If you live near an IKEA, there’s no doubt in my mind that you’ve at least spent one afternoon of your life wandering down its myriad of corridors and hallways, exploring its many living rooms and bedrooms. You’ve pondered what life would be like if this were your kitchen. You might have even pretended to wash a plate or two in the mock sink and checked out every single one of those cabinets with roll-out drawers. So smooth.
While the quality of the furniture offered there isn’t always up to muster, the pre-fab design IKEA provides is without a doubt iconic. Sure, there’s an element of build-it-yourself but those of you who are a part of the WordPress development crew ought to appreciate that.
With a hex key and illustrations-for-instructions in hand, you too can have the kitchen of your dreams. Just like if you have WordPress installed on your site’s server—you too can have the site you’ve always wanted.
The Out-Of-The-Box Design Model
IKEA walks this murky line between offering furniture that’s ready to use out-of-the-box and that which requires hours of intense physical labor to put together. I’m not going to lie, there have been times I’ve wished that I practiced yoga more regularly when trying to assemble a particularly intricate bookcase.
Even so, for the most part, IKEA furniture just requires putting together a few pegs and a few screws and you’re good to go. And that’s precisely its appeal. You have the design right in front of you—you know you’re building a dresser. But what you do with that dresser once you build it, is up to you. It might work great in your bedroom for holding clothes as intended. Or, you could custom paint that pine wood dresser with dragons and secret doors to create a child’s toy chest.
With WordPress, once you get the core installation on your site, what you do next is up to you. You can keep the basic Twenty-Fifteen theme and build an equally basic site on top of that. Or, you can build a custom theme from scratch. Both are valid approaches, and WordPress offers you the flexibility to do either.
Buy This Whole Kitchen, Just As It Appears Here
One thing I like about IKEA is that you can buy any of the model rooms you see displayed. Like, literally, you can buy every single thing you see displayed in that model kitchen, from the rug on the floor (and sometimes the flooring itself), to the refrigerator, to those oh-so-smoothly rolling drawers for pots and pans. Hell, you can even buy the pots and pans!
And that’s really cool if you don’t have the time or patience to micromanage a kitchen remodel. If you see a kitchen you like and have the funds in the bank, you can say, “Hey, I like all of this you’ve got going on here,” slap your credit card down on the counter, and take it all home with you to install. It makes what could be a super daunting task, easy.
So it goes with WordPress themes. Yes, you do have to do some work, but most of that’s in the selection. You have thousands of free and premium themes to choose from the official theme directory, on sites like Themeforest, and straight from premium developers. It might take you some time to find the right theme that offers the perfect combination of aesthetic and features you’re looking for. But once you do, the rest of the work is in the details. Add your logo, add your content, and make a few selections about what widgets go where and you’re done. Easy peasy.
You Probably Could Spend An Entire Day In The Lighting Section
IKEA is an experience. You either love it or hate it. Well, actually, you can love it and hate it at the same time. I love checking out all the possibilities of how to furnish and decorate my home, but I also hate it because people stroll through it like they’re auditioning for the next season of The Walking Dead.*
But I mostly love it because of the little details. The lighting section, for instance, is one of my favorites because there are just. So. Many. Choices. You’ll walk in there thinking you need a basic floor lamp and walk out with a disco ball light and a tabletop light shaped like what could best be described as an adorable ghost.
As fun as all of that can be, it’s easy to get lost in the details. Same goes with designing a WordPress site. You can get lost in tweaking this widget or that over and over again until you’ve lost sight of the big picture. At the end of the day, your objective should be to create a site that looks and functions well. It can be fun to experiment with all the different settings in the theme customizer but sometimes, a light is just a light.
Creativity Can Take You Places
I think one of the most important things IKEA offers is true inspiration. All of those model rooms give you a sense of what you can accomplish with seemingly sparse and bare components. The designs they come up with are often quite lovely, and unless you have an eye for such things, you wouldn’t even think to put that decorative wall curtain next to that TV unit.
When designing a website, your only limit is your creativity. You can accomplish anything if you have the vision. But even if you’re not all that creative, themes give you the opportunity to launch a totally attractive site with minimal effort. Just like those pre-fab kitchens you can buy. People will come to your house and see your gorgeous counters and cabinets and be like “How did you come up with this?” and you can just shrug your shoulders and smile.
Now I want to hear from you. Do you think my IKEA/WordPress comparison is valid? Do you enjoy the pre-fab options WordPress provides or would you rather do everything yourself? Sound off below!
*Seriously people, if you stop in the middle of the lighted-arrow clad walkway to have a chat, I will run my cart over your toes. This has been your final warning.
Image credits: IKEA