12 Ingenious Facts About Ikea

IKEA Facts



IKEA is one of the most recognizable home brands in the world. You might even be among the millions of visitors to their giant stores.

But despite its global popularity, many people don’t know some of the most fascinating and ingenious facts about IKEA.

If you want to know more about this famous brand, here are some insightful facts to boost your knowledge!

IKEA originated in Sweden in 1943.

A Swedish flag flying in the sky

Before IKEA was known across the Earth, like many large and successful companies, it came from humble beginnings. It started in 1943 as a mail-order business based out of a farm in Småland, a rural part of Sweden.

In the early days, customers received their items in the mail. IKEA’s prices were described as “by far the lowest in the land.”

The aim of IKEA was to improve the lives of other people by providing affordable and quality items.

IKEA’s founder was a teenager.

A young boy watching a sunset

IKEA was founded by 17-year-old Ingvar Kamprad, whose father gave him some money as a reward for doing well in school.

He originally started a business selling pens, wallets, and other everyday goods. Five years later, he expanded to include furniture and developed the popular IKEA brand.

Ingvar Kamprad was thrifty and wanted to offer his customers good value for money. By keeping overheads low, he was able to reduce prices and build the identity that many people love about IKEA.

Flatpack furniture was popularized by IKEA.

A woman assembling flatpack furniture

Flatpack furniture was already around by the 1950s in other parts of the world, but a man named Gillis Lundgren boosted its popularity.

While working for IKEA, Gillis Lundgren had the bright idea of taking the legs off a table when it wouldn’t fit into his car. This was the beginning of IKEA’s flatpack furniture that we are familiar with today.

Flatpack furniture solved many of the issues that came with mail orders, such as damaged goods and high transport costs. Customers could now receive their items in perfect condition, and IKEA could continue to keep prices low.

The first IKEA store opened in 1958.

The front of IKEA's first store

Fifteen years after Ingvar Kamprad began shipping items via mail order, the first IKEA store opened in Sweden. It was located in Älmhult, where Ingvar Kamprad was born.

This town later became home to the IKEA Museum, giving visitors a chance to learn about the history and story of IKEA.

Today, IKEA has hundreds of stores around the world, which demonstrates the incredible growth of the company since then.

IKEA’s name was born from its founder and hometown.

A large IKEA sign

Many people may not know where the name of this popular brand comes from, but it has an interesting history.

The name “IKEA” combines three elements – its founder’s name (Ingvar Kamprad), the family farm (Elmtaryd), and the local parish (Agunnaryd). Put these four initials together, and you will get the name “IKEA.”

Ingvar Kamprad chose this name for his business from the very beginning. From the early days of mail orders, customers knew they were shopping at IKEA.

The IKEA Catalog arrived in 1950.

Two people looking at a furniture catalogue

Have you ever browsed through an IKEA Catalog and wondered how it all began?

The iconic IKEA Catalog came into existence even before the first IKEA store opened. It allowed customers to browse items to find ideas and inspiration and later became available online.

The IKEA Catalog was published annually until 2020. Although the Catalog was discontinued after 70 years, customers can still browse a range of brochures on the IKEA website.

Coffee and biscuits marked the start of the IKEA restaurant journey.

A cup of coffee with some biscuits

If you’ve ever been to an IKEA, it’s likely that you’ve stopped at the IKEA restaurant for a tasty snack.

IKEA first served food in 1953, when Ingvar Kamprad decided to offer his customers coffee and biscuits for a day. Almost 1,000 biscuits were consumed.

Ingvar Kamprad realized that customers would stay longer if they were able to quench their thirst and fill their stomachs.

By 1958, a small “coffee corner” opened, which proved to be a success and later turned into the iconic IKEA restaurant.

The “IKEA Bar” has served hot meals since 1960.

A plate of meatballs with miniature Swedish flags

The small coffee shop that opened in 1958 expanded in 1960 when the first IKEA Baren, or “IKEA Bar,” opened. Alongside coffee and cold dishes, the restaurant also began to offer hot dishes, such as chicken.

Hot meals were cooked using a Radar oven imported from America, which allowed IKEA to offer a wider range of dishes.

The company’s use of this new microwave oven demonstrates Ingvar Kamprad’s continuous investment in new technologies.

IKEA’s founder lived to the ripe old age of 91.

An old man watching the sea

IKEA’s founder, Ingvar Kamprad, passed away in his home county of Småland – the place where his famous story first began.

Ingvar Kamprad left part of his estate to his sons, Peter, Jonas, and Mathias, and his adopted daughter, Annika.

He left half his estate to support the development of Norrland, the northern part of Sweden. Ingvar Kamprad was particularly interested in this region and visited often.

His wish was that young people could live and thrive here and not be forced to leave to find work elsewhere.

IKEA is one of the most successful furniture stores in the world.

The inside of an IKEA store

In terms of both economic turnover and public profile, IKEA has seen huge success through the years.

It is one of the most well-known furniture stores in both the United States and the United Kingdom. Millions of people visit dozens of stores across the world every year.

The low prices of IKEA’s products are believed to be a key factor in its success. Using new materials, packing methods, and transportation, IKEA has been able to keep costs down and build its customer base for decades.

Pennsylvania was the first U.S. state to welcome IKEA.

A city in Pensylvannia

The first IKEA store in the United States opened in 1985. Situated in Plymouth Meeting, the new store attracted 150,000 customers every week.

A year after it opened, the New York Times reported that $2 million had been spent on promoting the store.

After planting its roots in Pennsylvania, another IKEA store opened in Woodbridge, Virginia, in 1986. Dozens more IKEA stores have opened since.

IKEA furniture is named after real places, names, and Swedish words.

A Swedish town on the coast

If you have ever been shopping at IKEA, you have probably noticed that each item has a unique name.

This is part of IKEA’s fascinating marketing strategy, but there is also an important reason behind it. Ingvar Kamprad had dyslexia and struggled to remember numbers.

Instead, he used memorable words, such as Swedish islands and Norwegian places, animals, and even Scandinavian boys’ names. This made the system easier while creating a model that could be scaled up as much as necessary.


Who would have thought one of the world’s largest stores had such a fascinating story?

Whether you’ve spent hours in IKEA stores or you’re planning to visit for the first time, you now know more about this incredible brand.

Next time you visit IKEA, you will probably notice the influence of much of its history. And if you want to show off, drop one of these ingenious facts into conversation as you shop with family and friends!

About The Author

Lizzie Robinson
Lizzie Robinson

Lizzie Robinson has been a freelance writer since 2011. She studied English Literature at university and enjoys sailing & playing the piano in her free time. Lizzie enjoys writing about current issues & business.

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