I recently moved to a new apartment and had to buy a whole bunch of furniture, including a bed frame, bookshelf, dresser, and couch. I had to do the move in a bit of a hurry, so I did one rapid fire furniture shopping session at Ikea, taking advantage of their shipping policy: $59 for delivery within 30 miles regardless of how many items you bought and same-day delivery if you order by 2pm.

I had this grand vision of ordering furniture Friday morning and relaxing in it Friday night. Not being a seasoned furniture shopper, I forgot one very important detail: all Ikea furniture requires assembly. And lots of it.


It’s not exactly hard, but it takes a lot of time and requires you to have the patience to read and understand Ikea’s *word-less *manuals. That’s right, the instructions don’t include a single word: they are entirely composed of images and symbols, presumably to save on translation costs.

A typical page of Ikea instructions
A typical page of Ikea instructions

Taking a page from the lego instruction manuals, the folks at Ikea generally do a pretty good job of visually conveying each step. Having said that, the graphics—especially the “best practices” images at the beginning of each instruction pamphlet—can be fairly amusing.

The "best practices" section on the first page of each instruction pamphlet
The "best practices" section on the first page of each instruction pamphlet

And occasionally, some of the images are downright incomprehensible. So, for those of you who’ve spent some quality time with “Billy”, “Ektorp”, and a hex wrench, here is some entertainment:

Ikea lightsaber
Ikea couple
Ikea Forsby
Ikea explosives
Ikea Henj