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My Ikea chest: Perfectly imperfect and great for small spaces

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Nobody is perfect, so why do we expect our furniture to be? 


You know that alluring stage of a relationship when you're no longer afraid to point out the other person's flaws and have maybe even begun to accept them? Well, I’m happily getting there—just with my $24.99 Ikea Lote chest.

Part of an all-in-one-go Ikea haul when I first moved into my New York City apartment, the Lote chest, which doubles as a nightstand, isn’t the cheapest bedside storage thing you can get from the Swedish retailer—there’s the even more economical $14.99 Rast, for instance. But with three drawers and a 21-inch-wide top surface, it’s a lot of function for 25 bucks.

For how basic the chest is, it's also not the easiest to assemble. The package comes with a bajillion tiny parts that need to be “screwed in”—never mind that there isn’t much to prevent the screws from coming right out of the smooth holes in the polypropylene drawers. But when everything’s finally put together, and for as long as it stays intact, the Lote looks good. It has the gentle minimalism of Muji in its lightweight, plastic drawers, but also the dignified posture of a tapered modern tower in its steel framing.

While its drawer joints are flimsy, its top surface is surprisingly sturdy. Plus: If you use this product in the most sensible manner, which is as storage for undergarments and socks, the contents shouldn’t have so much weight so as to critically threaten its structural integrity. That, by the way, is the calculus of budget-friendly small-space living.

Puttering about my little space, I would often catch a glimpse of it and feel an outburst of glee. Part of the satisfaction comes from recognizing that it hasn’t fallen apart yet. Hey, Lote, you had one—no, actually two—jobs, and you're balancing them just fine. I'm proud of you.