IKEA Wants You to Take Apart Its Furniture

Tim Nelson
·2 min read

Everyone’s got a story about assembling something from IKEA. Somehow, those smiling stick figures seem to have a much easier time navigating those wordless instructions than the rest of us, and the process of assembling one of their desks or dressers is a key litmus test for any relationship.

Now, the Swedish furniture giant wants to ensure that taking its furniture apart is at least a relatively painless endeavor. Recently, it has put together detailed disassembly instructions for six of its major products: the Billy, Brimnes, Lycksele, Malm, Pax, and Poäng. All of the relevant documents can be viewed and downloaded for free, which makes sense given that you’ve already paid for the furniture in question.

IKEA’s goal isn’t simply to help you move onto bigger and better furnishings. The hope is that showing customers a less destructive way to take their furniture apart will encourage more of them to move with their IKEA furniture, or else more easily pass it on to whoever is willing to give these pieces a new home.

Fittingly, these disassembly instructions are part of IKEA’s larger plan to become a completely “circular” furniture company by 2030. Hitting that sustainability target will require that all of its products get repurposed, repaired, reused, or recycled instead of ending up in a landfill. Making it easier to take apart furniture to extend its life cycle is just one component of those efforts: Recent years have seen the introduction of furniture rental and furniture buyback programs in recent years. The recently discontinued annual print catalogue may have been a casualty of IKEA’s sustainability goals as well.

Even if you aren’t taking apart or giving back your IKEA furniture, the company has practical advice for extending its life cycle. For example, it recommends opting for modular furniture whose functionality can evolve as your needs change; giving a new coat of paint to wooden furniture; and choosing washable, replaceable sofa covers that can keep things feeling fresh and clean without kicking your current couch to the curb. These ideas may not rekindle your love for the dresser or futon your tastes and budget have outgrown, but those steps are worth a shot for those looking to cut back on their carbon footprint.

There’s no doubt that carefully taking apart your Malm isn’t the most satisfying activity, but hopefully, the sense of doing right by the planet is enough to power you through. After all, the greatest gift you can give to someone else is the sense of accomplishment that comes from putting together IKEA furniture.

Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest