As millions of people around the world become intimately familiar with their home decor, the Swedish furniture giant IKEA is offering an online resource to fuel your redecoration reveries: In honor of the the 70th anniversary of the company’s first catalog, IKEA just dropped digital versions of every catalog on its museum website. If your idea of a good time is wandering the labyrinth of your local IKEA showroom, trying out sectionals in a pretend living room, this digital trove of modular furniture makes an excellent and Covid-safe alternative distraction — and a fascinating time capsule of Scandinavian design trends.
As of 2019, IKEA boasts 433 stores across 53 countries, inundating markets around the globe with its distinctive brand of affordable build-it-yourself products. The company has been around since 1943, when founder Ingvar Kamprad launched it as a mail-order business selling matches, postcards and pencils in the Smaland region of Sweden. But 1951 marked the first proper IKEA catalog, says IKEA Museum archive and collections manager Per-Olof Svensson. On its cover: the iconic MK wing chair. It was discontinued a few years later, but made a retro comeback in the 2013 and 2014 catalogs as STRANDMON.