Shopping for your home—be that a dorm room, studio apartment or multi-story family abode—can be an overwhelming experience. You want it to feel like you, but don’t want to spend a fortune (or every minute of your spare time) decorating. So it’s no wonder that for those of us who live within driving distance—or ferrying distance—of an IKEA, the affordable Swedish store can seem like a one-stop-shop solution.
But let’s face it: after a while, all that fiberboard can feel a little unoriginal (and don’t even get me started on those daunting assembly instructions). Plus, with their less-than-user-friendly online shopping experience, you’ll be schlepping it out to the store every time you need a new piece. But not to fear! There’s plenty out there beyond the big box store. They may not serve meatballs, but they do boast an impressive array of goods that you won’t recognize from all of your friends’ living rooms.