Though Swedish furniture and home decor retailer IKEA is often associated with affordable, self-assembled pieces that don’t last very long, that’s not true across the (particle) board. While you don’t purchase IKEA products to serve as heirlooms to be passed down through the generations, it’s entirely feasible to get a few decades out many pieces of their furniture—especially when you take proper care of them.
But how do you distinguish between a lower-quality light fixture, and shelves with a long shelf-life? Interior designer Jackie Terrell—who is the proud owner of several pieces of IKEA furniture she purchased 20+ years ago—recently shared her strategies for finding items that last with Domino. Here are three of her best tips.
Buy items in pairs
While IKEA designs furniture and other pieces to fit in smaller European apartments and homes, that doesn’t mean they won’t work in your modern farmhouse or midcentury ranch. The key here, Terrell says, is buying things in pairs, because “visually, it gives it more heft.” This goes for consoles, chairs, end tables, lamps, and whatever else you can fit. (Plus, if it’s an item you really, really love, you’ll always have a backup.)
The Stockholm collection and PS Series are a safe bet
Not only does the Stockholm collection have a timeless look, its products are built to last. “It’s just higher-end construction,” Terrell told Domino, noting that she owns a cabinet from the line with solid walnut shelves and push-to-open drawers.
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She also suggests keeping an eye out for items from IKEA’s “PS Series”—a line launched in 1992 and repeated about every three years as a complement to the retailer’s usual range of products. Pieces from the PS Series are typically made by well-known designers, higher quality, and produced in limited quantities (which can also improve their resale value down the line).
Mix it up
As tempting as it may be to walk into an IKEA, spot a showroom display you love, and then recreate it at home, Terrell advises against this. Instead, she suggests mixing your IKEA pieces with other types of furniture. “That’s when I feel the IKEA things aren’t recognizable,” she told Domino.
Plus, we know that not all of the retailer’s products are created equal. So one of their display rooms likely has a combination of furniture that’s built to last, alongside items that probably won’t be around as long. Buying the entire room display usually means overlooking the varying quality of the items.