IKEA is a home furnishings company known for its stylish and inexpensive furniture and home accessories. Many IKEA products come packed in flat boxes, requiring assembly. IKEA products are often examples of modernist design—that is, they are simple, functional, and visually interesting. IKEA began in Sweden, and many of its operations are still centered there. The company is officially headquartered in the Netherlands. There are hundreds of IKEA stores in more than 40 countries.
IKEA stores have several distinctive features. They often display products grouped together in settings that resemble the rooms of a house. The showrooms encourage consumers to imagine using the products in their daily lives. The stores also feature Swedish food and play areas for children.
Ingvar Kamprad, a Swedish businessman, founded IKEA in 1943, when he was 17 years old. Kamprad lived on a farm called Elmtaryd, near the village of Agunnaryd, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) northeast of Malmö. The name IKEA combines Kamprad’s initials with the first letters of the farm and village. At first, IKEA sold such small items as ink pens and picture frames. By 1953, Kamprad had narrowed his focus to furniture. Over decades, the company developed a reputation in Scandinavia for its low-cost, functional furniture. By the end of the 1990’s, IKEA had expanded throughout much of the world. In the 2000’s, the company began designing inexpensive homes in a number of European residential complexes.
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