Since then I have spent several days racing through the local Ikea store, mostly backwards (which is by far the easiest way to do Ikea, trust me), back and forth and in and out as I kept thinking of more things that the flat could do with. Once by car, with my mum, once by foot, once by bike and once by tram. All modes of transport explored.
I know people love to hate Ikea, and moan about what a hellish way to spend a precious Saturday it is, what with the shlepping around endless mazes of showrooms, trying to locate the right brown box in an enormous warehouse full of brown boxes, topped off with the nightmare of having to assemble it yourself when you finally get home, allen keys and anonymous bits of plank strewn around the place as you tear your hair out etc. etc.
Well, I have a confession to make.
I actually like putting together Ikea stuff. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I love it. I love the challenge. I love that it's a few-hours-long-project that has a useful and beautiful outcome. I love puzzling over the universal instructions and the moment of "aha!" when you realise the bit you were trying to attach to the bob was upside down. I love they way everything lines up perfectly - so Swedish! - and that there is the exact amount of screws/doohickeys needed for the job, so that you can watch the packet empty as you near completion. It's very rewarding; mentally consuming as well as physically demanding - the perfect antidote to worrying too much about whether living on my own is really a good idea.
I have had lots of Ikea furniture over the years, but I've outdone myself this time: I'm now the proud owner (and assembler) of a MICKE desk with LAVER chair, ENGAN bed, half-price EKTORP couch, KILBY bookcase, and the one I've had my eye on forever, the coma-inducing POÄNG armchair. Just so it's not totally generic, there are a few of my own pieces around - namely a pretty cane chair that belonged to my Nan and a couple of funky retro stools from a good mate who also supplied me with a fridge and various kitchen implements.
I'm thinking about going back tomorrow to get some sheer curtains for the living room (which looks straight into my neighbours tightly venetianed windows), and to check out a bedside table I spotted in the bargain corner today. And I could use a better reading lamp in the bedroom.
I guess the only problem I have with Ikea is knowing when to say "when".
* * * * *
I am all too aware that this post goes against all the anti-consumerist stuff I've been writing about recently. My priority at the moment is to make myself a comfortable home, as cheaply as possible, without a car, and Ikea provided the perfect solution to that. Also, I'm hoping that these will be some long-lasting pieces of furniture - especially the armchair, which I hope to be rocking in my old age (literally).