Wednesday morning, December 14th, 2016, will be a day that forever goes down in Memphis shopping history. That is the day IKEA opens in the Bluff City, and we couldn’t be more excited!

Sure, there’s a little “take that, Nashvegas!” in the opening of the gazillion-square-foot (okay, reality check: 271,000 square feet) store, since we here in West Tennessee tend to think the capital city gets all the good stuff. But Memphians are giving people, and we are more than happy to share the store and its meatballs with our friends to the east, and the thousands of people expected to visit the Swedish superstore upon its opening.

IKEA opens its doors in Memphis on December 14, 2016.

IKEA opens its doors in Memphis on December 14, 2016.

What’s all the fuss about? IKEA is a wonderland of Swedish design, inspirational and aspirational settings, clever products and a variety of price points. It was our go-to back in our Texas days for effortless entertaining, when we could spend $60 and bring home enough wine glasses to supplement the crystal and make sure everyone at our holiday open house was served a beverage in an actual glass. And if you’ve never experienced an IKEA, we can almost promise you’ll be drinking the lingonberry-flavored Kool-Aid after just one visit.

Cheers to IKEA!

Cheers to IKEA! Fruit juices, teas and more beverages are available in the 250-seat restaurant.

All the lamps at the store feature LED bulbs, which are also available for purchase.

All the lamps at the store feature LED bulbs, which are also available for purchase.

So without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about how to shop IKEA like a pro!

The Basics

  • The Memphis store is IKEA’s 43rd U.S. location.
  • Opens Wednesday, December 14, 2016 at 10 a.m.
  • Located at 7900 IKEA Way, Memphis, TN 38016
  • Hours: Daily, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Once the opening festivities conclude, breakfast starts being served at 9:30 a.m., before the store opens at 10 a.m., and a Swedish breakfast of eggs, sausage, potatoes and Swedish pancakes is $2, or $1 if you don’t want the pancakes. We say go ahead and splurge!
  • Giveaways: On Wednesday, the first 43 customers in line will receive a $399 Ektorp sofa. The next 100 receive a Poang chair, and the first 100 children will be given a toy. Thursday, the first 43 get a queen size mattress, and then on Friday, the first 43 customers get monthly meatball meals for a year.
  • Getting there: The store is off Germantown Parkway, basically behind Costco and Ashley Furniture — here’s a handy map.
There are two eateries at IKEA: A 250-seat restaurant with yummy Swedish and American options...

There are two eateries at IKEA: A 250-seat restaurant with yummy Swedish and American options …

...and this snack bar for a grab-and-go treat.

… and this snack bar for a grab-and-go treat.

Fun Facts

  • The store is still hiring and will have about 250 employees
  • 10,000 products can be found in the store from across the globe, designed in Sweden
  • There are 45 different room settings, including three complete show houses
  • IKEA’s kitchen appliances are designed by IKEA and made by Maytag
  • The building features Tennessee’s largest array of rooftop solar panels (4,424) plus environmentally friendly features such as skylights in the warehouse and LED lighting, and all lamps sold at the store are showcased with LED bulbs (also available to purchase)
  • Bulky items like bedding and pillows are vacuum packed, so it’s easier to cart those items around and fit them in your car
  • IKEA salespeople do not work on commission, so there’s zero pressure
  • The bulk candy area in the market is called Lördagsgodis, which in English means “Saturday candy.” There are sour and salty choices in big bins to mix and match, priced per pound. Most of the candy is Swedish, too.
The Swedish tradition of taking the kids to the pick-n-mix candy counter as a weekend treat, called Lördagsgodis, is part of the IKEA experience.

The Swedish tradition of taking the kids to the pick-n-mix candy counter as a weekend treat, called Lördagsgodis, is part of the IKEA experience.

  • Three kinds of meatballs are served in the cafe (meat, chicken and veggie).
  • Flat fee delivery starts at $59 (prices only go up based your home’s distance from the store — not the size, number or weight of your items), and they’ll even pick out the products and deliver them to you for a fee starting at $99, and yes, you can have it all assembled, too. Complete services information is here.
  • The yellow bags around the store are for shopping, and you can buy a giant reusable blue bag for 99 cents.
Clever design and packaging, plus the warehouse feel, allows IKEA to offer a variety of price points.

Clever design and packaging, plus the warehouse feel, allows IKEA to offer a variety of price points.

How to Shop the New IKEA

The IKEA website has plenty of handy shopping tips, and we’ve made our own list of tips to take note of before venturing out on your trip to the store.

#1: Take a deep, cleansing breath.

Shopping IKEA is a marathon, not a sprint. You can’t possibly see it all in one day, and your mind certainly can’t take in every one of those 10,000 products in one visit. So embrace the experience, pick up a yellow bag and have fun.

IKEA is arranged, for the most part, by living area. Entertaining and kitchen essentials lead into a full kitchen design center, including appliances designed in Sweden and manufactured by Maytag.

IKEA is arranged, for the most part, by living area. Entertaining and kitchen essentials lead into a full kitchen design center, including appliances designed in Sweden and manufactured by Maytag.

A sunny children's play room is one of 50-something designed rooms throughout the store.

A sunny children’s playroom is one of 50-something designed rooms throughout the store.

It's easy to visualize how things might look in your own space when you can see an entire room put together.

It’s easy to visualize how things might look in your own space when you can see an entire room put together.

Some of our favorite room designs showed how to live large in smaller spaces.

Some of our favorite room designs showed how to live large in smaller spaces.

#2. Planning makes perfect.

It’s really, really easy to lapse into an IKEA coma. The store is huge, the displays are engaging, and there’s so much eye candy that it’s almost overwhelming. Whether you’re browsing or doing serious shopping, do make a list. If you’re looking for a new chair, toys for the kids or hostess gifts for the holidays, jot that down before you go, because you’re likely to get easily distracted.

  • Make a list
  • Peruse items online before you go
  • Download the IKEA store app, which features a map of your store
  • Bring a notebook
  • Grab a map at the entrance
  • Allow plenty of time

#3. Read the signs and tags.

The store is full of helpful signs, from shortcuts to the square footage of a display to information on wall colors. Knowing where to look is key.

Make a list of the information on the tags for furniture items, which you pick up in the warehouse section of the store.

Make a list of the information on the tags for furniture items; red tag items like this one get picked up in the warehouse section of the store. Yellow tags mean ask a sales associate for help.

Read the tags as well as the signs on the wall for more information about how to utilize furniture, what paint colors are used (not sold at the store) and other handy info.

Read the tags as well as the signs on the wall for more information about how to utilize furniture, what paint colors are used (not sold at the store) and other handy info.

  • In room and home displays, wall color, square footage and other handy information can be found on the wall of the display area.
  • Directional signage, including shortcuts, can be found hanging from above (use that store map!).
  • Tags not only show the product price, but also the location in the warehouse, so jot down that info in your handy notebook.
  • If the tag is red, it tells you where to pick up the item in the self-serve furniture area or in the Market Hall. If it’s yellow, contact staff, and they can get it for you.
  • If you forgot your notebook, there are pencils and lists located all over the store.

    IKEA sells fabric by the yard, and good-sized remnants can often be found in the "as-is" area of the store.

    IKEA sells fabric by the yard, and good-sized remnants can often be found in the “as-is” area of the store.

#4. Dress for (shopping) success.

  • Wear comfy shoes, and think of a visit to the store as your workout for the day. Grab that map, and walk the path from department to department, and you’ll clock about two-thirds of a mile.  Every time you veer off that path to check out a product, you’re adding steps. Reward yourself with a Swedish meatball or two!
  • Don’t wear yellow. That’s the color store employees wear, and you’ll be inundated with questions!
Welcome to Småland, the magic forest kids can play in while their parents shop.

Welcome to Småland, the magic forest kids can play in while their parents shop.

#5. To tot or not to tot?

Bring ’em if you have to, but our advice for first timers would be to go while they’re in school or with a sitter. There’s a children’s play area, Småland, where children can enjoy a Swedish forest atmosphere. While they are playing, you can enjoy your shopping experience knowing your children will be safe and cared for.

  • Parents can drop off potty-trained kids between 37 inches and 54 inches tall at Småland, also know as the Magic Forest.
  • The center is staffed by trained child-care personnel.
  • It’s very crowded on weekends, and there is a capacity limit, but you can put your name on a waiting list.
  • There’s a one-hour time limit for Småland.
  • If you bring the kids, key decision areas — including the kitchen and bathroom design areas — feature play centers.

#6. Look for last chances.

  • Shop the “as-is” room, tucked near the cash registers. This area features slightly damaged, returned and displayed products at big savings.
  • Mondays are thought to be the best time to shop the as-is room.
  • Throughout the store, you may see “last chance” signs, which signal that a product is leaving IKEA forever and it is discounted.
The warehouse area of the store is where you end up after walking through the showroom area. This is where you pick up furniture items, and there are flat carts on which to load them.

The warehouse area of the store is where you end up after walking through the showroom area. This is where you pick up furniture items, and there are flat carts on which to load them.

#7. Join IKEA Family reward program.

  • IKEA Family members receive a special monthly email newsletter with special deals and discounts.
  • Members get free coffee or tea, extra time for the kiddos at Småland and even the chance to win gift cards.
  • There’s no fee to join.

Happy shopping!

Thanks to Micki Martin for the great photos of IKEA during the media preview day!

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