Saturday, July 25, 2015

16 things I like about the new IKEA Catalog 2016

The arrival of the new IKEA catalog is always an event, on IKEA Hackers at least. So when the online version went up, I browsed and bookmarked my favourites, way past bed time. This issue is especially fun with "moving" pictures - steam wafting up, water trickling down ... woohoo! There are still loads of little details to pore over - videos to play and extra bonuses to unlock - so this is my first impression of the IKEA Catalog 2016 and the stuff that caught my eye.

The 2016 catalog is all about food and and celebrates how food – and all the activity around it – brings people together. (Last year was the bedroom and bathroom.) In line with the food & cooking theme, the catalog opens with gorgeous spreads of kitchens. The one below with the gold stripped backsplash is definitely attention grabbing. The kitchens also showcase the versatility of the new SEKTION/ METOD system.

I'll start from the kitchen and dining sections and work my way through the catalog. Let's take a look. Here are my top 16 picks from the IKEA Catalog 2016.

#1 LISABO dining table  

Besides its curvy profile, the solid birch LISABO has an interesting back story. It all started with a funny looking dowel. A wedge dowel that completely changes how an IKEA table is assembled. It promises to cut down assembly time by up to 80%. That alone is worth celebrating!   

#2 MÖCKELBY table

The MÖCKELBY has traditional country good looks. Made from solid oak and it is pretty hefty looking. I think it will last forever. Sits 6 comfortably. 

#3 SINNERLIG range

The SINNERLIG range was one of the items I saw during my trip to Sweden and I totally fell in love with it. The use of cork as the base for this range is genius. Unlike some cheapo corkboard material, the SINNERLIG cork has a warm, natural feel. I can't wait for it to arrive in Fall.     

#4 RIMFORSA range

In the RIMFORSA, IKEA introduces another star material - the bamboo. (We will be seeing a lot more of bamboo, that's for sure). It combines beautifully with glass and steel. Hang up the RIMFORSA rail & accessories to free up your kitchen worktop for clutter free cooking. The RIMFORSA tablet stand may also mean the end to hacks like this.

#5 RISATORP cart

I met the RISATORP in person during my last trip to IKEA and was immediately taken by how attractive it is. It's a pretty cart to have around the kitchen for cooking essentials you want to keep close by. The baskets are also detachable. A friend also commented that it may be good for serving a super sized traditional English afternoon tea. 

#6 OLOFSTORP storage unit

I can see the OLOFSTORP working for small kitchens. As a breakfast bar, additional prep area or even a compact kitchen island. I can also foresee lots of people adding wheels to it and carting it around.

#7 New IKEA 365+

The IKEA 365+ range finally gets an update. It's not too fancy and very practical for daily use. I like it especially because of the use of cork as accents.

#8 JÄTTEVIKTIG candle holder

I like this purely for its curves and how it can be used for tealights or candles. 

#9 SÖTCITRON self-watering plant pot

The food theme extends to growing edibles. For inept (and forgetful) gardeners like me, a self-watering pot is a god-send. Fingers crossed, my herbs will not die on me now. 


The name BITTERGURKA is just too cute and seems to be a close cousin of the bittergourd. (Or a very angry Gurkha). That aside, the hanging planters are plain clever! It comes with a hook that lets you hang the pot from a rod. Simply add more pots for a vertical garden. The touch of bamboo makes it so pretty.


Moving away from the kitchen, after all, there is more to a home, let's take a look at other sections of the catalog. In the lighting department, I like the JOXTORP paper shades. It's origami-like and at $7, you can swap one out every month or two.

Besides that I am very happy to see that IKEA is all-in with LED lighting. More energy saving and bulbs that last longer. Yay!

#12 SVIRVEL work lamp

I find the SVIRVEL lamp irresistibly cute. It looks like a guy holding his oversized head or plugging his ears (depending on how you want to see it).   

#13 TSUJIG hanger

The branch like TSUJIG hanger is one of IKEA's better looking clothes hangers. You can build up rows of different heights for visual interest. I am not sure yet until I see this in person, but I think it has lots of hacking potential.

#14 NORDLI for the landing space

The NORDLI is not new but I like how it is used here to create a colourful and open landing space. If it is well-organized, a landing space becomes a display in itself.

#15 RÅGRUND bathroom range

The RÅGRUND bathroom range is made entirely from lacquered bamboo, a material that boasts the ability to withstand high humidity. It looks akin to the MOLGER but with more "texture"? I'd need to see it in person to confirm that. But that too tall towel chair over there, I definitely want one!

#16 YDDINGEN cabinets

And lastly, these streamlined tall bathroom cabinets will make any bathroom look neat and structured. I think they will hold loads of stuff and will make great lockers and landing space storage too. 

And that's my rundown of favourites. What about you? What's your favourite piece in the new IKEA Catalog 2016? Tell me in the comments section.  

Besides the products, there are lots of inspiring room sets to oooh and aaah over. Like this one.  

And this.

Another thing I noticed is that IKEA seems to have muted the colours -- going for cool whites, softer greys and blacks. You'd find fewer fire-engine red, green or cyan. Canary yellow is still in but only as an accent colour and where it does appear, it really does pop.  

Hop over here to view the IKEA Catalog 2016 (US version).

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

How about chalk "wallpaper"?

It was too hot to sleep, so I did this instead.

My chalkboard wall is turning to be my go-to place whenever I feel the need to "do something with my hands". Before this triangle "wallpaper", I had on a whimsical bird on a clothesline. But last night, I was in the mood for more geometry.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Hello chalkboard!

Just wanted to post an update on the red wall.

It's now a chalkboard (Nippon Satin Glo Crater Black).

Truth be told, I had a bit of painter's remorse the few days after the red wall was gone. The room felt a tad darker and I wasn't sure I had picked the right colour. And my furniture didn't seem to go with the new scheme anymore. (That red chair has to got to go. Am thinking how to reupholster it?)

But it has grown on me and I am looking forward to doodling and writing my favourite poems on it. Give me some time, the rest of the room will slowly shift shape to melt into this new black.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Bye Bye Red

After living with this red wall for 14 years, I feel a twinge of sadness as I say goodbye to it. After all, I lovingly painted it - solo - when I first moved in. Three coats in three days. On one wobbly ladder.

While I loved it (and still do), I am ready for a more understated colour now. Sign of maturity (or perhaps, old age)?

Tomorrow, it's a new colour. And a new chapter.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Join me at StarLIVE on Dec 20th

This is the reason I have been running around like a headless chicken the past week and I foresee the next 9 days. It's been challenging preparing the presentation for this talk (should I say this or that? tell this joke or not at all?) and trying out a few hacks to see which will work.

I will be sharing the story of IKEAhackers and there will be 2 hack demos at the end too. It should be fun, if you like to kick off your weekend listening to the whirr of drills and firing a glue gun.

If you are available, do come and join me at Menara Star, Petaling Jaya. Admission is free but registration required. Here's a itty bitty write-up on it. See you there!

Date: Dec 20
Time: 10.30-11.30am
Venue: Menara Star, 15 Jalan 16/11, Petaling Jaya

To book your seat, email with your name, NRIC number, phone number and email.

All in all ... I am thankful for this opportunity to share about IKEAhackers. A great way to end the year before I flop down exhausted for my Christmas break. (And I haven't even started on Christmas gift shopping! Argh)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Learning to speak ...

Outside of this blog, I don't talk much about my work and what I do on IKEAhackers. So when my church asked me to share a bit of my story to a group of young working adults, I thought I should step up and share the things I've learnt over the years.

Public speaking has always been a struggle for me, maybe because I prefer to write than speak and I am naturally a shy person. But there are days one just has to thicken the face and do the deed. I am glad I did. I am not sure what the audience took home but I personally learnt a lot from the experience as well as from the other speakers in the conference.

Here's what I learnt today:
1. Be clear on the one thing you want to hit home. If you manage to deliver that, then it's a job well done.
2. Share the good. And the bad. It's okay to be vulnerable. They don't think any less of you after that.
3. Look at the smiling faces and nodding heads. For a beginner speaker, a little instant validation is helpful and keeps your energy up.
4. After the talk, review what worked and what did not. And don't be too hard on yourself if you think you missed some important points or did not deliver the material well. There will always be another opportunity.

My next one is in 2 weeks. No time to rest on my Poang.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Trip update Part 3: Let's talk

Read Part 1 here.
Read Part 2 here.

Our last day was spent at the IKEA Concept Centre in Delft. It is an actual IKEA store with learning and research spliced in. In here, IKEA studies customers' interactions with their products, floor displays and information. They conduct experiments to better the flow, engage the customer and look into every small detail such as the floor directory to help customers find their way through the store.

For the uninitiated, the first visit to IKEA can be harrowing - the crowd, the maze, the self-service-dunno-how. My first time, I felt sucked into a blackhole with no way out unless I obediently followed the arrows. Now 10,000 trips later, I have the floor plan and shortcuts etched on my palm (till IKEA Malaysia smartly went and renovated their store, just to throw me off!)

The good news is, IKEA works tirelessly to improve the customer's journey through the store. Denis, the very animated store manager of IKEA Delft, took us on a tour and explained the ins and outs of the journey.