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    18 Weirdly Interesting Things You Didn't Know About Ikea

    Did you know "Ikea" is an acronym?

    1. All the items are named after specific things, such as places in Sweden or places in Norway.

    Ikea / BuzzFeed

    This article in the Guardian explains: "Sofas, coffee tables, bookshelves, media storage, and doorknobs are named after places in Sweden (Klippan, Malmö); beds, wardrobes and hall furniture after places in Norway." You can visit the (unofficial) Ikea dictionary to see translations of all the item names.

    2. Ikea is an acronym! It stands for Ingvar Kamprad (the name of the founder), Elmtaryd (the name of the farm where he grew up), and Agunnaryd (the name of his hometown).


    3. Ikea broadcast the first national commercial to feature a gay couple in 1994.


    The couple were depicted as long-term partners and they were committed to each other. "They were given a backstory, portrayed as committed to each other, and it was implied that they were considering having a family. ... The commercial was part of a larger campaign that dealt with nontraditional families, which also included a mixed-race couple and a single mom with an adopted child."

    4. Ikea layouts vary from country to country. For example, in Korea kitchens are laid out to include kimchi refrigerators.

    Becky Barnicoat / BuzzFeed

    Displays are adjusted to reflect the culture and customs of each country. Fortune reports: "Displays in Sendai, Japan, and Amsterdam could feature the same beds and cabinets, for example. But the Japanese version might incorporate tatami mats, and the Dutch room will have slanted ceilings, reflecting the local architecture. Beds in the U.S., meanwhile are covered with pillows. "

    5. When IKEA opened its first UK store, customers were confused.


    Customers expected staff to walk around the shop with them, and to take down their orders, an early employee told the BBC: "In 1987 it was a strange concept. A furniture store which acted like supermarket. The bulk of people were confused. They said 'can you follow me around and take my order?'"

    6. In Finland, customers can recycle their old Ikea furniture at Ikea, in exchange for a gift card.

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    7. The standard size for Ikea stores is 30,000 metres squared.


    In comparison, the White House is 6,200 metres squared. In Unpacking Ikea, Pauline Garvey writes: "Every aspect of the Ikea showrooms is the result of detailed planning. The standard size for the majority of Ikea stores is about 30,000m2, which can comfortably contain fifty to fifty-five room sets and three 'homes'."

    8. Ikea stores recycle and reuse materials in different products – for example, the PS Vase is made using leftover or rejected glass from other Ikea products.


    9. The Lövbacken side table is based on the first ever Ikea flat-pack table (the Lovet).


    10. Customers are allowed to lounge and nap on the furniture at Ikea locations in China.

    Becky Barnicoat / BuzzFeed

    11. Almost all the Billy bookcases are made in one village in Sweden.

    Alice Mongkongllit / BuzzFeed

    The Billy is made by Swedish IKEA supplier Gyllensvaans Möbler, with a small amount of production in China (according to BCC documentary Flatpack Empire). About one in six people in the village are employed by the company.

    12. And a Billy bookcase is sold every 10 seconds, according to BBC documentary Flatpack Empire.

    Becky Barnicoat / BuzzFeed

    13. There's an Ikea hotel in Älmhult. You can even stay in a room with bunk beds.


    14. Småland – the kids' play area at Ikea – is named for the province where Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad grew up.

    Thomas Chivers / Disney/ BuzzFeed

    15. The catalogues are also optimized for different markets.

    Mike Hinson / BuzzFeed

    Fortune reports:

    "Catalogues come in 32 languages and 67 versions, with each reflecting local customers and customs. There are two catalogues for Belgians: one in French, another in Flemish. Ikea customers in Winnipeg and Calgary typically see a different version from their Francophone countrymen in Montreal."

    16. According to the Wall Street Journal, Ikea launched in-store restaurants because shoppers were getting too hungry going around the store, and were leaving before completing their purchases.

    Flickr: kalleboo / Creative Commons

    17. You can buy Ikea beer. It costs £1.75 and is a "reddish-brown dark lager with a malty, rich and creamy taste with notes of roasted coffee."


    18. There's a reason why there are no written instructions on the manuals – it's because it's cheaper to produce thin booklets.

    Maritsa Patrinos / BuzzFeed

    The New Yorker reports: "The reason instructions aren’t printed with actual written information is because it would make the manuals thicker, and consequently more expensive to produce."


    Almost all of the Billy bookcases are made in the same factory in Sweden. A previous version of this article said every Billy bookcase was made in the same factory.

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