INTERIORS The Ikea effect

The Ikea effect

Its furniture may not last forever, but there are plenty of reasons to celebrate the Swedish furniture giant’s arrival

Interior Design
Niamh Tuohy

It’s all about numbers. It took more than four years to complete, and its planning permission contained 30 stipulations. It comprises 31,500 square metres. That’s nearly 31 standard-sized three-bedroom apartments. Or five-and-a-half football pitches. Or if you want to be completely silly about it, you could fit, side by side, 11,692 double beds inside it. It needs 500 employees to help sell the 9,500 different products it has for sale.
On July 27, after a six- month delay, Ikea Dublin, the 301st Ikea outlet, threw open its doors to an eagerly awaiting crowd, miraculously managing to squeeze in 3,000 customers within the first couple of hours. Phew. That’s some record!
Along with its impressive size, Ikea is cleverly designed, so that if you follow the pointers laid out before you on the ground, you are guided through the shop in such a way that you’ll miss nothing. Of course, much like life in general, you can go off the beaten track, and with a bit of luck you might just find a gem. Chances are though, if you stay on the yellow brick road, you’ll find one or two others gems, as the place is full of them. Do I sound like a fan? Well I am.
And it hasn’t done the Irish furniture sector any harm either. A few weeks ago, The Irish Independent reported new figures that show that the Swedish furniture giant’s arrival has actually helped save the Irish retail sector from further collapse: Furniture sales nationwide soared by 26 percent in August after a year of decline – and analysts put the improvement down to an ‘Ikea effect’ that took hold after the Dublin branch opened.
Basically, Ikea makes design-led furniture affordable to Joe Public. Granted, unless you got married in the mid ’80s, the furniture itself is unlikely to make it to your silver wedding anniversary, but if you like clean minimal lines and don’t mind having to replace items slightly more often than normal, then look no further. From fully fitted kitchens to bed linen, from bathroom wash units to cutlery, Ikea is a one-stop shop for everything you could possibly want for your home. You could quite easily create a modern contemporary look without spending a fortune.
The only down side to it is that, as time passes and Ikea starts to seep into the homes of nearly every first-time buyer (although, is there such a thing these days?) in the country, you’ll start to recognise certain pieces in various friends houses.
As time goes on, you’ll think you’re in your own pad when in fact, you’re at your mates around the corner. It gives the phrase ‘a home away from home’ a whole new meaning…
But if you haven’t already visited it, then put it in your diary, as it really is worth a look. If crowds aren’t your thing, then try to leave your trip till a Monday or a Tuesday, when you’ll find it easier and less stressful to navigate the store. And if you buy only one thing, make it a garlic crusher. They’re the best I’ve used to date.