It’s 1987 and Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up and Glenn Close has a Fatal Attraction for Michael Douglas. Shoulder pads are big, chintz is the décor choice for bedrooms and bathroom suites come in anything but white. What could possibly come and shake us out of our maximalised existence and encourage us to live a less cluttered life?
35 Years of IKEA in the UK
Enter IKEA! In the same year as the NDA was founded, IKEA opened its first store in the UK. Far from being ahead of the curve, the UK was a way down the list in IKEA’s plans for world domination. Stores had already opened in Japan, Australia, the US and Saudi Arabia before the UK got a look in. But the flat-pack revolution had finally begun. The UK was encouraged to ‘chuck out your chintz’ You could turn up at IKEA and take away a whole new look for your home. The room sets offered a new take on modern interiors and introduced the world to Scandi design principles.
There are now 371 IKEA stores across 31 countries and Scandi interiors are no longer just a trend, for many they are an unconscious way of life.
Here are our Top 10 iconic IKEA designs from the last three and a half decades.
IKEA's Most Iconic Designs
The Billy bookcase is 44 years old this year and with its simple lines, variety of sizes and low price, it’s clear to see why this multi-use shelving unit is still a firm favourite. It’s also the most hacked piece of iconic IKEA furniture with thousands of ideas and modified designs popping up on Instagram and Pinterest in recent years.
Designed by Noboru Nakamura in 1976, IKEA has sold over 30 million of the iconic Poäng chair. The ergonomic design became popular with apartment dwellers and students where space was an issue. The bentwood frame makes it exceptionally strong and comfortable and IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad claimed to have owned the same Poäng chair since the 70s. The range now includes a footstool and a rocking chair.
Launched in 2002, the MALM Bed is another perfect example of IKEA’s simple design methodology. IKEA ended up in hot water over the MALM bed in 1999, when German company e15 claimed they had stolen the design. As with many of the successful lines from IKEA, the MALM range con be configured to your liking.
The MALM bed has also become rather famous for squeaking – something DIY bloggers and vloggers from all over the world have shown readers and viewers how to fix.
Possibly IKEA’s most hacked storage solution, KALLAX made the square into a display format before Instagram was even invented. Ideal for storing or displaying just about anything thanks to deep shelves and seemingly endless options for customisation, we’ve seen the KALLAX range used by clothing stores, in home offices and by retro vinyl lovers.
This iconic IKEA creation forms part of the retailer’s premium STOCKHOLM collection. The dark grey and white offset stripes and flatweave construction have seen the STOCKHOLM rug become a favourite in modern living and dining spaces. It’s had a few reboots along the way but despite also selling the more colourful 2017 designs, the original remains one of IKEA’s bestsellers.
Much like the BILLY range, LACK’s success is down to its simplicity, function and cost. As side tables go, the LACK is epitome of functional but despite coming in 5 different colours, the LACK is definitely found to be lacking in style. But for £7 can you really complain?
The DOCKSTA table may seem simple, but more thought has gone into it than you’d first think. IKEA’s iconic space saving design means that it will fit in even the tiniest dining space. Minimalists may prefer to pair it with similarly simple chairs but thanks to its understated design, the DOCKSTA is perfect for showcasing statement seating.
The KLIPPAN sofa has been sold by IKEA since 1980 and was one of the first sofas ever created to allow you to change the covers easily. It was also cleverly design to be narrow enough to easily fit through doorways – something celebrated by removals companies around the world.
IKEA revolutionised kitchen design when they launched the HULTARP range. It fits perfect into the open shelving trend but was designed more for people short on cupboard space. Classified as a ‘wall organiser’ this is yet another of IKEA’s brilliant space saving solutions and the range features lots of accessories to make your kitchen more functional and more stylish. And the HULTARP range doesn’t just work in the kitchen. We’ve seen hacks for wardrobes, jewellery displays, shoe racks and plant hangers.
Anyone who has ever visited one of IKEA’s stores will have left with a bag of these, at least once! When IKEA launched their first UK store in 1987, you’d have been able to see the town Warrington lit up from space. It was impossible to leave IKEA’s marketplace without a packet. Tealights are sold by thousands of different companies but IKEA has to take the credit for moving them from a Scandi trend into a household staple. Originally sold for only £1, inflation has had a clear effect on the cost of this humble bringer of light – they now retail at £5 for 100.