The Age Most People Stop Buying IKEA Furniture

IKEA furniture is a ubiquitous feature of the 20-something’s apartment. But at some point, IKEA furniture tends to get replaced with furniture from more upscale, “adult” stores—but when? Earnest, a student loan startup, put together some data on when people age out of their IKEA shopping habits, and found that it happens at about 34 years old, per Popular Mechanics.

Earnest's data comes from tens of thousands of loan applicants who responded to their survey. The company compared the ages of people who turn first to IKEA for their furniture needs to those who go to Lowe’s, Crate & Barrel, and other stores. IKEA is the only store whose peak customer age is below 30, according to Earnest, while people in their 30s tend to go to Bed Bath & Beyond and Williams-Sonoma, though that doesn’t mean they’re not still sitting on their IKEA couch. And most people who are more than 40 years old go to hardware/home improvement stores like Home Depot or Lowes.

But what the Earnest analysis is missing is that people’s preferences don’t just change because they’re getting older; as age increases, so does purchasing power in most households. Consider this graph on median household income by age in the United States, drawn from data from a 2015 Census report. It’s no surprise that people make a lot more money at age 35 than they do at 25. So not only might they be tired of the standard Scandinavian aesthetic, they might also not worry quite as much about dropping $1200 on a new couch.

The Motley Fool

There are currently four boxes of yet-to-be-built IKEA furniture in my apartment, because I am 26 years old and have a paycheck that reflects that (not to mention I don’t live in a two-income household). I love mass-produced Swedish flat-pack design, but more importantly, looking at furniture from other stores gives me heart palpitations—I certainly can’t afford to shop at CB2, despite the fact that it calls itself “affordable.” Until my income doubles, I'll probably be enjoying my MALM-themed bedroom. At least it appears that I'm not the only one in that situation.

[h/t Popular Mechanics]

Banner image courtesy of iStock; all other images courtesy of Earnest unless otherwise noted.

Love Hygge? Meet Lagom, Your New Favorite Scandinavian Philosophy

The Danish concept of hygge is all about indulging in simple pleasures during the cold, dark winter months. In Sweden, people take a different approach to living their best lives: They focus on lagom, an idea that roughly translates to “not too much, not too little, just the right amount.”

As Condé Nast Traveler reports, lagom can be found everywhere in Swedish culture. Swedes might use it to describe the strength of their coffee or slip it into conversation with sayings like lagom är bäst (“lagom is best”). But you don't need to speak Swedish to embrace the concept. Condé Nast Traveler has a few tips for how to incorporate lagom into your own life no matter how far from Scandinavia you live.

One obvious place to practice lagom is in the home. Get rid of the clutter you haven’t used in years and hold onto items with practical value. But because lagom is all about balance, you should leave room in your house for objects with special aesthetic or sentimental value as well.

Lagom also has a place at work. If you’re someone who works non-stop from 9 to 5, remember to schedule time for breaks and really disconnect from your job during those times. It may feel like slacking off, but your work performance will actually benefit.

Finally, one of the most important ways Swedes express lagom is through day-to-day personal interactions. If you live according to the lagom philosophy, dominating the conversation isn’t a priority. Giving others room to speak, and even allowing comfortable silences to form, is more important.

Looking for another untranslatable European life philosophy to adopt this winter? In Scotland, Còsagach is how people stay cozy.

[h/t Condé Nast Traveler]

California Startup Pays Users to Consume Less Energy

You may know that turning off the lights when leaving a room or lowering the thermostat before bed are smart habits, but with no way to see their immediate impact, they can be hard to keep. OhmConnect is built around the premise that more people would follow through with these actions if they had a little motivation. As Fast Company reports, the San Francisco-based startup rewards California residents for their green choices with real cash.

The mission of the company is to prevent energy grids from using costly and dirty emergency power plants by encouraging customers to conserve power when demand outweighs supply. During “OhmHours,” users receive a text suggesting energy-saving practices. They can choose to opt out or agree to make an effort to lower their consumption. If their usage in the next hour is lower than the average for their home on that type of day (weekdays are compared to the weekday average; weekends to the weekend average) they receive points which can be redeemed for money. The more people participate on a regular basis, the more points they’re able to earn.

Participants in homes equipped with smart devices like a Nest thermostat or Belkin smart switches can program them to automatically consume less during those times. Nearly a fifth of the user base chooses some type of automatic response.

Someone living in a small apartment participating once a week has the potential to make $40 to $50 a year, while a family living in a larger home can earn up to $200. The California energy grid has also reaped the benefits: Since launching in 2014, OhmConnect has saved the state a total of 100 megawatts (the equivalent of not running two emergency power plants at high-demand times). California residents who get their energy through Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, or San Diego Gas & Electric can sign up to participate online. If you don’t live in the state but are interested in the service, you may get a chance to try it out soon: OhmConnect plans to expand to Texas, Toronto, and potentially the East Coast.

[h/t Fast Company]


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