IKEA’s 2017 Catalogue is a Bleak Look at Our Future


 If the 2017 IKEA catalogue is an accurate look into the future, then the future is bleak.

Not because the products aren’t nice – they are – but they reflect the tiny spaces we’re all stuck living in, as house prices continue to grow at a higher rate than expected around the country.

In their 2017 catalogue released this week, IKEA isn’t even pretending that we’re going to live in a nice big house in the suburbs, it’s calling our bluff and selling Scandinavian design to people whose “bedroom is in the living room” (real quote).

The Swedish furniture giant is a world leader in the home furnishing business so its trend forecasting is significant: the homes in the catalogues are a reflection of its potential customers and are therefore an indictment of our times.

Small spaces aren’t the only focus of the catalogue – the official theme is around eating and where people eat – and there are plenty of shots of spacious IKEA living rooms. IKEA says the collections “were developed around five contemporary lifestyle considerations: smart solutions for small spaces, multi-functional furniture for adaptability, green options for sustainability, tech-savvy additions for connected homes, and family-friendly activities.”

Basically, IKEA knows we’re going to be living in cramped apartments and crowded rentals for much longer than previous generations, and it want us to embrace it.

Using examples from the IKEA catalogue, let us explain why the future may be grim.


“This is actually a kitchen with all of the basic tools you need”, the IKEA catalogue says. This is not a kitchen. The idea that this is a kitchen is upsetting. You would struggle to cook something here with flavour or nutritional value, and surely the fridge can’t fit more than one six-pack of beers.

“You can have a functional kitchen that feels like home. And when home moves somewhere else, you can just take it with you,” the catalogue continues, hinting at the lack of stability in our modern lives and the frequency that renters have to move.


We don’t have backyards anymore in IKEA’s vision of 2017, and any greenery we want to have has to be on the balcony.

“It’s an inviting space that makes summer feel like a mini-vacation,” says the page. That does sound nice and those green cocktails look pretty drinkable. But can it compare to the joys of a backyard – the footy kicking, tree climbing, barbecue hosting, clothes-line swinging area of the family home?

According to IKEA, “the backyard comes inside… the great indoors is a safe spot for fun and games,” but it just wouldn’t be the same.


This page is called “The 24 hour life of a sleeper sofa,” which makes some alarm bells go off. Also there is a chair hanging up because there is seemingly nowhere else to put it. Limited space is obviously cool but there is such a thing as having too little space.


“Using open storage as a room divider gives it a spacious, boutique-like feeling” says IKEA. Using clothes as a wall does deserve points for being innovative, but if your clothes aren’t fashionable this is likely to make the room seem sad.


“With some imagination, you can extend the bathroom beyond its walls to create an indulgent and roomy getting-ready space for all.”

If you have to do bathroom things outside the bathroom, do you actually need a bigger bathroom? Or if you can never get in there, don’t you need to move somewhere with more bathrooms? Just a regular person’s opinion.

Photo Credit: Ikea