In Praise of Old Ikea Furniture

35 years ago, my step-mother bought these night stands from an Ikea back east somewhere. Ikea has a reputation for building disposable furniture, but these badboys are in remarkably good shape for being older than, say, Montreal’s Olympic Stadium:

Old Ikea Nightside Table

I note that the colour of the handles has aged to a different hue than the rest of the drawer. But, still, you’ve got to be happy with that kind of longevity. I wonder what they cost back in 1975.

I was also pleased to see that, 35 years later, they’re still using the same Allen key. Talk about backward compatibility:

Old Ikea Nightside Table, Detail


  1. I have an Ikea desk that’s so old, it still has double-sided tape on the bottom from where I stuck the outboard Microcoupler dialing module from our 300-baud Hayes Micromodem II in 1983 — the one that first got me online.

    The main part of the desk supports three different music keyboards and some miscellaneous junk in my office/studio. The typewriter extension (that dates it) is the table where we record all our podcasts in our house. The thing is well built, and still going strong close to 30 years later.

    There’s plenty of other Ikea stuff in our house that’s lasted comparable amounts of time. Bookshelves, smaller desks, and more. Yes, some of their furniture has worn out with time, but at least as much of it has stood up to the decades.

    I do suspect that furniture gets the most wear and tear when it’s moved from house to house, and I’ve only moved twice in my whole life, so that might explain things.

  2. I could have *sworn* there was a reference to “century old antique IKEA furniture” in Neal Stephenson’s “The Diamond Age” but I’ll be damned if I can find it. Might have been Gibson?

  3. Derek — Those bad boys moved from Montreal to Ottawa to Vancouver (2 houses) back to Montreal to Toronto (2 houses), back to Vancouver (2 houses) to Merritt (3 houses) to Victoria and now back to Darren’s place in Vancouver. Roughly 14 moves. That is really quite incredible as on the photo they look brand new.

  4. Jebus, my Ikea furniture seems to crap out by 5 moves, sometimes less. I wonder if they were better quality back in the olden days? I plan on saying goodbye to a few pieces next time I move.

    I wonder if Ikea had the kids’ play area with ball room back then, too. My earliest memories of it would be early 80s.

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