Being modern: Ikea

Ikea: it has become almost as ubiquitous as childbirth and, similarly, though the experience may cause pain, we'll always go back for more.

While all shops are laid out to encourage impulse buys, no other corners the market with quite the skill of Ikea. In supermarkets, it might be the smell of baking bread that lures us into spending more than we'd intended. At Ikea, we are driven by a clever juxtaposition of ease and inconvenience. Yes, we may have come in for a bit of Billy, Bygel or Ekby and a new duvet, but having driven to the outskirts of civilisation and spent four hours battling through an emotionally exhausting, Kafka-esque maze lined with bright-eyed, newly cohabiting couples, we're bloody well going to stock up. "What do you mean we don't need 100 tealights?! But they're £1.89. And you get 100!" The logic is straight out of Pinter.

How quickly, too, we forget what happens when we get it all home: hard, Allen key-based labour; the realisation that the light fitting comes in two parts, and the other is still in Croydon; the odyssey of contacting customer services.

But let's not be too hard on ourselves. Resistance was surely futile at the hands of a retail genius like Ingvar Kamprad, Ikea's Swedish founder. The man was a retail success story by the age of five, for God's sake – bulk-buying matches and flogging them at a profit to his neighbours. Once he had opened the first Ikea, in 1943 (then aged only 17) our Bank Holiday destinies were surely written in the stars.

Ikea hit our shores in the late 1980s and now around 40 million of us visit each year. And this despite the brand lampooning our attitude to interiors, with advertising slogans including "Chuck out the chintz" and "Stop being so English".

Just as Marmite has entered the vernacular to mean you either love or hate something, so Ikea should be the word for feeling both emotions at once. There's a cartoon by Modern Toss headed: "Weekend". "Let's go to Ikea," says one character. "Fuck Ikea," says the other. Hmm. But where else can you get a six-set of wine glasses for £2.03?

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea