For Architectural Digest, by Hadley Keller.
Fresh cinnamon rolls, affordable furniture, charmingly difficult-to-pronounce names: There’s lots to love about IKEA. Founded in 1943, the Swedish giant has built an empire on making good design, durable craftsmanship, and a hint of squarely Scandinavian sensibility available to all. But the chain sells much more than Hemnes and Malm sets, and in an effort to test the bounds of a retailer whose stores require a map to navigate, we set out to find the wildest, most unexpected items for sale there. So the next time you’re in the market for seafood or shrubbery, you know where to go.
Refrigerators While it’s no surprise that you can outfit your kitchen with IKEA’s slew of cabinetry and countertop options, the store can also provide your appliances. Ovens, refrigerators, and dishwashers start around $200.
Smoked Salmon IKEA’s food offerings aren’t limited to its famous food court (where lines for Swedish meatballs and cinnamon buns can wrap around the store). In its grocery section, the store sells Swedish specialties like cured salmon, smoked roe spread, and crisp flatbreads, as well as frozen versions of its famous meatballs.
Birthday Cards Yes, IKEA has even cornered the gift market: Its paper section offers gift wrap, cards, ribbon, and tags, so your Christmas presents can coordinate with your decor.
Health Insurance Two years ago, IKEA entered unexpected territory, releasing a range of health insurance policies for its patrons. Unfortunately, the plans are only available to card-carrying Swedish customers.
A Forest Bring the outdoors in with IKEA’s extensive selection of greenery, ranging from potted flowers to succulents, topiaries, and indoor trees, all for the reasonable prices you’d expect at IKEA.
Organic Peruvian Coffee Along with their food, the smart Swedes market coffee, all of which is sourced from organic farms in Peru. A serial number on each bag will tell you exactly which farm yours is from.
Solar Panels In keeping with its commitment to reducing waste and conserving energy at its own factories and stores, IKEA has extended the option of conservation to its customers. It offers solar panel installation in counties across the U.K., and hopes to expand multinationally.
Babysitting The best news? This one is free. All IKEA stores around the world offer child care on the premises. In dire need of a date night? Drop the kids off here and wander IKEA, stopping for salmon, meatballs, and coffee along the way.
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