Why is IKEA furniture so affordable?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by maestro55, Feb 17, 2008.

  1. macrumors 68030


    Nov 13, 2005
    Goat Farm in Meridian, TX
    I am hoping to be moving out of my parents house in a week or so and I started looking around for furniture. Out of curiosity, seeing IKEA mentioned here so often and knowing they have a big store in Round Rock (about an hour and a half from me) I figured I would check their online store for prices. I was amazed that I could get a queen sized (very stylish bed) and spring mattress for under $500 (where at a furniture store like Lacks or The Roomstore, or even Sam's Club I would be paying close to a $1000 for a very basic bed and mattress). I didn't expect this, seeing as IKEA is very modern stuff.

    So what is everyone's take here on stuff they have owned, I know you all rant and rave about how great the desks are (they look great too). How about their beds and mattresses? Bottom line, I am close to 300lbs and 6'3. Is an IKEA bed going to break with me on top of it? Am I not going to be happy with their spring mattress? Any thoughts from those who have owned their beds or even some of their other furniture I would love to hear them.
  2. Guest


    Aug 6, 2007
    Immigrant workers.

    More relevant; about the bed...I wouldn't get one. Buy a nice divan. They're much more comfortable, and sturdy.
  3. macrumors 68030


    Aug 16, 2007
    Most of Ikea's stuff is a step above what you'd get at a Wal-Mart, but it's no substitute for high-quality furniture. I like the Ikea stuff that I have, but once I stop renting and buy a home I'll be purchasing real furniture from a boutique.

    You're going to get a shorter lifespan out of an Ikea product than you would out of something comparable made of solid construction and not particle board. Having said that, Ikea is probably your best bet for getting stylish and very decent furniture at a good price.
  4. macrumors regular


    Nov 4, 2007
    I think they cut costs because you have to transport and put everything together yourself.
    I can assure you that you get what you see, they have pretty good quality. My room is filled with Ikea stuff. The only thing I've not been satisfied about is this couch thing that you can make a two person bed out of, it broke pretty fast. When I went to get a replacement part (wich you can normally always get, they have good service) it turned out they didn't produce those anymore (probably because of the bad quality). For the rest I have a computerdesk that is great, shelves, blankets, pillows, slippers, even handsoap, couches, chairs... All really nice quality!

    I must say though that a lot of people end up owning the same stuff ... :-(
  5. macrumors 6502a


    Jan 3, 2007
    Don't kid you self... their furniture is made by 12 year olds or slaves in some developing country. Just like everything else in this country (including your mac ipod, or iphone).
  6. macrumors 65816


    Feb 4, 2006
    Actually, having furniture made in a country far away would be counterproductive (think shipping), so I very highly doubt that. I do know that around here, IKEA kitchens are made by prison inmates.
  7. adk
    macrumors 68000


    Nov 11, 2005
    Stuck in the middle with you
    I used to have an ikea bed. It had wooden "slats" that went halfway across the bed to hold up the mattress instead of a box spring. It was garbage. Every time i, uh, rocked the bed the mattress would fall through to the floor. Do yourself a favor and get a bed with a box spring.
  8. macrumors 603


    Jul 3, 2004
    Mac since 7.5
    IKEA furniture is less expensive because it ships flat. They can get 30 or more cartons of furniture on a pallet, where assembled furniture would need 5 or more skids.
    Great college and apartment stuff...but it will fall apart if you move it around much at all.
  9. macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2006
    it all comes down to checking the build quality. never buy online without "kicking the tires". I bought a massive dining room table at ikea. 2inch thick slab with 4x4 legs. If they make a bed like that, it will outlast your house. BUT,they also have a lot of pretty cheap crap. Just get solid wood and not particle board or veneer.
  10. McGiord, Feb 17, 2008
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011

    macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2003
    Dark Castle
    IKEA is a swedish company, and they mass produce their european designs in a town/city in Sweden where the whole economy runs around the IKEA operations, I know about his because I knew a swedish guy from this area.

    Their products have different lines some have very good prices, and others aren't that economical but nice.
    Most of my furniture was bought there.

  11. macrumors G3


    Dec 29, 2007
    Southern California
    We have a little Ikea furniture in our place, although not much because we tend to like darker woods. It's not bad, but it's certainly not the quality of our more expensive stuff.

    I do really like their meatballs though!
  12. macrumors 601


    Sep 5, 2005
    Actually not true.
    From the same link you quoted:
    So… very much:
    Designed by IKEA in Sweden and manufactured in China
    Hmmmm. Sounds familiar eh? :p
  13. Moderator emeritus


    May 1, 2005
    I read the thread title, and that was no joke, the first two words that popped into my mind. :D

    Exactly. Meaning, some of IKEA's stuff is great! And some, not so great. You've got to take a real look at it, and decide whether or not the upfront savings is worth disposable furniture. Because let's face it, the cheaper IKEA stuff (because they do have some more high-end pieces), is disposable! Particle board can't really be taken apart and put back together. Put those annoying ass little nails through, and whammo, that's it buddy. :p

    Which isn't to say that I don't adore quite a bit of IKEA's stuff.

    But you get what you pay for. Some of it is higher end. Much of it is not. And for my purposes? The cheaper stuff works out well. :)
  14. macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    Ikea is great for stylish lamps and such (and they're affordable as well) and it's probably great for those who are moving out for the first time, but if you're going to be buying a home, I wouldn't go for it.

    With certain furniture (sofas and beds in particular) you want quality. The occasional picture frame or desk lamp? Go for Ikea. The long term purchase like a bed? Go for a better quality shop.
  15. macrumors 65816


    Feb 1, 2002
    I love ikea, for certain things. They do make some solid wood furniture that is pretty good (though it scratches a bit easily). And the unfinished wood products are cool because you can leave them as is, or finish them yourself. A lot of their stuff though is cheap particle board and pretty awful. So take the time to check it out.

    As far as a bed goes, ikea mattresses suck. They are smaller than most standard mattresses of the same claimed size category (ie, their queen size is smaller than most companies queen size). And the quality is really bad (I base this on my own considerations of almost buying one a few years back, checking them out and camparing it to what I could get in terms of a "real" mattress). Do yourself a favor and go to a mattress store. You'd be surprised the deals you can find at them for much higher quality stuff. I got a mattress at sleeptrain for about 500 bucks that was light years ahead of what I could have gotten at ikea. And it came with free delivery and a free bed frame and box spring, so basically everything I needed. Even came with a free mattress pad.

    Ikea is good for cheap furniture. I've bought a lot there. But, I wouldn't use them for anything like a mattress. You'll be really disappointed and won't get as good deal as if you really look around at mattress stores.
  16. macrumors G5


    Nov 25, 2005
    Their prices are low for two reasons: They run a low-cost operation (shop is basically a warehouse, everything flat packed, you transport it home and build it), and because they build gazillions of every item, their goods are optimised to be built at low cost (without sacrificing quality).

    Some things you should consider: 1. Take a look at everything personally before you buy it. Some stuff is cheap and looks cheap. Some stuff looks really good and is really good and is not cheap, but very reasonably priced. 2. Don't buy things where you rely on standardised sizes. If you buy a sofa, it doesn't matter if yours is a bit smaller or larger than mine. If you buy a bed, you want the same size as everyone else or you are in trouble when want to buy bedlinen.
  17. macrumors 6502a


    Sep 20, 2007
    Austin, TX
    how is that ikea store btw? i'm only about 15 minutes away from there in nw austin and have driven by it countless times on i35 but never stopped in
  18. macrumors 68020


    Jan 30, 2008
    Washington DC
    IKEA is low in price because:

    1. They use effective distribution methods to move their goods.
    2. They use no third party.
    3. The items are made with minimal parts, and as you can see are made "simple".

    I love IKEA, about 65 to 70% of my house is IKEA.
  19. macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    while you may be getting a good deal on it price to quality ratio. It is still cheap and you get what you pay for.

    There is a huge difference between 500 dollar Queen bed and set from IKAE compared to an 800 dollar Bed and box spring.

    Just remember you get what you pay for. IKEA is great when starting out but as you make more money you will want to shop at places that cost more money.
  20. macrumors regular

    Jan 22, 2008
    I've never owned IKEA furniture and if wasn't for mention of it on the news occasionally, I wouldn't have know it existed.
  21. macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    Don't forget that the items that are made with particle board and paper filling in many cases. For the items that are "solid wood" they use a very inexpensive milled pine. Pine is very soft wood regardless of where you buy it and prone to scratch easily because whatever they do to stain the wood they're not sealing it unlike other pine furniture manufacturers.

    Here's an interesting read on Ikea anyway.

    I do have a desk, two book cases, and now an entertainment unit from Ikea. The desk surprisingly enough has been with me longer than any other desk because it is really just a top and legs. I can add or take away using other components so it works for me. Having built this entertainment unit this week I can say that it'll last through one move at best and that's going to be it. In my opinion Ikea furniture isn't meant to be moved around a lot. Once I get settled in a place I will be in for a long time I'll be sure to invest in furniture I can take with me. I have managed to stay away from their beds, chairs, couches, etc though as I have a great custom sofa guy who makes things how I want them made. ;)
  22. macrumors G4


    Jan 20, 2004
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    Economies of scale mainly.

    One expensive part of the process is the design and initial manufacturing set-up but when you can divide that across the millions of each item that you produce worldwide, it's suddenly a much smaller piece of the total.

    As has been said, the materials are cheap and they ship in such quantities that they get price-breaks from the suppliers - who'd likely go under if IKEA pulled out from them.

    Some stuff is crap, some is OK but I do find it a little identikit in that so many new homes have the same stuff in them. The point on mattresses being different sizes is a good one; it means you're going to be tied to buying fitted sheets from IKEA. Similarly with duvets - they're not quite the same size as other stores either.

    One thing IKEA is good for is their marketplace. Cheap everyday crockery, cutlery, cushions, candles etc
  23. macrumors 68020


    Jul 18, 2002
    That may be true of some IKEA bedframe models, but is defininitely not true of all bedframes that use wooden slats to support the mattress. We have this bedframe and find it to be rock solid:


    And as many have already said, you have to pick your battles wisely at IKEA. Some of their stuff is better-built than others (in some cases it doesn't matter as much, of course). It's definitely not very attractive to walk into a home or apartment where seemingly all the furniture and accessories came from there, but they are quite good for a wide range of basics. I like some of their office furniture, but I think their office chairs are crap. I wouldn't buy a mattress or bed frame from them, but some of their wardrobe systems look good and are pretty affordable. They have pretty decent kitchenware, knives excepted.
  24. macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    That is a killer looking bed. :)
    But I need a headboard to grab onto. LOL I'm kidding really. I need a headboard because otherwise the pillows rub against the wall and mess the paint up.
  25. macrumors 65816


    May 31, 2006
    New York
    A lot of the furniture in mine and my girlfriends apartment is IKEA.

    Our coffee table is excellent, our dining set is really nice (but we hardy ever use it), and our couch is good. I can't see the stuff lasting for decades, but it was really cheap and perfectly suits our needs.

    Both of us hate wasting money on unnecessary things, and boutique furniture and higher end stuff is definitely in that wasteful category. We have nobody to impress, and we both like the modern look of most IKEA furniture, so it's perfect for us. If something does break/get ruined by our cats, we're comfortable knowing that we didn't spend a lot of money on it in the first place.

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