Your favorite Swedish retailer is full of surprises.
In , 17-year-old Ingvar Kamprad received money as a gift from his father for doing well in school, which he used to start a business called (you guessed it) IKEA. He sold pens, wallets, picture frames, table runners, watches, jewelery and nylon stockings. Furniture wasn't a part of the plan until 1948 — but talk about money well-invested.
The first two letters represent Kamprad's initials, and the final two symbolize the names of the farm and village where he grew up: Elmtaryd and Agunnaryd. (This explains so much.)
Pennsylvania. It's hard to remember a time when American homes weren't filled with chairs and rugs, but the retailer's first location opened in Philadelphia in 1985.
The first TV advertisement to air in the United States featuring a gay couple was for IKEA in . In the ad, a couple talks about their experience shopping for an IKEA dining room table with their two very different decorating tastes.
Ever been tempted to take a snooze while testing out mattresses at IKEA? Haven't we all. In China, shoppers are actually encouraged to take naps on the store's display beds, which are designed with extra space for comfortable in-store .
According to at , the winding route that IKEA shoppers walk through distracts, and essentially "traps," customers in the store, which can lead to more impulse buys. IKEA denies that this is the case, but anyone who has shopped in the store before knows how easy it is to leave with an extra item or two.
In December 2014, IKEA its largest location in Gwangmyeong, South Korea just outside Seoul — a store of a whopping 640,000 square feet. For comparison, that's nearly twelve times larger than the White House.
IKEA's product names are puzzling. Looking for a side table? Look for the . A basic mug? Ask for the . Turns out, though, there's actually a behind it. Rugs, for example, are named after places in Denmark, and bookshelves are named with Swedish words for occupations. According to , IKEA uses this naming system because its founder is dyslexic, so using familiar nouns makes things more straightforward.
IKEA's best-selling item of all time, according to , is its minimalistic bookcase. It comes in a variety of sizes and in four neutral finishes, making it versatile enough to fit virtually any design aesthetic.
Romance isn't exactly the first thing that comes to mind with IKEA (how many times have you argued with your S.O. over what bed frame to get?), but the stores have actually played host to more than one wedding. On Valentines day in 2013, an Australian couple got at an IKEA in Sydney, after winning a contest to have their wedding there. You might even find love at IKEA too, as two in New Jersey did in 2005. The couple wed at the same store in 2013. D'aww.