Skip to main content

DEMOCRATIC DESIGN

Design for everyone

At IKEA, we believe that design is for everyone. We strive to create products that are beautiful, functional, sustainable, high quality and affordable. Like the LISABO coffee table in ash veneer, winner of the international Red Dot award for design.beige beckground
We’re proud that LISABO series has been awarded the prestigious, international Red Dot Award for design. The tables slanted edges give a handcrafted look, and matt lacquer on the ash veneer means the furniture will keep its natural wood feel. “The idea behind LISABO was to create a series with the distinct feeling of wood, a floating expression and durable, easy to assemble construction” explain designers Knut Hagberg and Marianne Hagberg.
We feel good design combines form, function, quality, sustainability at a low price. We call it “Democratic Design” because we believe good home furnishing is for everyone.
DEMOCRATIC DESIGN: LIFE AT HOME | INNOVATIVE DESIGN | CHOOSING MATERIALS | WHAT’S NEXT?
LIFE AT HOME
Where it all starts
“At home” isn’t just a place. It’s a feeling. Like being in the most comfortable space in the universe. So for us, understanding people’s life at home is the most natural place to start. Every year, we visit homes all around the world to find out what people dream about. We then pair their needs with the abilities of our suppliers to create new solutions that, hopefully, will make everyday life a little better.
A man standing by the stove in a kitchen, frying vegetables. A young girl standing next to him is helping out with the preparations. The kitchen worktop is packed with oil, eggs and bowls.
A boy lying on the floor playing with a baby who’s chewing on a toy. A woman sits just behind the baby.
With what’s most important at heart
Children are the most important people in the world. That’s why we always have their perspective at heart, in all things we do. We want it to be easy to create a home that’s practical and playful, safe and imaginative – allowing for lots of together time (and for playing astronaut on one’s own).
Over the years we’ve learned a lot about all good that comes out of playing, for kids and grown-ups alike. Play stimulates creativity and makes us less stressed, and it’s an inherent, necessary part of growing up. Since we also know that home is the most important playground, we’ve made it our mission to make every kid’s personal space as playful as themselves. And it doesn’t matter if it’s their own room or a corner of the lounge.
frame.An image of parts of the IKEA SLÄKT range, flexible furniture for kids aged 8 and up. Here we see the bed with three storage modules underneath.
The new SLÄKT range
With a license to chill
When it comes to their own space, what children dream of and what their parents feel they need aren’t necessarily the same. That’s one of the reasons why our work with the new SLÄKT range, furniture designed for kids aged 8 and up, started out with a global survey into what children from 8 to 12 years old really want from their space. The answer proved to be nearly the same all over the world; kids want a place to relax and retreat, with potential for hanging out with friends while still being close to their parents. The chill out-part isn’t surprising, really. Even though it might not always seem like it when they are preoccupied with one screen or the other, the pre-teens are hectic years – on the inside as well as on the outside.
See the SLÄKT range
Furniture for change
With these findings behind us we continued the development process – aiming for a result that the kids would love (and one that would appeal to the parents too of course). The outcome, a range that includes a bed and furniture for storing, chilling and hanging out, can be adapted to different needs and so is great to interact with.
“Kids can change what they want to do in their room in a heartbeat, so we designed SLÄKT to be super modular and adaptable, as well as easy to move around if a bunch of friends come over”.

Nina Hughes, Children’s IKEA.
A father is playing around with his kid, flying around in a laundry basket.
The playful home
Play is an important part of life—for kids and grown-ups alike. When we play, we stimulate creativity, banish worry, embrace our dreams, and create happy memories. But how have perceptions of play evolved over time? And how do families play today? The Play Report 2015 surveyed 30,000 parents and kids worldwide and discovered that no matter how old we are, our ‘inner child’ craves the comfort and freedom of play:
• 47% of children want more playtime with their parents
• 71% of parents think the home should be a place for fun and play
• 90% of parents believe play is essential to wellbeing and happiness
See the full report hereSee the LATTJO collection here
38% consider the neighbourhood in which they live a part of their home.
A group of people gathered outside around a table having a cup of coffee.
The IKEA Life at Home Report 2016
What makes a home?
The IKEA Life at Home report explores the life at home of people all over the world. The aim of the report is to increase awareness of and spark conversation about what better everyday living actually means. This time we dig into what really makes a home for people. The report shows that among many factors, people primarily define their homes as where they have their most important relationships. People who are satisfied with their relationships at home are also happier with their living situation and feel better overall.
Learn more about the Life at Home Report 2016Read the IKEA Life at Home Report 2016
Findings from the
IKEA Life At Home Report
43% think the things that enable them to do what they love are the most important.
A green heart symbol.
Almost 1 in 4 think it’s more important to have good Wi-Fi than to have social spaces in order to nurture their relationships at home.
A Wi-Fi symbol.
As many as 40% say their homes have a particular smell.
A perfume bottle symbol.
3 LIFE AT HOME  FOCUS AREAS
LIFE AT HOME
FOCUS AREAS
Adult man in apron, and two kids stanidng on top of stools to reach the countertop in a kitchen.
Living with children
We understand that raising kids can sometimes feel like a juggling act. At IKEA, we love giving families a boost in any small way we can.
 Small apartment with focus on a small green table, setting, and two green chairs facing each other.
Small space
By 2030, 7 out of 10 will live in cities. As living space shrinks we’re raising our focus on smart, fun solutions that save both space and money.
Storage boxes in black and white incorporated underneath a staircase.
Organising
Rising living standards means more things. By making storage functional, fun and affordable, we make it easier to enjoy a tidy home.
DEMOCRATIC DESIGN: LIFE AT HOME | INNOVATIVE DESIGN | CHOOSING MATERIALS | WHAT’S NEXT?
CHOOSING MATERIALS
A more sustainable start
At IKEA, we’re working hard to ensure that all our home furnishings will be made from renewable, recyclable or recycled materials by the end of 2015. Yes it’s a matter of responsibility. But we also believe that making the best use of resources helps us keep prices low and quality high. Here are some of the more sustainable materials we use today.
Wooden table
Wood
By 2017, 50% of our wood will be FSC® (Forestry Stewardship Council) certified or from recycled sources. The FSC standard protects ecosystems and people’s livelihoods, and our long-term goal is 100%. Today, all the wood we use must meet our IWAY Forestry Standard, which bans wood from sources involved in forest-related conflicts or illegally harvested. It also states that harvesting should not threaten High Conservation Value forests.
Bamboo
Bamboo has more than a thousand species, grows mostly in the tropics and can be up to 30 metres tall. Strong and lightweight, bamboo can be used to create a hardwood effect. It grows faster than wood and does not need farming.
Wood plastic composite
Wood plastic composite consists of polypropylene and wood fibres from sawmill waste. Using wood fibre makes plastic products stronger and less expensive. And it helps put waste to good use.
Table with bamboo table top, white legs, and two black dining chairs made from wood plastic composite.Close up of hand-woven basket with red handles
Water hyacinth
A fast-growing plant, water hyacinth is a durable and highly renewable material we use to make hand-woven products like baskets. And because it is clogging up waterways in South East Asia, using it this way benefits both people and biodiversity.
More sustainable cotton
Together with the Better Cotton Initiative and WWF, we enable more than 100,000 farmers in India and Pakistan to produce cotton using less chemicals and water. From September 2015, all cotton in IKEA products will come from more sustainable sources.
Recycled PET plastic
PET plastic can be melted down and used to make other products such as quilts and pillows. An old plastic bottle is transformed into pellets, then into a usable textile. This gives plastic another life and reduces waste. It also creates a material that’s much more comfortable than the name might suggest.
Folded, white duvet cover with grey seams. Black pillow and a rolled up black cover ontop.Close up of curtain rod with a dark grey linen curtain.
Flax and linen
Linen is produced from extracted fibres of flax plants that grow in large fields, often in cooler climates where artificial irrigation and pesticides are rarely used. The fibres of fast-growing flax plants make linen strong and durable, yet soft and breathable, too.
DEMOCRATIC DESIGN: LIFE AT HOME | INNOVATIVE DESIGN | CHOOSING MATERIALS | WHAT’S NEXT?
WHAT’S NEXT?
Inspiring small changes
We’re much too curious to wait around for trends to arrive. We prefer to ask, “What can we do to make things better, so that everyday life will be better?” Often it’s about little things; those small solutions in the home that make the every day seamless, more functional and more fun.
Today, we’ve moved beyond the conventional way of looking at home furnishing. Instead of seeing rooms, we look at activities. What are people doing in the home? How do they do it, and when? We then inspire them to make small changes that will make doing those things easier, smarter and more enjoyable - all over the home.
The “fluid home” focuses on creating a good flow in the home based on people’s activities. Integrating wireless charging in furniture is one of those small things that can make a big difference.
 Female lounging on sofa while placing her cell phone onto a wireless charging station (left). Close up of integratied wirelss charching station on an IKEA floor lamp (right).
“Urban play - the experiential home” is one of many themes we’re exploring at the IKEA Home Lab, including privacy solutions for shared living spaces.
Close up of person sitting in a red armchair with a built in interactive screen.
IKEA Home Lab - Where focus is on the future
Working with science is generally not what people think we do at IKEA. Yet as we head into the future, science plays a bigger role than ever in meeting the needs of our customers. At our IKEA Home Lab, a dedicated group of scientists and future-focused minds are experimenting with things that won’t hit our stores for years. Here, ideas and materials are explored, and prototypes are built. Some will be tested in real living situations. Others will never see the inside of a flat pack. It’s about curiosity, discovery and trial and error - the nature of science.
A smarter, more flexible tomorrow
With technology and economic development bringing people closer together than ever before, the world is growing smaller and tighter by the minute. Living habits and standards are changing at a faster pace. At the IKEA Home Lab, we focus on creating smart and flexible ways to meet future needs at home, brought about by rising numbers of people, devices, cables and more.
Close up of a hand placing a cell phone onto a wireless charging station next to a pair of eye glasses.
Turning furniture into wireless charging spots makes charging easy and free from cables - a human-centred solution to a technology-centred need.
Female in grey sweater placing a white storage unit into a wall made out of many storage units.
For urban dwellers in shared living situations we’re experimenting with innovative solutions such as moveable walls that take flexibility to a higher level.
YOU MIGHT ALSO BE INTERESTED IN:
Two IKEA store co-workers looking up information on the computer
WORKING AT IKEA
We believe in people
Find out what makes IKEA an inspiring place to work. Hear directly from some of our co-workers and learn about our different roles. Learn more about Working at IKEA
A photo portrait of a young Indian girl in a classroom
PEOPLE & PLANET
For a sustainable future
Discover what sustainability means to us and what we are doing to take care of people and the planet. Explore People & Planet