If you asked someone to name a furniture chain off the top of their head, there’s a good chance they’ll mention Muji or IKEA, and that shouldn’t come as a surprise. Both brands have dominated the furniture market in Singapore for years thanks to their range of affordable and stylish home furnishings, which have captured the hearts – and wallets – of local homeowners.
However, as homes in Singapore continue to shrink in size, many people are now placing more emphasis on smarter storage solutions that make the most of their limited space. Both brands have clearly caught on to this, and now offer a massive array of storage solutions in all shapes and sizes. And to those pondering over which brand to choose, fear not. We looked at various offerings from IKEA and Muji, then compared them based on their prices, utility, and aesthetics to see which brand reigns supreme.
Bookshelves: IKEA’s Kallax vs Muji’s stacking shelf
Bookshelves are an essential part of homes, and due to the sea of choices on the market, new homeowners may get stumped while looking for one that truly suits their needs. If you prefer something on the simpler side, consider the Kallax series from IKEA or one of Muji’s numerous wooden bookshelves.
Price: The 3-shelf variant of IKEA’s Kallax series costs $99, while a Muji stacking shelf of a similar size will set you back $219.
Utility: Both shelves are versatile and can be placed either horizontally or vertically. However, Kallax is the taller and deeper option of the 2, which allows you to fit more barang-barang in it.
Moreover, IKEA has a wide variety of inserts specially made for their Kallax bookshelves, and some of these even include extra drawers for even more organised storage. Muji doesn’t offer such varied accessories, which makes it less versatile compared to its IKEA counterpart.
Aesthetics: Kallax comes in white, black-brown, and white stained oak, while Muji’s bookshelf comes in light brown.
Kallax’s range of inserts, which range from white and black to vibrant options such pink, green, and even dinosaur-print, makes them a solid option for those with a funkier or bolder aesthetic.
Verdict: Kallax wins due to its range of optional inserts and colour options, which allow users to customise their bookshelves to their liking. Moreover, the base price is more affordable compared to Muji’s, which makes it the more value-for-money option of the 2.
IKEA’s Kallax additions include the Drona box ($5.90) and Lekman box ($16.90), and they come in materials such as soft fabric and hard plastic. Try storing things such as kids’ toys in softer boxes, and bulkier items in hard plastic boxes.
Storage boxes: IKEA’s Kuggis vs Muji’s PP storage box
Plastic boxes are a lifesaver in any home. Not only are they a more compact and convenient solution for storing daily essentials compared to cabinets, but they’re also surprisingly durable.
Price: IKEA’s Kuggis costs $14.90, while one of Muji’s polypropylene plastic (PP) storage boxes of a similar size cost $13.90.
Utility: IKEA states that the Kuggis is compatible with their Bille and Bestå storage shelf lines. It has a hole on its front, which makes it easy to pull the box out from a shelf with just one finger.
Muji’s PP storage boxes, on the other hand, can be further divided into smaller compartments thanks to their range of dedicated PP storage box partitions. However, they are sold separately, so expect to shell out a few more dollars if you really need to do some intense Marie Kondo-ing. These come in 3 sizes and are available in small ($5.90), medium ($7.90), and large ($14.90).
Aesthetics: Kuggis comes in white, turquoise, and transparent black, which will fit homes with neutral or luxe home palettes well. Muji’s PP storage box comes in translucent white, which will suit places with a more simplistic or natural aesthetic.
Verdict: Muji’s PP box wins for its extra utility. Although it costs more than IKEA’s Kuggis, being able to further compartmentalise an existing storage box will allow you to sort items neatly and efficiently.
Desktop organisers: IKEA’s Drönjöns vs Muji’s wooden letter tray
We’re all too familiar with WFH by now, as well as the importance of maintaining a neat work space in our home offices. In order to get those heaps of paperwork organised neatly on your desk, look to Muji and IKEA, both of whom have you covered with their respective desktop organisers.
Price: IKEA’s Drönjöns costs $7.45 apiece, while Muji’s wooden letter tray is a lot more expensive at $39 each.
Utility: Muji’s letter tray comes with 2 layers. Each Drönjöns only comes with 1 layer of storage space, but they can be stacked for extra capacity. Moreover, its soft plastic feet help protect your table from nasty scratches.
Aesthetics: Muji’s tray has a simple wooden finish that’s perfect for Scandi-themed homes, while Drönjöns’ metallic finish and plain white colour works well in modern or industrial-style home offices.
Verdict: IKEA’s Drönjöns won out as it offers better value for money. 2 stacked Drönjöns can store a similar amount of paperwork as Muji’s tray, while only costing $14.90 altogether.
Wardrobe organisers: IKEA’s Stuk vs Muji’s polyester linen soft box
Image credit: IKEA
Soft storage boxes are not only lighter than their hard plastic cousins, but they’re also much more flexible and take up less space, making them ideal choices for storing rarely-worn clothes in a compact wardrobe.
Price: IKEA’s Stuk polyester storage case costs $14.90, while Muji’s version goes for $26.90.
Muji’s Cotton Linen Poly Softboxes.
Image credit: @mujisg
Utility: Muji’s soft box comes with more handles on the side for easy handling, which you’ll appreciate especially when retrieving it from higher shelves. However, Stuk’s deeper body – 51cm compared to Muji’s 39cm – gives it more storage space.
Aesthetics: Stuk features a simple grid pattern and comes in 2 colourways, grey-green and white-grey. Muji’s comes in a more simple and subdued beige colour, which works with the ever-popular Japandi aesthetic.
Verdict: IKEA’s Stuk wins as it offers more storage space for a lower price. Its variety of designs also makes it more visually appealing, especially if you’re not about that minimalist life.
Moveable storage units: IKEA’s Alex vs Muji’s PP storage case with caster
Moveable storage units are a godsend for home offices and studies – not only do they provide you with a quick way to access frequently used items, but they’re also reasonably priced and come in all kinds of shapes and sizes.
Price: IKEA’s Alex wooden storage unit ($139) is much more expensive than Muji’s PP storage case ($46) – how surprising.
Utility: Both come with castor wheels for ease of movement. Muji’s is more narrow and can fit in tight spots around the house, while IKEA claims that Alex can be “rolled under a desk for ease of access”. However, this will depend on the actual height of your work desk.
Alex has larger drawers that allow users to store more items. On the other hand, the compact design of Muji’s storage case means that it is the perfect size for smaller items such as simple toys or even laundry products.
Aesthetics: Alex is made of wooden fibreboard, while Muji’s is made of polypropylene plastic. Alex comes in 4 colourways – black-brown, grey-turquoise, white stained-oak, and plain white. Meanwhile, Muji’s only comes in translucent white. The classy design of the Alex storage case works well in a home office or study, while Muji’s simpler design will suit a kids’ room or laundry balcony better.
Verdict: IKEA’s Alex moving storage drawer wins due to its wider range of colours, as well as its larger storage capacity.
Both stores sell replaceable castor wheels. IKEA’s costs $10 for a set of 4, while Muji’s costs $6.30 for a set of 4. It is advisable to place heavier items at the bottom of the storage drawer to ensure stability.
Rattan baskets: IKEA’s Bekna vs Muji’s stackable rattan basket
Rattan seems to be all the rage in Singaporean homes lately, and for good reasons. Not only is it lightweight and sturdy, but its woven texture is also visually appealing. And did we mention that rattan containers are extremely versatile?
Price: Muji’s rectangular basket is more expensive than IKEA’s Bekna rattan basket, costing $39 compared to the latter’s $24.90.
Utility: While IKEA’s Bekna has a handle for easy carrying, Muji’s rattan basket offers more utility thanks to its stackability. It can be covered with an optional lid, thereby keeping dust away from your belongings.
Aesthetics: Bekna appears more bulky due to its thicker plastic rattan finish. On the other hand, Muji’s basket looks more sleek and clean, which makes it a better fit for minimalist homes. That said, they can both be used to store small items such books and snacks, and their texture adds some dimension to a room.
Verdict: Muji’s stackable rattan storage basket won due to its sleeker design, stackability, and the option to equip it with a fitting cover to help keep dust out.
Muji vs IKEA storage solutions: which brand should I choose?
Here’s what we’ve concluded after comparing various offerings from IKEA and Muji. IKEA generally has more affordable prices and customisation options. Their products will suit families with young children, who may enjoy playful designs such as hot air balloons and dinosaurs.
Muji, on the other hand, offers more simple and space-saving storage options. Their products may appeal more to renters and those with smaller homes who have to make the most of their limited space while also staying organised.
In the end, what matters most are your personal needs and tastes, and it’s always best to consider those when choosing storage solutions for your home.
Read more product comparisons here:
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