The Dos & Don'ts Of Shopping At Ikea

Our love for Ikea is well documented. The brand is synonymous with stylish and affordable design, and for good reason. What better pace to tackle furnishing an entire starter apartment? But as even the Ikea loyalist must admit, for every new classic there's something a bit sadder lurking in the shadows of those mock home vignettes.

But, how do you tell the difference? We compiled a by-no-means definitive list of the dos and don'ts of shopping at Sweden's greatest export. From its most (deservedly) popular pieces to the lesser-known offerings, this is what you need to keep in mind when shopping at Ikea.
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Photo courtesy of Ikea.
DO: Invest in the classic Poäng chair. It's a clean and contemporary design that looks far more expensive than it actually is.

Ikea Poäng Chair, $109, available at Ikea.
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Photo courtesy of Ikea.
DON'T: Get whatever this is. It looks like it was made exclusively for playing video games in, in the worst way possible.

Ikea Skogaby Chair, $399, available at Ikea.
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Photo courtesy of Ikea.
DO: Pick a pendant lamp from one of the big box retailer's most successful designer collaborations.

Ikea Sinnerlig Pendant Lamp, $59.99, available at Ikea.
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Photo courtesy of Ikea.
DON'T: Choose a light fixture that looks like it belongs in a frighteningly elaborate dollhouse.

Ikea Kristaller Chandelier, $39.99, available at Ikea.
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Photo courtesy of Ikea.
DO: Choose from one of the brand's minimalistic flat-woven rugs.

Ikea Saltbäk Rug, $149, available at Ikea.
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Photo courtesy of Ikea.
DON'T: Spring for something that's supposed to look vintage — just go for the real deal!

Ikea Valby Ruta Rug, $49.99, available at Ikea.
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Photo courtesy of Ikea.
DO: Pick a stylish, streamlined coffee table in black or white that will blend in with more high-end pieces down the line.

Ikea Svärtan Tray Table, $59.99, available at Ikea.
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Photo courtesy of Ikea.
DON'T: Choose an indistinctive style that will definitely end up in a landfill in T minus five seconds. (But if you must, here's how to give it some personality.)

Ikea Lack Coffee Table, $24.99, available at Ikea.
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Photo courtesy of Ikea.
DO: Go for sweet and simple storage options that look straight out of a Pinterest dream home.

Ikea Flådis Basket, $12.99, available at Ikea.
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Photo courtesy of Ikea.
DON'T: Settle for sad-looking baskets that seem best suited for storing a vintage porn collection.

Ikea Motorp Box, $9.99, available at Ikea.
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Photo courtesy of Ikea.
DO: Invest in a perennial favorite that's perfect for small spaces.

Ikea PS Cabinet, $99, available at Ikea.
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Photo courtesy of Ikea.
DON'T: Get this weird-looking thing that's better in theory than it is in practice.

Ikea PS 2014 Corner Cabinet, $99, available at Ikea.
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Photo courtesy of Ikea.
DO: Spring for a sleek, versatile table made of eco-friendly bamboo.

Ikea Övraryd Table, $139, available at Ikea.
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Photo courtesy of Ikea.
DON'T: Waste your time trying to make this fugly table look cute. It's not going to happen.

Ikea Ingatorp Extendable Table, $349, available at Ikea.
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Photo courtesy of Ikea.
DO: Grab a few of these kind-of iconic, simple, stackable stools. You won't regret it.

Ikea Frosta Stool, $14.99, available at Ikea.
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Photo courtesy of Ikea.
DON'T: Wind up with this stumpy little thing just because you're desperate for some extra seating.

Ikea Nils Stool, $49, available at Ikea.
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Photo courtesy of Ikea.
DO: Take a chance on this modern spin on the armchair.

Ikea PS 2012 Armchair, $85, available at Ikea.
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Photo courtesy of Ikea.
DON'T: Try to upgrade your current seating situation with these regrettable chair pads.

Ikea Annvy Chair Pad, $3.99 each, available at Ikea.
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Photo courtesy of Ikea.
DO: Save yourself a ton of cash by getting an Ikea mattress. They're really not that bad!

Ikea Hasvåg Mattress, $129, available at Ikea.
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Photo courtesy of Ikea.
DON'T: Cheap out on Ikea sheets, though. There are a ton of affordable options that feel more luxurious.

Ikea Dvala Sheet Set, $24.99, available at Ikea.
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