Shopping IKEA and Ballard Designs

Recently I took a shopping trip to IKEA in Atlanta and to the Ballard Design Outlet in Alpharetta.  Today, I’m taking you along with me.  These stores are very different.  It’s hard to believe IKEA was here for several years before I ever visited.  I had this idea in my head that it was all super modern furniture…far from the truth.  IKEA carries a lot more than just furniture.

I can see why folks plan day trips and drive hours to get here.  The prices are great, the store is gigantic and there’s so much to see.  It’s an experience for sure.  Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s so much fun to just look.  I guess you can tell I’m hooked on this place now.

You can click on any photo to enlarge it.  Or, click twice to REALLY enlarge.  Don’t forget to click on the back arrow to return to the original post.

Let’s start our shopping in IKEA.  IKEA has a lot of areas set up as “rooms” so you can sort of see how a room might look with their furnishings.  This would be great for a super compact apartment.

This light always grabs my attention when I’m shopping in IKEA. That’s not a real window behind the light…just a mural/scene they have for the space.

I bought a couple of the floral pillows last year for the swing on the porch, which reminds me…I need to put them back out soon.

I love this wall…such an amazing impact.  You know why I think it’s so fabulous?  I think it’s because most of the pics are really upclose.  The portraits fill the frame.  Of course, the white frames and matting really pop off the red wall.  A lot of the photos have touches of red in them, as well.  Very dramatic.

Look how everything really pops off these black Billy bookcases.  I have these in white HERE in the office.

Love this!

Pretty mercury glass candlesticks…

A kitchen vignette…  Excuse the angles of some of the pics.  I was there on a weekend so there were people shopping everywhere.  I couldn’t always get the greatest views/angles.  On a recent Sunday visit when I stopped by for some additional baskets for the closet Expedit, there were sooooo many folks in this store, I seriously wondered if they had exceeded the capacity allowed by fire codes.  I’m NOT joking.  It was nuts!

More Billy bookcases in a different color.  I think this color  is called birch.

I love the Expedit in this dramatic, shiny red color.  Would be great in a playroom.  You can even attach doors to an Expedit…pretty cool.

Love the beadboard back and furniture feet on these shelves.

Another kitchen…

A few table settings…


Washer and Dryer for those compact laundry spaces…

Another kitchen…how do you like the red counter?

Another table setting…

IKEA is SO big, they have arrows on the walkways for you to follow so you don’t get lost or turned around.  IKEA is like a maze that seems to go on forever.

More Billy Bookcases…

Fun coat/book-bag hangers.  That’s a book-bag hanging on the doggy tail on the far left.

An office vignette…

The other side of the above office.  I have those same magazine holders on the bottom shelf of my Expedit, HERE.

IKEA Shopping

I paid around $4.50 for each of the sheer panels I have on my screened-in porch, HERE.  These caught my eye because they were only $4.99 per pair!  That’s even less than what I paid at Wally World.  They were sort of a mesh fabric, perfect for a porch!

So many things to see…

Those are candles there on the right.  They had them in lots of different fragrances.

Ballard Designs:
I stopped by Ballard Designs in Alpharetta, Georgia recently.  All these pics were taken with my cell phone since I didn’t have my camera with me.

Just inside the front door I saw this.  Ummm, where have I seen this before?  Oh, I remember!

It was in the craft room when I toured the Southern Living Ideahouse in Senoia, Georgia.  You can take the tour HERE.  See it there tucked under the craft table?

It would make a great side table beside a chair or even an extra seat as they have it in the craft room above.

This is where I bought the bulletin board that’s in my home office HERE.

Check out this tray table…

Here’s a close up of it.  This would be a fun project to make, wouldn’t it?

Globes/shades in a mercury glass style…



A sofa in a traditional style with a modern twist on the stain color.

Love the fabric on this chair…makes me think beach!

Hope you enjoyed this little shopping excursion. See anything that caught your eye?

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  1. Miss Kitty says

    Thank you so very much for this tour! I see so many bloggers getting neat things from Ikea and Ballard's that it is great to see the actual stores. I did not realize there was an Ikea in Atlanta…I should take a field trip there…the prices looked great in your photos.

  2. I love Ikea. It's about an hour drive for us.
    So we don't visit often.

  3. Thanks for the fun shopping excursion, Susan! I've only been to IKEA once and it was just overwhelming. I was amazed at the prices. Sadly, I don't have one nearby… although maybe that's actually a good thing!

  4. I just found out there is a Ballard's Outlet about an hour from here and I can't wait to go. I love that yardstick tv tray. Very cute!

  5. Thanks Susan. I live in Canada and although we have an Ikea and I love to shop there since it's 10 minutes away, there have been several places you've taken us that I wish I had here in Calgary. Guess I'll have to continue to live vicariously through you 🙂 LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog.

  6. {oc cottage} says

    darn the luck! we don't have an Ikea close by…or a Ballard Outlet…oh, man…it's probably a good thing too…all that cuteness! {but if my dryer was that small…i'd cry! ;}

    m ^..^

  7. miss flibbertigibbet says

    Oh my….our IKEA is 4hrs away but I feel a need for a road trip….Love all those pics!

  8. I love Ballard Designs and have been looking online at that tray table but didn't want to pay the 89.99 price tag. Was it cheaper there or did you look at the price tag? One day I hope to go to IKEA and shop. I have been to the Ballard Outlet and loved it!!! Wish I lived closer to Alpharetta!

  9. Amy@eatsleepdecorate says

    Did you buy anything? I am always anxious to hear about the bargains!

  10. Happy Runner Girl says

    There is a new IKEA in Denver and I went once. It was so overwhelming and all my senses were over stimulated HA! I LOVED IT!

  11. Susan BetweenNapsOnThePorch says

    I don't remember the price on the yard stick table now, but I do remember looking and thinking it was pretty high. The prices in the two Ballard Outlets here varies greatly. Sometimes the prices are not much less than what you find online…then sometimes they are a good bit better. The outlets sometimes carry damaged stuff and some of it is in terrible condition…not sure who would buy it. I'm always shocked how high the prices are on some of the really badly damaged pieces. But a lot of the pieces do appear to be okay and are reduced a small amount. I get sticker shock in Ballard Designs normally…prices are usually waaaaay more than I'm willing to pay. So the outlet prices are usually still higher than I like. But you do get a bargain once in a while, like the bottle tree I bought for $60 that was originally well over $200. It went down to $20 about two weeks later! The bee pillow in my office was $25 as I recall and it has been selling for $49 online. So there are some good deals, but it's all about timing and luck. The bee pillows I saw in the outlet on this recent trip were $35…$10 higher than what I paid.

  12. Susan BetweenNapsOnThePorch says

    Amy, I ended up buying the PJAS baskets for the Expedit and some of their white wood hangers. I'm gradually replacing all the wire hangers in my closet with the wood ones. There are definitely some great bargains in IKEA. Oh, I also bought two huge cutting boards as gifts for friends.

  13. Anonymous says

    My husband and I just love IKEA! We have the Expedit bookshelves (several, actually, and just recently bought a dining room table and chairs. They have awesome tee towels for 79 cents that are fantastic. I've used them for napkins and placemats. Kathy

  14. Dang I wish we had these stores close to us! THanks for sharing! {HUGS} Clydia

  15. Thanks for taking us along shopping! I wish we had an IKEA nearby….I have only been to one once while on vacation.

  16. Happy Cottage Quilter says

    I LOVE IKEA!! So much inspiration! I need to get back down there, as the last time I was there it was still the holidays ;-D Everything we have bought there is sturdy and well made. Did you know the EKTORP easy chairs are made in the USA! YAY!!!! I love that you can change the slip covers. I told my hubby IKEA is the Disney land of retail 🙂

    Jocelyn @

  17. Susan BetweenNapsOnThePorch says

    Jocelyn, that's such a good way to put it. It really does feel like the Disney Land of retail because it's so big and just plain fun to shop in.

  18. Tutti Chic says

    love love love Ikea & ballard design so much! lol-I blogged about an anthropologie & wiliiams sonom shopping trip in boston monday…how did you guess that ikea was on my list this weekend?! thanks for the previeW 🙂 chris

  19. Linda/patchwork says

    I haven't been to IKEA for quite a while. Your post tempts me to go back.
    They do have some good prices.
    Thanks for the tours.

  20. Miss Char says

    Well as one who was just at an IKEA (Chicago) over the weekend I can feel your pain about the crowds of people. Normally I don't go into IKEA on the weekend for fear of having to wrestle some rude person to the ground but this weekend I didn't have a choice.

    I agree that there are always bargains and fabulous ideas to be had for any shopping who can stop and visualize for a minute. Love your tour Susan and it sounds like the Ballard Outlet is much like the Pottery Barn one, prices are still high and who would pay money for the really damaged stuff.

    Thanks for sharing your shopping trip.

  21. Susan I only Wish we had an IKEA and Ballard Outlet near me in Kansas City)! So many fun items and great bargains!

    Please do come over to visit, I have a New Giveaway from Fresh Produce I think you will love!

    Art by Karena

  22. Kimbo Bimbo says

    I puffy heart Ikea. Did you eat lunch? Best deal in town.. 2 hot dogs, chips and a drink for $2 Plus the free child care makes it sooo easy to go! (My kids love it there as much as I do)

    The only problem I have is that I can NEVER go without dropping at least 100$. We are driving distance to TWO Ikeas and it takes a lot of will power to not go!

  23. Phyllis@Around the House says

    Loved the shopping trip…so much fun to see all the wonderful things…such a lot of creative ideas in one place…stop by and see Tina's new blog post on my sidebar…she has been missing seeing Max there…phyllis

  24. laxsupermom says

    I wish we had an Ikea near us. Just about every time we visit a city with one, I force my husband to go. Love those dog tail hooks – perfect whimsical touch for a mud room. Thanks for taking us shopping with you.

  25. Michele @ The Nest at Finch Rest says

    Sure DID!

    Ikea is about 3 hours away from me and I haven't been there in ages. I laugh remembering the first time I was ever in one was really early in my courting stage with my husband – we made a day of it b/c he was needed to take back something to finish a bookcase – two lefts inside a right and left was in the box, or something like that. We were there for HOURS. FUN!!!

    When we visiting our California daughter we took her to Ikea out there to furnish her little place a little better, so I have been to two now………….and there is a new one in Cinci now that is about 3 hours away and I hope to get down there soon to visit it as well.

    As for Ballard I have been catalogue customer of theirs for years, my very favorite.

    This was an awesome post- esp for those who have never been to Ikea, seriously it is a day's worth of fun.

    Two things I have learned: ALWAYS get their Swedish Meatballs in their cafeteria and stock up on their milk chocolate bars, they are really cheap and the best milk chocolate EVER.

  26. Thank you for the tour! I don't live near either store so it was great to see inside.

  27. Thanks a million for the tour, Susan. The nearest Ikea is 250 miles from me so I'm sure when I'll ever get there.

    I'm so used to your gorgeous tablescapes, though, that the ones at Ikea were a distinct letdown, hardly worthy of the name and certainly not up to the BNOTP standard!

  28. I was just at IKEA-Round Rock, Texas yesterday! I love that store…always something! I picked up a "last chance" deal on a pretty glass serving bowl…$2.99!! Who can beat that? And, like another commenter, I always stock-up on a few Milk Chocolate bars too!

  29. Susan BetweenNapsOnThePorch says

    250 miles is a good jog, for sure. Ahh, thanks Junie…appreciate those sweet words!♥

  30. Susan BetweenNapsOnThePorch says

    Wow, I need to look for those deals…good going! I bought the dark chocolate on one trip…I didn't see the Milk Chocoate. Will definitely look for those next time. YUM!

  31. Susan BetweenNapsOnThePorch says

    Too funny! Wish IKEA had been around when we were just moving into our first apartment in married student housing. Billy bookcases would have been a lot better than our bricks and boards. 😉 I bought the dark chocolate one trip and it's good. I'll try the milk chocolate next time. Swiss chocolate…can't beat it!

  32. Susan BetweenNapsOnThePorch says

    Come to Atlanta Mary and we'll go shopping! 🙂

  33. Susan BetweenNapsOnThePorch says

    They were adorable! You're so right…be awesome in a mud room!

  34. Susan BetweenNapsOnThePorch says

    Love Miss Tina. The neck pillow photo cracked me up!

  35. Susan BetweenNapsOnThePorch says

    Yup, I think I'll try to avoid a Saturday or Sunday like the plagued from now on. I think Sunday is worse than Saturday. I really, seriously wonder if the fire dept would have shut them down. No way all those folks could have gotten out of that building, through that maze of paths if a fire broke out. Why do I think of stuff like that? lol It's the worry wart in me coming out.

  36. Nellie's Cozy place says

    Hi Susan,
    that same light with the daisy look is a fav of mine and hubbies, and if I thought it would
    look good with the furnishings in my house, it would be hanging in my dining room right now. lol

    Ikea is a very fun place to visit, my problem is…….most of the stuff is not in colors that
    work for me…………poo!! However they do work for my daughter and she has alot of really
    neat stuff she has gotten there. I love the Ballard catalog too, such pretty things.
    Thanks for sharing this nifty post.
    blessings, Nellie

  37. thought you might like to see the Ikea lamp in real-life action

    thanks for the virtual tour!!

    (sorry I can't seem to make that a hyper-link :-/ )

  38. Oh how I love Ballard! I would be in huge trouble if there was one near me. I just bought and hung some curtains I had been wanting for months. Still need to take a pic and post. Also I need to make a trip to IKEA. It is about an hour away, not too bad but too far to go with the kiddos so I just need to plan ahead! I love their prices!!!

  39. Okay, you've convinced me to take a drive! I love that birch color on the Billy bookcases! The black is sharp, too.

    I would LOVE to put white sheers in the Gazebo House & now I think I shall.
    Thanks for all the great tips.


    p.s. I bought a little point & shoot camera to keep in my car/purse just for such trips but I think your phone did a pretty good job!

  40. Sanna - My Blueberry House says

    Hi Susan,

    Looking at your pictures, what amazes me is that IKEA really look the same way, inside and out, no matter what country. Blue and yellow like the Swedish flag, you sure recognize the building from a distance. The weekends are very crowded. Better to go early on a week day if you can. I´m planning a trip on Sunday and although it´s only 20 minutes from home I don´t visit very often. One thing is for sure, I haven´t yet accomplished to walk out empty handed. LOL!


  41. The French Hutch says

    I keep hearing about Ikea and sure wish we had one nearby. I've been to the Ballard's in Atlanta and hope to get to Ikea there. I enjoyed the eye candy there, thanks for the store tour.

    The French Hutch

  42. Susan, you hit it on the head about shopping on Sat or Sun. Ugh!! A million people and two million crying children. Kids wig out with all the stimulation.
    I started going Tuesday through Thursday and it was wonderful…quiet, room to meander, to think, to double back without tripping on a stroller.
    Ikea is such a gift to us here in ATL.

  43. When we lived in Germany in 1985, Ikea was right down the road. We Army wives would pile into somebody's mini-van and field trip to the I. I bought a Billy bookcase then which is still in perfect shape doing book duty in my quilting room.
    Last year, Ikea featured Billy with add-on doors.Perfect for holding my fabric…there are now 5 Billys in my sewing room and I love them more every day!

  44. Gloria (The Little Red House with the White Porch) says

    I always love when you take us shopping, Susan!

  45. Susan BetweenNapsOnThePorch says

    Sanna, that's so interesting to know…that it looks the same everywhere. Have fun on Sunday! 🙂

  46. Susan BetweenNapsOnThePorch says

    I love the Billy with the doors, too. What a great idea for a sewing room! You just can't beat the price for so much storage.

  47. Susan BetweenNapsOnThePorch says

    Thanks, Gloria!

  48. It's my first time to link up and I'm so excited to see all these wonderful projects! I'm a new follower too! Thank you for hosting!!

  49. Oh, Susan that was wonderful. Almost better than being there. I've been a Ballard catalog shopper for years and years. Like you I'm impressed with the variety and prices of IKEA.
    Thank you so much for the tour,

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