We paid a couple $1,000 to build IKEA furniture together. Here’s how it went.

The FinanceBuzz team wanted to find out if it was worth it to splurge on IKEA delivery and assembly. According to our DIY Duo, the answer is complicated.

IKEA branch on a warehouse in Nuremberg
Updated May 13, 2024
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What we did

  • A few months ago, we put out a job listing for a couple willing to build an entire IKEA bedroom set together.
  • We wanted to find out if savings at the furniture chain were worth the potential relationship damage.
  • In exchange for the experiment and documenting the “hidden costs” of saving at IKEA, the selected couple would receive $1,000, plus $1,000 toward the cost of a bedroom set of their choosing. 
  • After receiving more than 4,500 applications from couples, we selected our DIY Duo and they worked through the experiment. These are their results.
In this article

Meet our DIY Duo

After reviewing thousands of applications, we selected Seth Willard and Christine Ziegler of Valdosta, GA.

Christine and Seth sitting on their bed. Their two dogs are laying between them.

After meeting in college, Seth and Christine have been together for more than seven years, and they’re currently planning their wedding. Seth works in logistics and Christine is a teacher.

The newly engaged couple bought a house in 2020 for themselves and their two dogs, and they’ve been slowly renovating it ever since. But as with any renovation, some projects take priority over others. In Seth and Christine’s case, furniture came last on the list. The couple had been sharing Christine’s childhood bedroom suite and were in desperate need of an upgrade to a king-sized bed that could fit the whole family (dogs included).

Seth and Christine told us that $1,000 would go a long way for a couple already spent trying to fix up a house and plan a wedding at the same time. Plus, their dogs could use some more space on the bed. We agreed and selected them as our official IKEA DIY Duo.

So what was the process like? We asked them to report back on every step of the journey. Here are their results:

The shopping process

How did you decide what to buy?

“Once you start deciding to change your bed size, everything is up for debate. We only wanted a new bigger bed, but why not also get a matching dresser? And only one of us has a side table, so let’s get that taken care of too.

We have spent a lot of time walking through IKEA. Not always shopping, but just enjoying time together and talking about how each of the rooms could be in our future house — or how some of them definitely aren’t what we are looking for.

IKEA was the best choice for us because it made everything pretty affordable. You just have to put it together yourself.

We found the perfect set for us: a pretty modern and simplistic black/brown king-size bedroom suite with a bed, dresser, nightstands, and a new mattress. Then we were ready to get building.”

Anything you’d change about the shopping process?

“The only thing we’d change is to get everything delivered if you can. We’re a newly engaged couple in our twenties. We don’t have a mom van or big-boy truck, so getting all the furniture home was definitely the hardest part. Not to mention two busy schedules in the spring and traveling to an IKEA that’s not very close.

The only day that we could possibly make this work was one that also forecasted a flood. And the only method of transporting an 83-inch by 31-inch box (yes, we have it memorized) was in Christine’s dad’s truck. So we ordered online, had it brought out to the car, and started wrapping it in all the tarps and strings possible.

Remember how I said this was the worst part? That’s because no one has written instructions for when you’re packing a truck to drive home through a Noah’s Ark-level downpour.”

Save the headache and opt for delivery.

The building process

For the most part, our duo reported that building the set was relatively easy, with one major exception: the dresser. The dresser alone took almost three hours to build, and the couple reported rising tensions during the process.

While building the furniture, we asked them to keep track of the number of arguments they got into and the current level of tension they felt with their partners.

Is it worth paying extra for delivery and assembly?

“If you’re close enough to an IKEA to have the dresser (with six drawers, unassembled) put together by someone for under $100, we highly recommend that. None of the other pieces are worth paying for, but that dresser took nearly three hours.”

Final thoughts from our DIY Duo

We asked our DIY Duo if they had any advice they could give to other couples brave enough to take on their own IKEA sets.

Any tips for keeping your cool with your partner?

Christine: “If you need a moment of silence to yourself, just take it. Come back later when he doesn’t care that you think the piece of particle board needs to be rotated so that it matches the diagram rather than any random way he says it might line up.

Take deep breaths and when he realizes you were right, you don’t have to say ‘I told you so.’ I’m still learning that one. Apparently my face says it before my mouth does.”

Still planning on getting married?

“We’re still getting married! The wedding is about one year from now. We’re also planning on continuing to remodel our bedroom — mostly just paint and maybe some shelves. We look forward to how this furniture will serve our family, and all the Saturday mornings we’ll spend drinking coffee in the king-size bed with the whole fam.”

Responses were lightly edited for clarity and concision.

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