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10 Ikea essentials and their best alternatives

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Ideas, ideas, ideas!

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Over the years, Swedish retailer Ikea has become a go-to for folks trying to furnish their first—or fifth!—apartment in one clean-lined, budget-friendly swoop. A Billy bookcase here (the company claims one of them is sold every five seconds), a Poäng chair there (the 40-year-old design has continued to get cheaper), and you’re well on your way to a presentable space that’s functional and maybe even cozy.

But there comes a time—whether because you want to feel bit more special or have some more money to spend or the safety of your family nearly demands it—when you find yourself seeking something different, for a world beyond Ikea. This is a starter kit for those moments.

Below, we’ve outlined 10 Ikea staples by room and offer three alternatives for each item.

(Note: in all images, the Ikea product is on the top left, followed with three alternatives listed by clockwise order.)

Living room

1. Kallax shelf unit, $34.99 and up

  • 8-Cube Organizer by Better Homes and Gardens, $68.00 and up, Walmart
  • Storage organizer, $106.99, AllModern
  • Micah Cube Unit Bookcase by Corrigan Studio, $264.99, Wayfair

2. Poäng chair, $79.00

  • SoBuy Rocking Chair, $79.95, Amazon
  • Fabric Wooden Rocking Chair, $181.99, Overstock
  • Terreno Leather Chair, $799, CB2

3. Karlstad sofa, $399.00

  • Savino Convertible Sofa, $194.99, AllModern
  • Modway Engage Loveseat, $802.77, Hayneedle
  • Ronan Grey Sofa, $999.00, CB2

4. Lack side table, $9.99

  • Boston End Table, $42.99, Wayfair
  • Modern by Dwell Magazine Side Table, $89.99, Target
  • Safavieh Romain End Table, $121.99, Bluefly


5. Malm bed (Queen), $179.00

  • Apollo Platform Bed, $475.99, AllModern
  • Alchemy Black Queen Bed, $499.00, CB2
  • Paneled Wooden Bed, $759.00, L.L. Bean

6. Rast chest, $34.99

  • 3-Drawer Chest Natural Maple, $57.76, Kmart
  • Naples 4-Drawer Chest, $194.99, Hayneedle
  • Babyletto Lolly 3-Drawer Dresser (with removable changing tray), $359.00, 2Modern


7. Docksta table, $179.00

  • Baton Dining Table, $157.99, Wayfair
  • Florentine Dining Table, $165.99, Joss & Main
  • Compass Dining Table, $399.00, CB2

8. Förhöja kitchen cart, $109.00

  • EcoStorage Kitchen Cart, $84.99, Costco
  • Finland Kitchen Cart, $108.89, Target
  • Crosley Roots Rolling Rack Industrial Kitchen Cart, $347.64, Bed Bath & Beyond


9. Billy bookcase, $49.99 and up

  • Ameriwood 5-Shelf Bookcase, $32.00, Walmart
  • Way Basics 3-Shelf Narrow Bookcase, $54.99, Target
  • South Shore Furniture Axess Pure Black 4-Shelf Bookcase, $73.95, Lowe’s

10. Stockholm rug, $199.00

  • Azha Broken Lattice White/Light Gray Area Rug, $102.27, Wayfair
  • Dovecote Rug, $450.00, Blockshop
  • Olivia Flat-Weave Rug, $619.00, Aelfie