Perhaps it's because I first saw the ad in the middle of the night (new baby Nora is a nightowl) and I was grumpy, but a recent commercial for Ikea really annoyed me (at least as much as the recent Restoration Hardware catalog). The commercial showed a number of rooms decorated in the Ikea style (which includes many crappy knock-offs styled after antiques) and the tagline at the end: Ikea--Life Improvement Store.
What about Ikea improves anyone's life? Okay, so it's cheap and convenient and in some small way that may be a modest improvement over 1970s paisley furniture from Goodwill. But let's really think about how a chair or a sofa from Ikea improves your life. Firstly, it's cheaply made using eco-irresponsible materials. True, that may not impact you right now, but let's face it, it will eventually. Secondly, you have to assemble it. If you have ever assembled any piece of mass-produced furniture, you already know that this process will NOT improve anything about your life (in fact, it'll ruin your weekend, most likely). Thirdly, once you bought it, it's monetary value is precisely zilch. Have you ever seen Ikea furniture at a garage sale? A quick search on Columbus, Ohio's Craig's List found a couple hundred Ikea objects for sale, mostly at a teeny tiny fraction of their original price. Of course, the reality is, your Ikea purchase won't last long enough to make it to a garage sale, unless you're planning one for next weekend. The stuff is so cheap that as soon as you assemble your new chair, you should probably immediately start planning on replacing it.
Am I being harsh? You betcha. We in the antiques industry need to set our sights on the likes of Ikea...they are the ones attracting potential young collectors (or simply young folks interested in classic style). We simply have to talk louder and in one voice about antiques in terms of their green-ness, quality, style, retained value, etc. etc. If we don't start acting boldly and immediately, we are in trouble.