Good news for residents of Los Angeles: the time you’ll have to spend in traffic to get to an IKEA is about to go down. On October 27, IKEA announced their intention to open two new Planning Studios in the Los Angeles, California, area in spring 2022. One will be located in Long Beach and the other in Arcadia. They will be IKEA's 53rd and 54th locations in the U.S.
Before IKEA lovers get too excited about the prospect of strolling the aisles and spotting a seasonal steal, remember that you can’t actually buy anything at a Planning Studio. Rather than shopping for affordable decor items as you do at one of IKEA's warehouse-sized stores, at a Planning Studio customers are able to have consultations with design specialists for guidance on the kinds of projects that require more advance planning, like kitchens renovations, bedroom design, and bathroom remodeling. No more wandering the store to find someone help you determine the best storage solution that meets your needs, or flipping through the catalogue (RIP) wondering "does that appliance fit in that cabinet?"—you can have a one-on-one scheduled meeting with a specialist.
Unlike the massive warehouse-sized stores that dot the outskirts of major major areas, the Planning Studios are small enough they can be located in city centers. The New York City Planning Studio, opened in April 2019, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan is one-twentieth of the size of the Brooklyn IKEA store. The IKEA Long Beach location, which will be in the Long Beach Towne Center at 7611 Carson Boulevard, will be even smaller: at 8,000 square feet, it will be about one-fiftieth of the size of an IKEA store. As announced November 18, the Arcadia location will be in the Westfield Santa Anita Shopping Mall at 400 S. Baldwin Avenue, with just more than 9,000 square feet of space.
For several years now, IKEA has been making moves to establish itself in the heart of metro areas, aiming to reach more city dwellers who can’t reach an IKEA store in the suburbs or outskirts of their city. The opening of the New York Planning Studio, the first of its kind in the U.S., marked the start of the company’s three-year push to open 30 locations around the globe of this kind of store. The opening of the two Planning Studios in LA brings IKEA two steps closer to reaching that goal.
Planning Studios aren’t the only way the companies are trying to enter city centers. In early 2021, the company opened its first U.S. “mini store,” about one-third of the size of a usual store, in Queens, New York.
Expanding into city centers helps the company expand their reach, becoming accessible to city dwellers who rely on public transportation or don’t have access to a car. In Los Angeles, a central location fights another deterrent to a trip to IKEA: traffic. “Understanding that many L.A.-area residents are often frustrated by being stuck in traffic, we identified geographic areas in the market that are beyond a 30-minute drive from existing stores and where affinity to IKEA is extremely high,” said Janet McGowan, Area Vice President, IKEA U.S., in a press release.
Like the New York Planning Studio, the Los Angeles locations will focus on small space living and smart home solutions. Items purchased as a part of your design consultation will be tracked by the IKEA team to make sure that they make it to your home or another point of delivery.
Even if you aren't in the New York or Los Angeles area, you can still make the most of IKEA's planning services by using their free design software.