Apartment Therapy just ran a piece on their 9 Ultimate Cheap Chic Classics from IKEA and I decided I needed to chime in on my own 10th item. I don’t disagree with the items they are listing. After all, I have mentioned their number 1 item, the Stockholm Rand rug extensively before, I have used their #2 item, the Billy Bookcase in pretty much every space I have lived in and I am currently using a pair of their number 7 item, the Malm Dresser in my elder daughter’s bedroom. But I think the best bargain at IKEA these days – and one that is nowhere near as over exposed as the other nine – is the Tobias chair shown in our dining room above. Lately, I have noticed it popping up in some higher end places, so I think there are those out there who are agreeing with me.

At 79 dollars (or 265 Qatari Riyals), the price is excellent. In Japan, the chair is just over 15,000 Yen, so it’s about twice as expensive, but everything imported has about that same mark-up. I had never really given the Tobias any thought or attention until I moved to Doha, where IKEA plays an even bigger role in basic necessities than it did in Japan, and certainly than it ever did in the USA. I don’t think there is a single piece of IKEA anything at our beach house. When looking for chairs here to go with our Saarinen Tulip Table and Louis XV style chairs, they seemed like the perfect inexpensive placeholders until we found what we “really” wanted. Ironically, they have become a favorite item, being incredibly comfortable, easy to care for and slide effortlessly across the newly installed Madeline Weinrib dhurrie.


The flatweave/tulip table/Tobias chair combo is not a particularly new one, but it just works.


What has caught my eye lately is the places it has been popping up. I noticed them in the May issue of Elle Decor, in Ellen Rakieten’s Anne Coyle designed LA apartment. About as different as can be from her Chicago library – one of those all time favorite rooms of mine.


The larger room deserves a peek too, as it is making me continue to mourn the loss of the French chairs and desk I had scored.


Caught the smoky gray version of the Tobias in the portfolio of Michelle R. Smith when I was writing about her last week. There are also numerous other example all over the internet of it paired with farmhouse tables showing how it plays well and mixes well.


And they have recently launched a lilac version so I’ll be curious to see what folks do with that one. Girls room desk chair anyone?


What’s your favorite IKEA bargain?

Related Posts:
Dining Room Decision Made…Oval Saarinen Tulip Table

Dining Room Option Two…Inspiration from Angie Hranowsky
He Giveth…And He Taketh Away

Image credits: 1-2, me, 3. Elements of Style, 4-5. Elle Decor May 2014, photo credit: William Abranowicz, 6. Michelle R. Smith, 6. IKEA.