Would You Buy Used Ikea Furniture From Ikea?

From certified pre-owned cars to refurbished electronics to sporting tickets, there has been a growing trend of businesses trying to cash in on secondary markets for their products. The latest example is Ikea, which recently got into the business of selling its own used furniture online in its homeland of Sweden.

Ikea’s latest venture just kicked off earlier this week, so it’s too early to see if the plywood-happy retailer would bring this model to our shores.

“Time will tell,” said the CEO of IKEA Sweden. “We have to start somewhere. We in Sweden are first and it is unbelievably fun.”

As for the reasoning behind the decision to sell second-hand stuff, he explains:

It is about taking an environmental responsibility for how our products are used in the longer term and making it easier for our customers to do their part for their responsibility towards the environment.

Is this something you’d like to see Ikea — and maybe other furniture retailers — offer? What do you think the advantages and disadvantages of getting official Ikea used furniture would be to buying it off Craigslist or at a yard sale?

IKEA to Sell Second-Hand IKEA Furniture [Time]

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  1. Darrone says:

    I’ve never had a piece of Ikea furniture survive the first hand.

    • TheMonkeyKing says:

      The only way I think I could safely buy something second hand if it was still in the box.

    • jessjj347 says:

      Things that tend to sell well second-hand from IKEA include chairs, couches, futons, and desks. Basically “dorm” furniture if you will.

      I don’t think things like bookcases tend to survive after the first person.

    • j_rose says:

      We have three bookcases from Ikea, a desk, and a bed, which have survived three moves in three years. They’re holding up great!

    • Quake 'n' Shake says:

      I follow you. I think it “holds up,” but it’s appearance gets dinged up too much to be resold by a retailer. Well, that’s my opinion at least.

    • kathygnome says:

      I think it depends on what level of quality you buy. Ikea sells stuff from disposable to quite solid. If you buy the $350 sofa, it’s not going to last as long as the $1300 one. I think most retailers would introduce different “lines” to distinguish these quality issues, but that’s not how Ikea rolls.

    • AnthonyC says:

      I’ve bought Ikea furniture used- on craigslist. Some of it holds up, some doesn’t.

      The $20 particle board bookcase? It’ll look ratty after a few years no matter what. But if you spring for the stuff that’s made of real wood (bookshelves, tables, bed frames, etc.)? Those are quite sturdy, and can last a long time. Not forever, but definitely long enough to sell used.

    • Bunnies Attack! says:

      You must have some massive hands then… usually the people i know that say Ikea furniture doesn’t survive a move etc etc go and buy the $99 bed + dresser + desk combo and are surprised when it falls apart. Those same people are often the ones that buy $1000 pieces of “heirloom quality furniture that they can leave to their kids” that look horribly outdated in a couple years and their kids unload on craigslist for the price of an Ikea table.

      I would have no problem buying a desk, table, light fixture, etc used so long as its in decent condition and especially for items that don’t have a lot of moving parts, they’ll look pretty much the same a few years later.

  2. Mighty914 says:

    If they give it any type of a warranty, it’s a decent idea.

    However, Ikea’s generally cheap enough stuff that I wonder how many people need the discount. If you’re only going to save a few bucks, why not get it new?

  3. aloria says:

    IKEA has a reputation for disposable, cheap stuff, but the living room set (TV stand and matching coffee and side table), and bedroom furniture (two dressers, bed, and night stand) I got from IKEA have all been holding up since I bought them back in 2006. It really depends on which lines you buy from. A $10 cheapo LACK table probably isn’t going to last very long, but they do have other ranges which are pretty decent quality for the price.

    • Darrone says:

      4 years for a piece of wood furniture isn’t an accomplishment. Ever tried to move a piece of ikea furniture, like from one house to another?

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        Yep, we’ve done that twice with an expedit bookcase and it’s held up extremely well.

      • toberead says:

        I’ve moved Ikea furniture (dressers, bookcases) from New York to Georgia, Georgia to Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania to Maryland. (Over a 5 year period.) All of the furniture survived just fine. You just have to be careful when you move it.

      • aloria says:

        Yes. I have moved four times since I got that furniture.

      • SimonGodOfHairdos says:

        I have a massively cheap, tall chest of drawers (not wood) from IKEA that I bought in 1997. It has made seven moves since then, and is currently in excellent working condition and being used by my mother in her guest room.

    • sheriadoc says:

      We bought a LACK coffee table in 2007 and gave it to my mom when we moved. It’s still holding up lovely! And we’ve currently using another LACK coffee table as a TV stand. It holds a 32″ flatscreen surprisingly well. :P

  4. FatLynn says:

    If they are truly concerned about sustainability, they should find ways to connect donors with recipients. Plenty of people can’t afford basic home furnishings.

  5. SkokieGuy says:

    Every Ikea I’ve been in has a clearance area. It’s officially new not used, and mostly composed of returns or scratch and dent items. I’ve gotten phenomenal deals and never had any problems.

  6. Blueberry Scone says:

    I would only buy something like a coffee table or bookcase. I wouldn’t buy anything that’s used with cushions or pilows in it.

    It’s not a bad idea, and it would be cool if they expand it to include lamps, kitchen stuff (glasses, cups, etc.), and so on.

    • EdnasEdibles says:

      I agree with you. It’s my same policy on Craigslist. Things that can be cleaned really well—yes. Things that could have bedbugs deep in the cushions—no.

  7. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Ikeas already have their as-is section for slightly damaged furniture or floor models, so I think this is a good in-between. The as-is section is sometimes filled with odds and ends and a lot of those items end up in the trash anyway because they’re not able to be sold. People sell used Ikea furniture off Craigslist all the time. I personally don’t buy used Ikea furniture off Craigslist because I’m pretty sure it’s been abused, but some people do.

  8. Maximus Pectoralis says:

    Depends on what it is. Ikea quality seems to be hit or miss. My MALM bedroom furniture (bed and dressers) and their commercial desks are great. I bought a KLOBO loveseat a while back and the thing has been extremely sturdy, but when I bought the much more expensive KARLSTAD couch I was disappointed by how flimsy the sides are, particularly where the feet bolt in to. I am probably going to take it apart at some point and reinforce it with some 2x4s and plenty of bolts, nails and screws.

    I would definitely buy their commercial desks used though. In fact the one I have at home was from my old company, which in turn was from their As-Is dept. It is an older series but it is far more sturdy and durable than any home desk I’ve ever used.

  9. katknits says:

    Or you could go somewhere like here: http://www.urbanuniversity.biz/urban_furniture.htm and buy used IKEA furniture to support a good cause. I bought a wardrobe and nightstand in excellent condition, 50% off assembled and delivered to my second floor apartment. I think there are many outlets to resell your IKEA furniture, but if you don’t want it, donate it!

  10. jessjj347 says:

    IKEA furniture is already resold through venues such as Craigslist. Sounds like a good idea to me, except I would think the consumer would get less money for selling the items back to IKEA than directly to another person.

    • j_rose says:

      Money isn’t everything. In selling something on Craigslist, you have to meet up with potentially creepy people. I sell stuff on CL all the time and it’s 50% flakes and weirdos. Plus, they ALWAYS want to haggle. Some people might prefer loading up the furniture in their car and taking it back to IKEA over taking it to a random person’s house, or the walmart in between, etc. And then the person doesn’t show up.

      • jessjj347 says:

        Yeah that’s true. Also I was just thinking that the money you do end up getting from selling your IKEA furniture may end up back in the store in the form of another sale. I know that many second hand stores make money that way.

  11. momtimestwo says:

    I probably would have before all the stories about bedbugs. I don’t want anything that has been in someone elses house now.

  12. Thyme for an edit button says:

    I think it’s a good idea if they inspect the furniture. Maybe they can grade the quality and provide warranties. I have bought used Ikea furniture (Malm dressers). They were in good shape, already put together, and cheaper than new.

  13. MDSasquatch says:

    If I want cheap/broken furniture can’t I just hit a few yard sales or my local Goodwill?

    • cameronl says:

      Craigslist in a college town.
      ’nuff said.

    • backinpgh says:

      Because Ikea is one stop, and a bunch of yard sales and thrift stores means multiple stops. If you’re specifically looking for used Ikea, you know you’ll definitely find it there.

  14. areaman says:

    Yes, I would say most people who buy Ikea stuff (including me) are really just renting/leasing furniture.

    1) buy it at retail/100% of the price
    2) sell it around 30% to 50% of the retail price before moving on CL
    3) take $$$ from selling it on CL and buy same stuff at new place/city in CL

    After a couple of times of doing this I cut out step 1 (except for mattresses).

    Also in places like Berkeley you don’t even have to buy the stuff in CL. The students that leave or don’t want stuff just put it out on the lawn with a free sign at the end of the semester. And they’re not assholes like in NYC where you’ll get a ticket for hauling stuff away.

  15. knoxblox says:

    All I ask is no secondhand meatballs…

  16. PanCake BuTT says:

    The question is : is that with or without the bedBugs ?

  17. MongoAngryMongoSmash says:

    Do I still have to put it together?

  18. ninepeoplesfavorite says:

    I have an ever growing collection of Billy bookcases, the oldest of which are over 10 years old. They have been moved four times, with one more move coming up in the next year. All are in perfect shape. No dents or scratches. I’ve re-tightened bolts after a move, and they’re good as new.

    I remove the adjustable shelves, bundle them, and wrap them in commercial cling wrap (Reynolds 914, I believe), and wrap the empty bookcases in plastic wrap too. Once they’re empty and wrapped, they’re easy to move.

    • sopmodm14 says:

      they billy bookcase is a classic, my dad brought one each for every member of us siblings as well as for himself in the study/living room/den

  19. buzz86us says:

    so that’s where the promotional subway Ikea furniture went.

  20. Dutchess says:

    I don’t want to buy NEW ikea…the idea of used Ikea is even worse.

  21. zandar says:

    Our Ivar system has been super-rugged and useful. I could see it surviving normal use. I would totally buy up some of that.

    It’s solid wood though.

  22. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Cabinets, yes, shelving, sure – other hard things as long as they’re in good condition.

    Soft stuff like mattresses or couches? Not so much.

  23. keepntabs says:

    I still prefer to buy my Ikea furniture from Craigslist. I don’t haggle. When I shop on CL, I ask the seller the desired price. If I think it is reasonable, then I buy the item. I also ask to see more pictures if the ones in the ad don’t show enough detail. Time and money cost, and I don’t have any to waste.

    • bananaboat says:

      Similar thought. New furniture is so overpriced, I can’t see paying a healthy price for used furniture (Ikea or even a name brand (china) retailer). Off to the want ads/craigslist for the best pricing.

  24. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    I would consider buying secondhand Ikea furniture only in an Ikea store, and only if every defect and missing piece was listed clearly. I could trust Ikea to only carry used furniture that met its quality standards, I think. I hope. But I would never trust used Ikea furniture from someone with unknown furniture assembly skills.

  25. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    I would consider buying secondhand Ikea furniture only in an Ikea store, and only if every defect and missing piece was listed clearly. I could trust Ikea to only carry used furniture that met its quality standards, I think. I hope. But I would never trust used Ikea furniture from someone with unknown furniture assembly skills.

  26. SimonGodOfHairdos says:

    I don’t have an issue with second-hand furniture; I would buy used items as long as they weren’t upholstered. I have IKEA items that are 13 years old and still in working order, so I know the stuff can last. My problem would be that I want to put together the furniture myself. Not to toot my own horn, but I am pretty damn good at assembling their furniture, and I think that a lot (not all) of the longevity/quality problems that people experience with IKEA furniture are assembly issues. Your drawers will not stay together if they weren’t put together at perfect right angles. The back of your dresser is not going to stay secured if you don’t use all the nails. Your tables won’t support enough weight if you don’t twist the screws tight enough. Etc.

  27. sopmodm14 says:

    they make wonderfully good products (at least those i’ve purchased), and they last a long time, it’d be hard-pressed to find second-hand items with many years of even just simple, normal wear and tear that is satisfactory to consumer’s perception of standard.

    they have to be price conscious…..i’m not gonna save $5 for a 5-year old item that may/not be used/abused with no service records or out-of-warranty, when i can just pay the extra $5 and get a brand/spanking new one

  28. Big Mama Pain says:

    I’ve been to IKEA like five times, and I try so hard to be dazzled and inspired. But the only things I have ever bought was a mattress (which is not something I would buy used), a bath mat and mineral oil for my sharpening stone.

  29. lettucefactory says:

    Several of my friends have furnished their homes cheaply through craigslist. While I admire their frugality, I wouldn’t do the same, especially given the rise in bedbugs. You don’t ever really know the story with another person’s stuff. (though I suppose a table or something else non-fabric and cleanable would be okay)

    But even if I did, ikea is crap out of the box. It can’t survive a second owner. And I say that as someone who owns a housefull of it.

  30. the_didgers says:

    When I was getting ready to move and trying to sell what I could on craigslist, I was able to get 75% of my money back with my Ikea furniture. Everything else I was lucky to get 50%.

  31. CookiePuss says:

    I’ve been in the market for a used IKEA toilet seat for quite awhile now. Perhaps my search is finally drawing to a conclusion. Happy days!

  32. backinpgh says:

    Ikea furniture doesn’t move well, for the most part. I had a Mikael desk, awesome desk, moved it around a few times over the course of college and every time it nearly fell apart and had to be put back together again. Now SOME items would be great for this…decorations, smaller furniture, sofas, chairs, etc. But some of the pieces just don’t travel well and I wouldn’t buy them used. Just shop on Craigslist if you want used Ikea furniture!

  33. t-spoon says:

    I don’t know if they’re all like this, but my local Ikea has a scratch & dent section where you can find some really great deals. Most recently I saved about $70 on the entertainment center I had my eye on.

  34. Darwin says:

    I wouldn’t buy NEW furniture from IKEA, let alone used.

  35. Yorick says:

    I don’t know where these stories keep coming from. Ikea doesn’t exist! It’s just one of those things they made up for TV shows!

    (ha ha. Seriously, there isn’t an Ikea anywhere near me and I’ve never seen a store when travelling. But, based on reports, I wouldn’t want their furniture. At least, not what I can afford.)

  36. shepd says:

    Sure, as long as it is 80% off list price and has no fabric or plush parts. I am not bringing someone else’s bugs into my home at any price, even if I’m paid to do so (Unless, of course, that payment is high enough that I can just burn the house down and build another with ease, of course!).

    Of course, it’s more likely to be 50% off list price and include a warranty that I don’t need, or replacement parts that signal I shouldn’t buy the unit in the first place.

    So, overall, no, I most likely would never buy used furniture anywhere except from Kijiji ads or a thrift store. And then only items that have no upholstery.

  37. Luftvier says:

    The key to moving IKEA particle board furniture is disassembly, which earlier comments have alluded to. But IKEA’s solid wood furniture is great during moves, even if not disassembled.

    My IKEA purchases are subject to three rules:
    1) Only solid wood furniture should be bought at full price;
    2) Liberal purchases at sales;
    3) As-Is is your friend.

  38. jaredwilliams says:

    I like the idea. I’m a sucker for clearance/discount stuff.
    As long as quality control has something to do with it of course.