If you've never been in one, allow me to show you...
The store is arranged in a one-way layout so that you weave through the entire thing (and if you try to deviate you'll get lost, so just embrace the journey and stay on the main path!). The first section has various showrooms set up with products and each item has a tag number. You are given a nifty little pad to write down the aisle number, bin number and item number for the self-serve area located at the end of the store. Or other tags will direct you to the market place.
For instance, I love this ottoman in the showroom:
I write down these numbers:
And would pick up in the self-serve furniture warehouse:
I didn't get the ottoman but it is on my list! The most fun part, to me, about Ikea is the apartments they have set up showing what you can do with 430 square feet or 270 square feet, etc. It really is amazing - and made me feel much better about our 850 square feet!
Here's the 430 sq foot apartment:
Now you would have to be exceptional neat but it seemed very livable. I love the two chaise lounges that serve as a sofa and could easily be guest bedding.
And the 270 square foot apartment was much smaller and featured a loft bed.
Tiny, tiny but very cute!
There's great options for bedding, children's things, kitchen items, art work, lighting and storage solutions. Basically, you name and Ikea has got it! My main purpose of this stop was to find a rug for our living room. Now that we have a new sofa, it was the only thing missing. There were three options for the "Valby Ruta" rug. I got the largest size (which for some reason isn't showing up online but was $129 for a 6'7 x 9'10).
From showroom to living room:
My birthday money was burning a hole in my pocket. Mission accomplished! The pillow on the sofa is also from a trip to Ikea about three years ago!