A man and a woman sitting reading in a living room on IKEA TROFE armchairs from 1969.

IKEA design through the years

1950s

Characterised by contemporary materials, mid-century design is fun, colourful, light and often inspired by car design and space-age aesthetics. Shapes are organic and whimsical. Danish designers impress the world with their sophisticated furniture in wood like teak and jacaranda.

The ÄGGET armchair from 1957 features a conical seat in black and yellow with four slim, black legs.
1957, ÄGGET armchair
The rectangular IKEA brown wood TEA table from 1959 featuring two shelves and four legs with two wheels and a handle.
1959 TEA table
The IKEA HANSA bookcase features two black side frames and one midframe in steel with eight brown wooden shelves.

1957, HANSA bookcase, design IKEA of Sweden

HANSA bookcase was the beginning of how IKEA of Sweden AB started to work with its own designs. The bookcase, with its black steel frame sections, had wooden shelves that could be height-adjusted. HANSA was sketched by Gillis Lundgren, one of Ingvar Kamprad’s closest co-workers.
The IKEA CUBA floor lamp designed by IKEA of Sweden from 1958 features three legs and a round white lamp shade.
1958, CUBA lamp
One of the first IKEA armchairs, CAVELLI has a modern form with a moss green colour and curved wooden arms and legs.
1959, CAVELLI armchair

1958, BÅSTAD rug, design Gillis Lundgren

The new Axminster wool rug, BÅSTAD was proof of the ongoing effort to modernise wool rugs with contemporary designs, rather than the usual imitations of oriental patterns. Wilton rugs and Axminster rugs are machine-made, making them very efficient and quick to manufacture, and the techniques used are very similar. They also have a lower price level than traditional hand-woven rugs.

The machine-made IKEA wool rug BÅSTAD designed by Gillis Lundgren in 1958 has a graphic pattern in different blue shades.

MTP cabinet was initially a wedding gift for Ingvar Kamprad and his wife Margareta.

1960s

Colourful furniture and design objects in bright red, yellow and orange plastics reflect the youthful attitude of the era. Italian designers like Vico Magistretti, Joe Colombo and Achille Castiglione create playful space-age designs, embracing the possibilities of mass production in contemporary materials. In Finland, designers like Yrjö Kukkapuro and Eero Aarnio create a Nordic version of the Italian style.
The classic IKEA TORE red drawer unit from 1961.

1961, TORE drawer unit, design Gillis Lundgren

The TORE drawer unit was one of the 60s products that wasn’t flat-packed. Back then, there weren’t as many good fittings and production solutions to enable flat-packing and self-assembly. Those that did exist would have left the product difficult to assemble and rather unstable. Because of this, the TORE drawer unit remained factory assembled.
The IKEA MTP cabinet in light oak wood features two smaller cabinets and one taller open shelving cabinet.

1963, MTP cabinet, design Marian Grabinski

MTP cabinet was, initially, a wedding gift for Ingvar Kamprad and his wife, Margareta. Light oak wood design in combination with the many functions and affordable price made this cabinet a true IKEA sensation that people were thrilled about for more than 10 years.

A red ANNA children’s table and two chairs. The chair is reversible to offer two different seating heights.

1964, ANNA children’s table and chairs, design Otto Nielsen

The ANNA children’s chair was reversible so it could offer two different seating heights: 24,5 and 18,5 centimetres so that the child could grow with it. It first appeared in the 1964 IKEA Catalogue and was sold for an impressive 25 years.

1970s

Mostly remembered for shag carpets, lava lamps and over-the-top wallpapers, the 70s also sees the rise of an environmentalist conscience in the design world. The dominance of plastics in contemporary design comes to an abrupt halt with the oil crisis of 1973. As a protest against mass-production, Italian designer Enzo Mari publishes drawings for simple do it yourself design.

1970, TELEGONO table lamp, design Vico Magistretti

The TELEGONO table lamp was made from plastic, a huge trend thanks to the mass production possibilities. The smart design made it possible to turn the lamp and direct the light. But despite this, it only lasted one season.
The red plastic TELEGONO table lamps from 1970 featured a white lamp shade you could turn to direct the light.
A yellow IKEA IMPALA armchair featuring a reclining backrest and steel legs with plush upholstery.
1972, IMPALA armchair
The IKEA TAJT armchair designed by Gillis Lundgren in 1973 featured covers in denim and leather buttons.

1973, TAJT armchair, design Gillis Lundgren

Ingvar Kamprad purchased five kilometres of denim fabric and told the designers and product developers to be creative – and that’s how TAJT armchair was born. The denim fabric and beautiful leather buttons made this armchair one of the most famous IKEA products at the time.

The IKEA SKOPA armchair in white moulded plastic from 1974 kind of looked like a bottle opening that you sit in.
1974, SKOPA armchair
Five classic IKEA ARKITEKT work lamps in assorted colours with adjustable arm and head. designed 1977 by IKEA of Sweden.
1977, ARKITEKT work lamps

1980s

The Italian, postmodern design movement Memphis, founded by Ettore Sottsass in 1981, replaces the reductionist Modernist design aesthetic with geometric, playful furniture and objects bordering on kitsch. The same tendency is seen in architecture, where the glitter and glamour of Las Vegas becomes an important influence, and in the arts, where big, brash paintings fetch record prices at auctions.

The KLIPPAN/BLOCKRAND sofa from 1980 with red and white striped removable, washable covers.

1980, KLIPPAN/BLOCKRAND sofa, design IKEA of Sweden

The KLIPPAN sofa was designed to be an alternative to expensive designer sofas that weren’t safe, or durable enough for children to play on. The soft shapes and removable and washable covers in many styles, like the BLOCKRAND cover, made it a child-friendly favourite that lives on to this day.

The KLIPPAN sofa was designed to be an alternative to expensive designer sofas that weren’t safe, or durable enough for children to play on.

A blue and white, cloud-patterned IKEA SKYAR quilt cover that is crumpled up.

1981, SKYAR quilt cover and pillowcase, design Sven Fristedt

The SKYAR print was designed by Sven Fristedt, and this dreamy cloud-pattern is one of his most well-known IKEA designs – it was even sold as a wallpaper!

Black and white metre fabric with yellow bananas. BANAN was launched in 1986 from a design by Inez Svensson.
1986, RANDIG BANAN fabric

1990s

Minimalism makes a return in design. Designers such as Marc Newson, Jasper Morrison, Naoto Fukasawa, Swedes Claesson Koivisto Rune and many more create sleek, minimalist and blonde furniture and objects that stand in stark contrast to the playful, postmodern aesthetic of the stylistically wild 80s. Stockholm is officially the coolest place on Earth, according to trend bible Wallpaper.

1994, ANTILOP high chair, design IKEA of Sweden

The ANTILOP high chair was the first IKEA children’s chair that went straight to being created as a model in a computer, instead of being developed through a designer and a design engineer collaboration. It is sold to this day and has become somewhat of a classic that is found in thousands of homes.
The IKEA ANTILOP high chair from 1994 in white and silver lets small children sit at the same table as adults.
The IKEA MAMMUT children’s chair in red, and the red, keyhole-shaped IKEA PS clock featuring storage space for smaller items.
1994, MAMMUT children’s chair & 1995, IKEA PS clock

2000s

Designers like Konstantin Grcic and Patricia Urquiola dominate the furniture fair in Milan, the former with web-like geometric shapes, the latter with organic shapes and unexpected, playful meetings between materials, colours and patterns. Inventions such as CNC milling (Computer Numerical Control), CAD software (Computer-Aided Design) and 3D-printing make entirely new shapes possible.

The blue IKEA a.i.r ROLIG corner armchair from 2000 was an inflatable plastic chair filled with air.

2000, IKEA a.i.r ROLIG armchair, design Jan Dranger

IKEA a.i.r armchair was an attempt to solve the eternal IKEA problem – how to get the flattest packages with the lowest possible weight. An inflatable plastic chair was filled with air using a hair dryer, then dressed with a fabric cover. Even though this reduced the use of raw materials by 85% and transport volume by 90%, the chairs leaked. Deflated, IKEA a.i.r ROLIG quietly floated out of the IKEA range.

The idea was to fill it with air using a hair dryer, and after that, dress it with a fabric cover.

2000, FAMNIG cushion, design Anna Efverlund

The FAMNIG children’s cushion is actually the successful result of a big setback: the plastic eyes of the existing IKEA soft toys could come loose. So, we created FAMNIG – a hug-friendly, eyeless heart that is loved by children around the world. Thanks to what happened, we learned to systematise safety work even more.
The IKEA red heart-shaped FAMNIG children’s cushion with two hug-friendly arms designed in 2000 by Anna Efverlund.
Three IKEA PS/VÅLLÖ plastic water cans from 2002 in orange, yellow and lime with a slightly bent pour spout.

2002, IKEA PS/VÅLLÖ watering can, design Monika Mulder

This watering can is a true IKEA classic thanks to its affordable price and clean design in a variety of colours. The slightly bent pour spout makes manufacturing easier and it has helped to water lots of plants and flowers in many homes throughout the years.

The VÅLLÖ watering can is a true IKEA classic thanks to its affordable price and clean design in a variety of colours.

2010s 

Socially and environmentally sustainable design is presented as a way for designers to help combat climate change. By sourcing raw materials close to the production, lessening the need for transportation with the aid of 3D printing, enabling recycling and reducing toxic materials, designers want to help people change their behaviour and save the planet.

The SINNERLIG stool features a round natural cork upper, four black legs in powder-coated steel and clean design.

2015, SINNERLIG stool, design Ilse Crawford

The SINNERLIG stool, with its natural cork material and clean design, was primarily created to appeal to the human senses and enhance the feeling of well-being in the home. Cork was the obvious choice – both for its style and because all bark that is harvested is taken care of in the production to minimise waste.

2015, MÄSTERBY step stool, design Chris Martin

The MÄSTERBY step stool is lightweight, sturdy and stackable. And not only does it help people reach things on the top shelf, it also helps them be a little kinder to the planet as it’s made from recycled polypropylene.
The step stool IKEA MÄSTERBY made from recycled polypropylene is lightweight, sturdy and stackable.
A colourful and playful bunch of soft toys based on real drawings by kids from the IKEA SAGOSKATT 2016 collection.
2016, SAGOSKATT soft toys
IKEA TVÄRS table lamp in white polypropylene and cap/leg in reinforced polypropylene.
2017, TVÄRS table lamp
The 2017 IKEA STOCKHOLM rattan armchair with white cushion features a generous shape and a neat expression.
2017, IKEA STOCKHOLM armchair with cushions