The backrest and seat of FRÖSET chair in red stained oak veneer.

How we design and innovate with wood

One of the wonderful qualities of wood is that there are so many things you can do with it. It can be sanded and shaped, laminated, bent and folded. Or why not recycled, recomposed and moulded? It works in the bedroom and bathroom, the living room and library. You can walk on it, sleep on it, eat off it. You can use it to store things and stir things. At IKEA, we’re always looking for new ways to make the most of this precious resource and we constantly challenge ourselves to innovate and improve how we design wood-based products.

Making good use of wood

The stories behind our wood-based products

Wood is part of our Scandinavian design heritage. For around 80 years IKEA designers and product developers have been inspired by the many qualities of the material and created hundreds of beautiful, functional and affordable products that make life at home a little bit easier. And our current crop of designers is just as happy to be working with wood.

RÖNNINGE table. Less wood, more legs.

RÖNNINGE table and two RÖNNINGE chairs together with a wooden bench in a kitchen dining area.

At IKEA, we’re driven to create more from less. When we design our products this way, not only do we use wood even more mindfully, we also make them lighter and easier to transport. For example, using hollow wooden legs on our RÖNNINGE table we can make eight legs from the same amount of material previously used to make just one.

We’re always looking for ways to use wood as efficiently as possible without compromising on quality or function.

FRÖSET chair. Bent for comfort and strength.

Assembling multiple layers of veneer in special moulds and pressing and gluing them together allows us to create curved components. FRÖSET easy chair uses bent wood in different thicknesses. The back rest is thinner so it flexes, while the seat is thicker to provide support where you need it most.

Types of wood-based material used by suppliers for production of IKEA products

In FY22, our products contained lots of different and efficient ways of using virgin and recycled wood material. Particle board, a strong composite material, represents approximately half of all the wood-based material used in our products in FY22.

Particle board

49

High-density & medium-density fibreboard

19

Solid wood components

12

Sawn goods

11

Roundwood

7

Plywood

1

Veneer

0.8

Oriented strand board and other composites

0.2

Figures do not include paper used in IKEA products.

A piece of particle board against a white background.

The case for particle board

Did you know that half of our wood-based products including bookshelves, wardrobes, kitchen frames and TV benches such as PAX, MALM, BILLY, NORDLI and METOD are made from particle board? Particle board uses all the pieces of wood which are left over from the production line or are not suitable for solid wood products – even the sawdust – and turns them into a whole new wood-based material. And the best part? When a particle board based product reaches the end of its life it can be recycled and used all over again.

As part of our Forest Positive Agenda to drive innovation to use wood in even smarter ways, we are one of the first in the furniture industry to encourage our suppliers to increase their share of recycled wood used in particle board production. Today, the average share of recycled material in IKEA particle board is 25-30% and some of our suppliers are already only producing particle board made from recycled wood.

By 2030, we aim to secure that at least 80% of our particle board is based on recycled wood.

A bearded IKEA product developer wearing a beret, inspects a partially constructed wooden chair.

Designing products with circularity in mind

Our ambition is to be a circular business by 2030. In line with this goal we are committed to designing all our products with circular capabilities. This means designing every product from the very beginning to be reused, refurbished, remanufactured and eventually – after all other possibilities have been explored – recycled. It also means using only renewable or recycled materials and providing new solutions for our customers to prolong the life of products and materials.

Several white BILLY bookcases against a wood-panelled wall. The shelves are filled with books, boxes and wooden sculptures.

BILLY. A bookcase that just got better.

Since it was launched in 1978, more than 120 million BILLY bookcases have been sold. Today, BILLY is still one of the best-selling and best-known IKEA products. In FY22, BILLY was redesigned to improve its circular capabilities. Shifting to paper foil and reducing plastic means that most materials used to produce the new BILLY will come from renewable sources. The new design also has snap fittings on the back panel instead of nails, so it can be disassembled, reassembled and taken with you through the different stages of your life.