Yes, it's true – millennials are naming their kids after IKEA furniture, and I'm not even surprised. Everyone knows that millennials love functional IKEA furniture almost as much as they love avocado toast, so this was just a natural progression. But where does this love come from? How has IKEA captured the hearts of everyone born between 1981 and 1996?
Well, it's functional and inexpensive, which is perfect for a millennial's budget (i.e. anyone drowning in student loan debt). IKEA also shamelessly panders to millennials with their designs and marketing campaigns, so it's no wonder millennials have fallen in love with their simple, Scandinavian design (and delicious meatballs). I guess it was only a matter of time before a pregnant 20-something looked to an IKEA catalog for baby name inspiration.
Recently, a user on the BabyCentre forum shared a list of IKEA-inspired names with the world, saying, "IKEA is known for the charming Scandinavian names it gives its products and many work surprisingly well as baby names."
If expecting parents are looking for some good gender-neutral names, IKEA's got 'em covered. If they're into classic names with a trendy, Scandinavian twist, then they're in luck. Here are 20 IKEA-inspired baby names as trendy as the furniture (if you don't mind naming your child after a chair cushion).
Let's start off with something pretty normal to slowly ease us all into this IKEA-baby naming madness.
Sofia is the Nordic spelling of the name Sophia (which was the third most popular girls' name in the U.S. in 2017). This is a good option if you really like classic names but are looking for a different spelling to give it a little twist. I did this with my daughter's name, Abigail. Instead of shortening it to Abby, we spell it "Abi," which is much more common in England.
In IKEA terms, "Sofia" is the name of a wide-striped fabric pattern (similar to the pattern of the dress pictured above) which can be done in black and white, red and white, and blue and white, etc.
Janinge is actually a combination of two popular Scandinavian boy names (Jan and Inge), but it can also be considered the perfect gender-neutral name. "Jani" could work as a cute and unique nickname for a girl, but "Jan" is perfect for either gender. In IKEA-speak, "Janinge" is a very simple, functional chair. Like the chair, Janinge is versatile in its use (that's the beauty of gender-neutral names)! One thing is for certain, there probably won't be more than one "Janinge" in the classroom.
I know both an "Emme" and an "Emmy," but this is the first time I've seen it spelled like "Emmie" and I LOVE it! Why is this not more common? It's easy to pronounce, easy to spell and freaking adorable (especially if you love girly names). Emmie is just the Scandinavian counterpart to the name Emma (it can also be spelled "Emmi," without the e). Even cooler, the name means "universal" (I know you millennials are loving that). In Ikea terms, "Emmie" is a pretty, pink-striped fabric pattern (and just as girly as it sounds).
Now that we've seen both girly and gender-neutral names on this list, I think it's time for a masculine one. The name Bernhard originates from the German word Bernhardt, meaning "strong bear." Cute, right? If you're looking for the charm of an old-fashioned named with a Scandinavian twist, then this might be exactly the perfect combination. The last time this name was popular was back in the 1920s when men were still looking fine in double-breasted suits and hats. Despite its vintage appeal, the "Bernhard" is a very modern office chair in the IKEA catalog.
"Dorthy" is a popular Swedish name that is (obviously) a shortened version of the name Dorothy. The name "Dorothy" is Greek in origin, meaning "Gift of God." Despite its beautiful meaning, the last time the name Dorothy (or any of its spelling variants) was popular in the United States was at the turn of the century. If you're a big fan of The Wizard of Oz, then this might be a cute nod to a cinematic classic. In IKEA, "Dorthy" is the pretty floral fabric pattern pictured above.
The name "Cilla" is actually a Swedish/English pet name for the name Cecilia, but when used on its own it's yet another fun twist on a vintage name. The last time the name Cilla was popular was back in the 1800's, but it's slowly rising in popularity according to BabyCenter. Unfortunately, "Cilla" is not as charming in the IKEA catalog. Instead of the pretty fabric pattern you'd expect, Cilla is nothing but a chair pad that comes in a variety of different colors. But hey, I'm sure it's comfortable.
Minna is a German female name meaning "resolute, strong, love" and is currently very popular in Germany. With a meaning like that, I'm not surprised. Minna is also a commonly used nickname of Wilhelmina or Hermina. Although rising in popularity in the United States, it's still considered a very unique name (the last time it peaked in popularity stateside was back in 1911). In IKEA, Minna is a versatile cotton fabric available in multiple colors. Even if the name doesn't work for your child, Minna curtains might do very well in the nursery.
Do you love Harry Potter AND IKEA? Congratulations, your search for the perfect baby name has come to an end.
This name definitely increased in popularity after Harry Potter came on the scene (thanks to the character Tobias Snape), but Tobias has always been a popular boy's name in Sweden. According to Wikipedia, Tobias is actually the Greek version of the Hebrew name Toviyah, meaning "the goodness of God." In the IKEA catalog, Tobias is a "transparent chair that mirrors its surroundings." Sounds pretty cool to us.
The name Elly can be considered a variant of the name Eleanor, Ellen or Ella, but it's simply adorable all on its own. Elly is actually an Irish baby name meaning "light" that has always been popular throughout Scandinavia. The American spelling, "Ellie," skyrocketed in popularity in the United States starting around 2010, just after the movie UP! came out. Coincidence? Probably not. In IKEA terms, Elly is just a popular kitchen towel. Sorry to disappoint, but at least it's something useful.
Do you secretly like the name Theodore, but it's a little too old-school for your taste? Why not get creative with the spelling and add a little Nordic flair? Teodore it is!
Theodore is a Greek name meaning "God's gift" that was last popular in the early 1900's, so it's old enough to be considered fresh (if that makes any sense). Add a little twist on the spelling, and WA-LA! You've got the perfect marriage of old and new. In IKEA, "Teodores" are colorful, stackable chairs (in case you were curious).
The name Henrika is a Swedish baby name that means "rules the home." Yep, that sounds about right! Although you can certainly drop the "a" and make it Henrik, Henrika is traditionally a girl's name (often used as a variation of the name Henrietta). Although old-fashioned names are definitely making a comeback, Henrika is just foreign enough to be practically unheard of in the United States. Of course, I can't NOT tell you what the IKEA meaning is: a cushion cover.
In IKEA terms, the "Johanne" is the black and white decorative pattern that you see pictured above. In baby terms, Johanne is the nordic spelling of the name Joanne. Regardless of spelling, both names are short for the name Johanna (or Joanna), a Hebrew name meaning "God is gracious."
Although "Joanne" was popular in America between the late 1940's until the 1960's, the Scandinavian version, Johanne, was rarely used. If you're looking for a unique variation of a somewhat old-fashioned name, then Johanne is perfect.
Congratulations, you've found the most hipster baby name on the list. Unlike other IKEA-inspired baby names, Tarva is NOT a popular baby name in Sweden (or anywhere, actually). In fact, Tarva is one of those made-up IKEA words that isn't really a word at all! But can you use it as a baby name, even though it has never been done before? Sure, why the hell not.
Because no one really knows what Tarva means, it's a perfectly gender-neutral name. Feel free to make up a cool meaning to go with it, too. The most important thing? Don't ever tell your kid that you named him/her after bedroom furniture.
Stefan is #28 on the Top 100 Swedish Boy Names list right now, but it's definitely still considered unique in the United States (at #949). Although the name did jump a little in popularity after the release of the movie Frozen, it never got any higher than #800. Stefan is the Greek version of the name Steven, meaning "crown." In IKEA, the Stefan is a wooden chair that is WAY more popular in the States than the name. The more you know.
In terms of origin, it's a little bit uncertain where the name Norna comes from. According to some sources, it's originally a German name meaning "from the north," whereas other sources say it's old-Norse for "to whisper to someone." In Sweden, the word Norna is a type of orchid. The only thing we know for certain is that it's a popular name throughout Scandinavia and that it belongs almost exclusively to females. In IKEA, a Norna is a two-sided chair pad. Awesome.
I think most of us are familiar with the vintage name Melinda, but the Nordic spelling adds a fresh little twist, doesn't it? Malinda is Greek for "gentle one," and is considered very uncommon in the United States (as well as its counterpart, Melinda, which last peaked in popularity back in the '70's). Just like Norna, the Malinda in IKEA is another chair cushion (with extra thick padding). Not the most glamorous item in the catalog, but this is IKEA we're talking about.
According to Wikipedia, "Ingo is a masculine given name in contemporary Scandinavia and Germany, and a historical name in France. It is the male version of the name Inga, used in the same region." Interestingly, Ingo means "protected by Yngvi," a West Germanic god. That's about as German as it gets! It should come as no surprise to you that Ingo has never been popular in the United States (at any point in history). At IKEA, an Ingo is a pine table. Hey, better than a butt cushion.
Unlike the other IKEA-inspired baby names on this list, this IKEA name actually has something to do with babies! As you can see in the picture, "Mata" is a 4-piece child's dinnerware set with a frog theme! Cute, right? Just like the dinnerware set, the name "Mata" can be used for either a boy or a girl. As a girl's name, Mata is Aramaic in origin and means "lady of the house" (perfect for a daddy's girl). As a boy's name, Mata is an alternative spelling of the name Matthew and means "gift of God."
The name Fredde is a common nickname in Sweden for the name Fredrik, which was ranked the 19th most popular name for boys. Although the name Fredrik originated in Sweden around the 14th century, it is also commonly used in Denmark and Norway, where it was the 53rd most popular name for boys in 2017. "Fredde" is basically what "Jon" is for "Jonathan" but there is no reason it can't be used on its own. In the IKEA catalog, the Fredde is a popular computer work/gaming station.
If you want to name your child after a piece of IKEA furniture but you don't want anyone to know you named your child after a piece of IKEA furniture, then this is the name for you. The name Franklin is Latin for "free man," and is considered by most to be a very historical first name. There have been two American presidents named Franklin (Franklin Pierce and Franklin Roosevelt), not to mention Benjamin Franklin, Franklin Graham and Aretha Franklin. Famous Franklins abound, so it's no surprise that IKEA named one of its foldable bar stools after the popular moniker.
References: Fast Company, Baby Centre, SSA, Name Doctor, Baby Center, Baby Name Science, Wikipedia, the People's Republic of Couch, Hej Sweden, Baby Gaga