What The Top Product Names At IKEA Really Translate To

There are IKEA stores on five of the six inhabited continents with plans to expand into South America in the coming years, according to Reuters. It's safe to say the retail giant has grown from its humble beginnings in Sweden into an international retail powerhouse. And while IKEA occasionally receives bad press on things you should never buy, for the most part, IKEA products are useful, of good value, and loved the world over. But there's just one thing ... what's up with all those weird names?

According to The Guardian, IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad had dyslexia, so he wanted a simple, easy-to-use system for organizing his products. He also didn't want to use numbers for products, so he decided that giving everything a real name, more or less, would make things easier for everybody. Because of this, the retail superstore now uses what might seem to outsiders as a bit like a secret language to keep track of all its inventory. For example, even the store's name itself, IKEA, is even a bit of a code. Let's take a closer look: It's his first and last name (Ingvar Kamprad) plus Elmtaryd (where he grew up) plus Agunnaryd (a village near his hometown). When you put it all together, you get I K E A.

Dining tables and chairs are named after Scandinavian places

Walking through the furniture section at your local IKEA is like taking a small tour around Scandinavia. For example, the SKOGSTA dining room table set is named after a bus stop in Sweden. To get to this particular bus stop, you would need to travel to the eastern part of the country, near the Gulf of Bothnia. The stop is also near the intersection of highways E4 and 84 which serve the port city of Hudiksvall, according to Google Maps. If SKOGSTA is your favorite dining table and you really want to visit its namesake, you would take the Number 34 bus to get there.

In addition, JOKKMOKK is another great dining set for a breakfast nook area, and it's named after a meeting place where the Sápmi people of northern Sweden have been meeting for generations, according to Swedish Lapland. The town is also home to an annual market, celebrated in February since 1605. The market is a great place to gather, eat great food, and swap stories. So, it makes sense that a dining table (where we all like to do the same!) shares its name.

Bathroom articles are named after Scandinavian lakes, rivers, and bays

The product designers at IKEA seem to be very proud of their Scandinavian heritage and do everything that they can to take shoppers on a tour of their homelands. For example, if you purchase any accessories for your bathroom at IKEA, you'll find that it's likely named after a body of water in one of the Nordic countries, as per New York Daily News. While the retail giant hasn't confirmed it, we really do see the connection between bathrooms and bodies of water because of ... well, all the water.

For example, the TACKAN is a popular soap dispenser from IKEA. Buyers love the product's sleek design and appreciate how easy it is to see when a refill is needed. This is due to the container's clear base. According to Mapcarta, there is also a small shoal in Sweden named Tackan. A shoal is sometimes called a sandbar but differs slightly in that sometimes it can rise out of the water, impeding the passage of boats or marine animals. Perhaps an IKEA product designer once became stuck on this particular shoal.

Carpets are named after Danish place names

When you walk into the textile section at IKEA, it's kind of like taking a tour of Denmark. This is because each carpet typically shares its name with a Danish town. For example, the VINDUM is a popular rug for living rooms, home offices, and even bedrooms. The rug comes in four different colors, so it's easy to match with any type of decor.

According to Trip-Suggest, Vindum, Denmark is also a town in Central Jutland, a region about 125 miles (roughly 200 kilometers) west of Copenhagen, the country's capital. The nearest airport to the town also resides in Copenhagen. Vindum is so tiny that it also appears that there isn't anywhere to eat or stay during your visit. For that, you might need to travel to nearby towns that are a bit larger, like Viborg or Aarhus. It's too bad that you can't stay in a hotel while there, as it would be amusing if each room had a VINDUM rug in it.

Fabrics and curtains are given women's names

When you want to purchase curtains from IKEA, you'll also get a taste of some of the most popular names for women in Sweden. For example, according to Hej Sweden, the most popular names are Anna, Eva, and Maria as of 2019. And while it makes sense to select names from a popular list (like choosing "Rachel" or "Bella" in the United States), we can't help but wonder if the IKEA product designers have a special connection to these particular names. Perhaps they chose their own names to label their designs, or that of a loved one.

Some of the most popular IKEA curtains are named HILJA and LENDA. HILJA curtains are sheerer in appearance and work to reduce glare, rather than cut down on overall light. While LENDA curtains come in multiple colors and reduce glare, their material makes them thicker. Many other women can also search for their own names among the options, like MATILDA or even LILL.

Chairs and desks are given men's names

Don't worry, men haven't been left out either. If you are a guy looking for a household item from IKEA that shares your name, you need to head to the office area. Most desks and desk chairs, too, are named after Swedish men. For example, Hej Sweden reports that as of 2019, Stefan was the 15th most popular name for men in Sweden, with 44,996 men of all ages sharing the name. In addition, Tobias was 61st, with 22,195 men counted with the name.

That means that there are 68,000 men in Sweden (and likely more beyond its borders) that have the opportunity to use a chair named just for them. The TOBIAS comes in two colors and works great as a desk chair, boardroom chair, or even for the dining table in a pinch. The STEFAN can be used in quite a similar way, but only comes in one color.

Lighting is more of a catch all category

While most IKEA products fall more neatly into strict categories, the lighting options are quite varied. According to The IKEA Dictionary, you can find terms from music, chemistry, meteorology, measures, weights, seasons, months, days, and even boats while looking for lights at the retailer. It's unclear why Ingvar Kamprad and other IKEA product designers chose to make lighting options such a broad category, but it leaves us with some really interesting names.

For example, NYMÅNE means "new moon" in Swedish, which is perfect because the light fixture's round, white shape resembles the actual moon. It's a popular choice because it's easy to install and offers a large field of light in any room. Most reviewers note that they chose the NYMÅNE because they updated their homes themselves and liked that it was sleek and DIY-friendly. Meanwhile, the STRÖMLINJE is a LED countertop light that means "current line" in Swedish. We assume this is one of the nautical terms, as the large ropes used for controlling sails and docking ships are known as lines.

Bookcase ranges are named after occupations and men's names

If you like to read, it's likely you have a great book collection at home and need a place to store it. When shopping at IKEA, you will find that most items of furniture in its bookcase range sport either an occupation or a man's name. For example, the IKEA shelving unit known as VESKEN quite literally means "storage" or "bag" in Norwegian, so it really lives up to its occupation, according to Duolingo. Because of its smaller size, you can use the piece as a bookcase, or for other means of storage around the house.

Meanwhile, the BILLY bookcase is one of the most sold items in the world. It's available in so many different countries that Bloomberg created a system to track the world's currencies in relation to each other called the BILLY Bookcase Index. At any given time, you'll know how well the Japanese Yen is performing against the Great British Pound Sterling based on what the case is currently selling for in each country.

Beds, wardrobes, and hall furniture have Norwegian place names

You can continue your tour of the Nordic countries by purchasing large furniture items at IKEA, like wardrobes and beds. For example, the HEMNES is a popular bed frame that comes in many sizes and sports drawers underneath for easy storage. But, Hemnes is also a nice place to visit in the country of Norway.

According to Place and See, Hemnes is a small municipality within the county of Nordland. The area is located just south of the Ranfjorden (one of Norway's many famous fjords) and stretches south and east toward the country's border with Sweden. It was established as a municipality in 1839 and was once home to many famous Norwegians, such as actor Reidar Sørensen, philosophist Egil Kraggerud, and guitarist Børge Petersen-Øverleir. However, there is no known connection between any of these persons and IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad. So, it's unclear about the store's connection to this town, and why it was selected as the name for such a popular bed frame model. Nevertheless, the nearby fjords make the area quite beautiful and well worth a visit.

Garden furniture is named after Swedish islands

If you feel like an island getaway, you can get your fix with a short trip to the garden furniture section at your local IKEA warehouse. According to Culture Trip, the retailer's unique naming system has assigned each item the name of a Nordic island or water feature. For example, the LÄCKÖ is an outdoors shelving unit perfect for storing plants and other gardening supplies. However, it's a name also shared by a marina in central Sweden, according to Mapcarta. The marina is famous because it provides local access to Lake Vänern, which is the largest lake in Sweden and the entire European Union.

In addition, the IKEA product ÄPPLARÖ, which is a small wooden table and chairs set, shares its name with Äppalrö, a small island in Sweden's East. According to Mapcarta, the island is one of the largest in the Stockholm archipelago, drawing its name from the nearby capital city. It also is home to a few small villages.

Children's items are named after mammals, birds, and adjectives

Items meant for children from IKEA actually have quite endearing names. For example, SMÅSTAD, a small toy chest, actually means "small town" in Swedish. The chest comes in multiple different color combinations and is soft on the side, making it both stylish and safe for play. When opened, the drawer has plenty of space inside to store lots of toys. Children can even include SMÅSTAD in their play as a pretend house, or, as the name suggests, a small town.

LÅTSAS is another popular item meant for IKEA's youngest shoppers. It is a felt shopping basket filled with 10 pieces of pretend food, like pineapple, eggplant, cheese, and bread. Its name translates to "pretend" which is the exact purpose of the toy. While children who understand Swedish might get a bit of a head start on this one, we also think children around the world are able to catch on quickly and play "pretend" with this high quality toy.

Curtain accessories have mathematical and geometrical term names

According to Life in Norway, Scandinavians have a reputation for being a bit serious. While their culture can seem a bit more reserved to people from other countries who are used to being more open with their feelings, this stereotype still isn't necessarily true. However, we think it's interesting that, as per Ideal Home, all curtain accessories from IKEA have mathematical and geometrical terms as names, as math seems pretty serious and studious to us.

For example, BEKRÄFTA is a curtain rod set in many different finishes, like brass, black, and white. However, when translated, the name means "to confirm," which is a perfect name because you'll need to confirm the exact measurements of your window, or the rod won't fit correctly. Meanwhile, VIDGA is another curtain rod you can purchase from IKEA, and its name translates to "widen" from the original in Swedish. While the rod doesn't technically widen a space, the product still makes it easy to swap out curtain panels, so it's simple to give a room a whole new look.

Upholstered furniture, coffee tables, and rattan furniture are named after Swedish places

The UPLAND couch is one of IKEA's bestselling seats. It comes in seven colors and different variations of seats (two and three seats, with or without a chaise, etc.), so you can make it fit into almost any living space. However, Uppland is also a great region of Sweden to visit.

According to Britannica, Uppland is a province of Sweden in the eastern part of the country's central region. The Gulf of Bothnia and the Baltic Sea are on its east, and it's landlocked on all other sides. People have made their home in the area since the Bronze Age, meaning there is rich history and plenty of museums to visit. During the Iron Age, the site even went on to become home to the central operations of the Swedish Empire. When Christianity got to Sweden, the province also hosted the country's archbishop. Visit Sweden notes that the area is now home to plenty of thriving modern businesses and interesting architecture.

Most wall decorations like pictures, frames, and clocks are colloquial expressions

If you purchase pretty much anything that hangs on a wall from IKEA, you'll be treated to learning a new bit of slang. According to NPR, each item roughly translates to a unique local phrase. Much like anyone from New York City calls a convenience store a bodega, if you say "dånedimpen" in or around Bergen, Norway, it means you've almost fainted.

According to the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, the term is used by those in the area to express shock, horror, or even exhaustion. You might say it if you have received some particularly bad news, or if someone scared you after a long day at work. However, the DÅNDIMPEN is also a high-tech, blue-tooth enabled clock radio available at IKEA. Perhaps one day a product designer was thinking of a name for her new clock, was exhausted from work, and when spooked by a colleague, uttered the phrase ... and so it stuck. But that's just a guess on our end.

Kitchens items have grammatical terms as names

If you purchase something for your kitchen while shopping at IKEA, you might learn a grammatical term or two (or three!) in one of the Nordic languages, according to The IKEA Dictionary. For example, the RATIONELL kitchen cabinet system roughly translates to "rational" in English. This makes sense since you need to be rational when building an entire cabinet layout.

According to Kitchn, the overall set is a system of cabinets and drawers that a team from the retailer can come out and install in your kitchen (for a fee, of course). Still, it also comes with smaller accessories, like a wooden cutlery organization tray. While everything is marketed as a set, it's quite easy for smaller parts of the system to work well with non-IKEA brands, too. So by purchasing one item, you aren't locking yourself into an entirely new kitchen. That's definitely a rational choice.