Some of these are really fascinating to look at.
You may have already heard that IKEA will no longer be printing their famous catalogs. In an increasingly-digital world the paper catalogs have become a piece of nostalgia more than a proper way to showcase the company’s new designs. Much like going into the decorated showroom spaces, the catalogs offered a magazine-like presentation that could be very inspiring. For the foreseeable future looking at their online catalog will have to be enough for all the IKEA enthusiasts out there. But, you can also see what past catalogs used to look like since IKEA has assembled all them all online for you to peruse at your leisure.
The first one was printed in 1950 and shows just how much the company has changed over the years. The 1950 the catalog wasn’t full color and it read more like a Sears catalog than the IKEA we know today. Inside the offerings were not only home-related, but they also sold nylon stockings, face powder, jewelry, razors, pipes, briefcases, and a lot of other more personal products that differ greatly from their current offerings.
By the end of the 1950s the catalog focused more on furniture and home decor, with a variety of new bedroom offerings as well as color photos for customers to better envision what the pieces would look like their homes.
The 1960s catalogs were a mid-century modern enthusiast’s dream with Danish modern wall units featured prominently throughout the catalog. You can also see the famous butterfly chair that they re-issued a few years ago. But, looking at all the gorgeous vintage furniture kind makes one wish they’d bring back more pieces from this era. They were so classic looking.
The catalogs of the 1970s displayed some really unusual and innovative seating designs. During the late 1960s and early 1970s many furniture designers were reimagining what living room and lounge areas could look like.
Sectionals, sling chairs, chrome steel-tube chairs, and the unique rolling cushion convertible denim loungers were just some of the available options for the forward-thinking customer. They do look really comfy though!
In the latter part of the 1970s and into the 1980s the kitchen section of the catalog took on increased importance. Fondue parties, French cooking, and more open floor plans meant that globally the trend was for more updated and modern kitchens.
In the 1980s they also advertised their restaurant, including their famous meatballs (as well as a rather nice looking steak dinner).
The early 1990s catalogs look so country-chic and put together. We wouldn’t mind living in some of these rooms even today. The classic designs mean that many of these styles have aged well over the years.
IKEA compiled the catalogs together as part of their 70th anniversary in 2020. Looking through them it’s easy to see why they’ve been so popular for so many years. You can see even more of these catalogs from 1950 to 2020 on IKEA’s “Through the Ages” page.