I must share with you my love for Ikea. Ikea is a megastore (okay megastore doesn't truly describe it. It's a MECCAstore) where you can find reasonably priced furniture and home accessories. The only downside is you have to put the furniture together yourself, thus the inexpensive prices. If you don't have one in your neck of the woods, I'm so sorry. We have one here in Houston, and they are in most major metropolitan cities, so if you are ever near one, GO! You won't be sorry.
Ikea has evolved (in a good way) over the years. When I first moved to Houston I didn't shop there much because the design leaned more toward contemporary and for awhile it seemed like the only finish they carried was a light natural color (typical of Swedish design). Today's Ikea carries a broad offering of furniture styles and includes darker finishes like cherry and dark walnut. Yes, you still have to put the furniture together, but I've never bought anything that wasn't relatively easy to assemble.
The store layout is also something I love. The top floor is a showroom with room vignettes showing how you can achieve a whole house decorating scheme. I always get lots of great ideas walking through the displays. They provide an order form so you can mark down item #s you want to purchase. From there, you go downstairs to the warehouse and pull your items out of large bins (there's always a big, beefy guy to help for heavy items!) They also have a "Market" section with items such as linens, kitchen accessories & even live plants. The "cafeteria" upstairs serves swedish meatballs among other fare and the breakfast is $2.99 everyday and includes pancakes and sausage. Can't beat that!
Here are some items that I love from Ikea that are a GREAT value & GREAT quality:
Markor Bookcase $169 - This is such a step-up from most "ready to assemble" bookcases. First of all, it's solid spruce (no particle board). Second, it has such great details, like the moulding trim, the chunky feet, adjustable shelves and outlet holes for electronics. I love the black/brown finish.
Lack Wall Shelves $9.99 (11 3/4") to $19.99 (43 3/4") - This is probably my most favorite item at Ikea. I've used these in my own homes as well as in decorating jobs. They are made of a chunky piece of MDF, but have a beautiful smooth finish and come in several colors. My favorites are black/brown and white. They install easily, using a mounting bar with dowels. Simply mount the bar to the wall, being sure to drill into a stud if possible and use a level to make sure it is straight. Then, slide the shelf onto the dowels (shelf has predrilled holes in the back) These shelves look nice in any decor style and you can create an awesome photo wall by using different sizes together.
Kassett Storage Box 2 pack with lids $3.99 - These are marketed as CD/DVD storage, but I use these for everything from photos & receipts to computer software! I love them because they are made of very thick cardstock and are more durable than those flimsy photo boxes. They have several colors and sizes to choose from.
Knappa Pendant Lamp $29.99 - You've seen this style of lighting in decorating magazines for astronomical prices right? Ikea's version is made of polypropylene and takes standard size bulbs.
Lack Side Table $7.99 (yeah, that's NOT a typo!) - Also from the Lack series, these are just great little MDF tables that can be used anywhere. at almost 22" square, they are a great size. I've used them in my boys bedrooms as nightstands. You can also use 2 placed beside each other for a coffee table in the living room. They come in many different finishes and are super easy to assemble. Just screw in the 4 legs and you're done.
Leksvik Coffee Table $119 - Shown as a coffee table, but I would use it as a bench in an entryway. Wouldn't it look great with a little cushion on top? And those cubbies are perfect for the kids shoes that end up by the door. It is also a solid stained pine (no particle board). It reminds me a little of this piece from Pottery Barn...
The PB piece is $299 - $399 and I think the Ikea piece has more functionality!
Dragor Rug $29.99 - At 4'7" x 6'7" this rug is such a great value! I have one that I use as a patio rug and it's held up beautifully. It's made out of 100% polypropylene so you just hose it off to clean it. The texture reminds me of grasscloth or natural fibers that can often be a mess to clean and maintain.
Cushion covers $6 - $10 - This is probably my second favorite thing at Ikea. They make throw pillow covers that zip and come in a variety of styles. Some of my favorites are the velvet details as seen on the cushion above, nice textured cotton duck, and handcrafted details like embroidery. They also sell the pillow forms that go inside, but I never buy them because they are, shall I say, "wimpy"? I like nice, full pillows. I save all my old throw pillows or I look for nice ones at Goodwill or garage sales (sometimes you can find down-filled for cheap!) I buy these pillow covers and just stuff my old pillow inside. It's so much cheaper than buying throw pillows. I was at Target yesterday and they have throw pillows as high as $49.99. Insane!
Kajsa PAIR of curtains $29.99 - I could go on and on about window treatments at Ikea, because they just do the BEST job of providing nice, expensive looking styles at cheap prices. They carry everything from curtains, to hardware, to roman shades. I had a hard time choosing what to share, because there are SO MANY great things in the window area. I love the curtains above because they are light-blocking, (have you priced those? They are expensive!), they have cool grommets on the top, the pattern is fun, but still neutral enough for many decor styles and most of all....because you can get a pair for under $30! Ikeas curtains come in a super long length, but they include fusable web, so that you can cut to your desired length and "hem".
Mongstad Mirror $99.99 - I have this mirror in my entry way and it is the #1 item in my home that people comment on. It is huge... 37" wide x 74 3/4" tall, has a chunky dark wood frame and looks great leaned against a wall or hung (mine leans). Such a statement piece and such an awesome price!
They also have cute "non-traditional" Christmas ornaments and wrap!
I'll be sharing things I find at Ikea from time to time. I just checked and most of the items I shared today can be ordered off their website as well.