7 tips for taking on the big IKEA shop

Katie Batchelor 1 September 2014

It’s the beginning of a whole new life: you’ll be out there, you’ll be on your own, fending for yourself – your anxious parents perhaps hundreds of miles away. But will you be able to handle Cambridge life if you can’t handle the maze of an Ikea store or meander its trolley-filled, obstacle course like aisles? At least at this point you’ll still be able to get dad’s help in carrying your new 6ft2 rug that you naively believe you will fit in your new room.  

To sleep soundly:

Image credit: Meg

Though you may opt to keep your college-provided white bed spread, a daring duvet cover may be a prime opportunity to brighten up and individualise your new student room. Be careful here; you never know who might end up spending the night under your chosen comforter (platonically or otherwise), so replace your love-heart or football covered sheets from home with something a little more mature.


Image credit: Clair

Opt for maximum comfort for when you choose to stay in bed to finish your reading (or watch Game of Thrones).

In the kitchen: While shopping, do not become deluded by the idea you too could own your own pack of multi-coloured handled kitchen knives. In fact, stop right there. Almost all freshers will having nothing but a glorified cupboard as their kitchen; this is the gyp room and it is not where you will be having your meals – head to hall or the buttery for that. Apart from a breakfast bowl when you get up too late for hall, and mugs for endless amounts of tea, your ‘kitchen’ cupboards will remain almost empty.

One of the more luxurious gyp-rooms at Trinity Hall.  Image credit: Trinity Hall Development

Easily forgotten necessities: If you arrive at college to find you have no hangers, alarm clock, laundry basket or mirror, you’ll be kicking yourself. Think about getting a desk lamp too for those late night essay crises.

Image credit: Toshiyuki Imai

Blu-tac? When you arrive at the Decoration Department your mind might start to wonder over the idea of what posters you will have on your 400-year-old college walls. Whether it’s Ikea’s three piece set of giant buttons or a world map to show everyone exactly where you travelled on your gap-yah, you will probably try to defy the rule that states “no blu-tac”. That’s OK, just as long as your bedder doesn’t tell on you.

Image credit: Romanlily

Don’t go overboard: If you start thinking about changing lamp shades or the curtains, you have gone too far.

Keep it light: When making the fifth trip from the third floor of the car park to your bedroom, you will be regretting the floor length mirror and the bonsai tree that had previously seemed so necessary. Remember you are only in this place for eight weeks at a time, and you might have to take everything home again at the end of term.

Oh, and don’t forget the bottle opener.