Saturday, March 26, 2016

Ikea NORRÅKER and SKOGSTA Impressions: Wood Would Wood

If you've read any of my previous ramblings, you would know that I prefer my furniture to be bare wood with no finish or stain. I recently stumbled upon two new lines of furniture from Ikea: the NORRAKER and SKOGSTA. They, unfortunately, did not appear to be bare wood and may have had a surface treatment according to their product pages. But they looked good and may force me to make an exception or two in the near future...
Ikea IVAR Chair
Disclaimer: I had not had any firsthand experience with any SKOGSTA or NORRÅKER  products when I wrote this piece. Details were quoted from the Ikea United States website or Canada website in late March 2016. Details on this page are NOT guaranteed for accuracy.

First Impressions: The Ikea NORRÅKER Line
Copying and pasting the term "NORRÅKER" into the search bar of the Canadian Ikea website returned about a half-dozen items --  a smaller, cheaper table was found on the United States website and not on the Canadian one. They included tables and seating products, all of which appeared to be constructed of a light-colored wood. I found most of them under the "Dining" section, some classified as "Café furniture," and one item was under "Kitchen islands & carts." Prices ranged from CA$ 39 to CA$ 349 for individual items when I checked.

Opening the individual product pages revealed a few common things under the "Product description"
section like "Solid birch, Stain, Clear acrylic lacquer." I could see the lacquer in the product photos by the sheen but the stain surprised me a bit -- was that why the wood appeared lighter/whiter than other birch items I had seen? Regardless, the light color, solid wood appearance, and lacquer were the things that gave the NORRÅKER its signature to me.

The one standout I found was the NORRÅKER chair under the "Café chairs" section for CA$ 79 (US$ 59). Specifically, the bulkiness of the seat and backrest got my attention. It looked similar to a basic, wood chair like the IVAR, but the coloring and larger supports around the seat, and the backrest were distinct. Seeing them stacked in a photo was somewhat strange and also interesting. To be honest, though, I'll probably end up buying the stool before any other item.

First Impressions: The SKOGSTA Line
This one's been around longer -- yes, I lied about stumbling across it recently. I think I've been seeing the SKOGSTA line for months now. Putting the name into the Canadian Ikea website's search bar returned about a dozen items. They consisted of seating, storage or organization items, and some smaller kitchen products. The wood used for SKOGSTA furniture caught my eye the most. It didn't appear to be pine, beech, or birch that I had experience with from Ikea. Anyway, I found items ranging in price from CA$ 9.99 to CA$ 129.00 when I checked. Two items that I didn't find on the Canadian site but did on the United States site were the bar table for US$ 249.00 and dining table for US$ 349.00.

Not every product page was checked, but among the ones that I did review, I found a few common terms under the "Product description" section like "Solid acacia wood, wax." Not every item had "wax" listed, not sure if it just wasn't listed or wasn't actually used. The pattern I noticed was that the items with color banding seemed to have "wax" listed while the ones that didn't lacked the term -- specifically, it was three storage crates I checked that didn't.

Speaking of color banding, this was the main feature that defined SKOGSTA to me. Individual chunks of acacia wood (e.g. the crates) appeared to already have their own, distinct color compared to furniture I'd seen made of pine and birch. However, some of the SKOGSTA products seemed to be constructed of strips of wood that had been grouped in a light-dark-light sequence -- or there was no pattern and different colored wood strips put together just looked that way.

The other thing that got my attention was the term "wax." Like candle wax? I didn't know, so I did some googling. I still don't really know because I mainly saw it discussed with flooring in mind.

Anyway, the standout item from this collection was, once again, the chair. It was listed under the "Dining chairs" section and priced at CA$ 69.00 (US$ 39.00). What set it apart? For me, it was the curved seat, and color pattern of the seat and backrest. I loved the simplicity of the overall design as well. But again, I'll probably end up getting a stool -- shorter version was only CA$ 29.00 (US$ 19.00) when I looked.

Final Thoughts
The SKOGSTA and NORRAKER product lines at Ikea appeared to be interesting, relatively new entries. I can't say that I love the fact that they were waxed, lacquered, or stained, but I really liked their look. Prices also seemed fairly reasonable and I was impressed by the designs.

Review: Ikea SKOGSTA Stool

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