I came across a most scathing commentary about IKEA furniture by Megan McArdle, billed by The Atlantic as “the world’s tallest female econoblogger.“

Here’s a snippet: “It is not much of an exaggeration to say that my current life’s ambition is never again to spend four hours messing around with an allen wrench and seventeen feet of badly veneered particleboard. I hate the way Ikea furniture looks, its tendency to fall apart, and most of all, the homogenization of our national homes.” (Read the entire blog.)

I’m not a big fan of shopping at IKEA, but that’s mainly because there aren’t enough Swedish meatballs on earth to entice me to endure the parking, crowds and other hassles that come with a trip to one of the company’s stores. My wife, however, has purchased several pieces of furniture for our children’s bedrooms that we assembled with ease and has held up quite well to date.

While I am not an expert on IKEA’s corporate stewardship, I admire the fact that IKEA has succeeded where so many other furniture retailers and manufacturers have failed. How ironic is it that at the same time household furniture names like Thomasville, Broyhill and Drexel Heritage have moved production offshore, IKEA has opened an 800,000-square-foot state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Virginia?

IKEA’s sleek contemporary designs may not suit everyone’s tastes, but the company should be paid its due for being a trendsetter in fashionable looks for ready-to-assemble furniture and an innovator as well, such as its pioneer use of lightweight panels in furniture construction.

What McArdle labels cheap is considered value-priced by millions of satisfied customers around the globe. This value is largely made possible by IKEA’s use of woodworking technology to its fullest potential.

As much as most of us would love to have custom solid wood furniture in our homes, often times furniture assembled with an Allen wrench will have to do for us to live within our means.

Anyone care to jump into the conversation?

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