This old Ikea magic

29 July 2010

I went to Ikea yesterday, which is conveniently located a few stops down our tram line. I don’t know about you, but I find trips to Ikea inspiring. They present tiny rooms, yet fully and invitingly stylish furnished. Yesterday, they had a whole 55 m2 meter apartment on display that looked so stunning that I went AHHHH! I want that too!!!! Really, I didn’t because it would be a bit small for us, but the designers at Ikea do things so cleverly that it makes you think you can actually enjoy a comfortable life as a family on 55m2. Lots of clever storage, everything nicely decorated and looking very inviting.
It is this dream of organization and tidyness that you want to take home. But why doesn’t shopping at Ikea give you instantly that same effect in your own home? I have just worked out why. It’s because in the shop they leave out the little things that appear in the house of any family either through the children (pictures, sculptures, plants, toy dinosaurs or little fridge magnets, etc.) or mysteriously such as cardboard boxes full of stuff under your bed, in wardrobes or cupboards, odd socks in your washing basket, Christmas decoration in the cupboard under the sink…. Have you ever seen anything like that in Ikea? … I haven’t either. And I think that is what makes Ikea so attractive. They convincingly tell you that yes, you too can harness the chaos of life and create this stylish lovely place to chill and entertain your 50 closest friends, along with their bright and happy children.
Only life doesn’t work like that. I have today, inspired by Ikea, tried to harness the forces of everyday life. Not wanting to be too ambitious, I just worked on our bedroom. It took me all morning and I am now in desperate need of a break. But I am also the proud occupant of a bedroom with an almost Ikea like atmosphere now. (Yes, the hoover is still sitting in the corner and there is a pile of clothes that needs putting away, but it’s ALMOST perfect 🙂 ). Unfortunately, I already see that this won’t last. Things will creep in and hide under the bed, something will mess up our wardrobes so that all the t-shirts are jumbled up again, batteries, remote controls or MP3 players will soon turn up again on the mantelpiece along with used tram tickets and lost buttons. It’s life and you can’t contain it. On a grand scale, I think it’s this unsettling feeling that we are all so exposed and subjected to the unpredictability of life that makes us want to create safe and cosy homes that give us at least the illusion that we can control the conditions we’re living in. Can you hear the little monsters that mess up wardrobes, sprinkle dust and discard cardboard boxes under your bed laughing? I can, they are laughing hysterically at me this very moment. But I have had my Ikea moment for the day, I have a clean, neat and tidy bedroom at this point in time. I am in control!!! 🙂 … albeit just for a few hours. I am determined to tackle the kitchen next. Not today though, I might go to Ikea again for some more inspiration before I rise to this challenge. Although I know that you can’t take the Ikea magic home, I am sure that I will, like most of people I know, keep trying to create a bit of a ‘security blanket feeling’ in our home in an attempt to lock out the chaotic and unsettling world that’s lurking outside our den.

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