The IKEA Effect

Several studies completed in 2011 demonstrated The IKEA Effect- the increase in valuation of self-made products. In a nutshell, the researchers had participants assemble generic products. The participants felt that their completed product was as valuable as an experts’ product and believed that others would agree. Certainly, doing a job well done gives a certain sense of satisfaction that we attach to the finished product, but what if the finished product is a flop? If the homemade cake is dry and hard, don’t we feel an even greater sense of failure because of the personal effort?  If so, putting something together yourself without the proper skill or plans could easily backfire. IKEA is betting that some homeowners want to renovate their kitchen and keep the cost as low as possible by doing all the work themselves. For those homeowners, IKEA offers its customers their rudimentary design software. Customers can now design, purchase and assemble their cabinetry. Then, the multi-talented person can also self-install or, at least, project manage their kitchen installation. Why the average home owner would attempt this is beyond us. It takes years of training and designing to learn how to complete a creative kitchen design and retro-fit it to an existing space. It may be satisfying to complete a project, but it is also important to be realistic about your skill set. Just as you hire attorneys, doctors and even hair dressers, leave the designing to the designers.