5 Tips to make your first IKEA trip not so sucky.

1. For Texans, walking into IKEA for the first time is like flashing back to past Halloweens, when hay field mazes were the trauma-that-tized their childhoods. Those mazes were frustrating and smelled like manure.  Similarly, IKEA is hopelessly confusing for pretty much everyone the first time around.... minus the manure. To ensure that your first IKEA experience is magical, walk through the entrance, not the exit, and take the first escalator you see up. You'll notice that everyone else is getting on the escalator, so you should too. This isn't one of those times you want to try to be rebellious and figure it out yourself; you need to just follow the crowd.  You know the phrase "There's nowhere but 'UP' from here"? Well that's IKEA. The magic starts from top to bottom. Inspiration and design on the top floor. The Warehouse grab it and put it in your basket just like every other store in America, is on the second floor. TOP to BOTTOM, don't try any other way.

2. You can't just start making out in one of their bedrooms. Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt can. But you can't.

3. Bring your kids if they are over the age of 12. All other ages, just go ahead and pay that broke college student down the street WAY too much money to watch them for you. If you try to bring the young-young-young'ns they'll try to "go" in one of the show room's bathrooms, get cranky before you make it half way through the store, or awkwardly (and loudly) point out all the other ethnicities that shop at IKEA they aren't used to seeing when you take them to the grocery store (unless, of course, you're ready to explain to your child and everyone watching, that what that lady is wearing is called a sari, not a bathrobe).

4. You'll be hungry when you're done shopping. So unless you're lactose or a vega-no-meat-uh-terian... go ahead and give in to the two dollar hot dog/pizza/drink combo thing they have right next to the exit. I'm telling you, you'll need that crappy hotdog to ensure that you have enough energy to drive home. I'd even top it all off with their one dollar ice cream cone.

5. Lastly, don't buy anything the first time. Plan your second trip right after your first, because the first will awe and overwhelm you and you won't be in your right mind to make any savvy decorating decisions.

Stacie Stine

Design Jamboree, Denton, Texas, United States