Life is a jigsaw puzzle. Every segment of the puzzle is formed by different elements of life. I cherish all my felicity elements, what about you?

Friday, June 16, 2006

'Ikea is cheap! '

This certainly is one of the most significant 'culture shock' I have developed ever since I live in this continent. Yeah, you heard me right, Ikea is considered as 'cheap' here. Yes the currency rates does play a major role in this issue, but the lifestyle over here is another major determining factor that indeed "Ikea is cheap". Relatively, at least.

I remember when Ikea first opened in Malaysia in 1-Utama, it was simply phenomenal. The Ikea culture quickly become 'the most desired' lifestyle of the younger generation, and many of us desperately pursue a life that is synonymous to the styles/designs that are portrayed by Ikea. Perhaps we are tired of those 3D furniture style as easily available in Old Klang Road (of Kuala Lumpur), or maybe it is because the merchandizes that Ikea carried is more of a Western design and that brings in a refreshing scene to the home furniture world. Whatever it is, Ikea surely has captured everyone's attention.

However, nice things often come with a 'nice' price tag. Hey, aesthetic costs. While the nice Ikea reclining chair, the nice decor items, the frames, the arts, the sofas, the beds, the toys, the rugs, the cabinet, the so on and so forth are definitely some of the 'must-have' in most of the Klang Valley households back home, it is no doubt that most of the Ikea furnitures are priced on a higher price range than those that you can get from an ordinary furniture store in Malaysia.

My fiance has a cousin who resides in NYC. When I first visited his upscale apartment at the end of 2004 I was totally blown away by the interior design. Hey I have never been to any apartment that is of that standard. During one of the meal I asked him where does he normally go for his furniture shopping, and before he could answer me I promptly continued 'like Ikea, maybe?' He threw me a shock look, and uttered these 3 words that stumbled me 'Ikea is cheap!' I rationalized that it must be the exchange rate that lead to this statement. And of course, New Yorkers earning is normally higher than the general population due to the high living standard and cost of living. But to tell me Ikea is cheap? 'No way ...!' I thought.

The aforementioned happened before I reside in USA. Honestly this statement makes more sense after spending sometime living here. I realize that the demand of general American population when it comes to home furniture is very different from back home. Take mattress for example, here you will NEVER see something like thin tilam (hey I can't even find a translation for thin tilam in English) but only thick mattresses that highlights all sorts of neat features. Sleep number, firm vs softness, special coil/spring, special contour design, heat tempered, memory foam, just to name a few. At home in M'sia mine mattress was bought from pasar malam (Malay: night market), yet here you're 'forced' to get a proper mattress for aat least a few hundred bucks because you can't get anything that is of a lesser standard. Recently I have been shopping around for a sofa/loveseat/futon, and guess what, I don't see any sofa that is priced below $500, but Ikea has so much to offer when it comes to more affordable deals. This goes the same for bed frame, coffee table, etc etc etc. Now I agree that Ikea really is cheap, cheap in a more affordable way ... Quality wise, hmmm, maybe, because I think most of the furnitures here are made in this country. Guess that would lead to the high price due to the high labour fees.

When I think about this retrospectively, I hope my fiance's cousin wasn't offended by me. Hey I seriously did not have any idea about the furniture scene in USA. To make matter worse, he doesn't only go to fancy store for his furniture, he goes to SoHo (an eclectic neighbourhood in NYC that is a heaven to many artists) to buy his stuffs. How can that be synonymous to Ikea?


I took a year and a half to learn my lesson.
Hey, the next time if you ever hear this, don't say you're not warned!


Blogger Fashionasia said...

hehe ya!
My hubby's uncle came over from Canada. And i was like kinda proud to show off the huge IKEA in BU and told them Malaysians like to buy stuffs frm Ikea n all that...untill he told Canada, IKEA is like .."low class". Needless to say I was...quite embarrassed. hehehee

8:25 AM

Anonymous mama bok said...

But .. but i loveeeee.. Ikeeaaaaaaaaaa...!!

10:06 AM

Blogger mom2ashley said...

well ....if ikea is cheap..then we are cheap! i've got lots of stuff in my house that's from ikea...cause of many reasons :
1. ikea is a stone's throw away from my house therefore it is convenient for us to shop there
2. their showrooms make everything look so nice..they make things which you didn't even consider buying so tempting
3. their style's simple. we like simple designs..

they're not the greatest...but heck..they make you wanna go back for more!:)

10:20 AM

Anonymous maria @ twinsmom said...

Hehehe... sorry Ikea folks, I actually tittering away when I read this -- because I am not a Ikea's fan-cy (I just talk about this with Egghead on Friday). in fact I dislike Ikea, because I bought some items from Ikea, and it was expensive and the quality was bad, imagine the sofa bed sinking after 6 months of usage, and the coffee table's surface came off after three months use ect etc etc.
So I rather buy furnitures from others shop and mix and match it myself, after all I no need someone to show me how to decorate my house, my house is not another Ikea showroom :P.

Whoo...*run away* before other Ikea fan-cies throw rotten egg to me*

1:00 PM

Anonymous spots said...

ikea may be cheap, but i love it anyway! the ikea products we get in singapore are not so bad, so long as you stay away from the kitchen cabinets and beds. :) they also have children's toys, which is great!

10:02 PM

Blogger day-dreamer said...

Ikea is considered "cheap" in US? *pengsan*

By the way, I came with a good news - you're TAGGED! Haha, do drop by my blog to find out more.

:D Have a nice week ahead!

10:26 PM

Blogger fooDcrazEE said...

ikea have a lot of good idea for us sua ku here but they are expensive..for us

12:34 AM

Blogger Blogie-Talkie said...

yes,, I think Ikea offer affortable goods to anyone who are "Jitmat cermat" Budget wise and yet still look for trendy people. Mostly the youngster who are just start up their Financial background but still want to live with "syle" and Ikea have it all.

But When you build up a strong finiacial background, you want something that are Label "real taste n style", to this, it usually a brand name goods come in mind, and I can't deny "Brand name" stuffs is always come with good quality and last.

好多人有時品味高!出手抵!但D野用不久就壞‧不过可以話唔壞又點可以換新換new style ler!


边个才是智者?见人见智吧!我也喜欢Ikea,但如果買長用,Ikea就不會是我们的choice! Especially Mattress!

4:08 PM

Blogger Zara's Mama said...

I think Ikea is affordable even in M'sia, if you look at the quality and designs available.

Of course, don't compare with the neighbourhood furniture shop where furtinure are mainly made using rubber wood.

Even in M'sia, there are more upscale furniture shop now available which I don't think I'll ever be able to afford, but Ikea to me is still 'reachable', even for my salary scale. :P

So for the really rich, if you tell them their furniture is from Ikea, they'll feel insulted.. These people use Burmese teak furniture, or some original Italian pieces, or even one off antique pieces. But for middle income folks like us, it'll be a complement. :P

2:11 AM

Blogger Tummythoz said...

IMO, v r buying the ideas behind the product rather than the product itself at Ikea. It's bulky furniture (wardrobes, cabinets, etc) just don't last.

2:47 AM

Blogger wHOisBaBy said...

Have to agree. Ikea is considered the cheapest place to shop for furnitures here in the States. But I love the furnitures. Buy cheap then can change it more often.

In fact, I got my kitchen cabinets from Ikea. Good price with modern style.

Those kinda of pasar malam tilam, they have those here too ... but only found in the upholstery shop. They have different types of firmness. I recently got a piece of those tilam for my baby to sleep on the floor. But have to made the cover myself. Luckily, MIL made it for me. hehehe

2:10 PM

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7:01 AM

Blogger boo_licious said...

nowadays even the local industry copy Ikea style so u can even get cheaper stuff. Certain things in Ikea are good i.e. lights, small fixtures but the bigger items like sofas don't last. Kitchen cabinets are a problem becoz of their installers.

Ikea usually source for cheapest manufacturers to cut down costs i.e. items sold in Msia are made in Msia but with their Swedish specs.

5:01 PM

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Blogger Allyfeel said...

I agree with Twinsmom, the quality bit of it isn't all that good. However, I am very much attracted by its modern style, simplicity and pricing. :)

10:54 PM

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