Inside: Some IKEA furniture is built to last. This post rounds up the highest quality, solid wood pieces found at IKEA including dining tables, dressers and shelving units.
We are a good two weeks into our giant basement renovation and it finally feels like I have permission to start looking for affordable furniture for the space! It’s going to be a bit of a catch-all area with a coat closet, open shelving, a desk area and a creative space. I need furniture that will adapt over time and last.
My budget isn’t enormous because we’re spending the majority of our money on the renovation itself. So today, I’m rounding up my favourite solid wood Ikea furniture options!
Does Ikea Furniture last?
There is a cult of Ikea, I get it. And if there were a ring leader, I’d be in the running, but the truth is a lot of Ikea furniture isn’t built to last. The majority of their classic pieces (I’m looking at you Kallax and Billy) are a combination of MDF and wood pegs, which over time, don’t do well with moving or being shifted around a room.
Be aware that the prices do betray the quality at Ikea. If you are buying a full size bookshelf for less than $100, you’re likely going to see some warping and bowing and won’t own that shelf forever. Case in point, I bought a PAX wardrobe for a bookshelf in my office and within a few weeks, the $15 shelves inside were completely bent and warped.
How to stop Ikea Furniture from Warping?
In the case of Billy and Pax (where I think the warping is more likely to happen and easier to fix), I’d add a couple extra shelf supports either using a drill and more pegs or buy gluing a support board along the sides of the shelves. I’ve heard of other people doubling up on the shelves to mitigate warping, but I haven’t tried that myself.
In truth that seems like a waste. If you want stronger shelves, you’re better off spending the extra money to invest in a solid wood or metal piece of Ikea furniture.
Favourite Picks for Ikea Solid Wood Furniture
I’m not going to talk about things like solid wood kitchen cabinets and butcher block counter tops in this post. We know they sell those and that would be an entirely separate post. Here, I’m talking about the actual furniture pieces that, if you invest in, should last you much longer than cheap MDF pieces and could potentially be moved from room to room.
These wood Ikea pieces are more durable and made from bamboo or solid oak. Some of them can be painted and refinished, others are pre-finished and simply require assembly.
If you’re interested in my other Ikea reviews, make sure you scroll to the bottom of this post, or check out my Kallax Review and hack, my thoughts on the Ikea Ranarp lamp, and how I hacked a cheap Billy bookcase into a wrapping paper station.
Ikea IVAR Unit
Check out the post I did all about the IVAR Units and Inspiration for using them in your home here.
These solid wood cabinets come in two depths and two heights. The modular system allows you to customize the shelving with solid doors, drawers and in 2018 they integrated metal cabinets into the system too. IVAR has been around for years and is also incredible economical.
Probably my favorite new IKEA product in the last decade, the Havsta is marketed for dining rooms, but is so incredibly versatile. It’s solid wood and glass construction elevates the style immediately. You can read my entire Havsta Review here.
It comes with swinging doors, glass inserts and a unit with a sliding door. It’s deeper than almost any other Ikea shelving unit, meaning it’s idea for dining storage (deep plates and platters) and even record and vinyl storage. HUGE A++ for this Havsta product.
Right now, you can purchase the Havsta in white, a medium grey colour and a dark black-brown. I’d love to see them increase the offering to include a natural wood tone and a blue.
Ikea TARVA Series
This is a close relative to the Havsta and will certainly fit the bill if you need solid wood drawers. The Tarva is a classic Scandinavian design and is built to LAST. The series is comprised of a solid wood slat bed, night stands and a couple sizes of dressers.
Ikea Äpplarö Outdoor Storage Bench
This is on my list to get, though I think I missed the summer rush this year and my local IKEA sold out. But this bench is heaven. It’s not the only solid outdoor piece Ikea sells, but it’s certainly one of the most versatile.
It comes in just under $100 which is a steal considering you won’t be dealing with warping or sun damage.
Ikea Hemnes Series
OMG this series just gets better and better. I first bought Hemnes in 2013 and had it shipped to the house. I bought the china cabinet with swinging doors and the taller, thinner shelving unit. Both are still going strong six years later.
Speculation is the Hemnes is what gave birth to the Havsta because my only compaint about Hemnes is the depth (which comes in at just under 13″).
In recent years, Ikea has updated the look of the Hemnes cabinet to include natural wood backing and accents, making it perfect for a farmhouse or casual kitchen look. If you’re looking for a solid alternative to the cheaper Billy, I’d say this Hemnes or the Liatorp would be better bang for your buck.
Ikea Norraker and INGO tables
The Ingo table and chairs is probably the least expensive solid wood dining set you’ll ever find. It’s now billed as part of the IVAR series.
The Norraker is a close cousin and a more recent offering that has smoother lines and a brighter coloured wood. Both table sets are less than $200 and there really isn’t much more you can say about it!
What are your favourite solid wood Ikea pieces? Do you own of the ones I’ve suggested?