Because IKEA products are so inexpensive, they're often billed as more temporary solutions — a couch for your dorm room, a bookcase for your first apartment. Essentially, people view it as starter stuff that you buy before you can afford the "real" stuff from a higher-end home store.
But in my experience, a lot of my IKEA starter stuff had stood the test of time and, in fact, become the real stuff that I'm still totally happy to use. Don't believe me? Here are some favorites.
1. A glass-door cabinet
One of the biggest pieces of IKEA furniture that I've had forever is a big glass-door cabinet. It's no longer available, but it's got a frame like the HEMNES with the dimensions of the REGISSÖR, and we got it in red. My then-boyfriend and I bought it in 2007 when we first moved in together in Manhattan, because we had an awkward space in a hallway across from the bathroom where it fit perfectly. It started out as a makeshift linen closet, but once we got engaged and then married, it filled up with our nice glassware and serving pieces to act more like a china cabinet.
When we moved out of that place into our Brooklyn apartment, right before our first child was born, it made its way into the dining room and truly served as a china cabinet filled with serving pieces, table linens, candles, and just about everything else. Last summer we moved to North Carolina and it came with us — now it's in the guest room, where it holds extra bedding and craft supplies. Had you told me 11 years ago that I would still have that red cabinet, I would have been shocked!
2. Upholstered dining chairs
Another great IKEA purchase: The NILS dining chairs. We have two of them, and we originally used them as end chairs for the dining table. They're comfy and the covers are removable, and about every other year I order a new cover for them from Bemz to change them up a bit. Now they're in our living room and get pulled into the dining area when we're entertaining. Still a great purchase!
3. Simple dinnerware
You may have read my post about my one wedding-registry regret? If you didn't, let me catch you up: I registered for formal dinnerware, regretted it, and ultimately ended up with IKEA's FLITIGHET instead. I've had it all for eight years now, and maybe one plate has a chip on it. It's so simple that it's the perfect starting point anytime we're entertaining — we just change up the table runner and cloth napkins and the place settings feel totally special. Win!
4. Glass water bottles
Around the same time that I got the dinnerware, I got two KORKEN water bottles. I keep them in my fridge, filled with tap water, at all times. When we sit down to dinner, we grab one and put it on the table, and we have chilled water on hand. It's also a nice touch when we're entertaining.
5. Kids's play kitchen items
Now that I have my two little sous-chefs, we've introduced IKEA to them, too. The first kids' items I bought were the DUKTIG vegetables and fruits. I think I jumped the gun on it, because I got them for my oldest when she was six months old and she showed little interest. But now, five years later, she and her younger sister still have this pretend food in the rotation, and we've used them for many tea parties (most often served on their LÄTT table and chair set, which they've had many pretend — and real! — meals on). We've had that LÄTT table and chair set for at least four years, but in kids' table years it's more like 48, the way they stand on it, drag it around, draw on it, and generally abuse it.
Those are just the things I can remember, but half the time when I walk into a room or reach into a cabinet, I realize that's IKEA in there, too — the giant shark in my daughter's room, or the lowball glasses we use to make cocktails. I guess you never outgrow good value!
What about you? What are some IKEA items you have in your kitchen or dining room that you've had for years and years?