Show us a home or office without IKEA office furniture and we’ll show you a bunch of people who are allergic to Allen wrenches. Still, it must be admitted that IKEA furniture has some pretty funny names, especially to American ears. Here are a few of our favorite names, with what we think they should mean and the real translation in IKEA’s native Swedish.
Sadly, Liz Lemon’s “Blerg” furniture turned out to be made up, and we discovered that IKEA does not, as the old saw would have it, mean “particle board,” but with knowledge comes a certain amount of disillusionment.
Expedit Desk and Bookcase
What it sounds like: A more expensive type of shipping.
What it means: “Shop assistant.” No, seriously.
Now we’re picturing this desk following us around a store.
What it sounds like: Someone trying to say “best buds” while drunk on akvavit.
What it means: “Besta” means “remain” or “consist of.” Burs is a village in Gotland. So this is either an argument for staying in a village in Gotland, or consists of that village. Up to you, really.
This desk is billed as a workspace for two, which is less fun than a bicycle built for two, but does conjure up cozy images of happy Swedish workers toiling away. Perhaps in between awesomely long vacations or while waiting to use their free health care.
What it sounds like: Sausage.
What it means: “Plank.” And yet, it is not a plank. In fact, it is barely wood. It’s made of plywood and something called melamine foil, which sounds radioactive, but isn’t. (We think.)
The Brada laptop support can hold up to a 17-inch laptop, or, we imagine, a Denny’s Grand Slam, provided that you consolidate the plates. Also, it has polka dots.
What it sounds like: A bone disorder caused by insufficient calcium in childhood.
What it means: A town in north Norway. Which is pretty far north. We imagine even Santa is all, “No way!” at that point.
This is actually 100 percent wood. That can’t be right, can it? But it says wood in the description. Actually, it says “solid wood, a durable natural material.” Which implies that the average IKEA customer is not sufficiently familiar with wood to know that it’s a durable natural material. Which is probably true.
What it sounds like: Something Laverne and Shirley would say.
What it is: Small Valley, a village in Sweden.
Wait, wait, one more thing it almost sounds likes: a sandal for men. Introducing the Smandal! This name is basically one N short of a Seinfeld joke.
What it sounds like: A dessert made in Aspen involving Jello molds, gelatin, and skis.
What it is: Aspen Bay in central Sweden.
The good news about this filing cabinet is that it blends into the background. The bad news is that it does it so well, you might never find your files again.
What it sounds like: Gallant.
What it means: Gallant.
This probably isn’t fair, but something about this conference table looks like the top would slowly start sinking toward the ground while you were using it. Perhaps in the middle of a call. Either that, or it would come to life and start lurching around the office.
What it sounds like: An element much pursued by a Bond villain.
What it means: “Signal,” in Latin. No, we have no idea why IKEA randomly named a piece of furniture after a Latin word.
This is a cable organizer. But you could also probably use it as part of your robot costume next Halloween.
What it sounds like: A variation of derp.
What it means: According to the IKEA dictionary, “an apparently uninhabited place in south Sweden.”
This is our favorite description ever, because in addition to listing the materials, parts, etc., it also says that the Linnarp desk is “suitable for use as a room divider.” Why the Linnarp is better suited for this purpose than any other desk in the IKEA catalogue or, indeed, the world, they don’t say.
What it sounds like: “In Soviet Russia, swivel chair has you!”
What it means: No one on the interwebs seems to have any idea. It doesn’t appear to be a Swedish name, nor is it a commonly used word.
The Skruvsta chair would be your standard swivel chair, were it not for the Marimekko-on-more-acid style print (called “Ankarsik multicolor” on the site.) Which isn’t to say you’re stuck with that. If this chair strikes your fancy, you can also get it in “Idhult black” or “Idhult white.” Which we think is Swedish for “you’re an idhult if you get this in anything other than Ankarskik.”
All images courtesy of IKEA. Many thanks to the amazing IKEA Dictionary for the translations.