, starting with the NY Times.

    January 9, 2012
  13. Ana #

    An Ikea bed was ruining my sex life 🙂

    January 9, 2012
  14. I also love IKEA and as a graphic designer, I kind of like the simple instructions, except when they are blatantly WRONG! We have the same bed and the instructions clearly said to use pointed screw where it should have been the flat screw. I didn’t agree but figured I’d regret it later if my hunch was wrong. Well, we got to the last screw – and it was wrong! It was becoming more and more apparent as we screwed the others in -one at a time, filled with doubt. We had to unscrew all the screws and switch it from pointed to flat, and do it all again. I called the tech support and they flatly denied that the instructions were wrong. I finally had to surrender the battle. I got the bed assembled, and heaven help the next poor soul who gets this product……

    January 9, 2012
    • impressed you challenged tech support. i’ve never even bothered to call, for fear that i would feel even worse.

      January 10, 2012
  15. This was a terrific post to read. I feel and felt your frustration, while I love IKEA (for the same reasons you do), I wonder if the hieroglyphic instructions could be better for the ENTIRE universe. I betcha there is an IKEA course on their instructions, privy to employees only, makes the rest of us look like idiots. Keep up the great work!

    January 8, 2012
  16. Looks great but God no, please don’t put a screwdriver in my hands!

    January 8, 2012
  17. Thoroughly enjoy reading this! Its a classic tale told many times over, but you did it justice.

    January 8, 2012
  18. Love your blog!! IKEA is definitely a test of your married communication (and reconciliation) skills. If anything, knowing less about engineering will put you at an advantage because the “expert” can take control and you won’t be held responsible for screwing anything up (literally). My husband and I are best left to putting it all together alone while the other makes dinner or reads. Even though we get along in most other aspects, if we try to collaborate in what is ultimately a big spatial reasoning test, it’s chaos.

    My teenage bedroom desk set is still in perfect condition, 20 years later, and was given away to an appreciative friend recently.

    A more recent purchase was designed for my humble home music studio. I needed the space and strength to hold an 88-key weighted keyboard (50 lbs), a medium-sized mixer, a 24-inch monitor, plus the computer and its keyboard and mouse. I bought a GALANT with T-legs, plus a cable tidy, clip-on monitor shelf and an under-desk computer keyboard tray (which I’m writing on now). I also fit a computer shelf on to the leg of the left T-leg so I could have easy access to the back for adjusting cables from the soundcard, etc. Most custom music composition rigs cost many hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars — mine probably cost about $300 and has worked perfectly!

    January 8, 2012
  19. Margy Rydzynski #

    I visited Ikea for the first time, to get affordable furniture for a new office. I have a feeling I’m not going to become a raving Ikea fan, partially for the reasons you describe (you have to put the da*ned thing together yourself once you’ve lugged it home). It took my hubby and I almost an hour to get there, then I almost melted down with “big box store syndrome.” Sigh.

    Sounds like you you’ve got it figured out better than me. I like the quality and price, I just don’t like going there to shop. Good thing they’ve got a catalog!

    January 8, 2012
    • i too love the catalogs, but most of their products you can’t order on the phone or online. a major flaw in the model…

      January 10, 2012
  20. Great, no, awesome post!
    Couples fight like mad when working together, don’t they?
    Or when they travel together! One word – directions!

    January 8, 2012
  21. In our house the Ikea process goes something like this…

    1. I purchase said item, load in SUV and bring home sans partner.
    2. Said Ikea purchase is left in middle of living room floor until partner trips over it.
    3. Partner gets hint and said Ikea purchase is put together while I’m not in the house.

    It’s a beautiful dance we play but then again, while looking for new a new loft, I’ve noticed that each one is remarkably far away from the Ikea. Do you think there is a hint in there?

    January 8, 2012
    • your loft will require ikea. so don’t move too far away from it!

      January 10, 2012
  22. This is hilarious and I can totally relate to it! Not exactly the assembly, but the frustration of checking out IKEA. My brother recently bought a picture there, it was too big to fit in his car, and he had to wait in line to return it and didn’t know he had to take a number to be seen. That was fun, but at least you guys are learning that whatever you assemble will have to be re-assembled anyways!

    My favorite line was this: “it has been my experience that it is kinder to tell a guy that he has a small penis than to suggest that he is improperly assembling something from IKEA.” Too funny!

    January 8, 2012
  23. Joe Labriola #

    Haha home-assembly….the bane of all loving households!

    January 8, 2012
  24. haha, I like IKEA too! I love flipping the catalogue of the year.

    Elvis
    http://whereismyfingerprint.wordpress.com/

    January 8, 2012
  25. sirrahh #

    I avoid IKEA as much as possible. Thanks for writing this.

    January 8, 2012
  26. LOVE IKEA !

    January 8, 2012
  27. i completly understand, we recently build 5 sets of ikea shelves, we only discovered on the last step that one piece was in upside-down, in all 5 sets! 🙂

    January 8, 2012
  28. I agree with EVERYTHING you said. Haha!

    January 8, 2012
  29. Great blog today. As long as anything purchased at IKEA for Christmas is assembled by Easter I feel like I did a good job. And if it doesn’t collapse by Halloween – Score!

    Mr Bricks

    January 8, 2012
  30. clayer #

    Great blog and great insight! I invite you to follow me as I chronicle a wonderful year with opinion, conversation and photos!!

    http://www.aphotoaday2012.com

    January 8, 2012
  31. I think this frustration with Ikea is a cultural universal because I lived in many different places now and its the same story across the board hahah

    January 8, 2012
  32. Great article, IKEA can get ridiculous sometimes.

    January 7, 2012
  33. “I didn’t press him, because it has been my experience that it is kinder to tell a guy that he has a small penis than to suggest that he is improperly assembling something from IKEA.”

    Bahaha LOVED this post. And totally LOL and snorted when I read that line. Can definitely relate as my house looks like an IKEA showroom. I’ve definitely learned to just walk away and even leave the house if possible when my husband is building the furniture.

    January 7, 2012
  34. oh yah, i can relate to this alright! Problem I find is that IKEA furniture looks great in the store from a safe distance, but woe betide my sanity when I actually grab it from those huge shelves and drag it home. Similar to most addictions, I’m like an IKEA moth to a flame…

    January 7, 2012
  35. This must be why some guy posted an ad selling his skills at putting together IKEA furniture. It may cost more, but save your sanity.
    I can’t relate since my husband is mechanically inclined and actually helps friends put together their IKEA furniture.

    January 7, 2012
  36. I love going to IKEA and buying everything they have there but I gotta agree on this one: their products are super difficult to set up. Nice post!

    January 7, 2012
  37. zerehemnah #

    Absolutely LOVED this post!

    January 7, 2012
  38. Last Thanksgiving I put together a table, a desk and a dresser. The palm of my hand was bruised….BRUISED….from using the screwdriver. Now I use a power tool to drill it in. Great post. Congrats on being featured on WP!

    January 7, 2012
  39. I couldn’t stop laughing throughout the entire blog! I can totally relate to this as my husband and I have assembled many Ikea furniture, and some quite painfully. Absolutely hilarious! Thanks for the laugh.

    January 7, 2012
  40. kristinekatte #

    hahaha! very well written, and totally relatable! 😉

    January 7, 2012
  41. so true! the first time i went to ikea with my husband we were practically divorced by the time we got to the desk lamps. And then when they said they had no insurance if our items got damaged during delivery (after we’d paid of course) i thought he was going to kill someone…

    January 7, 2012
  42. Loved your post! IKEA makes life easier in many ways:
    My mother was staying with us and it had been some time so we used to argue a lot with her. One day we bought something from IKEA and opened up the boxes to assemble it and my husband said “OH NO! We can’t assemble it!” We asked what was wrong and he pointed out the two smiling man drawn on the first page of the instruction manual and said “It shows here that you need two smiling people to do the job.” It was his way of saying that he had enough with our quarrels. Since that day, whenever mother comes to stay she tries to hold her tongue before starting a fight with me.

    January 7, 2012
  43. So right, wow- everytime I go to IKEA I vow not to go ever again. But bought a few bedroom items last year and all I can say is, we now have a double bed which has new holes for screws, screws from our own tool box and I don’t think it’s ever coming apart- and if it ever did come apart, it would be gladly left on the side of the road just to avoid the stress of putting the freaking thing back together with my Husband again!
    Thanks for the post 🙂

    January 7, 2012
  44. I’ve had the exact experience with missing a step early on with about three IKEA items….but I just keep going back for more! Luckily I build alone to avoid anyone experiencing my IKEA outbursts, which you describe perfectly 🙂

    January 7, 2012
  45. Made me laugh. At least we know there are others with the assembly blues. Fortunately for us, it’s not that bad. Unfortunately, there’s not an IKEA for over a hundred miles from us. Well, maybe that is fortunate, otherwise, they’d end up with a lot more of my money. Thanks for the smiles.

    January 7, 2012
  46. Finally! Another IKEA junky! When they opened the one in Austin just minutes from my house, my addiction started with a vengeance. When I moved to Houston, I had to find the one here. Funny how I was willing to drive 40 minutes from my home to purchase a $7 table to take on a camping trip. I probably spent enough on the gas to have gone to any local chain and purchased one (or 3) But again, I’m addicted. Great post!

    January 7, 2012
  47. This post made my day! I love IKEA and I am a firm believer that the frustration of assembly is offset by my enjoyment of their 99 cent breakfast (when I can wake up early enough to catch it). Congratulations on your wonderful post.

    January 7, 2012
  48. My fiance and I built her PAX wradrobe with the help of her oldest son (18) and didn’t have too many issues. What a great space saving system. we dig it so much that we decided to get me one, which I am waiting for with the excitment and anticipation of an eight year old two days before Christmas.
    It was a complicated build but we had fun. Maybe it was the beer that made it so.
    Brandy has decided that states should require building an IKEA piece together as a required test before a marriage licence is issued.

    January 7, 2012
  49. beautiful! congrats!! ^_^

    http://travellersdiningdepot.wordpress.com/

    January 7, 2012
  50. Thanks for the early morning chuckle. I can relate on several counts. I almost enjoyed the comments as much as the post!

    January 7, 2012
  51. nice post and very funny

    January 7, 2012
  52. I love this! lol

    January 7, 2012
  53. teah…Ikea is like a disease….I always end up buying what I did not plan to buy….but I love it…and I love their simple plain style…

    January 6, 2012
  54. Ha ha! We got a new bed last year (not ikea, but still in a million pieces with only one tool to save us) and my 10 year old son and I quickly put it together before the man of the house got home from work. No argument, no tantrums, just a kid holding the bits where I asked him to hold them without any fuss. Perhaps child labour is the secret to successful furniture assembly!

    January 6, 2012
  55. I went to the IKEA store for the first time in Denver, CO, and it’s incredible!!! I wanted to buy nearly everything! I know how they make their money, too! They price every individual piece so reasonably that you think you can buy more and when you get to the register you’re like “Oh man! How did that happen?!”

    January 6, 2012
  56. I laughed and laughed. I can relate to all of this. The only difference is instead of kids walking on the pieces I have cats.

    January 6, 2012
  57. Val #

    IKEA Meatballs, I can still get that ‘heady’ aroma! I have a Lack table and a Lack Rack (google it) and a few other items…HELP!

    January 6, 2012
    • ah, the Lack. the end table costs like $14, doesn’t it? i think i’ve bought a few in my time, more out of curiosity than anything. how can an end table cost less than a burger and fries???

      January 6, 2012
      • Val #

        Cheap as chips! I was thinking of replacing mine because they have tiny little scratches!

        January 7, 2012
  58. Ahhhhahahahaa love it! Ikea has descended my parents and myself into chaos a number of times! Great work

    January 6, 2012
  59. I am laughing so hard my side hurts!

    January 6, 2012
  60. 577lane #

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed. Thank you for two things: (1) the wholehearted laughter that ensued and (2)making me rethink our plans to hit Ikea in a few weeks. Your post is exactly what happens in our household ! Well Done !

    January 6, 2012
    • don’t rethink your visit. i love their stuff. just buy stuff you don’t have to build .

      January 6, 2012
  61. It was the most entertaining IKEA building session I have ever read. Wish I could be that funny. !! Oh well !!

    January 6, 2012
  62. Yes, Yes, and Yes.
    But we keep going back. Hell yes.

    January 6, 2012
  63. I love this! My husband and I bought a bunch of IKEA furniture when we first moved in together. Right away I told him he wasn’t allowed to even try to put it together.

    He has a tendency to get very agitated when assembling anything. He was in the garage for two hours one time trying to put together a weight bench. I went to check on him and it was still in pieces. He couldn’t figure it out and was mad as hell but he refused to read the directions.

    To this day I don’t allow him to even try because I know he’ll believe he can put it together without instructions and hours later he’ll be angry and no further along than when we brought the item home in pieces.

    I probably have a good 24 hours invested in 2 end tables, a tv stand, a desk, and a small shelf.

    January 6, 2012
    • i really do think it’s machismo. as old fashioned as that sounds.

      January 6, 2012
  64. Very funny. I haven’t had the pleasure/pain of shopping in an actual IKEA store, but I did assemble several IKEA furniture pieces while stationed in Iraq, as our group were the first to “Occupy” the old Army base north of Baghdad. I too found that assembling them myself was easier than “letting” someone help me.

    January 6, 2012
    • love imagining you building ikea furniture on an army base in iraq. thank you for sharing!

      January 6, 2012
  65. Erik Eklund #

    My best IKEA anecdote is the time I accidentally tied the doors to my POS Civic shut when securing a loft bed to the roof before driving from Portland to Salem (necessitating the Dukes of Hazzard entry). Then, a month later, when I brilliantly decided to move back to Portland, I had to completely disassemble said bed after I realized that it could not even be split into 2 halves to get through the door. Then I had it half-reassembled in the new bedroom before realizing half of it was backwards, so it took about 6 hours to put together the 2nd time. Bottom line: I cannot imaging a more universal source of suburban frustration than this topic.
    Allow me to humbly suggest a follow-up post about the shopping experience itself which, for my money, is The Absolute Worst capitalism will suffer. Every time I step into that labyrinth I wonder if I will ever see the light of day again, and have to shake off visions of David Bowie as Jareth the Goblin King. (shudder)

    January 6, 2012
    • hey, i know you. i have a lot of confidence that you made that Dukes of Hazzard entry look suitably bitchin’. and if you are implying that the shopping experience is worse than assembling their furniture, i beg to differ. xoxo EE

      January 6, 2012
  66. This is so for real. Try doing this with your husband, three year old and your egotistical 25 year old brother who is convinced you have married a pansy and will try and prove that to you at every picto-instruction. Killer…

    January 6, 2012
    • hilarious. and thank you for my next blog post idea: the relationship between my brother and my husband.

      January 6, 2012
  67. OMG!! Loved your post!! Reading others’ comments had me wishing WordPress offered a “Like” button with each comment.

    You are dead on and it’s so nice to know other couples experience the same “trials”. 😉

    My son and I put together his Bedinge–a futon last Saturday night (New Year’s Eve–we’re wild partiers); that’s what he wanted for Christmas. There was more laughing than yelling. And yes, we too realized we had put some bolts in wrong and had to take them out, but it went quickly…probably because it was metal instead of wood. However, we did notice two more bolts we put in upside down, but it didn’t affect the function. And though his OCD mother wanted to fix it, my son declared insistently, “It’s fine!!”

    When Finn gets older, he can be your IKEA-furniture building buddy!

    January 6, 2012
    • ikea assembly on new year’s eve: you sound like my type of masochist. thanks for commenting!

      January 6, 2012
  68. OMG, I’ve not laughed so hard in a long time… I love IKEA too, but yeah, I’m guessing it’s a whole lot like giving birth!

    January 6, 2012
  69. Deb #

    I love this post. so FUNNY and it so resonates.
    I discovered IKEA when I moved to Philadelphia and it seemed the perfect place to perfect outlet to furnish my new extra bedrooms, especially the guest room for my upcoming visitor.
    When the guys delivered the furniture, I was like: Where are you going? Who’s going to put this stuff together??!!
    Deb
    dlcommunicates.wordpress.com

    January 6, 2012
    • you know, a few people have commented here that their ikea offers building services. i was not given that option. we also don’t have arrows on the floors of our store. so i’m beginning to think the portland ikea is on some lower tier of the ikea hierarchy.

      January 6, 2012
  70. We’ve decided to use Ikea furniture building as our ‘can we work with you in a pressurised situation that requires teamwork’ test for potential recruits to our fieldwork team. No joke!

    January 6, 2012
  71. I took a trip to IKEA this week and bought all the parts for some shelves My Man and I had already decided on. They are sitting unassembled and will remain so until I leave the house and leave My Man to do it alone. It’s the only way our marriage survives! I applaud the fact that you and Tom can do it together. Very fun blog!

    January 6, 2012
  72. Hilarious. I can’t tell you how many times I have said ” Oh my God, don’t jump on that. Its from IKEA”. Love your blog!

    January 6, 2012
    • this is so funny. every time i put my head back on finn’s new headboard, i wince.

      January 6, 2012
  73. I just love this post—I think all IKEA shoppers can identify. Thanks for the laugh on my lunch break and the knowledge that all marriages may someday survive putting furniture together.

    January 6, 2012
  74. holycowimforty #

    This is way too funny! What is it about those stores that you can’t make it home before late in the afternoon? It happens to us as well, and we find ourselves assembling stuff until 1 or 2am. It’s so weird! My daughter and I are the IKEA assemblers, and most of the time we get things right. Once, we bought a bookshelf from hell and we realized at the end that we placed one of the boards the wrong way. Instead of disassembling the whole thing, we used black electrical tape to mimic the other shelves. No one has ever noticed it to this date (about 3 years ago).

    January 6, 2012
  75. Hilarious. Kudos to you for biting your tongue! That is very hard to do. I really enjoyed reading this and having a good chuckle, as I could put my husband and I completely in your shoes. 🙂

    January 6, 2012
    • this is the first year i successfully bit my tongue. i have failed every year prior.

      January 6, 2012
      • Time for the next step in your “personal growth”. Instead of thinking of the dialogue as “tell[ing] a guy that he is improperly assembling something”, just make it a fact-based discussion.

        You could have avoided a lot of trouble when the headboard was first attached by pointing to the picture of the later step which shows that inserting the mid-beam requires access to some particular holes. You could have observed that those holes are on only one side of the headboard. (Actually, I bet those holes are clearly visible in the diagram of the early step, too.) Tom could then have said, “Oh, OK, I see now that the headboard has to go on the other way.” (If he did not respond this way, you could still bite your tongue and be no worse off than before.)

        This approach avoids “hinting” and forcing Tom to give a reason that makes zero sense to you; and lets you both concentrate on the facts of the task at hand.

        You can only do this, of course, if you have taken the trouble to look at, and generally understand, all the instructions before starting the assembly. IKEA cannot do this part for you.

        January 7, 2012
  76. “I didn’t press him, because it has been my experience that it is kinder to tell a guy that he has a small penis than to suggest that he is improperly assembling something from IKEA.”

    Haha, best part! And congrats on being Freshly Pressed! 🙂

    January 6, 2012
  77. Our issues with ikea are not with the furniture assembly but with the store itself. My husband hates the layout since it forces you to walk through the entire store while I love looking at all the displays. Love your new couch and table, btw.

    January 6, 2012
    • i used to love wandering the store, before i had to start going with my kids. now i don’t even stop the cart (which has my kid in it), i just slow it down and yell numbers at my husband to write down. bad things happen when you stop the cart.

      January 6, 2012
  78. I LOL’ed at the “where are the GD slats” hahaha especially because I feel the frustration! Congrats on being freshly pressed!

    January 6, 2012
  79. I’ve found Ikea to be a great source of things like picture frames and other decorative items for anyone on a budget and even those who don’t need to watch the pennies. I once counted 32 Mercedes and BMWs in the small parking lot of our local Idea.

    Ikea furniture should be part of any relationship evaluation. Seriously. I’ve never bought their sofas or beds, but bookcases, occasional tables, etc. And of the three men who helped me assemble those items — only one proved to be a potential keeper. He grumbled, he misassembled something — he characterized the instructions at one point as being worse than those for restoring his classic Harley — but he got the job done. The other two descended into cursing and abandonment of the project within 20 minutes.

    January 6, 2012
  80. Try assembling something that isn’t from IKEA and you will realize how amazing their instructions are. We ordered our bed from Coasters (trying to make a step up above IKEA) and some how, this company thought you could assemble a platform bed in seven steps… attempting to assemble that bed after moving all day made me want to break down and cry.

    January 6, 2012
    • sounds like i need to avoid this Coasters place.

      January 6, 2012
  81. I have, for better or worse, never bought anything from Ikea. I still haven’t set foot in the one that opened this summer (about an hour away from me). I plan to go see it at some point and hopefully play Sardines in the store. 😀

    January 6, 2012
  82. Scarily, we are installing a kitchen that we bought from IKEA starting this weekend! We’re planning on building the cabinets tonight… I recruited some friends to help and act as “buffers” because my husband and I try to keep it civil around other people! But you’re right, building this is going to be stress inducing, which is probably why even though we got the kitchen last week, we haven’t touched it yet 🙂

    January 6, 2012
    • i LOVE their kitchens. they are so awesome looking in the catalogs. hopefully all will go well with assembly–good luck courtney!

      January 6, 2012
  83. Ikea to the bone!!!!Yes!!! The best garlic press ever, I purchaesd a couple of years ago for nine francs(Swiss)…and it is still going strong..better than the pink alessi one I purchased that didn’t squuoosh garlic, and without the garlic metal seive, coudln’t even crack walnuts.:-) That pillow with the red cross..does that represent switzerland or is it simply the design??? ….

    January 6, 2012
    • oh i didn’t even think of that! no, just the design. i like orange. 🙂

      January 6, 2012
  84. I love assembly Ikea furniture. The hubs and I rock at it. We must have been Swedish in another life.

    January 6, 2012
    • i’ve had some swedish commenters on here say they hate it too, so you and your hubs may be even rarer than you know.

      January 6, 2012
  85. Ugh. I love IKEA but hate, hate, hate the instructions. Pictures? Really? What happened to reading? I bought a shelving unit a few years ago….Had it delivered..my friend and I spend a day, a whole day trying to put it together with no luck. By the end I felt like the picture of the guy in the instructions holding his head. Wasn’t able to put it together. Had to pay Ikea to come and do it for me.

    Please, Please, please IKEA for those of us who can ready please start to write instructions as well. I much prefer written instructions. I do.

    January 6, 2012
    • at least for the tough pages. the ones that clearly require verbiage.

      January 6, 2012
  86. I love IKEA to bits too. Thankfully I’ve got an all too helpful brother who’s got a knack or magical gift for putting together IKEA furniture without much use of the instructions (to my horror – i’ll just keep watching what he’s doing, looking at the instructions with an increasingly confused face) or having any extra screws or pegs! I do worry about a time when I call and say I need something built and he won’t be there! I can use the cardboard boxes the items come in, right?

    January 6, 2012
  87. Audrey #

    I’m so glad my marriage (and our love-hate affair with Ikea) is normal.

    January 6, 2012
  88. congrats on fp – this is so totally me 😉 im with a new guy now and the relationship hasnt yet undergone the ikea test,

    January 6, 2012
  89. Stephen Siregar #

    We don’t have an IKEA store in Indonesia (yet), but me and my wife once bought a knock-down cupboard, and the assembling process is, well, EXACTLY like the way you described an IKEA’s, including the disassembling and re-assembling! So I suppose people at IKEA can sleep soundly knowing that around the world they are not the only ones who could wreak havoc on marriages.

    And it just crossed my mind that assembling an IKEA is somewhat akin to playing Angry Birds (that is if you care to play the game at all). When you’ve lost half of your sanity trying to solve a level, you could always get the Eagle – or the IKEA assembling service – to solve it for you, for a modest fee.

    January 6, 2012
    • love the IKEA and angry birds connection – thats a thesis right there.

      January 6, 2012
  90. “there is nothing more unhealthy to a relationship than the joint assembling of furniture.”

    Truer words have never been spoken!

    January 6, 2012
  91. I brought a trolly home a few days ago. Even with the silly instructions it took hours to assemble the few pieces. I’m hopeless it seems but you have hit a chord with all of us.

    January 6, 2012
  92. IKEA is Sweden’s revenge for giving the World George W. Bush.

    January 6, 2012
  93. averybusygirl #

    I love IKEA, it is by far my favourite furniture shop. And I have to confess that the construction of it is my favourite part. I like tearing open the boxes, laying out all the little screws in nice neat rows according to type, staring bemusedly as the instructions as I work out which part is meant to go where. This is usually coupled with a glass of wine. Whenever I buy and build something, it works with no left-over screws and because it’s just me, I have no arguments with anybody about it. Perhaps you should try not to rush to get it all done before dinner because, let’s face it, good things come to those who wait. Maybe I’m just a freak that enjoys flat-pack furniture??

    Last year, I waddled around IKEA, 8 months pregnant, selecting all the items of furniture for my son’s nursery. I measured it all up, selected every piece myself and loaded it all onto the trolley (as you say cart) and got it all into the car by myself. I was very proud as my belly was slightly more than an obstacle at that point. My Dad was not so impressed with me as I informed him that because I’d bought it all and done all the hard work of getting each box up my Dad’s extremely narrow staircase (I was living there at the time), he would be the one constructing it. He agreed but later wished that he hadn’t. For two days all I could hear from the nursery was f-this and f-that, you b—–d, for f-sake and so on. However, he did it and it looks great now. I have learned though that next time I buy from there, I’ll put it together myself 🙂

    January 6, 2012
  94. 😀
    This brings me back to when my last boyfriend and I tried to assembly the Bestå bookcase together. Oh my. That was not fun. Take two very dominant personalities, one who never reads the instructions and one who reads them over and over to make sure it’s right.

    I still believe my way is the right way. 😉

    Practically all my furniture are Ikea, and I have assembled all by myself or with the help of someone else.

    January 6, 2012
    • BTW. I’ve tried to assembly furniture from other companies, like “Jysk” or “EM” and that’s… It makes me long for Ikeas pictograms. The ones the other had are like trying to read greek. I actually had to call support for one of them.

      January 6, 2012
      • i bet ikea support is quite supportive. i’ve never called, but i like knowing that the option is there…

        January 6, 2012
      • I don’t think I’ll ever call IKEA’s support, it would really hurt my ego. Worst case scenario, I might call my little brother, he works at IKEA.

        January 14, 2012
  95. Heh! Reminds me of assembling a German ping-pong table a few years back. I feel your pain. I might still visit IKEA for the lingonberry jam, though. Lingonberries are cool.

    January 6, 2012
  96. I loved the blog! Personally I find Ikea a bit painful. The shop is a maze and the furniture seems overpriced for what it is made of. I purchased my sister two freestanding Ikea wardrobes a few years ago, the things cost a couple of grand and we gave them away after two years because after they got a few chips and knocks in them they looked like rubbish.
    Almost my whole house is decked out in second hand furniture these days.
    In all seriousness my whole bedroom (desk, bed, wardrobe and side table) cost me under $200!

    January 6, 2012
  97. Oh, so true! The one and only time I’ve seen my Beloved *almost* lose his temper (in over 3 years) it was thanks to a tiny, rather awkward hinge on a cupboard. I think the fact that he’d successfully fitted 12 similar ones previously onto large wardrobe doors added to his ire – it was as if this little article was goading him. Usually I’m the one who throws hissy fits when things don’t work, so it was kind of nice to see his patience overstretched. For once, I stayed quiet 🙂

    January 6, 2012
  98. Scanning the 120-something comments you’ve had on this my future is now clear.
    I’m gonna move to America and set up shop as an IKEA Furniture Assembler! For a reasonable fee I’ll get to your house, assemble every little piece of IKEA furniture you’ve bought (and have a great time while doing it).
    If I get some of my mates in on it, the slogan pretty much writes itself!

    “For your IKEA assembling needs – call the Swedes!”

    January 6, 2012
    • Maybe it’s a scandinavian trait… something in our culture or genes makes us able to read IKEA instructions…

      January 6, 2012
      • Fia #

        Haha, I bet! ^^
        I’m good at assembling IKEA furniture so I can join the assembling company. Btw, I just love the slogan!

        January 6, 2012
      • Thanks! I just left a comment on your blog–I wish I could read it because the photos are awesome. Happy writing, in whatever language!

        January 6, 2012
  99. jandrewhickey #

    It seems Ikea makes up for their awful instructions with their amazing selection and low prices.

    I recently have experienced the trauma of moving to an Ikea-less city, and I have to admit that I would gladly accept nights of frustration due to failed furniture-building attempts, than not be able to shop their at all. :[

    January 6, 2012
  100. Aarom #

    Despite what happens in the movie’s, I never find building projects with someone going as well as I thought. It always leads to something going terribly wrong.

    I find if you separate the projects and give parts to others, and just unite for the quick finale, it goes well.

    I hope this doesn’t end your marriage!

    January 5, 2012
  101. my wife bought at IKEA fabric for sewing. she makes dolls

    January 5, 2012
  102. alastor993 #

    Shopping at IKEA is already horrible! I love love IKEA and I like going to IKEA… ALONE! Everytime I went with my guy we end up having nuclear war which will end in a no firing treaty until we are home and have to put the thing together. I like putting IKEA stuff together…. ALONE! With The Boyfriend around the no firing treaty is out the door in 5 seconds, mostly because I am way better at assembling IKEA stuff, but he’s the guy so he feels castrated by this fact…..
    Thanks for this post!

    January 5, 2012
  103. You are so right! A picture is not always worth a thousand words, sometimes just a few words would go a long way. I recently had to put together a brush cutter using the instructions provided. There were no words, just drawings. Having struggled for a couple of hours I finally managed it, but in the meantime I decided that the instructions were created for somebody who couldn’t read, but already knew how to put together a brush cutter.
    Congratulations on FP!

    January 5, 2012
  104. You have described my IKEA furniture building experiences exactly!! Love the stuff, hate the building. My daughter has a loft bed that has exactly a million boards and has to be fully taken apart to get it out of the room. Last time we moved I almost left it for the next occupants!
    I also LOVE the meatball meal – that’s the one thing that will convince my husband to go there with me.

    January 5, 2012
    • That is, the building of the furniture, not, like, the building the store is in…. oops!

      January 5, 2012
  105. ejbaslerfrancis #

    This is pretty much how any ikea build goes in my household too. My husband and I occasionally swap as the “infuriated natural born builder,” But there is almost always an OMFGM.

    The worst was when I bought the glass topped Vika Amon desk, which apparently requires trestle legs, and four separate post legs on wheels. I slept on the couch a week later when desk collapsed and he said, “I told you so.”

    January 5, 2012
    • “infuriated natural born builder:” so funny. i hope you weren’t under the Vika Amon when it collapsed.

      January 5, 2012
  106. I find those wooden pegs far more unforgiving than the screws. At least the screws have a head that permits the unscrewing if necessary.

    When I was constructing a dresser for my sister (all by myself by the way), I put the wrong peg in a hole. In order to get it out, I had to physically dig through the top part with my screwdriver, then poke the thing through the other side of the hole.

    And later, I needed a shorter peg, and lacking the necessary one I have to use scissors and a saw attachment on my swiss army knife to break the thing in half.

    Oh Ikea, how we love and despise you. Like a spouse.

    January 5, 2012
    • i’m laughing about the wooden pegs. so, so true. my husband will enjoy this greatly.

      January 5, 2012
  107. The hieroglyphs are in Swedish. If they used American Hieroglyphs, it would be so much easier!

    January 5, 2012
    • Okay, seriously – I used to own a restaurant. Had to take the Health Dept. Food Handling test – participants were asked what language they needed it in or if they needed the picture test. One lady actually accepted the picture test, looked at it, then asked if they had the picture test in Korean. I am totally NOT making this up!!

      January 5, 2012
      • oh i believe you–not least of all because i’m korean.

        January 5, 2012
  108. Loved the post. Just went to Ikea on a whim (2+ hours away!) and came back with 2 carts full of stuff. Luckily built it all without incident. Found it to be a similar building experience to Legos. All pictures and no words. The plus side is that can be theoretically used by any language. On the downside, if you are “spacially inclined” it can be a struggle. Luckily, I am spacially inclined so I don’t have too much of a problem. But for those who are not, I can easily see the challenge.

    January 5, 2012
  109. IKEA. Swedish for “out of stock”. And now, “OMFGM” 🙂

    January 5, 2012
    • evenwhenirun #

      hahahahahahaha

      January 5, 2012
  110. I’ve put together more than my fair share of IKEA furniture. However, I won’t be going back there anytime soon. I just bought an awesome media console from World Market. Assembled, it looks like it would have cost between $400-$800 at Pottery Barn.

    Unlike IKEA, the instructions couldn’t have been more clear. They were very detailed, explaining step-by-step which parts to use and which tools to assemble them with.

    The best thing of all was that every whole which needed a screw was pre-drilled!!!!!! I will definitely be buying from them in the future over IKEA.

    January 5, 2012
    • Uhm… I don’t think you can buy any piece of furniture from Pottery Barn for under $2,000.00, can you?!

      January 5, 2012
  111. OMFG – I’ve been there!

    January 5, 2012
  112. Ashley #

    LOL! I couldn’t help but laughed when I was reading your post. I feel you, Yoona. 🙂 I love IKEA too and of course, my husband being the only man in the house (only the 2 of us) insists that he must assemble everything. It’s funny to see him scratching his head with those confusing pictograms and reassemble everything for 2nd time…… Over the years, I don’t argue with him even if I know there’s a mistake, I let him figure it out and he would smile sheepishly at me admitting that he was wrong. LOL.

    Gosh, I love that sofa and that pillow just pops! Nice coffee table too 🙂

    January 5, 2012
  113. This is by far one of the funniest (and truest) things I have ever read! 🙂

    January 5, 2012
  114. We just got the biggest Ikea in North America built in our town. I’m afraid to go in case I never come home again!
    Congratulations on making freshly pressed!

    January 5, 2012
  115. “Half of my adult furniture is also IKEA, because my kids ruin my furniture, and I feel better about them destroying a $600 couch than a $4000 one.”

    So true. I can’t wait to buy “real” furniture one day that I don’t have to watch fall in to inevitable, rapid decline. My two cats are nicer to the couch than the kids are!

    January 5, 2012
    • real furniture i don’t have to assemble: ahhh. thanks for posting, noelle!

      January 5, 2012
  116. I just spent minutes closely peering at that picture trying to figure it out… clearly the picture titled i and the one titled 29 mean that to get to the situation in i, you put 8 x screw in these slots, between the slabs. Then the arrow points to 29 which indicates where the slots are situated in the big picture.

    But what about the exact same picture of screws going in their slots with the big fat NO-NO cross drawn over it? I’m dumbfounded. Unless it means you should NOT screw in screws until the slabs are in place. Other than that, I got nothing.

    See, I thought I was one with the Ikea hivemind because I’ve never had trouble assembling their stuff. Methinks I probably just bought the simpler furniture.

    January 5, 2012
    • bamboo: thank you for noticing the other totally wacked out part of that pictogram. i didn’t know how to describe it so i didn’t bother, but YES there are two identical pictures, only one has an X through it. it’s getting my blood pressure up to think about it.

      January 5, 2012
      • In the left picture, slats are used and you need the screws to hold the slats in place. In the right picture, no slats are used and you don’t need the screws. A box spring, for example, would be sitting on the screws if you used them anyway. Hence the X.

        January 6, 2012
    • An interpretation. Some people, liking a very firm surface, put a mattress or futon down on slats, but other people put the mattress on top of a box-spring. The box-spring is a rigid bed-sized box that sits right on the frame with no slats needed. Two pictures for two ways of using the bed frame.

      The little spacer things that screw onto the the side rails keep the slats from sliding so that they stay evenly distributed throughout the length of the bed. If slats are not used, however, the spacers not only are unneeded, but actually interfere with setting the box spring on the frame: so, in that case, don’t put them on the rails.

      January 5, 2012
  117. jurassigothinthecity #

    BWWAHAHAHA! This is perfect! Congratulations on FP, too. I nominate “OMFGM” for official addition to Webster’s Dictionary. I’m so stealing that.

    Remember when we used to gripe about stereo assembly instructions? Oh, bring back those days. And I heartily second your last reply. One too many times I’ve sat amongst a pile of pressed particleboard that more closely resembled a shipwreck than a chest of drawers, confounded by pictograms. And as a life-long mathophobe, geometry was a good subject for me!

    To the Swedish commenter: It’s a conspiracy, isn’t it? You’re all sitting over there, giggling your butts off at us, I know it. **throws a side-eye Northeast-ward** ;0)

    January 5, 2012
  118. Can’t agree with you more about the instructions. I bought an Ikea wardrobe the other year, and really struggled with the assembly. Partially because it was so tall, the sides were just a few inches shorter than the ceiling. Requiring it to put together in place, rather than on the floor, and tilted into position. And at least two people.

    A few of my (now) unpaid skill sets are: car and bicycle mechanic, carpenter, and cabinet maker. I’ve taken two cars apart and made one car out of the parts. Before university, I also worked in a furniture factory, and made cabinets very similar to Ikea’s.

    But even I was stumped by Ikea’s useless diagrams! And intuitively, I installed the top piece, in the exactly same way as the bottom. Wrong. Now the doors didn’t go on. Disassembly required.

    With these days of cheap digital and electronic communication, why doesn’t Ikea have real pictures on how to assemble their furniture? In a downloaded PDF file? Or, even videos on Youtube? Really guys, it’s not that difficult.

    This is a fast food culture. And I want my information: clear, accurate, now, and instantly digestible.

    January 5, 2012
    • rodger, i’m gratified that someone who has made things for a profession is equally stumped by the pictograms.

      January 5, 2012
  119. My wife and I have that same fight over building furniture for the exact same reasons. What a small world.

    January 5, 2012
  120. My collegue and I are in the process of putting together a dance/theater piece about this very thing. Strangely, our working title has been IKEA-fied….I feel the force at work. I’ll have to upload the video when we eventually perform it.

    January 5, 2012
  121. What you’ve described with your husband, the OMFGM, and the denial of the OMFGM… happens every single time we make an IKEA purchase. We almost broke our very large and very expensive entertainment center in half after the OMFGM with it. Great post, I loved it (and I’m glad you all survived!!)

    January 5, 2012
    • i hate that feeling after the OMFGM. like, why bother with this product that is now crap because i’ve ruined it?

      January 5, 2012
  122. I just love IKEA, and I’ve never understood why some people claim that putting the furniture together is such a chore…
    I guess I’m part of this sad little minority that actually ENJOY putting the stuff together.

    I totally sucked at making models as a child, but god damn it I can put together those IKEA things in the blink of an eye! And without making any serious mistakes either.
    If there was a competition……and so on and so forth.

    Granted, I’m Swedish, and most my furniture comes (and has always come) from IKEA, so yeah, I do get to “practice” a lot.

    My one single piece of advice on getting IKEA furniture put together in a relatively painless fashion:
    -Unless specifically stated in the instructions, every single step on every single thing they sell is a ONE PERSON JOB!
    Sometimes, when the assembly calls for heavy lifting or something similar, the pictograms instructs you to be two people (those should be heartily listened to, seeing as you otherwise might break yourself – or worse, your not even finished piece of furniture). But I think there’s some kind of hidden message in the fact that it never tells you to be two all the time.

    In short, if you go it alone, you might fight with yourself, but at least then you get to win no matter what. Team up and your chances of winning is lessened by 50%.

    -Lycka till nästa gång!
    (Good luck next time)

    January 5, 2012
    • this was funny. and very perceptive.

      January 5, 2012
    • Cobb, I speak IKEA too and have always enjoyed the apparent elusive skill of assembly. Perhaps you are correct: it all goes smoother solo. But I will have to leave off defending the corporation due to their unfathomable decision to only sell IKEA food products in lieu of actual Swedish foods. Where will I get pearl sugar and Siljans crispbread now I ask you. I’m quite put out.

      January 6, 2012
  123. millodello #

    I recently rescued an almost new IKEA Leksvik 18947 table from a road side. It was in good condition but missing one small steel dowel with a flat spot and three different sized holes in it after I reassembled it without the “aid” of the pictogram. I drove the 98 mile round trip to the nearest IKEA to buy another. They issued it to me free of charge, with a smile, from a bin containing 1 billion of them. Were it only that easy to repair a post assembly relationship. Great post. Heart IKEA.

    January 5, 2012
    • when they get it right, they get it really right. was psyched to learn about the free “ikea family” member card, i got $10 bucks off my home delivery!

      January 5, 2012
  124. I don’t mind crowds, but there is something about those IKEA stores that just make me want to run back to the carpark. My OMFGM happens way before I’ve turned my coffee table into an abstract art work.

    January 5, 2012
  125. I love IKEA too, and I’m swedish. Everyone in Sweden has IKEA-furniture, so unfortunatelly many houses look the same 😉 Nah, just kidding, but it’s redicoulysly common.

    January 5, 2012
  126. I hate Ikea and so do you. You say you like it but you actually appear to view it as a necessary evil. Your reasoning is valid:
    – home assembly
    – arguments during home assembly
    – losing an integral piece down the heating register
    – you never get home before 4:00 PM
    – the shopping carts are unweildy
    – the pictograms suck

    I would add that the end product is rarely worth it. People come over and say, “Did you get that at Ikea?” and then you feel like a douchebag – another number among millions who have the same coffee table.

    I’m guessing that the bottom line is that Ikea is cheap. At least that’s why I suffer through wailing children and huge lines and the sensory overload of billions of products and the math problem of finding the proper model of Poang or something in the warehouse, whilst my legs ache and I’m starving.

    My girlfriend is sitting on our Ikea couch, the arms of which the cats have destroyed with their claws. No matter, we can just order a new cover from Ikea. But that doesn’t make me any happier about ever going there again (and not returning before 4).

    Ikea sucks!

    January 5, 2012
    • ok, so true about the “did you get it at ikea.” the ultimate backhanded compliment. i’m always proud i got it there, but i want to reveal that fact myself, and get a surprised reaction.

      January 5, 2012
  127. What I like about Ikea is that after you build enough things, you eventually begin to see the pattern — the method to their madness, if you will — and everything just flies by. I built my entire kitchen, my living room bookshelves, my wardrobe…after the first three, it’s a piece of cake!

    January 5, 2012
    • you may be onto something. i build something like twice a year so perhaps not frequently enough to get a rhythm going.

      January 5, 2012
  128. Not related by blood or marriage or even mutual friends or colleagues, but enjoyed this blog very much.

    January 5, 2012
  129. Yep, so true.

    January 5, 2012
  130. i also adore ikea. i don’t have much ikea furniture, but my home is accessorized in large part from my trips to minnesota…the closest store we have. now i crave a trip there 🙂 thanks for sharing!

    January 5, 2012
  131. Awesome blog.

    Ikea is the BEST! But the instructions are THE ABSOLUTE worst. I make my hubby put it all together without me there. It is so much easier on us both 🙂

    January 5, 2012
  132. Oh I love, love, love everything IKEA 🙂 Their design is amazing. I’m so happy that they finally decided to open up a store in my country! (fingers crossed it will be this year) Think I’m gonna start living there when they do 🙂

    January 5, 2012
  133. This post made me crack up laughing– especially since I recently “assisted” in an IKEA building adventure. Let me say that I was NOT the one doing the actual building as I can not understand their “directions” at all…

    Bravo and fantastic post!

    January 5, 2012
  134. Oh my, this post made me laugh because I could just feel your pain. Putting IKEA furniture together and painting a room together are activities that my husband and I have decided that maybe we simply shouldn’t do together. 🙂

    January 5, 2012
  135. Thank you for this post. It made me laugh and also realize that both my husband and I are sane people, after all. I particularly love the OMFGM. We had a couple of those, building my filing cabinet and bookshelf last year. After the giant particle board panels, the tension was the biggest thing in the room.

    I think, also, it adds a whole new level of stress when your partner is helping you with furniture that ONLY YOU will be using. I found myself thanking him every 10 minutes and chatting about how great the pieces would look in my studio (almost as frequently).

    Anyway, congrats on being Freshly Pressed, and please keep up the great writing!

    January 5, 2012
    • you guys sound lovely. thank yous and luxurious stroking of ego help smooth the process, i’ve found

      January 5, 2012
  136. I hate IKEA. Yes, it all looks good, but, as you point out, the assembly is a nightmare. I am single, so haven’t had to worry about the loss of a relationship trying to put those GD things together. I have, though, at times, had to try to hold on to my sanity for dear life amidst a heap of too many parts and those disappearing, re-appearing instructional drawings. Never, ever, ever again.

    Excellent description of the process and very entertaining writing.

    January 5, 2012
    • thank you! and it all looks good, until you try to move it to another spot. then it falls apart.

      January 5, 2012
  137. That’s why, in my family, I get to assemble all furniture in need of assembly, no questions asked. I guess I am lucky I found the only man in the world who doesn’t define his manhood through traditionally ‘manly’ chores. By the way, I also take out the rubbish 😉
    Beautiful account with a lot of wit and wisdom. Glad it was freshly pressed, doubt I would have found it otherwise. Congrats and thanks.

    January 5, 2012
    • i’ll let him build if i don’t have to take out the compost. fair trade. thanks for reading sandra!

      January 5, 2012
  138. My wife leaves the room and my cat supervises. I never disagree with the cat. All is well.

    January 5, 2012
  139. i LOVE Ikea too!!
    & like u have had to bite my tongue many a time 😉 hehhehee…
    Here’s to more successes with Ikea furniture 😀

    January 5, 2012
  140. mistersilverio #

    Sometimes paying for the $4000 couch versus the $300 Ikea couch might be worth the hassle of arguing and building it.

    January 5, 2012
  141. The first IKEA I ever went to was the flagship store in Stockholm in the 1980s I raved about it to my friends when I returned to the US even though they had no idea what it was — the big entry into the States didn’t begin occuring until a decade later. I’m still hooked.

    January 5, 2012
  142. I also love IKEA products but they are maddening to put together, especially with someone you love. My significant other and I had one of our biggest fights on our ‘marathon’ IKEA construction day (four pieces in one afternoon). We laugh now, but I dread doing it again.

    January 5, 2012
  143. eisemanandassociates #

    Your post allowed me the opportunity to thank my friend for not allowing me to talk him into buying a bed from Ikea this past weekend. I think I would chose love over Ikea any day. I had to laugh because he said that unless it had eight screws he was not sure. After reading this I think he was right. You two are a great pair. Kudos on being freshly pressed!
    http://eisemancolorblog.com/

    January 5, 2012
  144. I love Ikea. I’ve been looking for a cool home office setup.

    January 5, 2012
  145. IKEA is the best store EVER 🙂 However, I hate it when people try to sell used IKEA stuff and expect to get back what they paid for it new – um no, I know it was cheap to being with so let’s not pretend I’ve never been to the store. IKEA chairs my parents bought in 1977 were made of solid wood and the stiff cushions they still implement today 🙂 With the kids, it’s an all-day thing, getting lost in the maze of the displays, eating lunch or cinnamon roll, and I get lingonberry preserves – YUM!

    January 5, 2012
  146. This made me laugh! Myself and my bf have a fab relationship with Ikea, now we have come to an agreement. I ‘design’ the house and it’s lay-out. I decide on the items we need (whilst carefully letting bf think he has chosen them), and we refuse to open the boxes on the day of buying them. The next day, when we have de-stressed from the shopping, I leave him and his tools alone until he has assembled the furniture. He then beats his chest all tarzan like and spends the rest of the day feeling very proud of himself, while I give him lots of praise and admire the new furniture! 🙂

    January 5, 2012
    • i aspire to this level of planning. but i can’t ever wait a day to see the fruits of our tired labors.

      January 5, 2012
  147. Chris Duffy #

    I have my 12 year-old son assemble our Ikea furniture…. and we have A LOT! The instructions are just like the 1200-piece Lego Star Wars sets that he loves, only with fewer parts. So, next time you’re heading to IKEA, be sure to have a Lego-kid ready to do the assembly! You can enjoy an adult beverage while you supervise. No cursing needed!

    January 5, 2012
    • finally, a use for my son. i just have to wait seven years for him to turn 12.

      January 5, 2012
  148. Fia #

    Haha! I love your description! It’s the same in Sweden as well. At least in all families I know. The best IKEA name ever has to be their rocking moose namned “ekorre”, which means squirrel in swedish. A lovely random mixture of animals. 🙂

    January 5, 2012
    • fia, it never really occurred to me that the names could mean things. adds a whole new layer of mystery to my ikea shopping experience.

      January 5, 2012
      • Fia #

        Most names are actually from places or cities like your Stockholm and Karlstad furniture. But there are alot of other funny namnes among the IKEA stuff. Have fun exploring it. Why not bring a dictionary next time you go there? 🙂

        January 6, 2012
  149. i love ikea! having grown up with it, i can attest to the quality of some, but not all, of their furniture. my folks still use my 25+ year-old billy bookcases.

    as for assembly killing relationships, it helps to allocate the all-important job of counting the different types of screw to the spouse/partner who is less adept at following instructions. it’s an important job, after all, and has the added benefit of keeping them busy. 😉

    (seriously, leave the macho-ness behind, and the furniture always gets assembled correctly.)

    January 5, 2012
  150. missprofessorcasey #

    That bit about 4pm is so true. I’m not sure how IKEA does it, exactly, but even if we go in with a stop watch and a mission statement, we’re still in there all day (and for at least 100$ over budget).

    Sadly, I am not allowed to help assemble furniture. There was an ill-fated dresser debacle a few years ago. Now I just “supervise.” But it’s not so bad. It’s easier to mock the process when I’m not actively involved. 😀

    January 5, 2012
    • it’s almost as bad as costco. i can’t get out of that place without spending $300, usually on 4 dozen croissants and a vacuum.

      January 5, 2012
  151. hermosausaadmin #

    Great post! A comedian I recently saw (Orlando Baxter) tweeted just today that it took 20 minutes for him just to find the exit at IKEA…another facet of the IKEA mystery of not being able to make it home by 4pm. I’m horrible at following schematics; so assembling IKEA alone would be an exercise of futility & consternation, if left to my own devices. I wonder if they make Rosetta Stone for IKEA. ^_^ Just kidding.

    January 5, 2012
  152. gracethearcher #

    Did you know that all the products from IKEA are involving slaves & child labor?
    http://sites.google.com/site/misinforum/Home/ikea
    http://news.change.org/stories/the-slave-behind-your-bargain
    A website you can look at for child labor is this:
    http://www.notforsalecampaign.org/
    So, if you like IKEA, you may want to look into their slaves!
    Kevin Austin, from Not For Sale, came to my church and told us all about that!
    Sorry.. sometimes the truth hurts! I used to love IKEA and then my mom told me that it was on the “Bad List” so to rebel, we don’t go there anymore.

    January 5, 2012
    • hmm, that sounds bad. i’ll have to look into it. thanks for posting…

      January 5, 2012
  153. I too am curious about the wheel direction. I’ve written about IKEA’s meatballs. We’ve assembled lots of stuff from there. Apparently, I have found relatively simple stuff that my 6&8 yr olds can assemble that keep them busy for hours. My husband completely stays out of it. Maybe that’s the key to a happy IKEA : ) Thanks for sharing.

    January 5, 2012
  154. I love Ikea! My husband typically groans when I mention heading there, because Ikea is not just a store. It’s a destination! You can eat, shop, try out all sorts of furniture; it’s the best. When we get home I do the building and my husband hands me the parts. I’ve never had a problem with anything, except the beds can be a pain until you get the base put together. As an aside, I have the bed that you posted the instructions for in black and I love it 😉

    January 5, 2012
  155. Oof, been there, and it’s exactly as you described in my house too. I’m not exaggerating, an Ikea lamp once sent us into a screaming match.
    A lamp.

    January 5, 2012
  156. Yes, IKEA can be frustrating. But for sheer rage-inducing madness, you need to build anything by Sauder — although doing so can teach you far more about cursing than you ever needed to know.

    January 5, 2012
  157. I hate it when the instructions are nothing but a bunch of diagrams with arrows, but no actual instructions in words,or English, for that matter. Love this post!

    January 5, 2012
  158. jezerae #

    I love IKEA too and when I get the money plan on buying more then my share 😀

    January 5, 2012
  159. Oh my gosh…I can relate! To any attempt to assemble anything at home w/ my husband! Even getting the Christmas tree in the stand, building the gazebo from Home Depot, setting up the tent…the first time through is never good!…Ya just know that it’s gonna be one of those nights! Thanks for the laugh! Enjoyed the read! 🙂

    ~Kate
    thissideofeden.wordpress.com

    January 5, 2012
  160. alison6971 #

    This is precisely the reason why the delivery guy will also be putting together my new media unit. I also have shunned all other “ready to assemble” furniture that contains more than four pieces. I just don’t have the patience.

    January 5, 2012
  161. Okay, thank you for making my day with this post. My hubby and I are huge IKEA fans. In fact, when we moved last year, we decided to make it what we called “An Etch-a-Sketch Move,” which meant that we were throwing out all our old, mismatched stuff, saving our money, and starting from scratch with items we were chosen rather than hand-me-downs. IKEA became our drug of choice from that point on. My man is pretty mechanically inclined, and even he has cocked his head sideways a time or two while reading the directions. Luckily though, I don’t have to help much. He’s put together everything in our house with only a few screws left over. Again, thank you for the laughter. It’s nice to see someone “gets it” and can write about it all with such humor and panache. 🙂

    January 5, 2012
  162. Yes definitely could relate. When my husband too starts like your Tom :

    “15 minutes of assembly where Tom will throw his IKEA wrench on the floor and state with utter conviction that the item we have purchased is defective and/or missing parts” –

    I would look at him in dismay and express that this just cannot be. Ikea has had years of experience producing, packaging, designing and would not want to encourage returns, hence their very very detailed litte pictures instead of words… catering to the lowest denominator… at which point he would look at me with a pained expression and say: You do it then. Which I do, did , done – with sucess! LOL!

    In all fairness, sometimes these things are too simple for an intelectual man like my husband and they overthink things.

    My best is when he wants to give IKEA advice on how to better illustrate.

    But that is just the point, sometimes the step by step is just too simple, when it is clear that the next step should be that you should “tighten” the darn screw after you have placed it in the specially drilled hole for the same darn screw!!!

    All in a day’s fun – compliments of IKEA!!

    January 5, 2012
  163. I have never been to an IKEA store, and until about a month ago I didn’t even know what it was. Yes. I live under a rock.

    January 5, 2012
  164. OMG. IKEA still exists? That’s like so 90’s in Josey.

    January 5, 2012
  165. Rae #

    A lot of my furniture has come from Ikea, and after having an Ikea bed break after one year and a book shelf crumble after two, I decided to only buy more of their higher line items (no particle wood). I did get a really nice bookshelf (real wood) and couch that I’m happy with, but I’m pretty wary about what products I buy now.

    January 5, 2012
  166. Congrats on FP. Very well written.
    IKEA isn’t on my list of favorite places to shop for anything made of quality. I’ve done the IKEA thing and the stuff just doesn’t hold up, especially with children. Of course if a person is shopping for quality then they wouldn’t go to IKEA in the first place. At least that’s what I have learned from experience. It’s fine for people who live in apartments and don’t plan on keeping it long after. IKEA…It’s cheap stuff for short term use. “Cheap” meaning poor quality and not worth the price.

    January 5, 2012
  167. Your home looks beautiful; and if I had to put together anything from Ikea or anywhere else, I’d never have furniture. so be proud 🙂

    val
    http://valentinedefrancis.wordpress.com

    January 5, 2012
  168. So funny and so true! Haha … great post!

    January 5, 2012
  169. …And take a look at lego instructions ! A 10 year old can throw together a 3 foot model of the Death Star in an hour, but adults cant get the arm on the storm trooper ! I ‘d say its a scandinavian plot, but I’m danish….

    January 5, 2012
    • it took three adults four hours to put together a lego x-wing over the holidays. preach.

      January 5, 2012
  170. We are IKEA people too but my husband and I have struck a deal with one another when it comes to assembling their crazy-extra-parts furniture. He assembles, while I keep the kids away from him and the enticing buffet of parts. I honestly don’t know who has the worst gig. Either way, at the end, both of us are sweaty and cursing.

    Love this post and congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    January 5, 2012
    • oh that’s a tough choice. i might have to go with the furniture.

      January 5, 2012
  171. If I got $1 for every time I had to re-assemble a piece of IKEA furniture because I put something on backwards, I would be rich (and probably no longer annoyed that I had to do so). And we always spend about 2 hours in the store – no matter what we end up buying.

    January 5, 2012
  172. Yevette #

    Overdue for a road trip! Vegas doesn’t have one.

    January 5, 2012
  173. Cafe23 #

    LOL!! Omg your blog makes me literally laugh out loud!

    Congrats on getting Freshly Pressed, you deserve it! 🙂

    January 5, 2012
  174. This was very cleverly written and easy to identify with. I love IKEA but rarely buy anything with more than one component because I shudder every time I think about the assembly process. Also, I ADORE that pillow, is it from IKEA as well?

    January 5, 2012
    • hey flutterbrush, no, the pillow is a wool jonathan adler pillow we bought about eight years ago. love those pillows…

      January 5, 2012
  175. Oh the fun of building Ikea furniture! 🙂 Try building it with your dad and brother: they’re both convinced they’re right…until they realize they’re not, and I am. Wonderful moment for me, not a fun moment for them 😉

    But like you said, the end product is always worth the fuss, and I definitely love Ikea! Thanks for this great post and congrats on being freshly pressed!

    January 5, 2012
    • furniture assembly with family: much worse than furniture assembly with spouse

      January 5, 2012
  176. Feit Can Write #

    Although the nearest IKEA is an 8 hour drive away (Minneapolis), I have a very simple definition of what it truly means to be a Successful Grown Up:

    Your furniture does not require allen wrenches, cryptic instructions, or a mild sedative prior to use – you simply have to open the door for the delivery guys.

    Until I reach that point (in 20-40 years) I’ll be right there with your husband, cursing the fact that my male DNA (and college degree) were trumped by a pile of particle board.

    January 5, 2012
    • i too hope to reach that point soon, before i have grandkids.

      January 5, 2012
  177. Um all I have to say is what happens in your home sounds extremely similar to what happens in my home when assembly is required. I was laughing for sure and nodding in agreement in several places. The only thing i get after biting my tounge to not say I told you so, is hiim looking at me later saying “Why didnt you tell me?” to which I reply, “I did, you didn’t listen” .
    Thanks for the laugh!

    January 5, 2012
  178. nice birth analogy to assembling ikea products. overall turnout is nice! i’m more of a thrift saler myself. assembly done. 🙂 have a great weekend!

    January 5, 2012
  179. Only weeks ago my FB status was “armed with a 6 pack and an Ikea wrench, bring it Swedes!”
    You are spot on about every part of it, and I agree, make a comment about my wiener before suggesting I don’t know what I am doing building furniture. Great post and congrats on FP!

    January 5, 2012
  180. Just moved into my own apartment and my father came over to help assemble a few book shelves. Let’s just say we were glad for the time apart afterwards. I do love the arrows on the floor in the store though. I stress myself out by getting irritated when people walk the opposite direction. Arrows need no words 🙂 Lovely selection on your couch and coffee table.

    January 5, 2012
    • my store doesn’t have arrows! now i feel robbed.

      January 5, 2012
  181. Wow, this seem like a nightmare I’ve had before… Putting Ikea furniture together produces the same emotional reaction as getting the season’s Christmas tree properly screwed into my parents’ antique Christmas tree stand: Much cursing, swearing we will never purchase the offending material EVER again, throwing of tools, etc.

    After college, my Ikea bed went home in one piece (awkwardly stood on its side in the truck) instead of the 2,000 it came as due to the fact my brother and Dad would rather drill screws into their own arms instead of fathom taking it apart and putting it back together again.

    Hilarious post!!! http://www.saracardoza.wordpress.com

    January 5, 2012
  182. Before IKEA, my (somewhat hippie) parents bought magazines that showed how to build everything oneself, then the wood and the tools. Then they measured my room and started to build. It lasts until today, 35 years later.

    January 5, 2012
  183. No No No
    You guys … you have it all wrong
    IKEA is from the future, and in the future people don’t speak or read, they just use their minds.

    makes “common sense” right?

    Cheers
    -Ron
    Be A DJ
    http://www.beadj.ca

    January 5, 2012
  184. Is it a bad sign that I have OMFGMs when putting together my 9-year-old’s toys?

    Screw IKEA…I can’t even get past the directions to get the toy out of the flippin’ box!

    GREAT post — a well-deserved Freshly Pressed. Congrats to you!

    January 5, 2012
  185. John Dudrey #

    Nicole has a Dustin-Hoffman-in-“Rainman”-like aptitude for putting together Ikea furniture. It is truly something to behold. If you ever need a hand, just let us know. Definitely.

    January 4, 2012
    • Might her aptitude be one reason you popped the question? Yoonanimous wants to know

      January 4, 2012
  186. Amy #

    I love the store. It has a certain order and organization that I could never achieve. In anything. Ever. My kids love it, too. Whenever I say we’re going to the store they always say, “Yay! The meatball place.” And I nearly always have to disappoint them.

    On second thought, I hate the store.

    January 4, 2012
    • why do you have to disappoint them? meatballs are protein. and lingonberries have vitamin c. and gravy has valuable trans fats. yes i will have the 15 meatball platter, please

      January 4, 2012
  187. suzanne #

    Nice post! I think the lack of words has to do with how many languages they would need to be printed in. I like to assemble IKEA on my own… which, of course, brings it’s own challenges.

    January 4, 2012
    • i would LOVE the opportunity to build IKEA furniture on my own

      January 4, 2012
  188. Love: “If this incident had happened five years ago, one of us would have slept on the couch for three days.” If a marriage can withstand Ikea assembly, I’m convinced it can weather anything. Nice sofa BTW — love the pillow, too!

    January 4, 2012
    • that adler pillow has been rolling around my basement for eight years waiting for the right sofa. very gratified that you noticed it.

      January 4, 2012
  189. Love it! I guess the words associated with typical directions are too expensive for IKEA. Every time I try to build something, the lack of words reminds me of my verbal learning style and I’m almost willing to pay the big bucks to obtain such necessities. Ugh!

    January 4, 2012
    • i think the worst is that the instructions make you start questioning your own intelligence. like, “wait a second, these were clearly written with the lowest common denominator in mind, does that mean i’m on a level below the lowest common denominator?”

      January 4, 2012
      • The instructions are not “written with the lowest common denominator in mind”. If they were, there would be a lot more pictures: pictures with big Xes across them, at just about every step, showing absurd incorrect assembly (that had actually been tried by someone at least once). People would still screw it up because there are more ways to screw up than can be cataloged, more than can be predicted.

        They are written with no attempt to guess what commonly known facts any individual buyer may not know or what preconceived (but incorrect) notions a buyer may apply in arranging the pieces for assembly. Or any extraneous psychological baggage the buyer may bring to the assembly process.

        January 7, 2012
    • Sunt linguarum aliquot centi in terris. Quas omittere licet?

      Every package would need to contain a thick book with instructions in every language. (Unless there is a new technology with which the manufacturer can know, at the time an item is put in its box, what language the eventual buyer understands.)

      That would be expensive.

      Also I opinion is big opportunity inscribe much mistake by ignorance for strange language.

      January 7, 2012

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