Most Valuable IKEA Furniture Sold at Auction (Yes, It’s a Thing)
IKEA was founded in 1943 by visionary entrepreneur Ingvar Kamprad who had a dream that people who didn’t have a lot of money should still be able to buy good-quality designs and well-made household furnishings. The Swedish company quickly became known for budget furniture delivered in flat packs that people put together themselves at home to save money.
In addition to lower costs, IKEA designs also represented groundbreaking innovation and creativity. Many young Scandinavian designers started out working for the global furniture company and went on to have high-profile careers and win design awards. This might be the reason why IKEA furniture stands the test of time and why some classic pieces are now attracting high prices at auction.
Here’s a list of the most expensive IKEA furniture that became classic, attracting top dollars today. And, who knows, maybe that bed frame you just built could do the same in 30 years?
30. Winnie Chairs
In the early 1950s, Swedish furniture retailers, threatened by IKEA’s low prices and mass appeal, boycotted national manufacturers who supplied IKEA. Company founder Ingvar Kamprad was forced to use Danish designers and furniture manufacturers to supply his growing chain of stores.
As such, the Winnie chair was designed by Danish designer Jens Hjorth. The chair is made from beech wood, with faux leather or upholstery seat and back. The back has flared wings that can serve as a headrest or even as an armrest.
* Prices were sourced from a report created by Household Quotes, unless otherwise noted.
29. Rondell Chairs
The Rondell chair was designed by Eric Worts for IKEA. Worts was a little-known Danish designer who worked for IKEA in the 1950s and 1960s, and was renowned for his sleek wooden sideboards, buffets and chests, made in teak, rosewood and occasionally oak. He also designed chairs and sofas with wooden frames.
These chairs are made with teak wood and faux leather. They’re modeled on an English leather living room and club chair with bronze nailhead accents, known as Rondell.
28. Moment Sofa
The Moment sofa was designed for IKEA by Niels Gammelgaard, one of Denmark’s best-known industrial designers. He and IKEA’s Sofa Product Manager Lars Engman had been looking for ways to create a sofa that could be flat-packed for shipping and easily assembled at home by customers.
When Gammelgaard and Engman visited a shopping trolley manufacturing plant, the designer realized that furniture could be made with the same production facilities, lowering costs and creating components that could be broken down into separate pieces.
27. Skye Chaise Lounge
The Skye chaise lounge was designed by Tord Bjorklund, who had studied at the Academy of Interior Architecture in Denmark and worked for IKEA during the 1980 before leaving for a solo career. He twice won the Swedish Design Excellence Award.
This sought-after lounge had a tubular steel frame and a leather back, seat and head pillow. The leather came in a natural tan, dark brown or black.
26. Troja Chairs
The Troja chair was created for IKEA by Kai Kristiansen, another Danish designer. Kristiansen apprenticed as a cabinet maker and later studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts.
He is credited with starting Danish Modern Style in furniture, and these charis are the epitome of this.
25. Ekolsund Bookcase
The Ekolsund solid wood seven-shelved, library-style bookcase was made as part of IKEA’s 18th Century Series. The shelves came in stained wood or painted finishes. In the 1990s, IKEA worked with the National Heritage Board of Sweden and Art Historian Lars Sjoberg to create a line of furniture and homewares that reflected 1700s Gustavian design.
The Gustavian period in Sweden, named after King Gustav III, was inspired by neoclassical French design. Several other IKEA pieces from the 18th Century Series, including the Medevi Brunn chairs, have become valuable classics.
24. Jarpen Easy Chair
The Jarpen chair was designed for IKEA by Niels Gammelgaard, one of Denmark’s best-known industrial designers. Gammelgaard had been experimenting with using wire mesh to make comfortable chairs. His first design for IKEA, the Rappen, was a folding chair made entirely from metal wire.
Gammelgaard’s next design, the Jarpen, consisted of three wire pieces that were fitted together without tools, with a foam seat and back. The Jarpen was listed in the IKEA catalog for eight years and remained the least expensive of all the easy or armchairs, but today, it’ll cost you a pretty penny due to its uniqueness.
23. Ulvo Sideboard
The Ulvo sideboard was designed for IKEA by Erik Worts.
This sleek oak sideboard with hidden drawer pulls and recessed drawer slides was typical of Worts’ design style.
22. Medevi Drawers
The Medevi chest of drawers was another piece of furniture that made up IKEA’s 18th Century Series and, as a result, earned an impressive amount at auction.
The gray-painted wooden chest had brass fittings and three deep drawers, each of which locked with a key.
21. Vilbert Chair
The Vilbert Chair was designed by Vernor Panton. He is considered one of the leading Danish furniture designers and interior decorators of the 20th century and was known for his use of bold colors.
This Vilbert design was created by four medium-density fiberboards (MDF) painted in bright primary colors that were joined together, and the model came in two color schemes. The chairs are considered rare since only 4,000 of them were ever produced.
20. Medevi Brunn Chairs
The Medevi Brunn chairs were also created as part of the 18th Century Series.
The gray-painted wood frames had a seat bottom of woven strips and comfortable blue-and-white-checked fabric covered cushions and armrests.
19. Meunier Mirror
The Meunier mirror is a carved, gilt, framed Gustavian-style mirror with a faceted reflective mirror.
As part of the 18th Century Series, it also fetched a decent price at auction.
18. Diana Chairs
The Diana chair was designed by Karin Mobring, a qualified master craftsperson who spent her career working for IKEA. The chair is based on an easy-to-assemble, lightweight field armchair created for the British Army.
Danish Furniture Designer Kaare Klint first made a commercial version, which she called a safari chair. Then, Mobring created her version, the Diana model, for IKEA from natural pine with linen fabric seating and back which is secured by leather straps. The popula Diana chair stayed in IKEA’s catalog for the next 11 years.
17. Osterby Bruk Table
IKEA’s Osterby Bruk table is a nod to 18th century rococo design — the elegant, ornate style that originated in Paris and spread throughout Europe. Another piece to make up the 18th Century Series, the Osterby Bruk is fashioned as a desk with a single drawer, but can also be used as a side table or for dining in an apartment or smaller house.
The piece is named after the town of Osterbybruk, which was famous for its ironworks.
16. Impala Sofa
The Impala range was designed by Gillis Lundgren in 1972 and consisted of a lounge chair and sofa with a relaxed curved shape. The name broke tradition with IKEA’s traditional system of giving Swedish names to each design.
Lundgren, a car enthusiast, may have been inspired by the Chevrolet Impala. IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad thought the range wouldn’t be popular and bet Lundgren a bottle of whiskey. Lundgren won the bet, and the whiskey, after the curvy Impala pieces became IKEA bestsellers.
15. Natura Chair
Karin Mobring also designed the Natura Chair in the then-popular Scandinavian modern style. In 1964, Kamprad saw a chair design that Mobring had made for a competitor and hired her on the basis of that one design.
In her career with IKEA, Mobring was known for designing pieces in pine and beech with no sharp edges. The Natura frame was made of solid pine with a tan core-leather, hand-stitched seat.
14. Sierra Chairs
The Sierra Chair was designed by Bengt Ruda in 1959. It was made of oak with the armrests made of harder-wearing teak wood.
Ruda was an architect and furniture designer and the first qualified designer to be hired by IKEA. He had previously worked for the Swedish department store NK and was an early pioneer of Swedish modern design.
13. Svensksund Sofa
The Svensksund Sofa was inspired by 1800s Gustavian-style sofas and was yet another piece that made up the company’s 18th Century Series. The base was made of birch wood, and the seating was covered with linen fabric.
As previously mentioned, the Gustavian period in Sweden was inspired by neoclassical French design, which followed the discoveries of Pompeii and Herculaneum in Italy — Roman cities buried in classical times by a volcanic eruption. Neoclassical wood furniture has elegant lines, worked columns and intricately carved details in the Roman style, and this sofa is an impressive representation of that.
12. Ake Sofa
The Ake range was produced by IKEA in the mid-to-late 1950s, inspired by a well-known design called the Clam Chair. The range consisted of a single-seat chair and double-seat sofa. The Ake range came in bright or neutral colors, with solid birch wood arms and legs, and low, comfortable padded wool seating and back.
The chair exemplified the then modern trend for neutral interiors with bright splashes of color. Designers were also using warmer woods, such as birch, to make curved wooden furniture frames.
11. Impala Easy Chair
The Impala Easy Chair was designed by Gillis Lundgren in 1972.
The relaxed curved shape lends itself to napping as well as relaxing, just like the previously mentioned Impala Sofa.
10. Esbjerg Chair
The Esbjerg Chair was designed by Danish architect Thomas Harlev and discovered by Kamprad at a furniture fair in Denmark.
The Esbjerg appeared in the IKEA catalog until 1964 and was also available as a two-seater sofa. The retro wooden chair was revived in 2010 as the Ekenaset model.
9. Amiral Chairs
The Amiral armchair was made using a chrome-plated steel tubing frame and high-end saddle leather was, again, designed by Karin Mobring. The chair became so popular that IKEA had trouble meeting demand, and the saddlery that provided the leather had a limited production capacity.
The Amiral also couldn’t be packed flat, so the cost of shipping was high, which in turn contributed to the chair’s higher cost. In 1973, IKEA replaced the Amiral with a model that used fabric instead of leather, which reduced the price.
8. Ladoga Sideboard
The Ladoga Sideboard was designed by Erik Worts in rosewood with four drawers and two cupboards.
It’s worth more than twice as much as Worts’ Ulva Sideboard.
7. Ake Chair
In the 1950s, Swedes had more money and eagerly embraced the concept of Scandinavia Modern design, and the Ake Chair was just the piece of furniture to get them to do it.
Like its Ake Sofa counterpart, it came in bright or neutral colors, with solid birch wood arms and legs, and a low, comfortable padded wool seat and back.
6. Borkum Sofa
Johan Bertil Haggstrom designed this space-age leather sofa with chrome frame for IKEA in the 1970s. This three-seater sofa, made of real leather, was popular when it was first released.
This type of high-end furniture had been out of reach to the average consumer in the 1970s, and IKEA fulfilled its brand promise by making an inexpensive version. However, the sofa was expensive to make and ship, and IKEA moved toward offering furniture that could be flat packed and made with more affordable materials.
5. Bergslagen Table
IKEA’s Bergslagen table was from the company’s 18th Century Series and was a modern update of the classic Swedish farmhouse gate-leg table with hinged leaves and legs that folded away when not in use. These traditional-style IKEA tables sat two or three people and could extend to accommodate four to six.
A single convertible table was ideal for small living areas, the sort of space for which IKEA primarily designed. Two tables could be used together for a formal dining room or to seat more people.
4. Singoalla Lounge
The Singoalla Lounge was designed by Andreas Siesling and was another piece modeled on a classic design. The Singoalla Lounge featured birchwood legs and a soft, plush cotton covering that came in a range of colors.
The lounge is reminiscent of 19th century Victorian “fainting” couches. These were daybeds with a curved wooden frame that was raised at one end and often covered in velvet. Women used them for napping or reading — or recovering from faints caused by tight corsets.
3. Selebo Writing Cabinet
The Selebo Writing Cabinet was modeled on the style of classic European writing desks from the 18th and 19th centuries.
The cabinet featured drawers for storing stationary, a pull-out writing platform and shelves both above and below the desk that could be locked.
2. Tema Shelves
The Tema Shelves were designed by Gillis Lundgren in 1958. The Tema unit featured a cabinet, five drawers and three shelves in a teak veneer with black accents and could be used as a combination of sideboard and storage in a dining or living room.
Lundgren trained at the Malmo Institute of Technology and joined IKEA as the company’s fourth employee. He was one of IKEA’s best-known designers and also designed the previously mentioned Impala series as well as the popular Billy shelving unit, which after 40 years in production, is still one of IKEA’s best-selling items.
1. Cavelli Armchair
Who knew IKEA furniture could be so valuable? The Cavelli armchair was designed by Bengt Ruda for IKEA in 1959.
Only five Cavelli chairs were ever made, as the materials used to make them were too expensive for mass production, which explains its top price.