We went to IKEA and hauled home an entire king-size bedroom set in my Hyundai Sonata

After my first trip to IKEA, I’m a believer.

I’ve heard people rave about IKEA, but never had the pleasure of experiencing it for myself until this past Friday.  In need of a bedroom set, my wife and I made the 2.5-hour trip from Indy to West Chester, OH for a full day’s worth of home furnishing foraging.  Mal is an IKEA veteran, so we had a solid game plan going in.

First Impressions:

I’m pretty sure the bright blue building could be seen from outer space.  I was absolutely blown away at the size of this place.  We arrived just after they opened, but the parking lot was already packed.  People were literally running toward the door.  I’ve never seen folks so excited about furniture.

We walked through the door to a grand entrance.  High ceilings, escalators, and a daycare. Wait…a daycare?  Yes, a daycare.  IKEA wants you to shop for furniture so long that you need someone to watch your children.  Amazing.  I didn’t venture into the daycare area, but it looked pretty awesome.  I’m guessing the service is complimentary, but do they feed your kids too? Either way, that was a first for me.

Up the escalator we went.  A man handed us a card and a tiny pencil.  Are we playing mini golf?  Ohhh…you’re supposed to write down what you want as you walk through the store. Mal asked me to grab one of the giant yellow bags from a nearby bin.  “Why do we need a bag? Aren’t we buying furniture?”  I still don’t know what that bag was for.

Browsing Experience:

I thought the place looked huge from the outside, but I was blown away by how massive this place was from the inside.  It was overwhelming.  I’m glad I was with someone with IKEA experience, because I probably would have had to walk out had I been by myself.

It was organized, but at the same time, it wasn’t.  Everything is set up into little apartments, but with 10 people swarming in and out of each one, it was hard to get a good look at anything.

Fellow Shoppers:

The skinny jeans per capita ratio was pretty high.  It was like these people were playing dress-up, trying to look as European as humanly possible.  Thick-rimmed glasses, stupid hats, and I’m guessing very few showers taken.  But there is an odd sense of unity there.  It’s like when you’re at a concert and everyone there is for the same reason:  music.  We all wanted furniture, and we wanted it now.

The Loot:

Mal knew exactly what she wanted before we even got there, and it didn’t take us long to find it. We walked around for quite a while looking at other stuff, then headed downstairs to check out.  It’s a pretty interesting setup:  you walk into this massive warehouse and find what you had picked out in the display area.  Everything is packaged separately in boxes, so we grabbed a cart and went to town.

We went to IKEA with the thought that we’d pick out what we wanted and just have it delivered. However, as we started to pile on the boxes, I was having other ideas.  After I got a look at the entire haul, I decided that we’d give it a shot:  we were going to try and fit an entire king-size bedroom set in our 4-door Hyundai Sonata.

Loading Up:

As we were checking out, I asked the cashier if anyone had ever fit this much furniture in a small-to-mid-sized sedan.  She laughed, and said probably not.  That made me a little nervous, but worst-case, we’d give it a try and then just have it shipped if it didn’t fit.

We wheeled our stuff to our car to size up the situation.  It wasn’t looking good.

We had a lot of stuff, and very little room to work with:

  1. King-size headboard and footboard
  2. Two nightstands
  3. 8-drawer long dresser
  4. Highboy dresser
  5. 3-drawer chest
  6. Huge mirror

We took a strategic approach.  Each box was carefully placed.  We forced doors shut. Crammed.  Jammed.  I had to move my seat so far forward, I was eating steering wheel.  But dang it, we made it.

The Assembly:

I cannot describe to you the level of genius it must have taken to package the items in these boxes.  There was not an inch of wasted space in any box.  With that said, there quite a bit of assembly required.  But it was actually pretty enjoyable.  The level of precision that this furniture is made with is staggering.  Every pre-drilled screw hole lined up every single time. The drawers glide like butter.  Everything fit together like a glove.

The quality of this stuff is surprisingly good given the price.  It looks great, and was dirt cheap. I’d say IKEA’s products offer the best bang for your buck out there.  I would take a picture of the finished product, but our room is still a disaster area.


My first IKEA trip was a complete success.  However, I didn’t even get the “full” experience. We were in a bit of a rush, so we didn’t get a chance to enjoy the Swedish meat balls, cinnamon rolls, hot dogs, nor frozen yogurt that were all so hyped up.  These are going to be top priorities next time.  If you’ve never been to IKEA before, what are you waiting for?


    • Lori
    • January 1st, 2012

    Enjoyed you dissertation! Thanks for the smiles it brought to me!

    • EFB
    • January 1st, 2012

    I’d use the bag for my head if I was there for too long.

    • Ryan
    • January 1st, 2012

    The “Fellow Shoppers” section definitely describes the trends in and around West Chester. I’m glad I’m not the only one it bothers.

    • Big Jon
    • January 1st, 2012

    Lingonberry Juice and a Cinnamon Roll are a must.

    • Raquel Dimattia
    • October 11th, 2012

    Bedroom sets that aremade from antique wood are expensive but i really like them because of how they look. “”.:,

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