Tips You Won't Find in the IKEA Catalog


It’s been well documented that Ikea — with its endless living rooms and curtain solutions — has been known to spark screaming matches between normally mild-mannered couples.

Even Wes Anderson, in his series of commercials for the store, filmed a man and woman fighting in an Ikea kitchen — just to give it a test run.

So to avoid unnecessary brouhahas in Ikea Brooklyn’s opening week, we asked Dr. Diane Stemple, a clinical psychologist, to share her tips on anger management in the world’s largest furniture store.

Why People Fight in Ikea
“Stimulus overload is always a possibility,” says Stemple. “All those choices can be upsetting. I think also in a place like Ikea people are going to have contrasting ideas about their sense of style or money” — especially a new couple. Those with kids have another possible disaster on their hands.

Signs You May be One of Those Couples Who Fight in Ikea
“One or both of you don’t like Swedish Meatballs.” Other clear warning signs: If you’ve fought while shopping before, or you have difficulties making decisions as a couple. And if one of you has to drag the other to Ikea, Stemple suggests leaving the reluctant one at home.

How to Avoid a Blowup
“Decide what you’re looking for ahead of time and make a beeline for that department.” No dallying in the more-cheap-crap-we-don’t-need aisles. Also: “Plan your food break, and expect a line.”

If You Fight Anyway, Three Ways to End it Quick
1- “Each of you go to your favorite section to cool off.” Then reconvene.
2- “Consider compromise.” Let your partner pick the frames, while you pick the lamp.
3- “Decide if the purchase is an interim purchase.” If your partner really wants a nice rug but you feel the $99 one at Ikea will work just fine, agree that you’ll buy it “for now” and replace it later.

And if all of the above fails, says Stemple, “Leave the store. Just get out and go to the movies.”

Ikea — like it or not — opens tomorrow, Wed., June 18 at 9 am in Red Hook.

Still from “Stealing Beauty,” a video by artist Guy Ben-Ner. Sent by Nicole.

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