Photo cred - bellapop
Fact: Everyone loves IKEA. There are no two ways around it. A BILLY bookcase is sold every 10 seconds, and their catalogue is printed and read in higher volume than the Bible, proving that this Swedish-based company has made an undeniable impression on the homes (and hearts) of people all over the world.
But there is so much more to this blue and yellow behemoth than how affordably you can class up your pad. IKEA stores are essentially adult playgrounds, and the thrill we get when it's time to refurnish our living spaces is right up there with waiting for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.
So why wait to get your next lingonberry fix? You can feel that child-like glee any time you like, and here's how you do it.
Photo cred - Stark Architects Inc.
If you and your partners in crime don't have a vehicle to reach your destination, fret not! You can easily hop on either Bus 175 or 202 from Du Collège, or Bus 100 from Crémazie. Any one of these will take you right to IKEA’s front yard.
1. Eat All The Things
Do not pass 'Go'. Do not collect 200 dollars. Just go straight up that staircase (or elevator) to heaven in front of you, and follow your nose to the cafeteria. I hope you arrived with an empty stomach, because shit’s about to get real.
The Swedish meatballs are absolutely non-negotiable. Those little bite-sized pieces of Valhalla are served smothered in a rich cream sauce and lingonberry jam, making it a meal fit for Odin himself.
IKEA is also notorious for accommodating the desires of the local markets, so the Swedish poutine they feature doesn’t come as a surprise. Along with the gravy-like cream sauce and classic cheese curds, they throw a scoop of those tasty meatballs on a bed of crispy fries to give you the best of both worlds.
Photo cred - Jessica McLaren
Pro-tip: Ask for lingonsylt to go with your poutine. You won’t regret it.
Other things to grab include one of their heavenly cinnamon rolls, a beverage (grown-up kids are welcome to the wine and beer in the cooler), and anything else that may have caught your eye. Now pay the nice man or lady at the till, and find a place to sit while you prepare your mind and body for your impending adventure.
2. Jump On The Beds Because The Floor Is Made Of Lava
Or acid, or quicksand. Whatever is in that pit down there, don't fall in it! Lucky for you, there are so many bed boats and chair canoes to keep you and your friends alive.
3. Play House
Imagine yourself in your ideal home when you're all grown up, washing your dishes after a perfect meal with your perfect family. When you’re done that, you can curl up on your trendy couch and watch your favourite Netflix series for hours on end, or dig in to your favourite Pippi Långstrump books.
4. Play Hide And Seek
Aside from the Dutch, who doesn’t like a good game of hide and seek? Or maybe a round of musical chairs and couches? Never mind what your mom told you about talking to strangers - the more people you have playing along, the more fun it will be!
Photo cred - Kadijah Randolph
5. Build A Fort
Think of everything you have at home that you can build a fort with. Now, times that by, like, a bajillion, and you're still not even close to what IKEA has to offer for building the ultimate hideout. Chairs of all shapes and sizes, blankets, curtains, throw pillows, coat racks, beds, sofas, coffee tables, computer desks - you name it, and you can have it in whatever every colour you want. Spruce it up with your favourite stuffed friends and games, a string of RAMSTA lights, some snacks from downstairs and voilà! You have the most epic fortress any kid has ever had. Ever.
6. Play Dress Up
Find yourself some superhero capes and lampshade hats, dress-up as wild furry animals, or even decorate yourself like a Christmas tree with the cool stuff you can find all around the store. This is your chance to get creative!
7. Challenge Each Other To Games
Who will win that pillow-stacking contes? Can you find the most suggestive sign or product name? Which one of you can fit into the smallest or weirdest space? Can you fit yourself into a photograph with one of the oversized prints in the art section? Who will be the first to find the iconic FAMNIG HJÄRTA for a hug and/or high-five?
Bonus points for spotting IKEA employees assembling IKEA furniture.
8. Prank Unassuming People
Don’t try and deny it – there is something incredibly satisfying about scaring the living daylights out of somebody. You can always try sitting on one of the toilets and acting utterly offended when someone walks in on you, or pull the classic “hiding in a cabinet and jumping out at the opportune moment" approach.
9. Take A Nap
Having this much fun can be all kinds of exhausting, and there’s no shame in admitting that. Even big kids need to rest. So if the mood strikes, you can always take a moment to test out the nap-ability factor of any one of the beds that are already made for you. You wouldn’t be the first, nor will you be the last, to take a nap on an IKEA display bed.
Photo cred - Jessica McLaren
10. Grab Some Snacks For The Ride Home
All good things must eventually come to an end, but before you re-enter the real world you will have the chance to stop at the second cafeteria for a hot dog and an ice cream cone from the fancy dispenser. If you're still full from lunch, you can always grab some lingonsylt and Swedish sweets for later from their little market.
Do you have any other fun ideas to enhance an IKEA excursion? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!