How to Get a Real Fir Christmas Tree for Just £5…

Buy a £25 Christmas tree from IKEA before Christmas Eve and you’ll get a £20 shopping voucher to use any time from Monday 5th February to Monday 2nd April 2018.

How to get the pick of the bunch

You’re very lucky to get a 6-foot(ish) Fir Christmas tree for £5 at IKEA, they typically go for £40 in garden centres – but if you want the perfect Christmas, of course you can be choosy…

1. Measure the height of your ceiling

Remember, your real fir Christmas tree will be on a stand and will likely be topped with a decoration – so it needs to stand at least a foot below the ceiling.

2. Check your IKEA Christmas tree is fresh

You have two easy ways to do this. Pull a needle off and bend it in half, if it snaps in half, then you’ve found yourself a fresh tree. Also, fresh cut fir trees have flexible branches – but be careful that it doesn’t snap or spring back and hit you when you’re checking it.

Practical tips for decorating your IKEA Fir Christmas tree

Now for the fun part – there are no hard or fast rules for decking the halls, have it your way, but bear this in mind…

1. Cut 1 inch off the bottom of your tree trunk and get the tree in water quick

2. Position it wisely

Face the bare side towards the wall, keep it out of direct sunlight (which will discolour it) and away from heaters or drafts (which could make it wilt and lose needles quicker).

3. Fairy lights first, tinsel next, then everything else

Turn your lights on when you’re spinning them around your Christmas tree – when they’re lit up, you can see where they need to go and if you have any gapping dark patches.

4. Hang three of the same or similar ornaments in a triangle pattern

Only if you want to make it look balanced and easy on the eye, that is. For a more professional look, decorate your Christmas tree to suit your home and buy your baubles in batches to make your Christmas tree look well-co-ordinated – some of the best decorated Christmas trees follow a colour scheme.

5. Finished? Walk out the room for a few minutes

When you come back in and look at your IKEA Christmas tree with fresh eyes, you can make a few final tweaks – but don’t faff too much, you’ll never stop, and Christmas is stressful enough. It’s perfect enough as it is.

You can’t spend your £20 IKEA shopping voucher in the IKEA restaurant or the IKEA food store. Participating stores only, call IKEA to check offer availability at your local store.

Boho-lovers Can’t Get Enough of IKEA’s Limited Edition Collection

Turn your home into an exotic paradise with summery pieces from Ikea’s seriously swoon-worthy Jassa collection

If you love all things bohemian, there’s no time to lose, because Ikea launched their new limited edition Jassa collection on Wednesday 1st March 2017 – giving you less than six weeks to get your hands on it.

Wondering what all the fuss about? Well, it’s a mixture of vibrant soft furnishings and rattan furniture, lanterns and ceramics all bursting with eye-popping colours. It’s a world away from Ikea’s famously minimalist Scandinavian style, drawing inspiration from far flung lands like Indonesia and Vietnam in South East Asia.

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With jazzy cushion covers starting at £4, bamboo pendant lampshade or rattan lounger for £119, you can create a relaxed summer vibe all year round – indoors and out.

But that’s not all that’s whipping folk into a frenzy, because every single piece is handcrafted the traditional way, from natural materials like rattan, bamboo, water hyacinths, sea-grass and cotton. The result? You could walk away from your local Ikea with something totally unique. From £5.95 stoneware plates, individually speckle-glazed or splashed with paint, to stylish rattan armchairs.

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The interior design fans among you will already know that ‘nature’ is one of 2017’s biggest trends – and for that, the Jassa collection couldn’t be more perfect. Hang a wind chime by your window, pop flowers in a vase woven from sea-grass or roll out a flat woven sea-grass rug. It’s about embracing nature in the most stylish and authentic way.

Like what you see? You can pick up a few pieces online, but the complete Jassa collection is only available instore at West Thurrock, Croydon, Edmonton or Wembley. Alternatively, call Ikea’s customer service team to try to arrange delivery to your local shop.

Missed out? Worry not, because there are other perks to be had all year round at Ikea…

1. Your kids can play for free

Want to shop without the little ones getting under your feet? Make everyone happier, by dropping the kids off with the supervisors at Småland – for a free hour-long play session near the entrance of your local IKEA. When you’re an IKEA Family member, you get an extra 30 minutes to boot, leaving you free to browse at your leisure.

2. Grab a free hot drink

The family members among you will score a free mug of tea or coffee whenever you take a trip to IKEA, because shopping can be thirsty work.

3. Browse exclusive sales

Join the IKEA Family rewards program and you’ll be handsomely rewarded with access to members-only sales on products from across their entire range – from mattresses and candles to kitchens. Better yet, you’ll be treated to special monthly discounts and 90 day price protection on absolutely everything. Ikea will refund you the difference whenever an item drops in price.

Call the customer service team today with any questions about your IKEA Family membership.

All images copyright IKEA.

Ikea’s Flat Pack Refugee Shelter Won Best Design 2016

There’s more to Ikea than Billy Bookcases, their flat pack refugee shelter was just crowned the Beazley Design of the Year 2016…

They said it couldn’t be done, but Ikea are solving a real-world crisis, providing mobile, safe and comfortable shelter for refugees across the globe – 30,000 people and counting. The Better Shelter lasts six times longer than your typical emergency tent, offering dignity and sanctuary for up to five people where there appears to be none.

That’s why, on Thursday 26th January 2017, Ikea’s innovation won the coveted Beazley prize – pipping 67 nominees from 6 categories to the post.

Ingenious design

Time is of the essence in an emergency, so the Better Shelter comes flat packed in two cardboard boxes. Putting it together is simple, four people can build the refugee shelter in under four hours – all of the tools (a hammer) and a classic Ikea instruction manual are provided.

It’s essentially a sturdy steel frame, covered with insulation panels and a solar panel roof which provides four hours of electric light or mobile phone charging via a USB port. Crucially, the Better Shelter, with its locked door and stab proof walls, is anchored to the ground.

Not only can you replace damaged parts without dismantling or replacing the entire shelter, but the clever design is incredibly flexible. You can add or remove entire sections, depending on the situation, plus the window and doors can fit in any number of configurations.

Giving back

Over three years, the Ikea Foundation donated 400,000 mattresses, quilts and blankets to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees – making the Better Shelters even, well, better.

However, the not-for-profit Ikea Foundation can’t take full credit, because they collaborated with the UNHCR to improve the lives of people displaced by armed conflicts and natural disasters. Five years later, their Better Shelter is the more than worthy winner of the Beazley Design of the Year 2016 prize – as you’ll surely agree.

Experienced less than award-winning customer service at Ikea? Phone a customer service representative directly.

Cover image copyright BetterShelter.org

4 Times Ikea Surprised the World This Summer

Europe’s favourite flat-pack furniture store, Ikea has had an adventurous summer, how does yours compare?

From teaching foodies to whip up Scandinavian delicacies with top chefs in a London pop-up restaurant and exhibiting their 70 year history in a dedicated museum in Älmhult, Sweden, to refusing to collaborate with Kanye West – Ikea’s summer has been anything but ordinary for a furniture store….

1. Ikea Launched their New Catalogue

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Ikea’s annual catalogue lands every August, but what’s so surprising about the 2017 edition released last month, is how hard it tries to convince you that having a small home is trendy – critics have even (unfairly) called it a dystopian view of the future.

From wall holders for your chairs and sofa-beds that you, not your guests, should use every night, to a standing mini-kitchen for homes too cosy to have a fitted kitchen. The new catalogue is packed with well-designed, functional and affordable furniture as ever, ideal if you’re also obsessed with space-saving.

2. Ikea Opened a Pop-Up Restaurant in London

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It’s called The Dining Club and from 10th September to 25th September 2016, you and up to 19 mates can reserve your space and seek it out in Shoreditch – where you’ll celebrate the joy of cooking and learn traditional Swedish recipes under the watchful eye of head chef Fred Bolin, without spending a single penny. It’s free.

And it’s not about Ikea’s famous meatballs either, think salmon tartar with beetroot, capers, cucumber, chives and crème or pan-fried pollock, with Swedish roly poly for afters. You’ll have your very own sous chef and maître de, with all of your ingredients (and booze to wash dishes down with) provided for you.

Listen to special talks on everything from creative cooking for kids and reducing food waste, delicious Scandi food to the future of food, at Ikea’s temporary pop-up restaurant.

N&C Showrooms, 3-10 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6PG.

3. Ikea created a Swedish Ikea Museum

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The world’s first Ikea store in Älmhult, Sweden recently transformed into the first ever Ikea museum, with four floors of exhibitions, from fully furnished rooms, old catalogues, Klippan Sofas, Billy Bookcases and founder Ingvar Kampra’s modest office. There’s even a fully fitted Ikea bedroom above your head on the ceiling.

How many shops cram over 70 years of their history, customer stories and products in a public museum? It’s bizarre. And while you can peruse 20,000 items, spanning the decades, you can’t take them home with you, which is bound to feel weird – since the museum looks a lot like a classic Ikea megastore.

4. Ikea Rejected Kanye West

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From March to August 2016, Kanye West kept badgering Ikea for a collaboration project through Twitter, even telling BBC Radio 1 ‘I’d love to work with Ikea – make furniture or interior design or architecture’. While tweeting random sketches of beds, he made it pretty clear that he wanted to create a minimalist apartment inside of a college dorm for his fans.

Surprisingly, Ikea turned him down last month – sending a diagram of a ‘Yeezy’ bed and nothing more. It’s a dig at the huge bed in his viral ‘Famous’ music video, and unfortunately, it seems they’ll never actually make one.  

To speak to someone in Ikea’s customer service team, call this direct number.

Cover image copyright IKEA. Kanye West image copyright IKEA Australia. All images copyright IKEA press office.

How to Transform Any Garden into an Oasis

Long nights, drawing late into the evening, are one of summer’s many perks. It’d be a crying shame to not take full advantage of them, especially if you have a garden…

Whether it’s a small, but perfectly formed concrete plot or a hedge-lined affair, a neglected garden is a wasted opportunity. You needn’t be Alan Titchmarsh with oodles of time and money to whip it into shape. Pay attention. Here’s how to get yours ready for garden parties with friends, family barbecues, or an evening alone unwinding with vino in the sun.

Give Your Fence a Facelift

A lick of paint will protect your wooden fences from the elements, but don’t reach for any old colour. Dip your brush into pots of vivid purple or blue for a pleasing contrast with the plant life in your garden. Or go for a bright pink or red for a brighter in-your-face statement.
If that sounds too much, you can always go with understated natural tones, from Earthy hues of chocolatey brown to deep greens. Just step away from white, pastel and light shades, which will quickly get grubby.

Grow Up

Those aforementioned fences shouldn’t stay bare, and nor should your walls. Pop trellis up, and convince a mishmash of climbing plants, from ivy to Hydrangeas to grow up them and inject some much needed colour. If your back garden sits in shade for most of the day, opt for ferns, geraniums, or tiarellas.

Light up the Sky

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Strings of solar fairy lights spun around a tree, solar lanterns or pathfinders twinkling on your turf, and ornamental tea-lights on your table will take your garden from day to night in spectacular fashion. You don’t need them on all the time, but they can make occasions that bit more special. Not only are they inexpensive, available in a host of colours and styles, but they’re often eco-friendly.

Take a Pew

From four seat furniture sets, strewn with cushions, to natural-looking oak benches, cozy wicker sofas and rattan chairs, comfortable alfresco dining is easy to master. Patio furniture such as dining-tables and chairs, must feel as good as they look, so try before you buy. Multi-functional ottoman furniture can help you to get more out of your back yard.

Fertilize the Grass

A basic chore that can make the world of difference. To maximise your efforts, if you have the time, do a little weeding, mowing or jet-wash your patio.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Any style, shape or size, as few or as many as you fancy. Hanging mirrors on your fence or garden walls can make your backyard feel bigger than it really is. It’s a neat trick for those of you with smaller spaces and can brighten the place up, by bouncing natural light.

Branch Out

Even small gardens can typically accommodate a young crab tree, maple or cherry tree, so don’t feel restricted by the space you have. Lots of little plants will make the space feel more enclosed.

That said, don’t fight nature. Take a look at what your neighbours are growing, and plant things suited to your soil type and sunlight. Summer is the perfect time for perennials, like yellow Jacob’s rod, Bear’s Breaches and flowering chives.

If you’re reluctant to plant directly into the ground, or even into terracotta pots make novel hanging baskets from whatever you can get your hands on, from tins, to glass lanterns, and colanders. It’s a matter of preference and style.

Next, IKEA, and John Lewis, all have some fabulous garden accessories and furniture to help with your green-fingered endeavors. Don’t be shy to call.