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IKEA Apartment Delivery Explained

IKEA always aims to provide affordable furniture. This means that it is an ideal one-stop shop for moving to a new place, and you could kit out your apartment in one go. However, it can be a little nerve-wracking to receive your delivery to the apartment when you don’t know the protocol.

How does it work and what will happen? Being familiar with the delivery process for apartments will help you work out what you need to do and when, which is why I have compiled the information below.

IKEA delivers to apartments, and with all the bells and whistles too. The same options are available (although small deliveries go to the front desk), but scheduled deliveries that can be received can be the best option to make sure the items are safe, sound, and out of the way.

Does IKEA Deliver to Apartments?

IKEA definitely delivers to apartments. Considering the commonality of apartment living, IKEA would miss out on a lot of business if it didn’t deliver to this type of residence.

Do You Have To Receive the Delivery?

IKEA requires someone 18 years old or older to be around to receive your delivery if it is a large delivery. Even if the delivery is to your doorstep, you need to have someone there.

If there is no one to receive the delivery, the delivery service can mark it as a failed delivery, and you might be charged for re-delivery.

Woman signing the receiving list to receive her package from a deliver man

In some areas, you may have the option to receive the delivery without being there in person, but this is an exception and not the rule.

Small deliveries don’t need to be received by you or a representative.

Small Deliveries

The weight class of your order mainly determines the size of your delivery. IKEA’s delivery service information describes small delivery items as “textiles, decorations and accessories”. These are lightweight and compact pieces.

However, IKEA uses parcel carriers (external companies) to complete small deliveries. These separate companies can have differing apartment delivery policies from what you find on IKEA’s website.

Deliveries When You Are Home

When you are home for deliveries, you will still receive the notice of delivery if they send you one. This way, you should have about an hour’s notice as to when the package will arrive.

If you have ever ordered takeout, you know the drivers generally let you know when they are downstairs. The couriers will typically do the same, although some may just leave the parcel without seeing if you are home to receive it.

The parcel carriers will deliver to the front desk if your building has one, or if you have an open building, it will be delivered outside your apartment door.

If the building has a locked external door, the courier will likely ring the buzzer and let you know the package is there.

Deliveries When You Are Not Home

Since you don’t have to sign for the delivery, you can technically ask someone else to receive the package for you.

If you don’t have anyone to receive the package in your place, then the courier will leave it with the front desk, if your apartment has one. If it does not, then they may leave it outside of your apartment door or the building’s external door.

You need to be careful of these deliveries. Depending on the service provider, they may be happy to leave your package at the desk or the door, or they may not.

If they are not satisfied that the package will be safe until you come home, they might take the parcel being taken away and the delivery re-arranged.

Packages or box left in the front door of an apartment

Large Deliveries

Large deliveries are items like sofas, bed frames, and bookcases. These are big and heavy items that require a large truck to deliver them. IKEA offers standard, scheduled, and express delivery with large items.

According to IKEA’s delivery T&Cs, the protocol for standard, scheduled doorstep, and express doorstep delivery:

“If you live in an apartment or condo with a front desk, your items will be dropped off there otherwise we will leave it outside the front door of the building.”

As mentioned earlier, you have to be there to receive these deliveries unless you have arranged for them to just drop off the boxes when you were scheduling the delivery. If you aren’t the items will be taken away again.

You might be able to ask the delivery crew to help you carry the items upstairs to your apartment, so that you don’t have to make several trips or risk getting in trouble with the building management.

You will need to tip them for this service because it’s not something that they have to do unless you have opted for in-house delivery, which we will discuss later.

Does Your Apartment Building Allow This?

Apartments, of course, allow for deliveries of large items. I mean, it would be difficult to have people move in if they didn’t. However, it is highly unlikely that they will permit these items to stand by the building’s door.

This shouldn’t be an issue if you are at home and receive the delivery and then just take a little time to tote all the parcels upstairs. However, if you have arranged the delivery for when you are not at home, then it can become an issue as your boxes block up the hallways or lobbies.

You need to check your lease and rental agreement, and I recommend contacting your building manager to find out about extra information and facilities.

Lodging the date and time of the delivery means you can get permission to use freight elevators and delivery parking bays, and you won’t get in trouble for unexpectedly clogging up the entry and halls. Unfortunately, this requires you to use non-standard shipping.

Scheduled In-Home Delivery

Scheduled in-home deliveries are likely your best bet. These deliveries cost you a pretty penny but allow you to select a time and 4-hour window for the delivery to occur.

It helps make the whole process more precise and predictable. Although, this option will tack on about $50 extra to what your standard delivery fee would be.

The delivery crew will arrive with your order and deliver the items directly into your apartment (don’t forget to tip!), meaning you don’t have to worry about getting your furniture and appliances from the lobby, and you don’t have to worry about them standing about.

It is important to note that IKEA specifies that in a building without an elevator, the delivery crew will only deliver to your apartment up to the 4th floor (your local store might be willing to help more).

Infographic showing a delivery man about to go up stairs to a four-story apartment with a text saying that "IKEA specifies that in a building without an elevator, the delivery crew will only deliver to your apartment up to the 4th floor"

However, since IKEA outsources to third-party delivery services as well as using their own teams, this might be different. Of course, you can always phone the independent service to ask.

Best Apartment Delivery Options

Let’s face it, apartment buildings are high-traffic areas and are typically on the cramped side in the front entry and the hallways. You’ve probably had to weave past boxes and furniture of other residents (or you will in future), and you know that it can be inconvenient.

Furthermore, packages sitting around in general areas can be very tempting for spiteful neighbors who think you need to be taught not to clutter the hallways, “porch pirates”, curious kids, etc.

There is also the risk of your item getting damaged.

If someone is always home and ready to get the delivery in when the delivery team informs you they are on their way, you can stick with normal delivery.

Be on Hand to Receive the Delivery

The best thing to do with an IKEA delivery is receive it.

This way, you can ensure your delivery arrives as it should, that your stuff is not in the way of people walking or in the way of people working at the front desk, it won’t be getting damaged, and it won’t get stolen.

You also have the opportunity to inspect the items. Since IKEA can send a dissembled item of furniture in several different boxes, there are problems with wrong parts and wrong colors getting in the mix. You can check that everything matches and nothing is missing or damaged.

If there is a problem with any items, IKEA says you should send them away with the delivery service. This is the ideal situation since IKEA’s collection of wrong or damaged goods can be difficult to organize.

Man opening and inspecting his packages from IKEA while talking to his phone

Opt for the Scheduled in-Home

The scheduled in-home delivery that we have previously discussed is also one of the best option.

Yes, it costs a bit more, but you don’t have to play the “when will IKEA come?” game (which is definitely rigged in their favor) and you won’t have to worry about leaving the boxes unattended downstairs, while you take the delivery up, one box at a time.

IKEA generally handles deliveries all week, meaning you can schedule your order to come on the weekend, so you might not need to take time off work either.


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