Brynne Conroy | 

How to Make Sense of Ikea's Return Policy

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I’ll admit it — shopping at IKEA intimidates me! Their stores are massive, plus they seem to sell an almost endless supply of things for your home. But if you’re ever not 100% sure about a recent purchase, the IKEA return policy is so generous that it will let you get your money back for up to a full year. Just make sure you hold onto your receipt (which is easy to do if you’re a member of IKEA Family, their free rewards program that also sends you IKEA coupons).

While the IKEA return policy works fine for in-store purchases, online returns can be a bit of a nightmare. They’re almost as bad as Wayfair online returns, which can get pretty pricey and negate the value of any Wayfair coupons. The online returns process for IKEA is so difficult that it kept IKEA off of our list of stores with the best return policies.

Here, I’ll explain all the finer details of the IKEA return policy. I’ll also cover the few items you can rarely return to IKEA, like a custom-made worktop or an IKEA gift card.

How long do I have to return an item to IKEA?


IKEA gives you up to 365 days to return items! Just know that a receipt is required, and items must be new and unopened to get a refund within the 365-day window. For opened items, the window shortens to 180 days.

Can I return an item that I used or opened to IKEA?

You sure can! As long as the product isn’t dirty, stained, or damaged, you can return opened items. You can even make returns without the original packaging. You’ll just get a shorter return window of 180 days instead of the usual 365.

If you’re returning used or opened items, remember to bring your receipt (or have them look up your purchase history with your IKEA Family account).

What do I need to return an item to IKEA?


You’ll need the item, your paper receipt, and a valid government ID to make a return at IKEA. If you paid with a debit or credit card, it might be a good idea to bring that card along, too.

Keep in mind: If you’re returning something that came with a free “promotional item” — like a couch set that included free throw pillows — you’ll need to return the promotional items, too. Otherwise, the value of the missing promotional item(s) will get deducted from your refund.

What happens if I lost my receipt?

Overall, the IKEA receipt policy is pretty strict — they’ll need a paper receipt or your IKEA Family account number to initiate a return. Otherwise, no refund for you.

If you purchased the item with a credit card, they might be able to scan your card and look up your order in the system that way. And if you have an IKEA Family account, your receipts get saved there.

I once tried to return an unopened IKEA canvas without a receipt and got refused. I wasn’t even offered store credit. And because the credit card I’d paid with had since expired, they were unable to look up my purchase. I ended up bringing the canvas home and selling it on Facebook Marketplace instead.

TIP: Technically, the corporate IKEA policy allows for returns without a receipt. But you’re only going to get store credit, and you’re only going to get the lowest selling value of the item over the past year. The maximum refund you can get this way is $50, and since furniture items often cost $100 or more, you could be missing out on 50% or more of your refund. IKEA sets you up for a bigger loss than most other retailers without a receipt.

How to Make an In-Store Return at IKEA

Customers waiting in like for free parts at a service desk in IKEA.

There’s actually a separate entrance at IKEA for returns and exchanges. (If you use the wrong entrance, a store employee will let you know about it!) This special entrance will help you skip right to the returns desk and avoid snaking your way through IKEA’s massive, maze-like sales floor.

Just follow the in-store signage to the Exchanges & Returns desk. Then prepare for a wait, as the returns line can be long.

TIP: You’ll want to block out some time to make your return, as you’ll probably be standing in line for a while.

How to Make an Online Return at IKEA

Someone looking at their receipt with their IKEA online order

I highly recommend returning online orders in-store if at all possible to avoid the return shipping fees and extra legwork. But if you don’t have an IKEA store nearby, you’ll need to follow these steps to make a return by mail:

  1. Print out your order confirmation.

  2. Print the Return Packing Slip and fill in your information.

  3. Package up your item(s), the Return Packing Slip, and the order confirmation.

  4. Mail your return to the IKEA Returns Department (using the address of your nearest local IKEA store).

Large items like furniture can’t be sent by mail, so you’re going to need to return them to an IKEA store or request their pickup service. And unless the large item arrived damaged or defective, you’re going to have to pay for IKEA’s home pickup service.

Does IKEA offer free return shipping?

Nope. You will be responsible for all return shipping costs. Yet another reason to just take your return in-store!

How will my refund be issued?

Ikea gift card and return receipt

Your refund will be issued to whatever method of payment you used for the original purchase. So if you used a credit card, it would be refunded to your credit card. If you used a gift card, you’d get a refund in store credit.

Expect to get your refund in about 5 – 7 business days. If it’s taking longer, you can call IKEA customer service at 1-888-888-4532 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 12 a.m. ET to see what’s up. Be sure to have your order number and card number readily available for the agent.

IKEA Return Policy Exceptions

Of course, there are a few exceptions to IKEA’s generous 180-/365-day return policy — but not many. Here are the main items to keep an eye on:

Items That You Can Never Return

IKEA’s return policy applies to most items in the store. However, there are a few things you won’t be able to return ever:

  • Plants.

  • Cut fabric.

  • Custom-made worktops and countertops.

  • Products marked “as-is”

IKEA Gift Cards

Generally speaking, you can’t return IKEA gift cards. There is one tiny exception. If you bought a gift card online and it hasn’t been delivered to the recipient yet, you can cancel the order and get your money back. That return window can last mere minutes or seconds, though, so you’ll need to act fast.

IKEA Mattresses

IKEA actually has a wide selection of mattresses — from cheap and mildly uncomfortable to expensive and luxe. If you buy an IKEA mattress and hate it, you have 90 days to exchange it for another item.

TIP: If you live in California, Rhode Island, or Connecticut and want to exchange your mattress, IKEA will pick it up for free. In other states, there’s a $25 fee if you don’t haul it to the IKEA store yourself.

IKEA Furniture

While you are allowed to return assembled IKEA furniture, it’s no easy feat. You’re either going to need to figure out a way to lug that furniture back into the store yourself, or you’re going to pay extra for IKEA’s pickup return service.

Unless your item arrived damaged or defective, you can end up paying anywhere from $50 to over $100 for their pickup service. The fee depends on the size of the item. If your furniture item arrived damaged or defective, IKEA usually will offer free pickup.

The Bottom Line About IKEA’s Return Policy

All in all, IKEA’s return policy is great when you’re making returns in-store (assuming you have the patience for a long line), but it’s a bit of a nightmare if you want to return online orders via mail.

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