Metro-East Living

A user’s guide to IKEA

Think of lingonberries as the cranberries of Sweden.
Think of lingonberries as the cranberries of Sweden.

Never been in an IKEA store? Get ready to shop the aisles of this new monster of a store in St. Louis with some basic info, interesting numbers and even a brief buyer’s guide:

What’s inside

Extras at the entrance: pencils, paper, tape measures, store guides, catalogs, strollers

2 floors of merchandise

46 room displays, from a bachelor’s living room to a child’s fantasy bedroom

3 full-size model homes

Småland: supervised play area, where kids can romp while you shop

Market Hall: Where you pick up the furniture you saw upstairs

Smaklig måltid! (Bon appetit!): Eat breakfast, lunch or dinner at the IKEA Restaurant and Cafe that seats 450. If you’re in a hurry, grab a hot dog (they’re favorites of the Swedes) and frozen yogurt from the Bistro after you check out.

Swedish Market: Don’t forget about goodies to take home, including bags of frozen meatballs and jars of pickled herring, near the checkout area.


The name: Acronym IKEA stands for founder Ingvar Kamprad (now 87) and where he grew up, Elmtaryd (the farm) and Agunnaryd (his hometown) in Sweden.

Blue and yellow building: Colors of the flag of Sweden.

Meatballs (Kottbullar): The Swedes love their meatballs, maybe even more than Italians do. Eat them there or take them home by the bag, frozen.

Wrench: It’s an Allen wrench or hex key, and no longer comes automatically in all furniture kits. But, you can get one out of a bin at the front registers.

Lingonberries: Tart red berries native to Scandinavia and pretty much the national fruit. They are to meatballs and gravy what turkey and cranberries are in the United Stares, but year-round.

Blue mesh Frakta bags: No throwaway bags at IKEA. Pick up an IKEA blue bag or two at checkout if you didn’t bring your own. They’re only 99 cents, huge and they can be used over and over.

Buyers’ guide

Before you go: Check the online version of the catalog at to preview products. Then take measurements, make a shopping list and make room in your car.

It pays to be loyal: IKEA Family is a loyalty program that’s free to join and gives you more money-saving discounts, in-store special events, insider scoops, sneak previews, and even more time for your kids at Smaland play area. Sign up at the store or online.

Red price tag: Tells you where to pick up the item in the self-serve furniture area or in the Market Hall.

Yellow tag: Contact staff; they’ll get the item for you. And write the information on your list, so you have it handy later.

Need help building? Check the IKEA website for how-to videos and download instructions you lost/misplaced/tore up.

All thumbs and a tiny car? IKEA will deliver ($59 and up), and through a private contractor, set up your furniture, etc., starting at $89.

What you can’t do: You cannot order online and pick up at the store. Online orders will be shipped directly to your address and that will incur a shipping cost.

IKEA by the numbers

377: Number of stores in 27 countries (2015)

9,500: Number of products

2008: The year it became the world’s larget furniture retailer

10: The number of (American) football fields you can fit inside the largest IKEA in the world, in Stockholm, Sweden (594,167 square feet)

380,000: Square footage of St. Louis store, or about six football fields.

30: Number of years IKEA has been doing business in the U.S.

10 seconds: How often a $79.99 Billy bookcase is sold

716 million: Numbers of visitors to Ikea stores in 2014

4,082: The number of solar panels on the roof of the St. Louis store, the largest array in Missouri