Saturday, March 7, 2009

Design inspiration at Ikea

A new Ikea store just opened in Charlotte last weekend. My 12-year-old daughter and I made a trek there this afternoon. I’d heard all the great things about Ikea, but was still unprepared ... WOW! This place is huge, and full of wonderful, affordable, well-designed products.

The building exterior is all blue and yellow, like the Swedish flag:

The Charlotte store is 365,000 square feet, and has 49 room settings, 3 model homes, 1700 parking spaces, a 350-seat restaurant, a Swedish food market, a bistro, and a chidren’s play area. We arrived around noon, and had lunch before we ventured into the vast store. The restaurant features several Swedish foods, including dill-cured salmon, and Swedish meatballs (which Lea said were excellent):

The restaurant is decorated with Ikea furnishings, including these black-and-white fabric panels:

Hung in the windows, the red ovals on the fabric panels glowed in the sunlight. Giant nylon leaves marked a small play area for children:

These lights looked like they were made from giant potato chips:

Of course, what I liked best were the textiles:

These two panels of fabric were used as curtains but they also make a bold statement as wall art:

Here’s the same piece of fabric as above, under glass in cool customizable panels that cover shelving units:

These bookshelves had wonderful frosted glass coverings etched with floral designs:

This wall light was made from compressed glass:

These bookcases had a beautiful black floral print at the back:

Cool lights for a child’s room:


  1. 'Your'Ikea is muuuuuch bigger than 'ours' (LOL). Also we don't have those nice fabrics :<(
    I know the meatball's, my daughter is on this moment living in Stockholm, Sweden, for half a year (study). She's got the recipe of the meatballs from the grandmother of a Swedisch fellow-student.
    Lya from the Netherlands

  2. Oh, that's too bad (about the fabrics)... that was the best part! And it is a massive store. You could spend weeks in there. We walked through rather briskly, and it took us two hours! They give you a map when you go in, and you "follow the yellow brick road" (a gray path, actually) through the store. There are cut-throughs in a few spots if you want to get to a certain department faster. How wonderful that your daughter is studying in another country. I spent my junior (third) year of college at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and it was a fantastic experience. I think it changed my world perspective in a big way.

  3. I can't wait to go! Your pictures are wonderful.

  4. I love, love, love Ikea! I'm going tomorrow. Yippee.


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