Skip to Content

IKEA Furniture | Is It Durable?

IKEA furniture is affordable and readily available. These two qualities, while desirable, are not always associated with high quality and longevity.

To investigate the true durability of IKEA furniture, the materials used must be examined. Other aspects of IKEA furniture can also impact how durable it is, including the way it’s packed and assembled. Knowing these things, an IKEA customer can extend the life of their IKEA furniture.

IKEA furniture is not known for its durability. There are some solid wood pieces that can last longer, but most are only designed to last several years. The materials and connection points are responsible for the lack of durability.

What Is IKEA Furniture Made Of?

Particle Board and Medium-Density Fiberboard

Particle board is composed of waste materials from wood. To manufacture particle board, sawdust and resin are pressed together under high heat. 

Compared to other home interior materials, particle board is fairly weak. It is susceptible to both impact force and the force exerted by weight. 

This means that you must be careful while you are transporting the furniture (since banging the furniture into walls can cause damage) and when you are placing items on the furniture since you cannot place items that are too heavy on furniture made entirely of particle board.

Particle board is also susceptible to water damage. This does not include water damage due to occasional water spills but water damage due to frequent and consistent exposure to humidity or water. For example, if the furniture was kept inside a bathroom with a shower.  

Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) is composed of wood fibers, rather than wood waste (such as sawdust), and glue or resin, which are pressed under high heat. 

Compared to particle board, MDF is fairly strong, however, it is not stronger than wood.

Particle board and Medium density fiberboard (MDF)

MDF is better suited than particle board for heavy objects to be placed upon it, but is still weak when compared to wood. For example, a fish tank on a piece of IKEA MDF furniture could end up being a mess with water, glass, and fish all over.

Due to its structure, MDF is very susceptible to splitting or cracking from forces such as a screw being driven into it

MDF also absorbs water more readily than wood, making water damage very possible. 

Despite lacking strength and susceptibility to physical and water damage, both particle board and MDF are used for IKEA furniture, mostly because of their low cost.

Particle board is used in the majority of IKEA furniture, including bookshelves, side tables, and other kinds of furniture. 

MDF is commonly used in similar furniture items as particle board, including bookshelves, and dressers. 

Wood Veneer

Another material that IKEA furniture is made of is wooden veneer. 

Rather than being a material that makes up the interior structure of furniture, a wooden veneer is a thin sheet of wood that is used on the outside of a furniture item to give it a nice, natural wood finish. 

The wood types include ash, birch, and pine.

Wood veneers have the added advantage of being less prone to water damage since real wood is used, rather than sawdust or wood fibers.

However, wood veneers are prone to scratching and denting. 

Because the wood doesn’t make up the internal structure of the furniture item, wood’s ability to withstand large weights will not come in handy here.

Wood veneers are often used with particleboard or MDF to make the furniture look like it is made of solid wood and also to add some protection against water. 

That being said, wood veneers will be found on similar furniture items as MDF and particle board, including bookshelves, dressers, and side tables. 

Solid Wood

Solid wood is the most expensive wood-based material that IKEA can be made of, but it has its advantages. 

While MDF and particleboard-containing furniture often lasts less than a decade, solid wood furniture can last several decades. 

Wood furniture will be more impervious to water damage than MDF and particleboard. Wood is not entirely safe from water damage, though. 

If the furniture is made entirely of wood, it will be more resistant to dents and scratches and will also be able to hold more weight than furniture made up of MDF or particleboard.

Types of wood commonly used include beech, birch, and oak.

Solid wood is used in furniture such as tables, bed frames, and nightstands. 

Furniture where solid wood is used, table, bed frame and nightstand. Sample of beech wood, birch wood and oak wood

Honeycomb Construction Design

Rather than using solid MDF or particleboard, IKEA opts to create a sandwich of sorts with MDF, particleboard, or wood veneer as the “bread” and the contents of the sandwich being the honeycomb cores. 

Honeycomb cores consist of hexagonal cells that are made of foam, cardboard, wood, or plastic. 

Depending on the material, the honeycomb design in a material can be more or less water-resistant. Foam and plastic would be the best for reducing water damage.

Honeycomb cores are also known for their strength and durability. 

They are stronger and more durable than particleboard and extremely lightweight. 

Using a honeycomb construction design for MDF, particleboard, or other furniture materials allows IKEA to create lightweight, strong, and durable furniture that is not too expensive. 

Durability Implication of Flat-Packing

IKEA prioritizes reducing costs when they design furniture and one way they do this is through flat-packing their furniture. 

This saves money through limited assembly on IKEA’s part as well as the ability to ship many more products when they are packaged this way. 

However, flat-packing furniture comes with more disadvantages than just having to assemble your IKEA furniture. 

In order for individual parts of the product to fit into a flat box, some parts that are normally manufactured together are split into two or more parts that require reconnection when assembling.

This split in materials can introduce a weakness in the structure of the furniture. 

For example, if you have table legs that must be put together so that each table leg is in two parts, it is likely that, where each leg part joins, there will be a weak point. 

This weak point would show itself through wobbling as the screws loosen over time. This weak point could also eventually completely break, potentially ruining your furniture or causing a hassle. 

Home-Assembly Can Affect Durability

IKEA furniture assembly is known for being a hassle, and a further complication in the process is the fact that the furniture must be assembled correctly to ensure that it lasts as long as it can. 

There are various steps of the assembly process where the customer’s actions can mean a loss of durability for the piece of furniture in the future. 

For example, if you lose some screws and there are a few parts that aren’t secured. Sure it stays together now, but that furniture piece will eventually break down before its time.

A similar problem would be if steps were skipped or missed. This could also lead to a premature end for your furniture.  

Man getting annoyed while trying to assemble furniture parts

Another example would be assembling a piece of furniture incorrectly. If you put the wrong size of screw in, one of the parts of the furniture could not be attached properly. This could lead to parts falling off of your piece of furniture. 

Additionally, you could damage a piece of furniture during assembly. Whether this would include denting or scratching one of the pieces or stripping a screw, this can have negative consequences for the furniture’s durability in the long run. 

Ways to Extend the Life of IKEA Furniture

Now that we know all of the areas where IKEA furniture may not thrive, it is possible to figure out the most ideal environment for IKEA furniture to be in. 

Since MDF and particleboard are sensitive to water damage, it would be wise to keep furniture made of these materials out of the bathroom or other areas that routinely get wet. 

Even for furniture made with wood veneer or entirely made of wood, it is important to keep the item dry. Routine maintenance, including wiping up water, can prolong the life of wood veneer or solid wood IKEA furniture. 

IKEA furniture made of MDF, particleboard, and wood veneer are all prone to dents and scratches. 

Knowing this it is important to be very gentle while moving and assembling the furniture. It may be best to recruit a family member or friend. 

More good pointers for assembling IKEA furniture to maximize its durability include reading the steps carefully, organizing your tools and pieces, and potentially watching videos to aid with assembly. 

If your furniture item is not made of solid wood, it would be wise to limit the weight placed upon these surfaces. 

Knowing now that honeycomb construction design adds to IKEA furniture durability, it would be wise to seek out furniture made with honeycomb construction materials. 

Avoiding taking your furniture apart and reassembling it. Moving it around should also be kept to a minimum. Both activities can weaken the connection points of the furniture, causing them to break prematurely.

IKEA Appliances | Are They Any Good?


Was this helpful?

Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc, or its affiliates.