Ikea always sounds like a good idea. Affordable furniture, enviable showroom setups, amazing selection – what’s not to love? But many relationships have crumbled over which Poang matches the color scheme in the living room. Walking into Ikea with your partner and leaving on speaking terms is about planning ahead. Here are a few tricks to help you and your significant other make it out alive.
Start With a List
Going to Ikea without a list is like showing up to compete in the Olympics without knowing the rules of the game – you don’t even have a chance of making it out of there a winner. Put your heads together before you leave and make sure you know exactly which items you need, where they’re going to go and which colors to purchase. Crafting the perfect list and sticking to it is the single best thing you can do to make it through this day in one piece – impulse buys are the first step toward disaster.
See How You Measure Up
The second step toward disaster is just eyeballing your measurements. If you get to the store without numbers written down and are forced to approximate the size of your floor space in arm lengths, the two of you will disagree about the actual size of your current dresser.
Before leaving the apartment, make time for you and your partner to independently measure the width, length, and height of areas where new furnishings will live. Come together to compare your findings, and measure again if there’s a difference between the figures. This way, you can settle some of your measurement differences before you even get to the store.
Pack a Snack
You know how marathoners bring food to eat during a race? This is your inspiration. The cashier is much further away than you think, and you won’t make it there unscathed if you don’t refuel before the finish line. Grab a few protein-packed favorites so you can chow down in the middle of the aisle.
However, don’t shy away from the café if you want to indulge in Swedish eats. Just avoid stopping by during lunchtime, unless for some reason you want to be consumed by a ridiculously long line of hangry shoppers waiting for meatballs.
Establish a Neutral Zone
Given the relationship-crumbling vortex that is the showroom floor, something as trivial as which lampshade best fits your bedroom aesthetic may suddenly become the hill you choose to die on. You and your partner will probably realize how ridiculous this is the second you get to the car, but before then, all bets are off.
Earlier this year, a comedian went viral for setting up a “relationship saving station” in Ikea for just this reason. You can follow the same principle without funny hats and stress-relief toys – if things start to get heated, set aside what you’re doing and head to the café or an already-explored section of the showroom for a quick breather. Once you’ve stepped back for a bit, you’ll be able to look at things with a fresh perspective and avoid hitting the tipping point.
To avoid a long-term Ikea fight, don’t talk each other into placeholder purchases or ask someone to compromise on an item they truly hate. If you get something that one of you doesn’t like or will only do “for now” because you don’t want to walk out empty handed, it will be harder to motivate yourself to come back in a few months and look for an item you both enjoy. When years pass and the two of you are still looking at an atrocious rug every day, at least one of you will continue to be unhappy with the purchase – and that kind of resentment is never good.
Embrace The Crowd
When you get to the store, you’re probably going to come to a realization that you two were the only couple who came in prepared. Getting stuck behind slow walkers and looky-loos might be enough to send anyone else over the edge.
But not you two! As the team who did come into this ready to go, you and your significant other can see the humor of the situation. Move over, airport – Ikea is now the number one place for people watching. Sit back, relax, and enjoy watching other people fight it out while you and your significant other look forward to a good night’s rest on the new Hemnes.
Just make sure you buy the right slats to avoid sounding like the couple over in returns.