Hello, I’m Michael Sliwinski, founder of Nozbe - to-do app for business owners and their teams. I write essays, books, work on projects and I podcast for you using #iPadOnly in #NoOffice as I believe that work is not a place you go to, it’s a thing you do. More…

Ikea is good enough - power of instant furniture and relatively few choices


Today we’ve been shopping for furniture with my wife and it took lots of time… I mean really lots of time… I’m tired… and I’m the guy who usually likes going shopping. To furnish our apartment we decided to go to some really nice furniture shops and later we visited Ikea, the only multinational furniture powerhouse…

Ikea is good enough - power of instant furniture and relatively few choices

There is a very big difference between your purchase experience in Ikea and in the “traditional” design furniture stores (which are basically only expositions of a factory offer) - let’s call them furniture boutiques.

1. Zillions of choices vs few choices

The traditional furniture boutiques have catalogues of endless fabrics and materials… you can have a bed in 10 sizes, tens of fabrics and each fabric can have tens of colors. This amounts to thousands of options! I’m not kidding you.

The best part - my wife literally almost killed me when after viewing 20+ samples of colors of a fabric she chose, she said to the salesman: “I wish you had more choice in colors… I can’t find anything interesting in the choice you’re giving me here”…

I mean, really? I’m a guy, I can only understand 16 colors… like Microsoft Windows 95 default settings. You give my wife a batch of 20 different colors and she wants more options.

In Ikea - you have a choice of 2-5 colors or fabrics. That’s it. OK, in the Kitchen department there are like 10 fabrics maybe… but the rest of the store? Only a few. And sometimes a piece of furniture comes in one color and that’s it. You just can’t go wrong.

2. Delivery time 2-3 months vs instantly

This got me really confused. We’re in the recession right now, right? Well then why oh why if there is a customer willing to pay a substantial amount of money for your nice designer piece of furniture, you tell him that he’ll have the furniture by the end of January next year?

I mean really! 2-3 months to manufacture my sofa? What am I going to sit on in the meantime? 2 months for my bed to arrive? Where will I sleep?

Oh yes, I understand… While waiting I should go to Ikea to get a bed or sofa instantly and use it until my designer one arrives. Great deal, really.

Is Ikea “good enough”?

A while ago a friend of mine pointed me to an article in Wired about the “good enough” revolution. This article has a point - in Ikea you don’t buy exquisite designer furniture… you buy really nice, well made and reasonably priced furniture that you can take home usually today and since you can choose between 2-5 colors, you simply can’t go wrong and it’ll fit most of the homes.

I like Ikea, I’d buy more stuff from them in an instant… but my wife is dreaming about different bed… different sofa, and she really needs dozens of colors to choose from. But on the other hand she’s also mad about the waiting… she’s the impatient one in our duo.

So what should we do? What would you do? Is Ikea’s “good enough” furniture really good enough for you?