Rare, Vintage IKEA Photos From Every Decade
Though in the United States we tend to think of IKEA as a more modern creation, the Swedish furniture giant has actually been around since 1943. And while it hasn't always had the global reach it has now it has always served as reflection of the cultural zeitgeist. The company prides itself on responding to domestic needs– whether technological or aesthetic and it shows in their room designs through the years.
IKEA Through The Ages
Take a look at how IKEA furniture has changed over the last six decades.
Ah, the 1950s– when the world channelled nuclear anxiety into lamps shaped like atom models, flying saucers and nuclear arsenals. Add to that mod curtains and a radio that would make a hipster weep and all that’s missing is a Jell-O casserole on the kitchen table.
Lust-worthy midcentury modern chairs evoke the Danish recliner popularly known as the ‘Z chair.’ The warm sideboard has groovy rounded edges mirrored by that Jetsons-esque TV. Throw in some ever-polarizing wicker accents on the coffee table and the pitcher, and there’s no question this room was a product of its time.
Now the purview of corporate waiting rooms, the Space Age angles of the recliners and couch– much like the coveted Egg and Womb chairs– were totally cutting edge. If those curtains made it to the end of the decade, we wouldn’t be surprised if someone wore them to Woodstock. Meanwhile, that distant relative of the banana phone might be the room’s MVP.
This room seems to say ‘peace, love and IKEA’– from the flower power throw pillows to the optical wallpaper. Just remember not to trip over your go-go boots if you insist on leaving them on the shag carpeting.
Wooden blinds, denim furniture, and the white shag carpet make for a ‘far out’ tableau. Not to mention an enviable collection of Swedish board games. Our one quibble? No ABBA albums.
From the era that brought us the birth of the home video game console, comes a room that looks straight out of Super Mario. While cute red and green prints have a rural Swedish feel, we’re also half expecting Toad and Yoshi to come running across the floor. Of course, Mario wouldn’t hit the scene until the 80s. I guess this room is just ahead of its time.
Here we have a primary-colored mix of several decades of art movements. Minimalist vases march toward a splashy curtain best situated within the murals of Keith Haring and Basquiat. Plus, there’s a tribute to surrealist icon Joan Miró who died in 1983.
This room is a little more conservative. Perhaps it belongs to some hippies tired of two decades of partying (see sleepy Picasso print above couch for details.) Of course, there’s still a winking playfulness about the tropical couch– a trend we have to thank for the current revival of the banana leaf pattern.
Chrome pendant lamps, a black light and even the familiar curve of Thonet-style kitchen chairs can’t shake the lurking danger of getting sucked into an all-night dance party.
This room is as white as the cover of Backstreet Boys’ Millennium (1999.) Note the desktop computer in the back– and the floppy disc drive if you squint. Is it wrong that the 90s kid in me wants to see the Kool-Aid man come bursting through the wall? These pristine living quarters would never have survived my childhood.
Soft greens and blues aren’t so far off from popular palettes now, although the CD rack certainly dates the room. The framed IKEA catalogue is a timeless touch. In 2016 we call that ‘meta.’