The Swedish meatballs and lingonberry soda, the curated room ensembles that offer a portal of design potential, the couples having all manner of arguments even before embarking on that DIY bed build—visiting an IKEA store is a multi-sensory experience.
So you might be surprised to learn that IKEA began as a mail-order business in 1943. The company launched its first proper catalog as we know it today in 1951, and the rest is design history … design history that we can now disappear into thanks to the IKEA Museum’s newly dropped online cache of catalogs.
All told, it’s a wonderland of Scandinavian design attuned to its various decades. And it’s marvelous COVID escapism.
Check out 14 cover highlights below—and for the full archive of browsable issues, click here.
Now, if we could only get our hands on some of these classic wares at their original prices …