IKEA is a privately held international low cost home furnishings retailer. The retailer was founded in Sweden, but is owned by a Dutch-registered foundation, controlled by the Kamprad family.


IKEA was founded in lmhult, Sweden in 1943 by Ingvar Kamprad, then 17. The company name is a composite of the first letters in his name in addition to the first letters of the names of the property and the village in which he grew up: Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd. This acronym is incidentally similar to the Greek word οικία [oikia] (home) and to the Finnish word oikea (correct, right).

Originally, IKEA sold pens, wallets, picture frames, table runners, watches, jewelry and nylon stockings or practically anything Kamprad found a need for that he could fill with a product at a reduced price. Furniture was first added to the IKEA product range in 1947 and, in 1955, IKEA began to design its own furniture. The company motto is: “Affordable Solutions for Better Living”.

At first, Kamprad sold his goods out of his home and by mail order, but eventually a store was opened in the nearby town of lmhult. It was also the location for the first IKEA “warehouse” store which came to serve as a model for IKEA establishments elsewhere and on March 23, 1963, the first store outside Sweden was opened in Asker, a Norwegian municipality outside Oslo. (The store was located in the same building which houses the Bellevue hotel, about two km from the present site at Billingstad/Slependen, which opened in 1975. The store in Asker is currently undergoing a major expansion and remodeling.)