Anna Efverlund




Anna Efverlund



IKEA designer
with strong inner child


“We are not so brave to be childish anymore.
We don’t dare to draw, paint, dance, or create because we’re afraid to make mistakes.
Well, I have made so many mistakes I am no longer afraid to make more!”


   Anna Efverlund is a Designer with IKEA, the global home furnishing company that still bases its product development headquarters in Älmhult, a farming town in southern Sweden where it all started 68 years ago.
Efverlund emanates fun. Accordingly, her fun-loving personality shows through her designs.

A slow start

Efverlund has designed numerous modern-styled furniture, textiles, rugs, lighting, toys, floorings and kitchen utensils for IKEA since 1980.
In 1994, she lived in Thailand to develop 100 new toys directly from the factory floor for IKEA, as the company outsources its production in various countries.

“I am so childish!”   Efverlund says with a happy laugh.

“Children are honest. They can’t be happy without being happy. If they like something, it shows!”

It’s hard work developing children’s products as there are many safety regulations. Children’s items must be durable. After all, explains Efverlund, children will jump on chairs, throw them and do anything but sit on them! Designs must also be low-priced and flat-packed according to IKEA’s concept.

Efverlund’s first love is designing for children.

“It’s easier to understand one another if we understood each other’s childhood and its effect on us”, she explains.

“The most important years of our growth are from birth till seven when our personality is formed. I think that is the key to understanding how important childhood is.”

“Children are so creative, until they go to school! Then we have to work so hard to regain that creativity that came so easily to us in those the years.”

“We are not so brave to be childish anymore. We don’t dare to draw, paint, dance, or create because we’re afraid to make mistakes. Well, I have made so many mistakes I am no longer afraid to make more!”

Efverlund was dyslexic. She failed in all her subjects in school and was the bane of her teachers. Her father used to say she was only good for the job of mixing paint.
Unlike today, dyslexia was unrecognized 50 years ago. But Efverlund was adept at other skills. She sewed her own clothes. And at six, she made furniture for her dolls with scraps.

Dyslexia was no match for an irrepressible, creative spirit.

“My grandmother was an opera singer while my grandfather was an artist. I look just like him! My father was an engineer and my mother kept our home in order. I inherited a little from each of them”,says Efverlund.

A wild, misunderstood child, Efverlund fought hard to find her future. She enrolled in a technical secondary school that put her creativity to practical use. In 1971, she gained a place in Konstindustriskolan University in Gothenburg. Five years later, she left with a masters’ degree in industrial design.

The dyslexic kid became a globetrotting designer. A Swedish plastic furniture manufacturer hired Efverlund as an engineer. She later worked with Bicicletas Monark in Sao Paulo, Brazil, designing bicycles and mopeds.

Efverlund’s heart was always tuned towards creating toys for children to play and learn with.

Designing for the world

Efverlund continues designing for a childhood she never had a chance to enjoy. From the Titta finger puppets to colorful rugs resembling windsurfing boards, her designs for IKEA reflect her outlook on life.

“I love having fun and humor in all things”, Efverlund explains her design philosophy.

“I grab ideas by the tail and let them dance in my brain for a while before I work them out on paper and then on computer.”