[Stella Loves] The ultimate IKEA shopping list

IKEA often gets a bad rep. Whether because it's too cheap, you hate seeing your latest purchases in the living room of every friend/relative you have or because the 3-hour return journey to the nearest IKEA store can mark the end of one's relationship, it can be a painful experience and I know people who've actually stopped shopping there altogether. Which is a shame because the clever peeps at the helm of the Swedish furniture powerhouse have really upped their game in recent years and with a little prep, it can be a fairly (I emphasise on fairly! I definitely don't mean 'totally'!) stress-free experience and a worthy pit stop when revamping your place. The key to a successful IKEA experience in my book is three-part:

A. Do your research. Know what you want to buy before you even consider googling 'van to hire' or getting lost in the IKEA 'maze'. That means making a shopping list that you actually stick to, checking stock online befirehabd and going there with a purpose not just to browse... Otherwise IKEA WILL indeed steal your time and you'll end up like Alice after she tumbled down the rabbit hole, trust me...

B. Shop online. If you really can't trust yourself to have a civilised experience in a physical IKEA shop (join the club), then get your keyboard out. IKEA have a great online store and you can find roughly 80% of their products on the UK site. This means you avoid those in-shop impulse purchases while walking through the aisles and those dreaded (and let's be real, unavoidable) arguments with your other half at the till...

C. Pay for the extra services. Unless your partner/wife/hubby/flatmate is an actual builder, proven DIY expert or handyman (and even then believe you me, you WILL NOT avoid an argument at some point in the assembly process!), just pay for the in-house supplementary services: IKEA Picking & Delivery, IKEA Delivery, IKEA Assembly, just get the whole shebang, you'll thank me later! The extra bucks you'll spend at the time of purchase will be rewarded times one million in sanity levels, energy saved and most importantly your marriage... 

Don't get me wrong. Sometimes even with all the above precautionary measures taken, you could still be bordering nervous breakdown territory at some point... So why am I still insisting on sending you to this hell on earth, you may wonder? Well because once you've gone past the sometimes painful logistics of getting your hand on something decent/useful that's doesn't involve tea lights, cardboard storage boxes or Chinese lantern-style paper lamps (*slowly raises her hand in shame*), you will remember that IKEA have some absolutely stunning designs at prices that are indecently affordable... The key is to know which ones. So, here is my ultimate shopping list of some of my favourite pieces from IKEA. 

1. VILLSTAD Easy chair, Samsta turquoise - £140

That's right, one hundred and forty Sterling Pounds. Need I say more? Look at it. It's like looking at an objet d'art. The sleek design, the colour, the metallic frame... It's been on my wish list for a while but I can't find a spot for it at Stella + the Stars HQ (unless I convince the hubby to replace an existing item which is frown upon these days) so I'll have to live vicariously through you, lovely readers! Just to be clear, the footstool is sold separately (£70) but even then, we are still way into affordable territory here... 

2. LÖVBACKEN Side table, medium brown, £40

This three-legged, leaf-shaped side table was originally launched in 1956 in Sweden and the model called Löve. At the time, the table sparked a little revolution in the self-assembly furniture world as it became the first ever piece of flat-pack furniture. IKEA re-engineered it in 2013 and renamed it Lövbacken. If you like something affordable but with a bit of history, this is the side table for you. And again at that price point, it'd be rude not too... It also exists as a coffee table (£60). 

3. Valje wall storage system, from £17

If you're after a stylish and modern looking wall-mounted shelving unit, this is a fantastic affordable system. Starting at £17 per cabinet (that's a single square shelf on the picture), and with a range of different colours available, you can create your own design by freely combining cabinets of different sizes, with or without doors and drawers.

4. STOCKHOLM Rug, black striped black, off-white, £100

Warning: the picture below might hurt your eyeballs! 

 Photo credit: www. stylebyemilyhenderson.com

Photo credit: www. stylebyemilyhenderson.com

I have this rug in my home office and I just can't get enough of it. It create a lovely monochrome base to the otherwise colourful scheme of the room and it's just so cheap you won't feel guilty if you get bored of it in a couple of years. Personally, I haven't yet! 

5. STOCKHOLM Glass-door cabinet, beige, £275

Can you tell I am slightly obsessed with the Stockholm range? Can you blame me though? Look at this cabinet. I also own this piece in yellow in our kitchen to store all our glassware. It's been a double success. 1. I always get compliments about it and 2. no one can ever believe it when I tell them it's from IKEA... Which surely is the ultimate goal right?

6. KNAPPA Pendant lamp, white, £16

Please don't hate me, I know it's kind of a knock-off of design genius Poul Henningsen's Artichoke lamp but not everyone can afford the real deal unfortunately... It is a cool and funky purse-friendly alternative to a designer version that is versatile, it can literally fit any decor, room or colour scheme. And for that price, you can buy one in every room for that matter... 

Right that's it folks. For now, anyways... 

Happy shopping!