No matter how many apartments or houses we move into, we just can’t seem to quit Ikea. Sure, it’d be great to splurge on that pricey designer couch or draw on an unlimited budget for a bedroom refresh, but for most of us, it’s not in the cards.
While Ikea’s prices are always enticing, finding true gems in its 12,000-product catalog and massive stores can be an arduous task. That’s why we’ve done the dirty work for you, surveying our savvy staffers for their favorite Ikea treasures.
The result is a wide array of Swedish-named items that range from high design (hello, airy rocking chair) to uber practical (we’ll take three packages of unscented candles, please). Behold, the tried-and-tested Curbed guide to the very best Ikea furniture and home decor.
Ask any Ikea veteran and you’ll get an earful on the merits of Ikea’s shelving and storage systems. Curbed editors use the products below to organize books, art supplies, office supplies, and more.
This mini chest—it measures 16 inches wide by 12 inches high—is super helpful for office or kid art supplies, and we love that the untreated wood allows you to paint and decorate it as you like.
Part coffee table, part storage basket, this Ikea mainstay is beloved by news editor Megan Barber for serving snacks, storing throws, and looking just plain cute.
Ikea’s rampant use of particle board can make some of its furniture a gamble, but Curbed editors can vouch for the products below. From a simple stacking stool to a high-design rocking chair, here are the pieces worth snagging.
Made from solid beech wood in a natural finish, this crib’s durability and two-level crib heights won over our editors. One side can be removed once the baby is a toddler.
Inspired by traditional wrought-iron furniture, this chair works inside or out. Engagement editor Jessica Gatdula uses the affordable chair around her kitchen table—it works great for small spaces because it stacks.
With a curved headboard and brass-colored details that soften the steel, this bed is a favorite of Curbed Chicago editor Sara Freund. She loves the frame because it’s “the perfect substitute for other metal bed frames from CB2 and Anthropologie that were just waaaay too expensive.”
Made from hand-woven rattan and ash, this rocking chair manages to be both cozy and airy.
This six-drawer dresser comes in an array of finishes (like black, brown, gray, and oak) and is loved by social media manager Stephanie Griffin, because it’s “super durable, spacious, and affordable.” Be sure to anchor these properly to the wall to avoid tip-overs, especially when using around children.
Ikea discontinued its brilliant and ever-hackable Frosta stool, but in its place it debuted the Kyrre stool. Although slightly different, the new birch stool features bent wood legs and a triangular-shaped seat that is just as stackable as the original.
Everything you need to know about Ikea
While it’s easy to think of Ikea when you need a new bookshelf or stool, don’t sleep on its tabletop collections. The plates and glasses below come in whimsical, fun colors and patterns—all without breaking the bank.
This affordable and simple glassware looks great and, according to deputy managing editor Nina Pearlman, is “less knock-over-able” for kids than other types of glasses.
Round enough to be used for red wine but also great for water or juice, these sleek gray glasses are durable and dishwasher safe.
Copy editor Emma Alpern recently purchased these affordable glasses and loves their bold design. Add them to your table for a dash of color.
Organization, cleaning, and bath
Many of our favorite Ikea items can be used in various rooms. Kitchen carts can work wonders in a laundry room or office, while the right faucet or dish towel makes household chores feel seamless. And then there’s the iconic Ikea blue bag—if you don’t have one yet, it’s not too late to hop on the bandwagon.
Affordable and well-reviewed, these yarn-dyed cotton towels make for easy clean up in the kitchen.
This chrome-plated brass faucet is durable and easy to clean, and features a cold-start function that prevents hot-water waste. Curbed Austin editor Cynthia Widner wonders, “Is it weird to love a faucet?”
Now to the fun stuff: decor. We’ve picked out whimsical pillow cases and versatile tray tables, but don’t forget the practical, like Marjun blackout curtains for the ultimate sleeping cave.
This versatile table comes in a pleasing dark green color and has a removable tray for serving. Curbed LA editor Jenna Chandler also uses it as a plant stand.
With soft blue tones and a water color-like quality, these affordable pillow covers add a bit of pizazz and, according to Curbed’s architecture critic Alexandra Lange, “the indigo dye seems very on trend.”
With three levels and a neutral palette of bamboo and white, this stand works great for plants or even as a side table.
This low-pile rug is made from 100 percent wool and features a chic, soothing color palette that works with lots of different decor styles.
These inexpensive curtains come in one length and three color-blocked styles, blocking out street lights and sunlight from the room.
Lighting and candles
You can spend a fortune on good lighting, but at Ikea you don’t have to. And there’s nowhere else we’d buy unscented candles—just look at the prices.
Made of woven bamboo, this lampshade from British designer Ilse Crawford adds a sophisticated textured look above any table.
Curbed SF editor Brock Keeling loves “these cheap candles that are not of the tea light variety” thanks to their subtle glow and unscented smell.
Available in yellow or white, this wall light features a subtle, cute animal look—and the dim function works well for cozy nights reading books.
These affordable unscented candles are the choice of many Curbed editors because they burn clear and steady. Bonus: They’re perfect for entertaining because the candles are no-drip too.