Girl Gone Authentic: Relationships and IKEA Furniture

Updated: Nov 23, 2019

If you ever want to test the strength of your relationship, try remodeling or renovating a room together. Better yet, make sure that remodel includes building a piece of IKEA furniture.

Our daughter (Elizabeth from previous blogs) just turned 13 a few days ago. The thing she requested for her birthday was that her room be remodeled/redecorated in a 1980s theme. This remodel included repairing damaged bedroom walls (how can one kid cause so much damage in less than four years?), repainting all of the walls in alternating colors (covering up darker paint on two of the walls), painting all of the floorboards (not easy when the carpet is already in place), putting up all new posters/decorations, repainting a large shelf to turn it into a dresser, and building a new desk and loft bed from IKEA.

The first step was to repaint the large IKEA shelf that I was repurposing as a dresser. The original shelf was pink, but Elizabeth wanted her furniture to be silver and black. This involved a couple of coats of silver spray paint and multiple trips to the store (who knew I’d need so much spray paint?). In my brilliance, I didn’t think to sand the shelf first, so my older daughter and I had to cover the whole thing in clear contact paper to keep the paint from rubbing off. It was time consuming, but not too stressful and the result was pretty good if I do say so myself.

I did the wall repairs/repainting last month over the Columbus Day weekend (I get that day off, so I knew I’d have three days to finish). I patched/filled in holes, and my older daughter helped me to paint the walls in the room and closet. I did the second coats on the walls. I sealed/painted the floorboards, and I painted her door (inside and outside the room – it was filthy!). This involved what seemed like 300 trips up and down a ladder, and with my fibromyalgia, it was no easy feat. I felt like I was going to fall apart by the time I was finished, but again, it wasn’t too mentally stressful.

Once the walls dried, my older daughter and I put up the posters. This was so fun, because I was a teenager in the 80s, and putting up these posters brought back a lot of memories. I also hung a bunch of white Christmas lights along the tops of her walls.

We put the furniture in position (we didn’t have the bed yet, so we put the existing bed in the spot where her new bed would go), I washed all of her bedding, and then we let her see the room. Elizabeth was so thrilled with her room. We told her it wasn’t quite done yet (new furniture and additional posters on the way), and we promised her that it would be 100% complete by her birthday in November.

Fast forward to this past weekend. It was another 3-day weekend, and Elizabeth was supposed to spend the whole weekend at her birth mom’s house (the PES from previous blogs). My older daughter dismantled/demolished the old bed, and David and I decided that we would build the new bed and desk on Monday since we both had the day off.

Elizabeth ended up coming home a day early, so my older daughter said that she would take Elizabeth somewhere on Monday so that we could build and position the furniture without Elizabeth being in the way.

The girls left on Monday around 12:30 p.m., and they would be gone at least 3 hours. David and I figured that would be PLENTY of time to build the furniture. He put the desk together in less than 15 minutes, and then we started on the bed. The bed our daughter selected was a loft-style bed, so that she could have her desk underneath. It would make her room seem bigger and would allow for more space when her friends come over.

Our first clue that this may be a challenge was the fact that the bed came from IKEA (haha). The second clue was that there were so many parts, the bed came in two boxes. Our final clue was the fact that Elizabeth’s room is not large, so we would have to do some creative maneuvering to build it in her room (building it outside of the room was not an option because we wouldn’t be able to fit it through the door).

We opened the boxes and David looked at the directions. For any of you who have not had the pleasure of building a piece of IKEA furniture, let me explain some things to you. First, the directions have no words. They are just pictures. Second, some of their furniture gives you a list of how many of each item you should have in the box(es). This item did not include the quantities, so we just had to hope for the best. Third, when you are building something big, with a lot of parts, the instructions are in a semi-large booklet with at least 20 pages. Finally, when there are lots of directions, IKEA has this enormously frustrating habit of not listing a step here and there, but then the item you were supposed to do “magically” appears on a step as already having been done. Usually, it’s something that you REALLY needed to do a few steps back because it’s next-to-impossible to do it later.

So, we get started. It started out easy enough, given the limited amount of space in the bedroom and the lack of words on the directions. David was doing the “heavy lifting” and I was assembling some small parts that were needed to hold the bed together.

Then, we got to the first major roadblock – putting the netting around the top of the bed. We would have left it off (we weren’t too afraid of a 13-year-old falling out of bed), but she has a habit of putting about 50 blankets on her bed, and I didn’t want to deal with them always being on the floor because she kicked them off in her sleep.

What. The. Fuck. It was NOT intuitive how to put the netting onto the metal frame. After doing it wrong more than once, and some cursing, we finally figured it out and got it properly installed.

Things went well for a few minutes and then roadblock #2 – putting the mattress support beams into the mesh that goes underneath the mattress. The opening was BARELY wide enough, and on top of that, you have to do some very weird maneuvering to get them inside of the mesh, without ripping said mesh, because of the “lip” on each side of the beam.

We FINALLY get that done, and then roadblock #3 – screwing the support beams into the bottom of the bed’s mattress area, which was actually toward the top of the bed since it’s a loft bed. You have to practically be a contortionist to get into a position where screwing in the bolts is even possible. Lots more cursing ensued, and eventually David got this part done. We get the bed back on its feet (we had to turn it over in this tiny-ass room to screw in the beams), and we proceeded to attach the ladder.

Now, remember when I said that IKEA has a frustrating habit of leaving out a step and then showing it later in another picture, even though you REALLY needed to do it previously? Well, this brings us to roadblock #4 – there are two small hook-like things that needed to be installed underneath the mattress mesh-and-support-beam portion of the bed, but we had already completely installed the mattress support stuff. There was NO WAY to put them on after-the-fact, so David had to partially remove the mattress support, after practically turning into a pretzel just to install it in the first place.

At this point, David is tossing “fucks” around like confetti. I am trying my best to keep the situation from getting completely out of hand, while consistently reminding myself that he was not cussing at me.

He finally gets the bed finished and it looks great. He yelled out, “Fuck IKEA in the eye!” and walked out of the room.

The wedding is still on, so we must have a strong relationship I figure if we can survive building IKEA furniture and end up on speaking terms, then we can handle anything!