The Price Factor: What’s So Democratic about IKEA’s Price Tag?


Have you seen the video on IKEA’s Democratic Design? Here, this one: .

I’ve pretty much grown up with IKEA products and food (chicken wings!). From holding my mother’s hand to shop at the store along Alexander Road to having a meal with my children at the store in Tampines, IKEA shared many precious moments along the way. One of my fondest memories of IKEA apart from the lovely interior designs, spanky furniture and yummy food, is the little price tags on every item. Let me tell you a little story about my obsession with price tags…

I didn’t grew up wealthy but my mum was brilliant with working with the limited resources we had. Often, she would put together hand-down furniture and fittings from relatives and try to make the pieces work together. Inevitably, some pieces stood out oddly from the rest but they were functional and very often of good quality. Growing up, I often admired the lovely designs in magazines and imagined the dream room I would like to have but I quickly figured that those I fancied were often out of our reach and it would be unkind to request for them as that would add to my parents’ burden.  We seldom discharge furniture unless they were unusable, hence we did not  purchase new ones often. But when we do, the price tags were often my first consideration before looking into the design and functionality of pieces.

When I started to earn my own buck as a young executive, one of the few items on my list to fulfill as an independent adult was to have a “grown-up” bedroom. Working with little resources, I shopped at IKEA with my then boyfriend (now hubby) and enlisted help with selection and assembly of furniture. My first few purchases included an IKEA bed frame and a shelf from the As-Is section which my then boyfriend took great effort to help get it into my bedroom as I was too stingy to order a delivery. It was too big for the lift but we didn’t want to disassemble it as it was already fixed (it was from the As-Is section), so my hubby and his buddy carried it and climbed up the stairs from level 1 to level 6.

This bed frame was assembled by my hubby and his buddy. It is now my brother’s bed in my parents’ flat.
My trusty shelf from IKEA’s “AS-IS” section is still trusty and good, holding up the many many books in my brother’s bedroom.

Fast forward to today. Those items have faced out and in their place are new designs which I have in my current home.

We recently revamped the girls’ room to make it more functional for my schooling kids. When we decided to get the girls each a single bed, I recalled my old pine wood bedframe and wanted to get the same for them. However, the old design was no longer available hence we got the FJELLSE Bed frame, which is also made of pine but prettier. Have I told you about the price? The price tag was a screaming good deal of $39.
Remember my old black shelf? It is also discontinued. There is however a very similar design in IKEA today and I got a white one for my living room. The KALLAX Shelving unit comes with a value-for-money price tag of $179.

This is the corner where my kids play. Our DUKTIG Play Kitchen has been with us for a while and all 4 kids enjoy it. We had 2 other kitchen set toys prior to DUKTIG but they couldn’t withstand the rough play and careless little hands. I must say DUKTIG play kitchen is really hardy, 4 kids, hours of slamming and pulling and it is still as steady as new.

Raising 4 kids on shoestrings is no child-play. My hubby and I have a new appreciation for the prices at IKEA. We have many IKEA items in our house mainly due to the functionality and versatility of IKEA furniture which is great for our growing family. The price is a huge pull factor and we appreciate that IKEA have solutions for our budget. Like many young families, we have bills to pay and kids to raise, affordable yet quality furniture and fittings means better standard of living within our reach. Style need not be costly and with a little more thought put into organising and layout, one could create a comfortable space without breaking the bank (much). Let me show you some of the IKEA pieces we have in our home.

Our KALLAX Shelving unit is a storage and display shelf in one. We free out some of the lower shelves for toys so that the children could easily access them. The doll house doesn’t need to leave the shelf at all as the kids could contain their play within the shelf unit.
Right at the top of our KALLAX shelf is my little collection of snow globes in a SOCKER Greenhouse. They used to be on display until my kid broke one of them (one which I brought back from a work trip to Stockholm). To keep the kids and my snow globe safe, I put them in the greenhouse and have it shelved away from the kids’ reach. This made cleaning a whole lot easier too, as the snow globe don’t get dusty as easily and it doesn’t take much effort to clean the greenhouse.
Our white BILLY Bookcase has been with us for close to 5 years. I have moved it from the bedroom to the living room and back to the bedroom, and it still stands upright today, holding up the books and stuff in the children’s room. The price today? $89.

Not forgetting our favourite STUVA Storages, which has grown taller over time – we added the bottom units recently. It was an attempt to keep the kids’ room tidy with more storage space. However… we are not very successful at that yet.

And here’s a video that speaks of our situation at the moment :)

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