There are few establishments that elicit such conflicting emotions as the Swedish furniture giant IKEA. Joy! (At the look and price tag.) Horror! (At the store’s enormity and DIY-assembly factor.) But no matter where you swing on the Ikea cheerleader spectrum, there’s no denying it’s got literally everything. Here, four things you should always scoop up there, as well as three you should skip. 

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Buy: Accent Rugs

There’s a reason Pinterest is covered in IKEA sheepskins: They’re a touch of luxe on a shoestring budget. We also swear by its small, flat-weave rugs for the kitchen and entryway: They’re chic, cheerful and dirt ($4) cheap. 

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Skip: Dressers

Many, many IKEA pieces are truly suited to a beginner's DIY skills. But dressers, with their large scale and jillion moving parts, are a task best left to craftsmen, if you ask us. (When our sorry skills tried to put our last dresser together, it kinda looked like this 24 hours later.) P.S. Some of IKEA's dresser lines have even been discontinued due to their propensity toward falling over.

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Buy: Kitchen Essentials

Do you really need to spend top dollar on items like cutting boards, pasta strainers and everyday napkins? Not really, folks. We’ve been dating our Lamplig chopping board for two years, and it’s still one the hardest-working, best-looking pieces in our kitchen. And don't even get us started on the cuteness overload that is IKEA's paper napkin selection...

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Skip: Sheets and Towels

From our experience, it takes a handful of washes for IKEA sheets and towels to soften up. And by then, they’re already looking a little worse for the wear. However, a very notable exception must be made for its linen duvet and pillowcases. (In our HO, they’re fab quality and look like they cost way more than they do.)

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Buy: Outdoor decor

From hurricane lanterns to cute lil' tealight holders to very rad garden tools, IKEA’s outdoor add-on selection is vast, adorable and oh-so-affordable. Plus, if your stuff is set to take a beating from the elements, it's not the place to do your splurging anyway. 

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Skip: Dishware

Fact: It doesn’t really take much to chip, scuff and/or scratch IKEA’s everyday tableware. We know they cost next to nothing, but if it breaks when you put it in the dishwasher, even a small investment is kinda a bummer. 

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Buy: Soft Upholstery

This varies by item, of course (always check reviews or, better, test before buying), but we’ll say this proudly: Our white Ektorp sofa is super comfortable, super sturdy and super timeless. At $379, it’s also one helluva steal. 

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