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The Secret Formula Behind Ikea Product Names

Photo: Iroz Gaizka/Getty

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It turns out the Ikea Billy bookcase didn't get its name by chance. Same goes for the Ribba picture frame, the Erforderlig lunch bag, and the Smörboll bedding set. The Huffington Post spoke with Ikea US design spokeswoman Janice Simonsen and uncovered a secret formula behind all of Ikea's hard-to-pronounce product names.

It all stems from a lengthy Ikea database of possible furniture and accessory names. Each product is then assigned a name off that database based on what category of product it is. For example, every piece of garden furniture is named after a Scandinavian island, while rugs are named after Danish place names.

Kitchen accessories are named after "fishes, mushrooms and descriptive words." Bookcases get their names from "professions, Scandinavian boy's names." That explains the famous Billy bookcase.

There is a caveat, though. Simonsen tells Huffington Post that "sometimes the designer or the product developer will come up with a new name." It still could be a good time-killer to try to figure out the meaning behind the names of all the things in your shopping cart while waiting in an extra-long Ikea line.