View Full Version : What's IKEA furniture made of?

06-07-2001, 10:00 AM
I bought some stuff from IKEA lately and was wondering something. Their veneered pieces seems to be much lighter than similar stuff from a local furniture store. A 2' x 2' x 1" table top from IKEA is easily lifted with one hand, and that's a pretty big chunk of material. I assume that the local store's stuff is just veneer on top of particle board. But the unfinished side of the IKEA furniture looks just like particle board too, so I'm a bit puzzled.

Anyone know what they're using?

06-07-2001, 11:15 AM
Soylent Green.

tiny ham
06-07-2001, 11:20 AM
I don't care if they're using dry skin shavings and vomit, I love IKEA man.

My computer room looks like something out of a freaking magazine thanks to that store.


I never thought I'd have an orgasm while shopping for endtables...then I found IKEA.


06-07-2001, 11:22 AM
IKEA's less expensive stuff is particleboard with a veneer of melamine. It's their use of those joining bolts that makes their "cheap" bookcases and desks much stronger than the stuff you see in K-Mart.
I believe that they also have a higher-priced line of finer furniture which is made from solid wood.

Ahhhh man, I MISS IKEA!!

Just build one in Cleveland, and I'll be a happy fella.

<btw, yes I know there's one in Pittsburgh. I just won't spend the GAS MONEY to go that far for it.>

Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
06-07-2001, 12:49 PM
Recycled Scandanavians, why do you ask? :D

06-07-2001, 01:11 PM
I Guess I'm in the minority here but the mention of IKEA is bringing on a rant.
My wife and I got bunk beds and two kid's dressers and they have been the WORST purchase we've ever made. Granted, kids can be tough on furniture, but as inexpensive furniture goes, this was more expensive than much of what's out there. The drawer bottoms on one pushed out and were unrepairable within a couple of months, the first one we returned for a refund, and the second broke shortly thereafter. the bunk bed brained my kid when a wood (I use the term loosely) dowel holding a railing gave way. I wouldn't let them use the top bunk when a ladder rung broke.
Since then we've shopped garage sales and Ebay for kid's furniture and have found old, well-crafted pieces for a fraction of the cost.

06-07-2001, 01:35 PM
Most of my apartment (except the couch, dining table, one dresser, and my computer cart) is from IKEA, and I've had no problems with it. it was cheap, and it looks good. we have the ULTRA cheap LACK coffee table ($40) and the LACK end tables ($15 each). They are exceedingly light, but they seem pretty sturdy.


06-07-2001, 02:06 PM
Originally posted by Kamandi
Soylent Green.

It's made from peeeeeeople!! The furniture is made from peeeeeeople!!!

(Wasn't there some sub-plot about "human furniture" in that movie? Or maybe I'm mixing up my classic scifi B-movies.)

06-07-2001, 02:31 PM
friedo -- Yup, the female pleasure servants are simply referred to as "furniture" in Soylent Green since they come with the apartment.

Further objectification : the historical advisor is known as a "book".

06-07-2001, 03:57 PM
I have to chime in on the Ikea Rant as well.

I will not shop at Ikea again - they pissed me off for the last time when I needed a chest of drawers. I looked in the newspaper and found an Ikea ad for a 5-drawer chest of drawers. When I got there, the damn thing looked like it was friggin Barbie furniture. It was barely 3 feet tall! And they wanted nearly $100 for it.

That's when I looked around the store, and realized everything was undersized. I looked at the ad, and it was clear that the photos in the ad were strategically crafted to give the illusion of a full-sized piece, but when you got to the store, you found yourself in munchkinland. Not to mention the poor materials everything was made of. It was all advertising and hype. The product itself is crap.

Sure they had housewares everywhere and some of it was even attractive and affordable, but I can still get better deals at import places like Cosco. (Now THAT place I love.)

So I went to a place near my house called "Discount Furniture" and bought a piece of crap that was obviously made of particleboard and contact paper for $25. But it was a full-sized five-drawer chest. And you know what - it's held up for 8 years with few signs of wear, because instead of drawer hardware, they just nailed blocks of scrap to the inside walls of the chest to serve as rails for the drawers and it works great!

06-07-2001, 04:42 PM
Dave Barry claimed somewhere that it was made of compressed bran flakes.

06-07-2001, 05:10 PM
During my search for modular furniture that meets my needs (see my recent post on this board: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=73442) I'd been looking into both Sauder and Ikea furniture. I ordered Ikea's catalog, and phoned them. They said that most of their furniture is wood composition, except where they state in their catalog "made of solid untreated wood" or the like.

06-07-2001, 08:20 PM
When I was living in Montreal there was an Ikea rip-off shop called "Idomo", located right across the street from Ikea. The stuff there was cheaper than Ikea's! :eek: I think it was made from old phone books.

I love my Ikea stuff. It's all held up great after six moves in seven years, although the Billy bookcases are starting to look a little ratty.

Thinking of the names reminds me of a Simpsons episode. The family goes to "Shop" (umlaut over the o). Lisa and Marge are looking at a pencil holder for Lisa to bring to school.

Marge holds up an unrecognizable contraption: How about the "Poopli"?

Lisa: No, Mom, everyone laughs at the Poopli kids.

06-07-2001, 11:32 PM
I was first introduced to Ikea twenty years ago in Sweden. Back then, Ikea was only found in Scandinavia. Interestingly, the style and layout of the store hasn't changed much except one thing. Back then the Ikea colors were red and white. I think they turned blue and yellow (Swedish colors) only when they expanded beyond Scandinavia. Now, Ikea is poping up all over Asia.


06-08-2001, 12:01 AM
Yup, the female pleasure servants are simply referred to as "furniture" in Soylent Green since they come with the apartment.
Shades of Ed Geen :eek:

06-08-2001, 08:52 AM
We bought an Ikea kitchen table and chairs years ago, the solid wood stuff, and the table has held up really well. My gripe is with the chairs. They are made of solid pieces of wood, and we put them together with those hexagonal bolts (with the little Allen wrench) and they are coming apart. I am constantly having to tighten them. I think part of the problem is that each chair came in four pieces: a seat, the 2 sides, and the backrest...when you scoot yourself in, it makes the parts wobble and come loose. To me it was a design flaw.

We also have a couple of the Sauder pieces and they are fine, too. We have a big entertainment unit which has held up really well, and a couple bookcases that are fine. We haven't moved them, though. Moving can be pretty hard on furniture.

06-08-2001, 09:29 AM
About the different weights of particle board - it's possible that the difference lies in the ratio of softwoods to hardwoods. Softwoods come from coniferous trees (pine, spruce...) while hardwoods come from deciduous or "leafy" trees. Softwoods are lighter, cheaper, and of course softer (therefore easier to work with) than hardwoods, but they are also not as sturdy.

Not that melamine/veneer over particleboard is ever something you could describe as "sturdy", of course.

I like IKEA, but I have incredibly spotty luck with their lamps and other electrical stuff (though they do have a great return policy). I've been much more satisfied with their kitchenware and of course their kids' stuff. I cannot be trusted in the children's department with a loaded credit card. :D

06-08-2001, 09:56 AM
Originally posted by flodnak
I cannot be trusted in the children's department with a loaded credit card. :D I'm not allowed in their housewares department without adult supervision and a note from my husband. ;)

06-08-2001, 11:34 AM
I actually really like Ikea, if you want to know the truth. I've had the Ikea desk chair I'm sitting on now for about six years and it's holding up quite nicely. I enjoy the fact I can make furniture repairs with a screwdriver instead of carpenter's glue.

I've also got an enormous Sten shelving unit in my room that I designed, put together, and installed myself in one (albeit rather long) evening. Total price: ~$45, plus the $18 starter unit I borrowed from my roommate. And this sucker fills an entire wall.

Those Billy bookcases my dad sprung for a while back aren't especially sturdy (one is currently placed at a 90 degree angle from the wall rather than flat against it; a cat barrelled through it at one point and had the whole back panel out). And those venetian blinds eventually got kinda snarled (well, after four years or so). But it's not difficult to find nice furniture there. Oh, and nobody can touch them on lamps, clocks, and other fitments.

06-08-2001, 11:38 AM
I have seen a <b>very</b> lightweight range of furniture (mostly small tables with "chunky" tops) in an IKEA near me. The table tops are made from 2 thin layers of wood veneer or thin plywood, between which is sandwiched an "eggbox" type cardboard honeycomb - just like in cheap internal doors. The result is a very light (can be picked up in one corner with one hand) but very strong (to a point) board rather like aeroplane wings.

I would imagine that once damaged, repair would be tricky

Tir Tinuviel
06-08-2001, 11:49 AM
Cheap crap generally, I think.

06-08-2001, 12:15 PM
I thought it was compressed sawdust...but maybe that is what particle board is...