Design for everyone

STEFAN chair in pieces
We believe quality and design should be affordable to many. We call this “democratic design”, and it’s made up of five elements: form, function, quality, sustainability and a low price.
Our customers do their part by assembling our products. Together we save money. See STEFAN chair
DEMOCRATIC DESIGN: Design at IKEA | Working with suppliers | Our raw materials | Life at home
The story behind our products
Every IKEA product has a story to tell. And like every good story, it starts with a great idea. What’s ours? We want to make everyday life at home better. That’s why we do thousands of home visits every year to learn more about peoples’ needs and dreams. This is the starting point for every product we design.
Designing good quality
For us, good design is the right combination of form, function, quality, sustainability and a low price. Our product developers and designers have to find the right balance of all these elements when the design process begins. It’s a unique challenge that keeps us innovative.
Two IKEA designers (a woman and a man) examining a textile sample
We design and develop about 9,500 products ourselves in Älmhult, Sweden – the small village where IKEA first started.
Woman turning a page of a book of textile samples
A group of IKEA suppliers sitting in a circle looking at design sketches
The people behind our designs
What makes the IKEA design process unique is that our suppliers play a very important role. Very early on in the design phase, our product developers and designers work with a diverse team of technicians, manufacturers and specialists – often right on the factory floor. This special partnership helps keep our prices low and find the latest techniques to create products the IKEA way.
IKEA quality testing of a SÖDERHAMN one-seat section at the IKEA Test Lab
High-quality testing
We test all of our materials and products during the product development phase. For us, good quality is based on the needs of our customers, how they use our furniture and their lives at home. Our two IKEA Test Labs in Sweden and China are also training centres for our co-workers and suppliers.
DEMOCRATIC DESIGN: Design at IKEA | Working with suppliers | Our raw materials | Life at home
Innovative production
Our production phase is often when innovation at IKEA comes alive. What makes it unique is our ability to work side by side with individual suppliers directly at their factories. With their help, we’re able to use the most efficient, cost-effective and creative ways to bring our designs to life. It’s this special spirit of togetherness that allows us to make advances in smart product design, packaging and distribution. Follow us behind the scenes to see some of the ways we collaborate with our suppliers.
An IKEA supplier (woman) preparing throws for inspection inside a factory
We have around 1,000 suppliers in 53 countries. To safeguard good working conditions, we have a supplier code of conduct called IWAY.
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In the factory. See the modern craftsmanship of our STOCKHOLM sofas.
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Find out how one of our suppliers in Vietnam tests IKEA soft toys for child safety.
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Find out how IKEA is connecting social entrepreneurs in rural India to the global market.
Meet some of the people behind our products
For over half a century, we’ve worked with carefully selected small- and large-scale suppliers from all around the world. We want to develop together with suppliers who want to grow with IKEA. It’s these close partnerships that greatly influence the design, quality and safety of our products. We also work with entrepreneurs in developing countries, often providing technical and financial support. Read more about our relationships with suppliers in People and Communities
IKEA products packed in pallets at one of IKEA’s distribution centres
Smart transportation and distribution
We’re delivering over 50% of our products directly from suppliers to our stores, which helps to cut costs and CO2 emissions. Read more about our energy saving efforts in Energy and Resources
DEMOCRATIC DESIGN: Design at IKEA | Working with suppliers | Our raw materials | Life at home
A group of raw materials arranged on a concrete floor
Materials for the future
We care about what goes in to our products. That’s why we are working with more sustainable materials – those that are renewable, recyclable and recycled. We always try to make more from less. By using materials carefully we keep our prices down and make the best use of resources.
Water hyacinth
Recycled PET plastic
Wood plastic composite
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Find out how we’re working with raw materials at IKEA.
A fast growing grass, 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.
Recycled PET plastic
PET plastic from things like old bottles can be melted down and used to make other products. This gives plastic another life and reduces waste.
All wood used in our products is sourced from suppliers that meet our IWAY Forestry Standard, designed to ensure that wood comes from responsibly managed forests. By 2017, 50 per cent of our wood will be FSC® (Forestry Stewardship Council) certified or from recycled sources. The long term goal is 100 per cent.
Better 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. By 2015 we want 100% of the cotton in IKEA products to be produced this way.
Wood plastic composite
Wood plastic composite consists of polypropylene and wood fibres from sawmill waste. Using wood fibre makes plastic products stronger.
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.
A woman picking water hyacinths
Water hyacinth
A fast-growing weed that grows abundantly and can clog rivers and waterways. By removing water hyacinth we put it to good use to make things like hand-woven place mats. Find out more about our use of raw materials in Energy & Resources
DEMOCRATIC DESIGN: Design at IKEA | Working with suppliers | Our raw materials | Life at home
Two toddlers sitting on a sofa
For a better everyday life
Home. We believe it’s the most important place in the world. At IKEA, we want to inspire many people to make the most out of their home. Every year we visit thousands of homes around the world to find out what people want, need and (if we’re really lucky) some of their wildest dreams. We then turn these insights into new ideas and solutions to make everyday life a little better.
Young girl washing a glass at a kitchen sink
A mother sitting on the sofa, holding the hand of her young daughter
photo portrait of IKEA Range Strategist, Mia Lundström
Mia Lundström
Range Strategist at IKEA
“I’m passionate about how people live their lives at home. It helps me understand their everyday life, and make sure IKEA offers functional products that are both affordable and beautiful.”
A young woman putting together an IDOLF chair
a young girl and boy drawing and painting at a desk
A small group of people sitting at a table and talking
Here’s the part where you come in
Part of keeping our prices low is through our partnership with our customers. We share the job – we do our part, you do your part, and together we save money. However, we also offer a range of services for customers who would like a helping hand.
Two IKEA store co-workers looking up information on the computer
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 the IKEA Group
A photo portrait of a young Indian girl in a classroom
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