7 IKEA Items That Stay True to Their Scandinavian Heritage

published Sep 24, 2018
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(Image credit: Jenny Chang-Rodriguez)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Welcome to Scandi Week—Apartment Therapy’s seven-day focus on all-things Scandinavia (often defined as the countries of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway). Sometimes it seems like the whole world is obsessed with trying to copy this corner of the globe, from its timeless style aesthetic to its now-famous coziness rituals. For the next week, we’ll take a look at all of it—cleaning, pop culture, and of course tons of eye-popping design inspiration. Pull up a blanket and get hygge with us.

Most of us know IKEA as the powerhouse, ready-to-assemble furniture retailer that has gained a reputation for solving home needs at an affordable price. Need more closet space? Hello, ALGOT collection. How about a design-centric rug? Here’s a bunch. Inspo for your new kitchen? You know what we’re going to say, so just see here.

But underneath the company’s public persona is a deeply rooted cultural heritage—one of Scandinavian descent.

The company was founded by Ingvar Kamprad in 1943, who grew up on a farm in Sweden. At the ripe age of 17, Ingvar officially started the IKEA business, a name that was conceived from his name (I.K.), the family farm (Elmtaryd), and his hometown (Agunnaryd), according to IKEA’s official website.

Kamprad started selling miscellaneous objects at a reduced price, from table runners to picture frames and nylon stockings. In 1953, the first IKEA showroom store opened to the public. And 65 years later, Scandinavian heritage is still at the heart of IKEA’s design, seen through its minimalistic and simple composition.

“Scandinavian design is about being humanistic and relevant to the need for the design, no frivolous additions, just what is necessary to produce the desired result,” says Nancy Vayo, Interior Design Leader at IKEA U.S. “Being resilient and multi-functional as well as simple and straightforward are obvious characteristics of truly Scandinavian design.”

What better way to prove this than by highlighting the quintessential Scandinavian items available at IKEA? See below for Nancy’s top seven picks that stay true to the company’s Scandi identity.

(Image credit: IKEA)

The POÄNG chair was the creation of Japanese designer Noboru Nakamura and has stood the test of time (created in 1972)! The bentwood birch construction is in keeping with Scandinavian design’s focus on natural and light-colored wood. And an organic and ergonomic profile rings true to the Scandinavian aesthetic.”

2. STOCKHOLM Rug, $199

(Image credit: IKEA)

“Most Scandinavian homes have lightwood floors, and rugs are used throughout to soften the space and provide warmth. This rug exemplifies the Scandinavian value of using natural materials and traditional craft as each is handwoven by skilled craftspeople.”

3. EVEDAL Lamp, $149

(Image credit: IKEA)

“Natural light is sparse during the long, dark winters in Scandinavia, which is why lighting is so quintessential to Scandinavian design. The EVEDAL lamp has a classic Scandinavian design incorporating beautiful materials and basic forms.”

(Image credit: IKEA)

“Traditional Scandinavian houses are small, which is why multipurpose items are so important. This pegboard can be used for a number of multi-functional uses, from storing tools, to bathroom accessories, to mail and keys.”

(Image credit: IKEA)

“Scandinavian design has a focus on sustainable, readily available, and natural choices. The use of light-colored wood like birch and pine are prevalent, since these are the predominant woods available in Scandinavia. The BEKVÄM step stool is an example of this quality and lives into the multi-functional focus of Scandinavian design, with uses spanning from step stool, to seat, to side table.”

(Image credit: IKEA)

“Scandinavian design is about being humanistic and simple with no frivolous additions. The GLADOM tray table exemplifies these characteristics and is great for a small space as it has a minimal footprint and a minimal frame. It is fluid and functional, fun, and flexible; it is humanistic.”

(Image credit: IKEA)

“Plants are often found in Scandinavian homes to help brighten things up. The RÅGKORN plant pot identifies with this cultural norm and supports the idea of bringing the outside in. It is tough-wearing, able to be used inside and out, and is crafted from renewable natural material in keeping with Scandinavian design’s sustainable values.”