IKEA Exeter – How to Shop Smart

interior design IKEA Exeter

IKEA Exeter is here !  I was first introduced to IKEA over 30 years ago as a newly married serving soldier in Germany.  Amazed at that time by the innovative design and affordability, little has changed when it comes to shopping smart.  So imagine my delight, when I was invited to attend the official launch day of the 21st UK Store last Thursday.  No more long drives up the M5 to Bristol.  The 29,000 sqm store brings their extensive range of high quality, affordable products to Exeter and the South West and features the popular range of inspirational room sets along with the all important free crèche, legendary restaurant (Swedish meatballs and just the right size breakfasts are amongst the best sellers) , and car park with over 1,000 free spaces.

After the opening ceremony, I couldn’t wait to get inside the store and start shopping.  I was given a gift card by IKEA and being the cost conscious person that I am, wanted to see just how far £200 would go.  I can tell you, it went a long way !  I had a plan to see if I could buy accessories for most of the rooms in my home.  I’ve always believed you can have a beautiful home on a budget and don’t need to spend a fortune to make a room look good.   IKEA has a similar philosophy.  I often change the accessories to give the rooms in my home a fresh lift or a new injection of colour.

The Dining Room

behaga plate ikea blue white

My first purchase – new dinner plates, we are always breaking and chipping them in our house.

6 x Behaga plates at £2.75 each

gripande salad servers ikea

I can never resist wood and white ! With summer almost upon us and guaranteed alfresco dining (more of that later) I had to have this gorgeous set of Gripande salad servers £5.00

ikea salad servers summer dining

The Kitchen

french linen ikea red white tea towels

I have a bit of a thing about tea towels.  I must use at least three each day. There really is nothing worse than dirty, soggy tea towels lying around the kitchen.  IKEA is always guaranteed to have a good, affordable selection. I love the French Rustic trend, so these white with a red stripe Tekla linen towels for just 50p each were a steal!  The Bittergurka metal and wood watering can £8, I though made a much better vase on the windowsill !  A set of three, yes, the rule of three, Muscot plant pots £1.95 each and three artificial potted Fejka plants for £3 each also on the window sill.

Utility Room

ikea washing laundry room

I have to say the Utility Room is one of my favourite places in my home.  You can see how my husband transformed it from an outside coal shed and loo into the wonderful space it is today.  You may recognise the laundry organisation stand as a previous purchase from IKEA when we used to have to travel all the way to Bristol to shop! All I needed to complete this space was another laundry bag.  The amount of daily washing with four men in the house is insane.  I snapped up this large Klunka laundry bag for £6.

Living Room

magazine storage ikea exeter

If you are a regular follower of my blog, you will know that I am a serial thrifty buyer of magazines and books from charity shops.  I am fast running out of space to store (hoard) them.  This gorgeous felt Pudda storage cube £8 was designed to have a multitude of uses and comes flat packed, but can easily be put together using the stylish gold poppers in a minute ! And yes, I like the floor like that.


ikea bathroom towels mirror

I’m not known for my love of colour.  Its mostly white all the way for me, but I thought maybe a little injection in the bathroom might give it a bit of a lift.  I choose two Frajen bath towels £5 each, lovely quality and wash great too.  We also have a hygiene issue with bars of soap in the bathroom being shared amongst so many people so I opted for a Svartsjon soap dispenser  in the same colour as the towels for just £3.90 !  We already had a Frack mirror on the wall in the bathroom but hubby wanted to buy another one on our return trip to IKEA on Sunday.  Why not, a steal at just £3.50 and used everyday by the family to look at the all important back of their heads when angled right against the wall mirror!


I purchased a couple of items for the bedrooms but unfortunately due to the sorry state of the twins bedroom and the fact that I only have one day to get this post written, I don’t have the time today.  I will write a follow up post about the bedrooms as soon as I get the opportunity to pop back (ahhh ! I can now “pop” to IKEA) to finish my little bargain buying spree and have had the time to tidy up the boys room.

Onto what has to be my favourite room, outside room, that is.

The Garden

black and white summer garden

OK, so SCREAM!!!! I absolutely LOVE ! LOVE! LOVE ! how my garden looks.  We have lived in this house for 13 years.  It has been a long, hard struggle on an insanely tight budget to renovate our home and garden but at long last thanks to the amazing skill of my husband and my eye for a bargain, we are almost THERE!  I had this vision in my head for years of beautiful furniture and accessories in black and white.  A sunny seating area and a shaded dining area, my she shed and minimal amount of potted plants.

pipig place mats ikea exeter

First up, the Pipig black and white stripe place mats.  Perfect for outside dining and to protect the table top from messy men! 6 x £1 each.  The storm lamps and other items on the table are previous thrifty finds from charity shops.

The Greja napkin holder in black £1.50 and Inbiten paper napkins £1.

white ikea waste paper bucket

Fniss waste bin 95p ! 95p insane, I bought three to be used as a plant pots with a hole drilled in the bottom !

Skaggort black and white lumber cushions for £3.50 each and four (only two shown) Turill cushions at £1.25 each!  Both affordable cushions perfect for occasional outside use and I won’t be precious about them at that price.  I also think they will be easy to recover should I want a colour scheme change.

Sunnersta white plastic containers.  I found these in the kitchen section of IKEA but they were just perfect for the idea I had in my head of attaching pots to the fence, they have a lip on the back to hang them from the metal kitchen rails, so they were ideal.  At 50p each I snapped up 10 of them.

ikea artificial plants

More Fejka artificial potted plants available from the gorgeous new greenhouse section of Exeter IKEA.

So this is where my husband thinks I have completely lost my marbles.  We were looking at the bedrooms section in IKEA and I spot the Kompl tie and belt tidy for hanging in your wardrobe £3.  “look” I shout, “its perfect”.  He looks at me all bemused, “erm, ok, why do you want that ?” he asks.  “isn’t it obvious ! It looks like macrame.  Macrame is a big trend at the moment for wall hanging, I can put it outside with plants on it” !  Off he wanders, shaking his head.

Sommar Lantern £22

Total spend so far approx £130.  Please come back soon to see what I did with the bedrooms.

If you like my selection, why not visit IKEA Exeter for yourself, at 1 IKEA Way, Exeter, EX2 7RX and bag yourself some smart shopping bargains.

This post is written in collaboration with IKEA.  All words and opinions are my own.



  1. Janet Mashlan
    May 18, 2018 / 9:51 pm

    Absolutely incredible well done both of you how you have not got your own TV show showing what can be accomplished on a budget amazes me

  2. midlifesinglemum
    May 19, 2018 / 9:57 am

    What fun. We always say that no matter how cheap the furniture you buy in IKEA, you always spend three times as much in the ‘shmonsky’ department at the end. I love IKEA and I can’t wait for the Jerusalem branch to open when they’ve built it – it’ll be another 18 months at least and it’s actually in the next town along, but still nearer than the present nearest – an hour’s drive away.

    • May 20, 2018 / 10:49 pm

      Oh wow ! How exciting to be getting an IKEA in Jerusalem. We had to wait forever for Devon to get one, but it was def worth the wait. Love that word “shmonsky” ha xx

  3. May 21, 2018 / 11:35 am

    Haha your tea towel comment made me laugh as I’m the same. Forever using new ones. You’re so lucky to have an Ikea near you – I have to travel forever to get to our nearest. Love your buys x

    • May 21, 2018 / 10:47 pm

      Thank you Lucy, its still a novelty as IKEA only arrived last week , we’ve been waiting an awful long time. xx

  4. freshdesignblog
    May 22, 2018 / 1:48 pm

    It’s very exciting that Exeter now has an Ikea, will be visiting when I’m next down. Wow, your garden is looking amazing, you must be thrilled! What a beautiful space you’ve created. Sometimes it’s even more rewarding when you’ve had to work hard and stick to budgets to achieve it.

    • May 22, 2018 / 4:41 pm

      Its been a long time coming Rachel and its certainly the new go to place in Exeter that’s for sure ! I agree with you, beauty on a budget is the most satisfying. xx

  5. May 26, 2018 / 1:55 pm

    Aaaaaaaaargh Karen. This post has made me so desperate to go to our new IKEA. I wanted to go the day it opened but our car conveniently developed an issue so I couldn’t get there. You’ve found so many great bits. And your garden. My god your garden!!! It is stunning!! I’m totally copying you with the little wall hung pots. I’ve been after something similar for my garden but actual garden pots are quite expensive. These will do the trick nicely.

    • May 26, 2018 / 3:31 pm

      OMG ! I would have done a John Cleese on the car if it had broken down on me when I wanted to visit ! ha! You must go Stacey , you will love it. It does get very busy though, so maybe leave the children at home with hubby ; ) Thank you for the kind comments about our garden. I am so happy to at long last be almost there. Just need to get the sheds and the paving slabs sorted out.

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