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Sharing the IKEA experience
–by Jennifer Ruple


 Jennifer Ruple

Jennifer Ruple







Four hours and nine minutes to be exact, is the amount of time co-editor Mary Helen Darah and I shared meandering the aisles of the mother-of-all home furnishing and accessories stores known as IKEA. With no time constraints (for once) and no regrets about it either, we donned our most comfortable walking shoes and set out to discover the latest in design trends, gather decorating ideas for spring, and enjoy a relaxing lunch.

Founded in 1943 in Sweden, IKEA is in 48 countries. The closest one to the Toledo area is just a little over an hour’s drive north in Canton, Mich., which makes the destination perfect for a day trip.

Colorful flags mark the entrance to home furnishings store IKEA in Canton, Mich.

Let the fun begin
As we approached the store, the large groupings of flags and the massive lettered parking lot evoked memories of childhood theme park visits. Only this time the thrills would be choosing which counter stools to buy. Upon entering the store, we each borrowed a big yellow bag to carry smaller items that we wanted to purchase while perusing the home furnishings department on the second floor. Up the escalator we went.

After a few runners’ stretches, we were ready to embark on our journey. Along the winding path, we were treated to vignettes for every area of the home from living rooms and kitchens to office spaces and bathrooms. There were even full home displays that show you how to live large in very small spaces. We checked out sectionals, ottomans, computer desks and armoires.

Lunch break
At the end of the path on the second floor is the IKEA Restaurant. Halfway through our adventure, it was time for a quick break. I opted for the iconic Swedish meatball platter with fresh veggies, mashed potatoes and a dollop of lingonberry jam, while my colleague chose the smoked salmon salad. We each selected a bowl of corn chowder which ended up barely lukewarm after one of us felt the need to capture the perfect photo of our lunches. The dessert bar was stocked and tempting, but we turned it down for other options later.

Swedish meatballs, lingonberry jam and mashed potatoes are served at the IKEA Restaurant.

The Marketplace
After refueling, we headed downstairs to The Marketplace where the accessories are located. Like two kids in a candy store, we filled our carts with pillows, tape dispensers, wooden spoons, napkins, candles, clocks and plants.

Jennifer Ruple looks over accessories in the garden section at IKEA.


Mary Helen Darah checks out a modern light fixture at IKEA.

Swedish Food Market
Our last stop before departing was the food market. Here we found items such as Swedish meatballs and salmon fillets, jars of lingonberry jam and mustard-dill sauce, and potato fritters and Swedish pancakes. Good thing we passed on dessert because it was time for a warm and gooey cinnamon roll. Two for the road, please.

If you go…

  • Visit on a weekday to avoid crowds and strollers.
  • Restrooms are conveniently located in the store’s entryway. Use them – it’s a long way till the next ones appear.
  • Wear comfortable shoes – the place is huge!
  • Secret passageways allow you to skip some areas of the store, but it’s best to stick to the path. You could become confused and lose all sense of direction.
  • Pick up a catalog. More than likely, there will be a few things you wished you had placed in the big yellow bag.
  • BYOB (bags). The only bags available at checkout are for purchase.

Jennifer Ruple is the author of the blog

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