Almost every household in the UK has at least one piece of IKEA furniture in pride of place. From BILLY bookcases to MALM beds, it’s the nation’s go-to for creative home design on a realistic budget – but the brand is considering a major change that could see us renting its pieces, instead of buying them outright.
According to a recent report from Financial Times, the new system could see IKEA offering everything from office chairs to kitchen cabinets on a lease, at the end of which ‘you hand it back and you might lease something else.’
Torbjorn Loof, CEO of the Inter Ikea holding company (which control the IKEA brand rights) confirmed to the paper: ‘we will work together with partners so you can actually lease your furniture.’
The first trial of the subscription model is set to take place in Switzerland this year, with office furniture as the principle focus, but could eventually be rolled out across all areas of the business, and even to built-in items like kitchens. The move will have a positive impact on IKEA’s goal to reduce its climate footprint by 15 per cent, as more items will be reused and recycled, rather than discarded.
However, as exciting as the prospect might be for interior design aficionados and eco warriors alike, it’s likely to be some time before you can walk into your local store and make renting IKEA furniture a reality.
An IKEA spokesperson has since revealed: ‘At Ingka Group, we have an ambition to inspire and enable people to play an active role in making the circular economy a reality, which we can support by developing new ways for people to buy, care for and pass on products. And instead of throwing those away, we refurbish them a little and we could sell them, prolonging the lifecycle of the product.’
‘In certain markets, such as Switzerland, we’re exploring and testing potential solutions and have a pilot project to look into the leasing of furniture, but it’s still too early to confirm exactly what this will look like.
‘In order to become a fully circular business by 2030, this can only be achieved through collaboration. In addition to working with customers to find appealing and accessible solutions that enable them to live more sustainably, we are also partnering with stakeholders to work together and share experiences.’