5 things to avoid at Ikea


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When you wander through the blue and yellow maze of Ikea or shop online, it’s almost impossible to resist the urge to buy something cute and affordable.

The retailer offers an abundance of reasonably priced, stylish and fashionable items for everyone, from people furnishing their first home to families looking for cribs.

But some of Ikea’s products may not be such a bargain when you factor in a history of safety issues and poor customer reviews.

If you’re like a lot of people, you’ll find a lot to love about many Ikea products. Still, the next time you shop at Ikea, you might want to roll faster than a Swedish meatball past these items.

Ceiling lights

Ikea ceiling lights
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“As an expert in property development, many electricians complained to me when I bought Ikea ceiling lights about the difficulty of installing them and how quickly they stopped working,” says Marina Vaamonde, owner of HouseCashin, an online site. marketplace for off-market homes.

“They are flimsy and of very poor quality,” Vaamonde told Money Talks News. “While the cost savings may entice your everyday DIY shopper, they stop working so easily that you might as well spend the extra money on a high quality lamp so you don’t have to worry about it.”

These ceiling lights, especially those with glass shades, can also pose a safety risk. In fact, Ikea recalled its Calypso ceiling lights in 2018 and its Hyby and Lock ceiling lights in 2016, all for the safety risk posed by each light’s glass shade detaching and falling off.

Billy Library

Bookcases Ikea Billy
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According to customer reviews on the Ikea website, it’s not just the price ($40 to $140 USD) of the Billy bookcase line that’s cheap. While positive reviews of the Billy bookcase abound, negative reviews mostly focus on the product’s fragility.

Customers on the Ikea website complain that the bookshelf, made of particle board, collapsed when they tried to assemble or disassemble the case. Other reviewers complained that the shelves tilted or the bookcase broke after using it for a short time.

Joe Ferguson, an architectural joiner at Skirtings R Us in Worcester, England, who also prepares interior living spaces for clients moving into new homes, has encountered this problem himself.

“We noticed that the Billy bookcase is one of the things to avoid because it’s flimsy and made of particle board,” Ferguson told Money Talks News. “Once the client thought the library [we wanted to buy] was too expensive for her and bought stuff from Ikea instead. It was then that she realized that the bookcase could not support heavy objects and was sagging because it was made from particle board.

So at least you might want to avoid the Billy bookcases if you intend to give them a lot of weight.

Malm and other dressers and chests

Ikea chests of drawers and chests of drawers
Grzegorz Czapski / Shutterstock.com

In 2020, Ikea agreed to pay a $46 million settlement to the parents of a toddler who died after one of its Malm dressers tipped over on him. It also wasn’t the first time that Ikea’s Malm dressers and chests have been in the news for security risks. In 2016 and 2017, Ikea announced a voluntary recall of various Malm chests of drawers and chests of drawers as well as the Kullen three-drawer chest of drawers and other chests of drawers and chests of drawers, all due to tipping hazards.

In 2019, Ikea announced that it would launch a new line of Glesvar chests of drawers and chests with safety features to prevent tipping in select global markets. However, at the time of this writing, no Glesvar dressers or chests are listed on Ikea’s US website.

You might be tempted by the affordability of Malm dressers and dressers ($250 and under). But at least if you have young children, consider spending a little more on furniture designed to prevent tipping.

Glass furniture

Ikea tables
Grzegorz Czapski / Shutterstock.com

In 2018, Ikea issued a recall for the Glivarp glass-top dining table due to “risk of laceration” and complaints about the glass sheet detaching and falling off. But consumers have also reported to the CPSC that the glass top of this product shattered when no one was even using it: “The bottom two glass panels on my Ikea Glivarp table shattered out of the blue” , wrote a consumer in 2021, about a version of the table that was not subject to the recall.

And it’s not just the tables that receive explosion complaints. Consumers have also reported to the CPSC that glass desk tops shatter when not in use. Some have even posted YouTube videos showing the aftermath, as ABC affiliate WCPO-TV reported in Cincinnati in 2017.

In 2019, Ikea told ABC affiliate KTRK-TV in Houston, which at the time was investigating an incident with a Glivarp table:

“We use tempered glass in our furniture, which shatters into pieces rather than shards and helps prevent injury if the glass breaks. It is in the nature of tempered glass to shatter when exposed to knocks, knocks or scratches.

The Glivarp table is no longer for sale on Ikea’s US site, but at least be sure to scour online reviews for possible safety hazards before buying glass furniture. You can also search the CPSC’s public database of unsafe product reports under SaferProducts.gov.

Bed sheets

Ikea bed sheets
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Let’s face it. You can’t really expect a queen sheet set to sell for less than $20 to bring sweet dreams. But even some of Ikea’s most expensive sheets get scathing reviews on the company’s site for being rough, wrinkled and, oddly enough, noisy.

“They crinkle so hard when you roll over in bed!” wrote a reviewer of Ikea’s Somntuta sheets.

“They are loud and papery,” wrote another.

“I only slept for about an hour before the gritty, hard texture was too much to bear and I had to rip them out of bed,” another reviewer wrote. “These SÖMNTUTA sheets have the texture and comfort of sleeping on burlap – they are the worst sheets I have ever bought.”

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