Designers Share Their Absolute Favorite Ikea Products — And the 1 Thing They’ll Never Buy

Ikea is known for its affordable, contemporary furniture selection. With prices so incredible, it might seem like professional designers would steer clear of the brand for more expensive options. But actually, they can’t get enough of it. Designers have even partnered with Ikea for design projects. Designers explained which Ikea products are the best quality, plus the Ikea products they swear by — and check out page 7 for that one item they actually hate.

Not all products are made with the same quality

Ikea Store

Some things are better quality than others. | Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

Ikea products are budget-friendly, but that means that some products just might not be great quality. According to Curbed, the best way to know if an item is good quality is to go to the Ikea showroom. Rather than purchase online, look at the product in real life to instantly get a better sense of its quality. Not only can you see the items in person, but you can also test them out to see if they feel wobbly or cheaply made.

Next: These are the materials to look for when shopping for quality Ikea furniture. 

Material matters when choosing a quality Ikea product

Ikea assembly instructions

Materials are the most important part. | tomalv/iStock/Getty Images

Although it might seem better to go with the cheaper option, sometimes, it’s more important to look at the material. Ikea makes many inexpensive items out of particleboard, but Curbed says you’re better off purchasing solid wood if you want an item that will last. Other materials such as glass and metal are also good alternatives for items that might experience wear and tear through the years. If you plan on keeping the furniture for a long time, solid material is always better.

Next: Here are the durable products designers swear by. 

Bookshelves

Ikea Billy Bookcase with doors

It’s a super chic update. | Ikea

In an interview with Real Simple, designer Will Taylor said he can’t get enough of Ikea’s limited edition BILLY bookcase. Its sleek, glass doors add a modern touch, and the bookcase is anything but the bulky piece of furniture you might picture. It could sit unnoticed in any room or be filled to the brim with eye-catching pieces. Ikea describes the bookcase as having the flexibility of a bookshelf with the protection of an armoire.

Next: Ikea has a way of making these bulky furniture pieces work. 

Wardrobes

Ikea PAX wardrobe

It’s perfect for those without enough storage space. | Ikea

Wardrobes tend to be another bulky furniture option, and it can be difficult to find a good place for them. But designer Jessica McClendon told Real Simple that Ikea’s PAX wardrobe is the perfect piece for keeping clutter minimized. The white wardrobe helps it look smaller in a room. Plus, if you want to spice it up, McClendon recommends adding some hardware to make it unique to your home.

Next: This category features contemporary pieces designers love. 

Lighting

Ikea RANARP lamps

The lamps are the perfect mix of modern and industrial. | Ikea

Lighting is one area where Ikea thrives because it offers a slew of different styles to appeal to anyone’s amateur design eye. But according to MyDomaine, professional designers love it, too. Lindsey Pennington, founder of design company Lindsey Pennington, Inc., told MyDomaine that Ikea’s Ranarp Work Lamp is the one product she can’t live without. She says its touch of brass mixed with a darker metal adds some pizazz without being “too blingy.” And its affordable $33 price tag makes it that much better.

Next: These make any room pop, and Ikea has plenty of them. 

Area rugs

Ikea Stockholm rug

The rugs are gorgeous and reasonably priced. | Ikea

Several designers, including Lindsey Pennington and Emily Henderson (founder of Style by Emily Henderson) are fans of Ikea’s area rugs. The retailer offers hundreds of area rug options, but Pennington told MyDomaine that Ikea’s rugs are the perfect balance of modern yet not overwhelming. Henderson loves Ikea’s Stockholm Rug for its simple pattern and black and white palette. Plus, many rugs are under $200.

Next: Entertaining is affordable thanks to these Ikea products. 

Glassware

Ikea Pitcher with lid

And of course they’re insanely affordable. | Ikea

Ikea’s glassware is another area that offers tasteful and affordable options. According to both Real Simple and MyDomaine, designers can’t get enough of the retailer’s glassware options. With such affordable products, it’s almost impossible not stock up on everything you like. You can purchase a set of glasses for under $5, and champagne flutes are a steal at less than $5 as well. Products such as pitchers and wine openers also fall in the single digits.

Next: You’ll be amazed by how inexpensive these are. 

Bed frames

Ikea Nesttun bed

They’re one of the most affordable options out there. | Ikea

Ikea’s bed frames are sturdy, affordable, and sophisticated, which explains why designers love them. Where else can you purchase a queen bed frame for under $200? Some beds also come with storage underneath, and you’ll have trouble finding even the nicest queen bed priced at anything more than $400. You’ll pay a little extra for a king, but when the prices are this good, does it even matter?

Next: But here’s the one Ikea product designers definitely don’t purchase. 

Artwork

Ikea art

Sadly the Ikea art collection falls short. | Ikea

While Ikea seems to be able to find the perfect balance between sophisticated and inexpensive, there is one area where it lacks taste: Artwork. Apartment Therapy explored Ikea’s art options and realized the artwork doesn’t stack up to the other great products the furniture retailer offers. This could be because some of their decorative photos look like something we’d see in a doctor’s office waiting room. Ikea might strike out on this one, but we still love all of its other incredible buys.

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