IKEA product naming system


Most of the single word names are Swedish in origin. More specifically

  • Upholstered furniture, coffee tables, rattan furniture, bookshelves, media storage, doorknobs:  Swedish placenames
  • Beds, wardrobes, hall furniture:  Norwegian place names
  • Dining tables and chairs:  Finnish place names
  • Bookcase ranges:  occupations
  • Bathroom articles:  Scandinavian lakes, rivers and bays
  • Kitchens:  grammatical terms, sometimes also other names
  • Chairs, desks:  men’s names
  • Materials, curtains:  women’s names
  • Garden furniture:  Swedish islands
  • Carpets:  Danish place names
  • Lighting:  music, chemistry, meteorology, measures, weights, seasons, months, days, boats, & nautical terms
  • Bedlinen, bed covers, pillows/cushions:  flowers, plants, precious stones; words related to sleep, comfort, and cuddling
  • Children’s items:  mammals, birds, adjectives
  • Curtain accessories:  mathematical and geometrical terms
  • Kitchen utensils:  foreign words, spices, herbs, fish, mushrooms, fruits or berries, functional descriptions
  • Boxes, wall decoration, pictures and frames, clocks:  colloquial expressions, also Swedish place names

An analysis of the names last year by 2 Danish academics declared that IKEA “gives its ‘better’ products Swedish and Norwegian names, while ‘lesser’ products are christened with Danish names, and that this amounts to “Swedish imperialism.”

The hierarchy:

  • Tier 1, Swedish: Upholstered furniture, bookcases, and multimedia consoles get the names of Swedish towns. Example — the Kramfors sofa.
  • Tier 2, Norwegian: Beds, dressers, and hallway furniture are bestowed with the names of Norwegian towns. Example — the Leksvik bed.
  • Tier 3, Finnish: Chairs and dining tables are christened after Finnish towns. Example — the Harola chair.
  • Tier 4, Danish: Doormats, runners, and inexpensive carpeting get Danish names. Example — the Roskilde rug and the Köge doormat.

Apparently the products were so named because the company founder is dyslexic and thought that proper names & nouns would be easier to remember, as opposed to some kind of product code.


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