IKEA Planning Studio NYC Tour & Tips

I’ve admittedly been in a bit of a rut lately. Working from home, I spend lots of time in my apartment and the energy has just seemed off the past couple of months. I realized this was brought on by some big life events – my divorce was finalizing, I wasn’t feeling great physically, I was overrun by work, and I was having the worst time dating. Not to mention, when I first moved into this house it was supposed to be temporary. This apartment was transitional, and a lot of pivotal (and emotional) life moments have happened in it. My house was holding all of this heaviness in its walls and it was time for a change, so I booked an appointment at the IKEA Planning Studio on the Upper East Side of NYC. 

The IKEA Planning Studio is set up much like any other IKEA store – the showrooms are upstairs and the hard-hitting, time consuming work is downstairs. At the Planning Studio, downstairs is the home of appointments and customization. Tip: I recommend setting aside at least two hours to really get the full IKEA Planning Studio experience. My meeting itself took over an hour, and you need time to go through the showroom to get some ideas (that you can bring to your appointment!). 

Watch my IKEA Planning Studio Tour here:

One of the coolest tidbits about the IKEA Planning Studio specific to NYC is that the designers for the showrooms visited tons of actual apartments in NYC to look at layouts and to see what specific problems needed to be solved. They then took all of those problems and created studio apartments in the showroom with all of the solutions you could ask for. None of the apartments in the showroom are over 500 sq. feet, and some of them have the wonkiest setup like a tub in the living room, super high ceilings with no storage, and a pipe in the middle of the room! How the designers worked around these hiccups is pure magic. 

Tips for visiting the IKEA Planning Studio:

  • Come prepared with measurements. This helped me immensely when it came time to customize my space. And when I say measurements, I don’t just mean length! You should come with heights, widths, and depths. One of my items is too deep for my bedroom because I forgot to measure that way! Make sure to also account for furniture that is already in your room, and how you actually move around your space. 
  • Go EARLY. I didn’t know the IKEA Planning Studio also had a showroom – if I’d known I would have come earlier in the day so I could take a look around and get some ideas! Especially the storage and space solutions specific to New York, there’s lots of things you can learn from the showroom. There were also things in the Studio that I didn’t see online, and it’s nice to see everything in use. 
  • Shop the IKEA website first. It’s a good idea to come into your Planning Studio consultation with an idea of which IKEA pieces you want. Share them with your consultant! Chances are they have something better than what you’ve brought to them that can solve your problem more. I ended up with a custom TV stand that was a million times better than the one I’d chosen for myself. 
  • Set aside a good chunk of your day for this. On the day of my consult, I ended up in the studio for almost three hours! It would’ve been longer if I’d planned properly. Give yourself some time, because you’re likely going to the Planning Studio to make an investment. You want to make sure it’s done right!
  • Go in with an open mind. As mentioned, you can come in with one idea but your consultation can easily turn that around. Go in with an open mind and you may just end up with furniture you’ve only dreamt of!

*a big thank you to the IKEA team for sponsoring my home makeover! 

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