IKEA’s living room has evolved over 70 years, but this one piece of furniture has remained the same

Scandi-style has not always looked as minimalistic as today, but one design feature has stood the test of time

2020s inspired room with IKEA furniture
(Image credit: HouseholdQuotes)

In 70 years, IKEA’s style has evolved from retro maximalism to the epitome of Scandi-cool – but in all its evolution, one furnishing has remained the same. 

A recent study* has investigated IKEA’s museum of vintage catalogs to exhibit how their living rooms have changed from the 1950s to the contemporary day. However, despite its diverse styles, hues, and textures – one piece appears in every era: a statement armchair. 

While IKEA’s armchairs have developed over the years – observing different shapes, sizes – and even a complete redesign from an IKEA hack – their ability to make a statement continues. And, we expect this furnishing to prevail for 70 more years to come. 

1950s inspired living room


(Image credit: HouseholdQuotes)

In an investigation that begins in the 1950s (above), the study explored IKEA’s catalog archives to create digital renders that show how IKEA’a living room ideas have changed since its launch. While these eras are all dramatically different, their armchairs continue to make a statement in every image. 

IKEA living room in the 1960s


(Image credit: HouseholdQuotes)

In 1950, the dark gray REX armchair demanded attention amid the pink-hued chintz living space. Meanwhile, in the 60s (above), the retro ESBJERG chair armchair adds a stylish structure to the yellow, wooden-filled scheme. 

IKEA living room in the 1970s


(Image credit: HouseholdQuotes)

Ten years later, the RICCI armchair (above) introduced a curved focal point to the nostalgic living space. 

IKEA living room in the 1980s


(Image credit: HouseholdQuotes)

This was before the Hede armchair brought a sense of balance to the otherwise maximalist scheme.

IKEA living room in the 1990s


(Image credit: HouseholdQuotes)

In the 1990s (above), IKEA made arguably their most significant statement to date with the MULLSJO chair, a staple leather furnishing with a matching footstool that adds a new texture to the overflow of material in the rich wooden space. 

IKEA living room in 2000


(Image credit: HouseholdQuotes)

The turn of the millennium saw the rise of a modern IKEA icon that still reshapes modern home decor ideas today – the POÄNG – the 1970s piece that surged – and continues to surge in popularity. 

There are various ways to style the IKEA POÄNG armchair, but the living room above is a noughties-inspired capsule with an ever-timeless appeal.

IKEA living room in 2010


(Image credit: HouseholdQuotes)

The 2010s saw the KARLSTAD armchair take center stage, with its knitted gray hues paving the way for the biggest interior design trends we are currently experiencing.

IKEA living room 2020s


(Image credit: HouseholdQuotes)

And at the peak of these contemporary statements, the most daring of IKEA’s armchairs to date, the NOLMYRA ‘easy’ chair is an unconventional but ever-so stylish armchair, a strikingly modern feature in the 2020s living space.

While we can never predict the future, we expect IKEA’s armchairs will continue to transform schemes for 70 more years in the future.

*Study by Householdquotes

Megan Slack

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team.

Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US whilst studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site.

Megan currently lives in London, where she relocated from her hometown in Yorkshire. In her home, she experiments with interior design trends and draws inspiration from the home decor ideas she observes in her everyday work life. Her favorite pieces include her antique typewriter and her expansive collection of houseplants. When she isn’t writing, she is browsing London’s coffee shops and bookstores to add to her ever-growing library, taking over the open shelving in her apartment.