Hacking IKEA

It is said that people either love IKEA or hate it. Even those who fall into the latter group may find a recently published article amusing.

When the founding fathers of the metric system dreamed of a measurement system that would be “universal, for all people, for all time”, they probably did not have home furnishings uppermost in their thoughts. Although the industrial revolution was gathering pace at that time, the idea that an item of furniture could be made in one country and then sold in a hundred others would have seemed far fetched to almost everyone.

Now, according to an article that appeared on the blog ‘99% invisible’ on 19 August 2014, not only is IKEA furniture distributed worldwide, but it is being modified worldwide too, much to the consternation of the bosses at IKEA. Here is a quote from the article:

“Because IKEA products are available in so many countries and use metric measurements, a worldwide “hackerati” has been able to thrive. You see hacks posted from Australia, Russia, Israel and Dubai. Someone even posted a hack of a French country house library in an actual French country house. He used 60 Billy and Benno bookcases.”

The full article may be found at:


Something for the week-end?

3 thoughts on “Hacking IKEA”

  1. While I wouldn’t profess to love IKEA, I have certainly given them a lot of custom over the years. Some years ago I seem to remember that the weights and dimensions on their packaging were standard metric only. In recent years I have noticed that imperial measurements also now appear on packaging sold around mainland Europe. I wonder how this has come about? There is no legal requirement for them to include such information and nobody in other European countries outside the UK is interested in imperial units in any size, shape or form. So I wonder what prompted IKEA to include these archaic units, since nothing they make is manufactured using imperial measurements. IKEA seems to be adding to its production costs for no apparent reason.


  2. Probably common packaging for the largest possible market. They also started metric-only in the US, but added Customary measurements. If the metric is present, would other European customers reject it because Imperial/Customary is also included. If not, they save money by using a common box and a single part number for shipping to a larger market. We are also used to a “language flurry” (up to six or even more) even though three will cover the NAFTA region.


  3. I don’t think for one moment that customers would reject an IKEA product because of Imperial/Customary labelling on the package if that is the product they wish to buy. I doubt whether anyone would really notice unless they wanted to know how heavy a package is before picking it up and then checked the weight. So it is the US market that prompted the decision in this case.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: