Arts & Culture

Would You Live In An IKEA House?

This 17.5sqm house from IKEA has a humanitarian reason for its creation

Photography: Better Shelter & Pinterest

Popular Swedish furniture brand IKEA is known for their affordable, mass-produced furniture pieces, but did you know that they designed an actual house that can be shipped to different locations and assembled within a day?


The IKEA house is a flat-pack refugee shelter that was designed in cooperation with Better Shelter, a Swedish organization that creates shelter for refugees displaced by natural calamities and war worldwide. The house recently won the Beazley Design of the Year, an annual award given by London’s Design Museum. Better Shelter created the house to provide a more dignified, secure, and climate-resistant shelter as compared to the ordinary refugee tents.


Costing US$1,150 each and measuring 17.5sqm, the house is made out of lightweight polymer with a steel frame. It comes disassembled in IKEA’s trademark flat-pack box, and it takes approximately four to eight hours to assemble it completely. The house also has a solar panel on the roof to power a bulb or charge mobile phones. The shelter lasts about three years—enough time for a family to get settled, recover, and move on.


The design award for the house ironically comes at a time wherein the current US President signs a controversial executive order banning Syrian refugees. These IKEA shelters have since been shipped to refugees and humanitarian workers in Iraq, Ethiopia, Nepal, among other countries.

Watch how they assemble the house here: 

PHOTOS: Better Shelter on Instagram and

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