15 interesting and fun facts you didn’t know about IKEA

Some of these might surprise you...

This furniture and accessories giant is well on its way to global domination, but did you know these interesting IKEA facts about this much-loved home interiors company?

For instance, did you know that IKEA sells houses? Or that the name of the store isn’t actually a Swedish word?

In other news: 'Superb' – Shoppers can't get enough of these £3 stick-on IKEA blinds

Read on to discover how IKEA really is 'Making Everyday Brighter'.

Do you know your IKEA facts?

1. IKEA was founded way back in 1943

ikea store with blue background and yellow lettering

(Image credit: Ikea)

Ingvar Kamprad, who sadly passed away in 2018 at the age of 91, was just 17 years old when he launched IKEA as a mail-order sales business – that originally only sold small items, like picture frames. The original shop is now a museum on the founding plot.

2. The name IKEA is actually an acronym

Did you know that the name IKEA is an acronym comprising the initials of the founder's name, Ingvar Kamprad, the farm where he grew up, Elmtaryd and his home village, which happens to be called Agunnaryd?

3. The first piece of flat-pack furniture wasn't sold until 1956

kitchen with wooden furniture and man

(Image credit: IKEA)

Flat-pack furniture was invented in Sweden by Gillis Lundgren (he designed the Billy bookcase), a draughtsman hired by Ingvar Kamprad. When he couldn't fit a wooden table into the trunk of a car, he decided to pull off the legs to make it work.

The first item of Ikea flat-pack furniture was the Lovet, a leaf-shaped side table, which first appeared in the 1956 catalogue.

4. Billy recently celebrated its 40th anniversary

book shelf and chairs

(Image credit: IKEA)

Do you own a Billy bookcase? Well, you are not alone! 15 Billy bookcases are made every minute In the last five years, the store have sold nearly 4.6 million Billy bookcases in the UK. Globally more than 41 million units were sold by Billy's 30th anniversary back in 2009 - which, if you laid them all out in a line, would be over 70,000 kilometres long.

5. Globally 2000 products are introduced into the range each year

The three best-selling ranges in the UK are Malm, Hemnes and Komplement.

6. Each product is named after actual Swedish words

Since Kamprad was dyslexic, he named products using proper names and words, because it made them easier for him to identify. IKEA's curtains are given mathematical geometrical terms and bathroom products are named after lakes, rivers and bays.

7. The price tag comes first

living room with cane table and couch

(Image credit: IKEA)

IKEA prides itself on being affordable, not cheap. To ensure this is always the case the design team work backwards from a price tag – determining a price to meet, designing and sourcing materials to make that price possible.

8. The UK is in the frame for best sales

IKEA UK is the number one market for sales of photo frames, out of all the IKEA markets globally.

9. The average size of an IKEA store is 300,000 feet

Ikea warehouse with trolley and people

(Image credit: IKEA)

That is the equivalent of 42 tennis courts. The world's largest Ikea is in Stockholm and covers a whopping 594,000 sq ft.

10. They sell ENTIRE houses

Ikea house with yellow stairs and bicycle

(Image credit: IKEA)

Yes, really! The company actually sells flat-pack houses for a fraction of the cost of a regular home - no estate agent required. The BoKlok House was launched in Sweden in 1996. BoKlok is a home concept based around the idea of 'modern homes for the masses'.

11. IKEA beds are good baby makers

bedroom with white curtains and black bed

(Image credit: IKEA)

Stats indicate an estimated one out of every 10 Europeans is conceived in an IKEA bed.

12. More than 11.6 billion Swedish meatballs are sold in the UK alone

meatballs in pan

(Image credit: Ikea)

Kamprad first opened a restaurant in an Ikea shop in 1960 after he realised too many people visited the shop, but left without buying because they were hungry. There are now meatless meatballs adding to the value.

13. They employ in excess of 147,000 people

They call them co-workers. It is one of the most nurturing companies to encourage career progression for all it's co-worker.

14. More copies of IKEA catalogue are printed than the Bible

The Ikea catalogue goes out to over 180 million people in 29 different languages annually, compared to around 100 million bibles. The catalogue has been in existence since 1951, rumoured to take up nearly 70 per cent of the marketing budget.

15. They are verging on global domination

The Ikea group has operations in 42 countries worldwide. In 2014, they had 716 million store visits, 1.5 billion visits to Ikea.com and 46 million app visits.

Related: IKEA is launching a new child-safe furniture range

Which IKEA fact will you be sharing most?


Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.