MOST of us know all too well how easily costs can add up in Ikea when you pop in for a specific item and end up leaving with loads of products you don’t really need.
Luckily, there are things you can do to make your visits to the flat-pack giant’s stores both cheaper and more efficient.
These include getting freebies, skipping queues, finding secret shortcuts as well as ways to “try before you buy”.
Below is a round-up of our best tips.
How to skip queues
Like most retail stores, weekday mornings are usually the best time to shop since you'll come across less people in the store.
You can also find out when your local Ikea store is the busiest by using Google’s free Popular Times feature, helping you to avoid the queues.
Using the feature, The Sun found that the peak hours at Ikea in Wembley on a Sunday are between 12pm to 4pm.
Customers should instead arrive at 10am or 4pm, or you’d be even better off by going on a weekday.
If you’re returning a product, you'll want to do so first thing in the morning as it's a take-a-number-and-wait system.
Save time and money by using the back entrance
If you already know what you’re going to buy from Ikea, check its location and aisle number on the retailer’s website.
When you know where it’s located in your local store, you can go through the back entrance.
Ikea stores are laid out so that you browse through the showroom first before you get to the marketplace (where you actually pick up items to buy), so by entering through the exit, you'll avoid the showroom, which will save you time.
This way you’ll also avoid the temptation of picking up unnecessary items as you walk through the store, saving you money at the same time.
Use secret store shortcuts
If you still want to go through the showroom, there are secret shortcuts and doors you can use on top of the ones already pointed out by Ikea.
These are not highlighted in stores and can be difficult to find – in fact, Ikea tries to make them blend in with the rest of the store so they are sometimes hidden behind curtains.
They’re usually used by staff members who quickly need to get to certain parts of the store, or they’re there for safety reasons and stock-taking reasons.
But you don’t need to be afraid to use them either, as long as a door isn’t clearly marked for “employees only” you can pass through.
Try before you buy
Have you ever trawled through Ikea to find the perfect sofa, only to get it home to realise that it doesn't fit?
If this sounds all too familiar then you might want to download Ikea’s Place app , which will let you see what it looks like before you hit the order button.
Using the app on their phones, customers can select from a range of different sofas, armchairs, coffee tables and shelves and try it on for size.
According to Ikea, the app is 98 per cent accurate and so precise that users will be able to see the texture of the fabric, as well test how light and shadows will look on the furniture.
Get an Ikea Family card
Not only is it free to join, but with Ikea’s loyalty card you can get freebies and extra discounts.
If you then forget to bring it with you on your shopping trip, you can download the Ikea Store app and log into your account to access a digital version of your card.
The benefits of the Family card include:
- Free coffee or tea in the restaurant: The deal is valid Monday-Friday, but it’s not available for to-go cups. The hot drinks usually cost £1
- Cheaper meals: Card holders get a six-piece breakfast for £1.75 (normally £2.50) from 9.30am to 11am Monday to Friday
- Exclusive discounts on certain items: Ikea Family members get an extra 10 per cent off sale items, as well as better prices on selected items not for sale
- Free product insurance: Swipe your Family card at the checkout and you'll automatically get free product insurance for accidental damage on the way home and during assembly. This applies to items bought in store and excludes Bargain Corner items, cut fabric and custom made goods
Look out for the Bargain Corner
Ikea’s “Bargain Corner” is made up of products which may have a slight scratch on them, or were previously on the shop floor as a display model.
Or perhaps someone assembled it and then decided to return it – whatever the reason, it all gets put in bargain corner.
It’s the place where shoppers can bag a serious bargain, and all products come with the same guarantees as brand-new items too.
Stock is updated every day so take a look next time you visit your nearest Ikea store – they’re usually located in the marketplace.
To get the best bargains, you’ll want to be there when Ikea opens in the morning as that’s when most customers come.
There may still be good deals later on in the day, but the stock usually goes fairly quickly.
Call Ikea if you're missing a part
Coming home from Ikea to start assembling your new stuff, only to realise that something is missing can be really annoying.
In good news, instead of heading back to the store, figure out the missing part number (it's listed in the assembly instructions) and call your local store to ask for replacements.
They'll send you the pieces for free, so you don't have to make a second trip.
Update your home cheaply by focusing on the details
There are a lot of DYI tips about Ikea products online, just search for “Ikea hacks” on Google and you’ll be spoilt for choice.
One of the most popular sites is Ikeahackers.net, which is run by Jules Yap who works full-time with the website.
By buying new handles, legs and knobs to your furniture and kitchen at Ikea, you can also create a whole new look by spending very little money.
Even better, it’s also less harmful for the environment.
More on money
Ikea customers could soon be allowed to rent furniture instead of buying under new plans revealed earlier this year.
A few weeks ago, the retailer launched a “robot cupboard” that slides around your room – and doubles as a bed, desk, sofa and wall.
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