This story was originally published on realsimple.com
Visit any twenty-something’s apartment and you’re bound to find a LACK coffee or side table, a BILLY bookshelf, and a MALM bed or dresser (or both). The Swedish retailer is ubiquitous for affordable (and stylish) décor finds that can furnish any starter apartment or home, so no one has to be stuck with his or her parents’ moldy sofa from the 80s. But, when exactly is the right time to upgrade your IKEA furniture for some “investment” pieces? Lending site Earnest says that most people start to “break up” with their well-worn IKEA furniture at age 34.
The experts at Earnest analyzed anonymous responses from tens of thousands of its users to come up with the data. They found that people shop the most at IKEA during their mid-20s and mid-30s, with the peak age for customers at 24. IKEA is the only retailer on the Earnest’s list to have a peak customer age under 30. So where do people shop after that? The lender’s users move towards retailers like Bed Bath & Beyond, Crate & Barrel, Container Store, West Elm, Williams-Sonoma, and CB2 in their 30s—which makes sense as people tend to be making more money and settling into their careers by then, meaning they’re more likely to be financially capable of shopping at stores with slightly higher price points. Interestingly, the analysts discovered that as people tend to get older, they also tend to shop more at home improvement stores, like Lowes and Home Depot—possibly because they start to become homeowners.
While looking at the peak age for IKEA customers is interesting (but, admittedly, not all that surprising given it’s budget-friendly price points), that doesn’t necessarily mean anyone over the age of 30 is forbidden to set foot in an IKEA store. The retailer has been introducing more upscale limited-edition, artist-designed pieces in recent years—and we can’t forget the retailer’s affordable customization options for kitchens and bathrooms. So while you might want to get rid of that futon you’ve had since you graduated college, it’s okay to mix and match IKEA pieces with some higher-end furniture from places like West Elm or Restoration Hardware.