IKEA Is Dropping Its Iconic Catalog for Good—But There’s Still Plenty of Inspo to Be Found

The publication may be leaving, but the ideas, deals, and beloved hacks aren’t going anywhere.

IKEA catalog from 1973

Photo: © Inter IKEA Systems B.V. 2019

For 70 years, the IKEA Catalog has been a source of inspiration for consumers around the world. Millions of people loved receiving the annual publication, marveling at the beauty of the company’s well-designed and ready-to-assemble furniture, decor, and more—and enjoying the linguistic challenge of trying to pronounce its Swedish product names.

The catalog was packed with so many products that consumers never ran out of things to see. Perhaps best of all, since the items were also affordable, the catalog wasn’t a “wish” book—it was a blueprint of sorts, replete with helpful ideas on how to bring the looks together. From the bedroom and bathroom, to the kitchen and living room—and even closets, garages, and mudrooms—the IKEA catalog featured products for every single space in the home.

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Why End the Catalog Era?

It’s true, the 2021 catalog will be the very last IKEA produces—in both print and digital—but that doesn’t take away from its impressive run. In 2016, the peak year for the IKEA catalog, 200 million print copies were distributed. Since the company has such broad appeal, there were 69 different versions, and it was distributed in 32 languages. That’s a massive undertaking, and a stark contrast to 1951, when “only” 285,000 copies of the very first catalog were printed and distributed in Sweden.

one of first IKEA catalogs to be printed

Photo: © Inter IKEA Systems B.V. 2019

It takes a lot of paper to print 200 million copies, not to mention the ink required to include such beautiful photos. IKEA is also aware that media consumption patterns have changed in recent years, leading to fewer people reading the catalogs. The company has spent the last few years testing new formats to best meet the needs of its customers.

In 2019, the retailer’s online sales increased by 45 percent, and there were more than 4 billion visits to ikea.com, making this a good time for the company to pursue ways to reach consumers through new channels.

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collage of IKEA catalogs

Photo: ikea.com

What Will Home Improvers Do Now?

The good news is that there are still plenty of ways to find home décor inspiration even without the iconic catalog. For example, there’s an entire section on their website, IKEA Ideas, that covers a variety of topics including outdoor furniture maintenance, quick-change curtain ideas, table decorations for parties, and instructions for creating a hobby hub in your home.

IKEA also has a Swedish ideas site, Livet Hemma, that’s essentially a DIY blog filled with inspo including hacks. (You can switch the language to English when you open the site in your browser.)

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DIYers should also check out the New at IKEA section, which introduces new products, and the must-see Deals section that breaks down bargains by New Lower Price, Last Chance, and Under $10.

Plus, when you become an IKEA Family member, you’ll be eligible for special discounts and even a free coffee or tea to sip during every store visit. Membership (which is free), also allows users to get a happy birthday surprise, and virtually attend free workshops and events.

Finally, IKEA is also launching two new apps for its customers. The IKEA Store App provides information about events and special offers. It also lets you search for items and check stock availability at your local store. The IKEA Place app uses augmented reality to help consumers decide how products will look in their home—genius!

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