The IKEA Style Guide

Tara Dickinson
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Founded in Sweden in the 1940s with headquarters now in the Netherlands, IKEA is a worldwide known name with franchises spreading across the globe. Famous for designing and selling ready-to-assemble furniture, kitchen appliances, home accessories, and various other goods, IKEA is recognized for its modernist designs and innovative furnishing solutions associated with simplicity. For these reasons, IKEA remains a popular brand as well as for its affordability and extensive range of products. The IKEA website alone contains about 12,000 products! Putting together an IKEA home style guide is a bit challenging because of its wide range of decor styles. So we’re going to focus on the most popular and well known.



IKEA was founded by Mr. Ingvar Kamprad in 1943 at the age of 17. The name IKEA is an acronym using the initials from his name and the initial letters of his family’s farm (Elmtaryd) and his home village (Agunnaryd)- IKEA. The stores today continue to display the Swedish origins by decorating in the colors of the Swedish flag, blue and yellow. Other native Swedish components are seen in the Swedish food the in-store restaurants serve and of course, all the Swedish names of the company’s products which come from towns in Northern Europe.


What’s known as “flat-packing of furniture”, basically meaning not pre-assembled, was one of the foundational elements of the IKEA brand and was introduced in 1956. By going this route, IKEA was able to drastically reduce production costs which vaulted them to the head of the furniture market. Competitors even went as far as to try and manipulate local manufacturers and other suppliers to stop providing raw materials to them. IKEA got around this by reaching out to foreign suppliers and creating their own in-house design teams.

IkeaWhy We Love The IKEA Look

This style of functional and affordable furniture was part of the modern movement in Scandinavian design that took off in the late 1950s, moving away from the ornate over stylized periods of the early 1900s. This new look was clean, and light in color, using natural wood and textiles. This mid-century modern style continues to be a timeless classic for its minimal zen-like look and feel of no-nonsense home interiors.

  • IKEA equates to clean lines and starkly simple silhouettes.
  • Mid-century modern design dives deeper into darker color palettes while the IKEA Scandinavian decor will always strive for an overall lighter color base.
  • The decor is also a reflection of the disciplined lifestyle, always keeping clutter at bay, maintaining clean lines and elegant aesthetics at the forefront.
  • Elements of IKEA don’t need to be isolated though; they can just as easily and tastefully fit into industrial-themed or rustic country house decor as well as several others (listed below).
  • Scandinavian furniture is quite rugged and will stand the test of time.

Home Or Office: IKEA Comfort & Productivity

Created with ergonomic functionality in mind, IKEA’s furniture also adds a tasteful decor element to enhance your workspace. Whether you’re working from home, need a space for your laptop, or you’re looking for a desk for the kids, IKEA’s selection of products will prove up to the task. With stylish options available in modern streamlined looks and height-adjustable legs, to vintage, solid woodwork desks with stained finishes, there is an IKEA furniture set that will work for you.

How To Incorporate The IKEA Look

You can keep one of your basic or larger foundational pieces for a room, for example, a living room sofa or dining room table, and start to bring in IKEA accompanying elements, dining room chairs, living room side tables, etc.

  • Add a variety of different IKEA chairs, mixing colors and materials to make it personal to your tastes and likes.
  • Or bring in one of IKEA’s solid basic wood tables that will work with a set of chairs you already own.
  • Keep cabinets, shelving, and bookcases uncrowded, light, and not too overbearing.
  • Add area rugs in lighter natural textiles versus anything too dark, plush, or vintage looking.
  • Accessories can include a mirror or two to bring in more light; a modern, abstract, or contemporary piece of artwork; and any additional accents should be well thought out and placed purposefully.
  • And as always, include some live greenery. Place a potted plant and other fresh greens throughout your home for the finishing IKEA touch.
  • Just make sure your Scandinavian look is balanced- not too many leggy modern pieces or pastels. When the balance of a solid metal element or grounding textural piece is incorporated your look will feel complete.

Decor Theme Styles That Work With IKEA

IKEA furniture styles fit into several decor styles in a variety of design themes such as:

MOST POPULAR: Modern & Mid-Century Modern Decor Idea

Many of the IKEA furniture sets come in modern and mid-century modern designs. This style seamlessly blends functionality and sleek composition. The sets are practical while also making a decor statement with their understated elegance.

IKEA On Sale The Local Flea

To find preloved and gently used IKEA furniture check out these brick-and-mortar shops in your city. Nationwide shipping is also available. Gently used or second-hand IKEA pieces are much more affordable in one-half to one-third of the original price range. Inventory turns over quickly, so check the furniture pages and sort by “brand” to find your IKEA favorites, or check at the many other gorgeous name-brand sets available at The Local Flea. And the best part of purchasing IKEA secondhand is it’s preassembled!

  • Bay Area- Look HERE.
  • Miami- Look HERE.
  • Phoenix- Look HERE.

Environmental Sustainability & Responsibility

IKEA wants to have a positive impact on the planet. That is why by 2030, they are working to have all materials in their products be recycled or renewable, and sourced in responsible ways.

  • By using particle board in many of their pieces, they use less wood per product. And by using sawmill leftovers and scrap wood in the particle board in some products, IKEA makes use of whole trees and not only the trunks.
  • According to IKEA's 2021 Sustainability Report, 99.5% of all wood that the company uses is either recycled or meets the standards of the Forest Stewardship Council.
  • Energy Conservation- In 2019, IKEA announced that they would be investing $2.8 billion in renewable energy infrastructure. The company is targeting making its entire supply chain climate positive by 2030.
  • Packaging & Bags- Since 2013, IKEA has stopped providing plastic bags to customers but offers reusable bags for sale. The IKEA restaurants also only offer reusable plates, knives, forks, spoons, etc.
  • LED- Since 2016, IKEA has only sold energy-efficient LED lightbulbs, lamps, and light fixtures. LED lightbulbs use as little as 15% of the power of a regular incandescent light bulb.




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