Oh IKEA, that sweet land of Swedish furniture! Half of the joy of meandering through the showroom is reading the product names, first instituted to compensate for the dyslexia of IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad. Can anyone be unhappy whilst attempting to pronounce words with umlats and a’s-with-circles-above-them? To tide you over till your next feast of Lingonberry jam and Swedish meatballs, we have demystified the meanings of ten of the most ridiculous-sounding IKEA product names. Read them aloud if you dare.
FYRKANTIG: Those literal Swedes! The name for these block candles means “square.” It would probably be boring if that f-y-hard-k combo wasn’t just so gosh darn silly.
RIKTIG ÖGLA: Riktig is Swedish for “right” or “correct” and Ögla means “eye” or “loop” (think of the term “ogle”). Together they either mean “right eye” or “correct loop.” I’m guessing it’s the latter. Curtain rings, right?
GRUNDTAL/NORRVIKEN: Grundtal refers to a numerical base, the number that underlies a number system (binary is a base two system, the decimal system aka normal math is base ten). Norrviken is the name of a garden (Norrvikens trädgårdar) once voted the most beautiful garden in Sweden and the second most beautiful garden in Europe. Hankering for a visit? It is located about 2 miles northwest of Båstad, Sweden. I’m guessing the Grundtal/Norrviken combination means this is the most beautiful sink base?
SPARSAM: Swedish for “economical, sparingly.” Fluorescent tubes are so frugal. So Swedish.
DAGSTORP: Dagstorp is famous as the discovery site of the Dagstorp Runestone, a Viking-age granite memorial from a son to his father. You can think about composing a memorial to your own parents while lounging on of these leather DAGSTORP sofas.
FLÄRDFULL: means “vain” in Swedish. One imagines a Swedish Carly Simon singing “You’re so Flärdfull. You probably think this scented candle is about you. You’re so Flääärdfuuuuull…”
KNUTSTORP: Knutstorp Castle is the birthplace of Tycho Brahe, the awesome astronomer who refuted the theory of planetary spheres. The castle was built by Tycho’s dad Otte Brahe in southern Sweden in the 16th century. This rattan chaise seems eminently suited for star-gazing.
NORRÖRA: Norröra is an island in the Stockholm Archipelago in Western Sweden. It became famous in the 1960s when writer Astrid Lindgren (of Pippi Longstocking fame) created the television show Sea Crow Island, filmed on Norröra. Apparently the island has a house named Café Snickargården. Can IKEA please sell something named SNICKARGÅRDEN?!
ÖDMJUK: The name for this preciously decorated coffee mug means “humility.” Do I detect a note of irony amidst all that Swedish enthusiasm for the simple life?
SMÖRBOLL: Swedish for MY FAVORITE! Just kidding. The word translates into “butter ball” but refers to a lovely yellow-flowering plant, the globeflower. Found throughout Nordic Europe, it grows mainly on low moist meadows and is poisonous to eat… just like this duvet cover.