10 IKEA Etiquette Rules


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Obey the Return Policy
IKEA's return policy is pretty great -- just don't return anything you've gotten dirty. Yuck. Andreas Rentz/Getty Images News/Thinkstock

You've spent the afternoon at home twisting an Allen wrench and assembling an entertainment center, but when you've finally finished, you decide it just doesn't look as good as that other little number you had your eye on a few displays over. It's time to head back to the blue-and-yellow behemoth to make a return.

IKEA's return policy in its U.S. stores is straightforward: You can return furniture, housewares, and just about anything that isn't custom (like cut fabric and countertops) or an as-is item with a receipt within 90 days for a full refund. You can also return mattresses within 90 days, but you can only exchange them for store credit [source: IKEA]. (Be ready to present a receipt and an ID with your return, a measure to curb return fraud.)

It's rarely OK to bring furniture back that's stained, scratched or broken unless those are symptoms of a defect, and sullied mattresses definitely can't be exchanged. But if you're returning something half-assembled and out of its packaging, don't worry — returning it that way isn't impolite at all.

Author's Note: 10 IKEA Etiquette Rules

I'd never set foot inside an IKEA until working on this article — I had heard the horror stories, and I decided my Saturdays would be better spent on my own couch than wading through the crowds to test out a low-slung Swedish one. But going to IKEA on a quiet Wednesday afternoon was an overall pleasant experience. I bought a cutting board, and aside from a few people cutting the line for meatballs, there were only a few lapses in etiquette that I noticed. Still, why can't everyone just walk in the same direction as the arrows?

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Sources

  • ABC News. "Parking Lot Survival Guide: AAA's 6 Tips for Staying Safe." April 23, 2014. (March 16, 2015) http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/04/parking-lot-survival-guide-aaas-6-tips-for-staying-safe/
  • Hansegard, Jens. "IKEA's Path to Selling 150 Million Meatballs." The Wall Street Journal. Oct. 17, 2013. (March 12, 2015) http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304864504579139540481712888
  • Henry, Alan. "Speed up Your IKEA Visits by Going in Through the Exit Doors." Lifehacker. Jan. 21, 2013. (March 12, 2015) http://lifehacker.com/5977586/speed-up-your-ikea-visits-by-going-in-through-the-exit-doors
  • Higgins, Michelle. "A Cheap Date, With Child Care by Ikea." The New York Times. June 10, 2009. (March 12, 2015) http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/11/garden/11ikea.html
  • IKEA. "FY 2014: The IKEA Group continues to grow and enable more customers to live a sustainable life at home." Jan. 28, 2015. (March 12, 2015) http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/about_ikea/newsitem/FY14-yearly-summary
  • IKEA. "Return policy." 2015. (March 19, 2015) http://www.ikea.com/ms/en_US/customer_service/return_policy/
  • Klee, Miles. "Whatever happened to the Ikea monkey?" The Washington Post. Dec. 10, 2014. (March 12, 2015) http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2014/12/10/whatever-happened-to-the-ikea-monkey/
  • Liss, Mona. U.S. Corporate Public Relations Director, IKEA. Personal correspondence. March 13, 2015.
  • Nakano, Craig. "Ikea releases rendering for new, larger Burbank store." Los Angeles Times. Nov. 15, 2012. (March 19, 2015) http://articles.latimes.com/2012/nov/15/news/la-lh-ikea-plan-burbank-store-20121115
  • Post, Peggy et al. "Emily Post's Etiquette, 18th Edition." William Morrow. 2011.
  • Strauss, Marina. "How Ikea seduces us." The Globe and Mail. Aug. 23, 2012. (March 12, 2015) http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-magazine/how-ikea-seduces-us/article4328972/?page=all
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