IKEA furniture is ubiquitous these days. The Swedish company, founded in 1943, is the world’s largest furniture retailer, with 458 stores spread over 50 countries. Often, we associate IKEA with relatively low prices, a vast array of products, and pieces that don’t always stand the test of time (especially if you put them together yourself). You may have a shelving unit or a couch from IKEA in your house right now and perhaps you are skeptical about its long-term value. However, a look at the IKEA antique furniture market may change your mind. In fact, IKEA itself is now offering to buy back used furniture and resell it, so perhaps they are in on the secret too.
Prices for vintage IKEA pieces have increased by more than 50 per cent, according to the director of online marketplace 1stdibs, with the average list price of seating models hovering around $3,000. Good Housekeeping UK reports that customers are spending up to £50,000 (65,468 USD) on antique IKEA furniture.
The most valuable IKEA furniture is often limited-edition pieces, or those created by famous designers. In fact, IKEA’s first self-assembled product, the LOVET side table, was created by one of Sweden’s most well-known designers, Gillis Lundgren, in 1956. It is a classic Mid-Century Modern piece, with an oval top and three legs. In recent years, Mid-Century Modern (MCM) has been the most salable style, according to a survey of antique sellers. Following this trend, IKEA even created a modern reproduction of the LOVET in 2013.
When purchasing new IKEA furniture that you plan to hold on to and resell as an antique one day, experts recommend hardwood or metal pieces. A significant portion of IKEA furniture is made of particle board, which is more likely to warp or fall apart with use. Additionally, pick furniture that has less self-assembly. It will usually be sturdier and last longer.
Look for designer collaborations. Often, these pieces use special materials and have higher-quality construction. The company’s 2016 VIKTIGT collection, a collaboration with Swedish ceramicist Ingegerd Råman, for example, features furniture made of natural fibers and steel frames. British designer Ilse Crawford’s 2015 IKEA collection contains several items made with cork, as well as bamboo and dried seagrass. IKEA’s 2018 DELAKTIG collection, a collaboration with another British designer, Tom Dixon, uses aluminum framing and innovative modular components. Working with students from Parsons School of Design, Dixon created a “hackable” daybed. The headboard can be swapped out and side tables can be connected to the main piece.
Some industry experts predict that pieces from IKEA’s 2018 Limited Edition Vintage Collection, GRATULERA, will be worth much more in the future. This collection includes the LOVET re-edition and reproductions of other popular MCM pieces of the 50s and 60s.
The popular home design website Apartment Therapy recommends buying pieces from IKEA’s small-edition PS (short for Post Scriptum) series, which has been released every three years since 1992. The PS series is more design-oriented and each series has a special theme. 2017’s PS collection, for example, focuses on recycled materials. The pieces include vases made from remelted glass bottles, plastic mats made from reconstituted plastic packaging and rounded shell chairs made of a combination of recycled wood and plastic.
Here is a sampling of vintage IKEA pieces that go for high prices:
- Designer Bent Gantzel Boysen’s DUETT hanging lamp is a 1970s space age design featuring bright graduated colors. Pamono, a vintage site, is offering a pair for $2,045.
- On 1stdibs, A set of four VILBERT chairs sold for $4,450. The VILBERT chair came out in the 1990s and had a limited edition run of 4,000.
- Also on 1stdibs, $13,800 will get you an IMPALA chair. The low slung easy chair was designed by Gillis Lundgren in 1972.
- A pair of pine and leather AMIRAL chairs designed by Karin Mobring is listed at $5,562. The designer produced several pieces for IKEA in the 1970s.
- A teak LADOGA sideboard from the 1960s, designed by Erik Worts, is priced at $3,995.
When you’re ready to sell, there are several online platforms to look into. Mearto Marketplace has a low commission and no listing fee. Other popular options are eBay and 1stdibs, as well as Facebook Marketplace. Mearto offers appraisals for your antique IKEA furniture, so you can be sure to value it accurately when selling. It is important to maintain your furniture’s value by keeping it away from direct sunlight, which can cause fading. Also avoid temperature fluctuation and humidity, which can cause wood to warp.