Interesting facts you didn’t know about Ikea

  • We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
  • For instance, did you know that Ikea sells houses? Or that the name of the store isn’t actually a Swedish word?

    Ikea might be well on its way to global domination, but did you know these interesting facts about this much-loved home interiors company?

    1. The company was founded way back in 1943

    Ingvar Kamprad was just 17 years old when he launched Ikea as a mail-order sales business that originally only sold small items, like picture frames.

    2. The first piece of flat-pack furniture wasn’t sold until 1956

    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.

    3. 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?

    4. Each piece 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.

    5. The average size of an Ikea store is 300,000 feet

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

    6. More copies of the Ikea catalogue are printed than the Bible

    The Ikea catalogue goes out to 180 million people in 29 different languages annually, compared to around 100 million bibles. It’s been in existence since 1951 and takes up nearly 70% of the marketing budget.

    7. They sell ENTIRE houses

    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’.

    8. Their beds are good baby makers

    An estimated one out of every 10 Europeans is conceived in an Ikea bed.

    9. Billy the bookcase, anyone?

    Ikea makes 15 Billy bookcases a minute and had sold more than 41 million units by Billy’s 30th anniversary in 2009 – which, if you laid them all out in a line, would be over 70,000 kilometres long.

    10. It is estimated that 1% of the Earth’s wood supply is used by Ikea

    That is a lot of trees.

    11. Ikea has sold more than 11.6 billion Swedish meatballs in the UK alone

    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. They had €1.46 billion food turnover in 2014.

    12. They employ 147,000 people

    They call them co-workers.

    13. They are v

    erging 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 and 46 million app visits.

    All the latest from Ideal Home