There will always be an audience for $10 chef’s knives and one-stop shopping, now matter how questionable the durability or Rosetta Stone-ian the instructions. That said, there are some contenders looking to take a healthy bite out of the Nordic monolith’s customer base.
This list is for those people. People who don’t want to decode pictographs to assemble their bookshelf or leave a trail of particle-board crumbs behind every time they rearrange the room.
Born from generations of makers and based in Detroit, Floyd produces sturdy but simple hardware and furniture for the discerning crowd. Bonuses: Free shipping, tool-free assembly and easy hauling for city-dwelling folk. Or anyone who hates moving day, really.
Something like IKEA’s stuffy but tasteful aunt, Hem’s HQ is in Berlin but they have a roster full of notable designers from Scandinavia and beyond. They produce relevant, custom-designed objects for the online shopping crowd, unlike IKEA, whose site frustratingly features a huge number of items which are only available in-store.
Began as a daydream, reared on Indiegogo and just now about to turn factory-official, upstarts Greycork produce essentials for your home: sofas, shelves and tables that ship in a box and assemble in minutes. Emphasis placed on using materials such as baltic birch plywood that can last a lifetime or more.
Pushing two decades, they’re the veterans on this list, well known for modular, customizable shelving and stealthy murphy beds. As the name suggests, resource management is key. To that end, goods are made to order out of materials that aren’t landfill-bound (not anytime soon anyway). It’s also the kind of place that you have to call for quotes, but hey, if you’re of the mind that nothing good comes for cheap, then this place’ll suit you well.
Started by an Apple alum, Campaign Living boasts extremely movable, flat-packing furniture that can follow you from digs to digs without necessitating a borrowed truck. Plus: made in the USA. Potential con: somewhat limited choices, but if it’s modern and streamlined silhouettes you seek, considering giving your vote to these guys.
Honorable Mention: Muji
They’ve been called Japan’s answer to IKEA, but IKEA doesn’t sell clothes or pre-fab houses, so we wouldn’t blame them for resenting the association. Muji is great for everything from storage and furniture to toiletries and mentioned tiny houses. Here’s the thing, though: at least for now, their US online shop is null. But it’s totally worth having on your radar for when they come online, or if you’re in New York or California, where you can visit one of their brick and mortars.