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Mystery solved: The IKEA naming system

Actually, not such a mystery — the answer was in Wikipedia, but David Byrne’s blog tipped me off.

IKEA products are identified by single word names. Most of the names are either Swedish, Danish, Finnish or Norwegian in origin. Although there are some notable exceptions, most product names are based on a special naming system developed by IKEA. 

  • Upholstered furniture, coffee tables, rattan furniture, bookshelves, media storage, doorknobs: Swedish placenames (for example: Klippan) 
  • Beds, wardrobes, hall furniture: Norwegian place names 
  • Dining tables and chairs: Finnish place names 
  • Bookcase ranges: Occupations 
  • Bathroom articles: Scandinavian lakes, rivers and bays 
  • Kitchens: grammatical terms, sometimes also other names 
  • Chairs, desks: men’s names 
  • Materials, curtains: women’s names 
  • Garden furniture: Swedish islands 
  • Carpets: Danish place names 
  • Lighting: terms from music, chemistry, meteorology, measures, weights, seasons, months, days, boats, nautical terms 
  • Bed linen, bed covers, pillows/cushions: flowers, plants, precious stones; words related to sleep, comfort, and cuddling 
  • Children’s items: mammals, birds, adjectives 
  • Curtain accessories: mathematical and geometrical terms 
  • Kitchen utensils: foreign words, spices, herbs, fish, mushrooms, fruits or berries, functional descriptions 
  • Boxes, wall decoration, pictures and frames, clocks: colloquial expressions, also Swedish placenames

(Thanks to Mark Hurst for the tip.)

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