Democratic Design

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.

Democratic design brings good design to the many people by combining a just-right mix of form, function, quality and sustainability at an affordable price.

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.

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.

WORKING WITH SUPPLIERSInnovative 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.

We have around 1,000 suppliers in 53 countries. To safeguard good working conditions, we have a supplier code of conduct called IWAY.

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

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

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 10 times faster than wood and does not need farming, which means low impact on the environment. IKEA PS Bamboo Table

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. IKEA PS Chair

Water hyacinth
A fast-growing plant, water hyacinth is a great renewable material we use to make hand-woven things like place mats. Although a plant, it is quite sturdy and durable. SOARÉ Place mats. Although a plant, it is quite sturdy and durable.

Wood
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. Find out more about our use of raw materials in Energy & Resources

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.

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.

Recycled PET plastic PET plastic can be melted down and used to make other products. An old plastic bottle is transformed into pellets, then into a usable textile. This gives plastic another life and reduces waste

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