Take Advantage Of The IKEA Effect To Be More Satisfied With Your Stuff

Take Advantage Of The IKEA Effect To Be More Satisfied With Your Stuff

Most furniture that you get from IKEA needs to be assembled with your own two hands. Which can mean you feel a sense of accomplishment in addition to getting a new piece of furniture. Try focusing on buying or making stuff yourself to build more satisfaction with your life.

As life blog Riskology explains, the “IKEA Effect” occurs whenever we value something more because we made it ourselves. This can cut both ways — like the example the blog gives of someone trying to sell their home for far more than it’s worth because they built it themselves — but it can also be used positively. By buying things you have to build yourself, or just making things from scratch, you can feel more satisfied and accomplished:

When it’s in a box, it’s just a pile of parts. But once you assemble it, it’s your pile of parts! That furniture now represents more than just a chair, a box, or a 17-piece drawer organiser with specialty hinges. It represents your time, your attention, and your skill in creation.

This concept extends to more than just furniture. We can develop emotional attachment to anything that we work in including building computers, working on cars, or assembling store-bought furniture. Even if you can’t buy something that requires assembly, customising it can help make it feel like it’s yours, which leads to less dissatisfaction. And the less dissatisfied you are with your stuff, the less likely you are to go buy more of it.

Ikea Effect: The Science Of Labour, Love, And Crappy Furniture [Riskology via Rockstar Finance]
Photo by Robert Couse-Baker.


  • IKEA stuff is usually really excellent HOWever so to is the right used vintage piece of furniture (if your tastes can extend to vintage). Vintage stuff might need a little repair here and there and I find the “hunt” for it satisfying too. Downside (of course) is that vintage can be expensive…
    My budget most often extends to recent second hand (newer and less expensive than vintage). I have IKEA as well.

  • I buy power tools to make storage in my shed for my power tools, then I have to buy other power tools to make storage for the second lot. People ask me what kind of woodwork Ido, I tell them I just collect power tools. One day I hope to actually make something other than benches and storage for my tools, but I’m getting a fair amount of satsifaction out of what I’m doing now.

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