Beech color at IKEA
June 3, 2006 7:35 PM   Subscribe

Did Ikea change the shade of their beech veneer at some point? I bought a new bookcase and to my dismay it doesn't match the one I bought a few years ago.
posted by smackfu to Home & Garden (17 answers total)
This may seem kind of obvious, but is it possible that your older beach veneer has faded as a result of age/sun exposure or the like? So it would have matched new... but now, not so much...
posted by BlzOfGlry at 7:42 PM on June 3, 2006

Ikea's manufacturing is done by hundreds of companies all around the world, and even a single product can have several different manufacturers with minor variances in the product. You'll notice that, similar to Apple, their stuff is marked 'Design and Quality by Ikea of Sweden'. They don't manufacture anything, AFAIK. If you buy the same unit even months apart, let alone years, it is unlikely that veneers will be a perfect match.

When we bought our Ikea kitchen a few years ago, we were considering saving some money by holding off on a few cabinets for the next phase of the project. The sales guy told us that if we wanted to be sure that all our cabinets match perfectly, we needed to buy them all at the same time as the veneers will change over time.

Maybe it was a sales tactic, but we did buy a replacement toe kick a few years later, and it was indeed not a perfect match, as you've discovered.

So, to sum up, yes. All the time. I think their painted finishes are less vulnerable to this problem, though.
posted by ulotrichous at 7:47 PM on June 3, 2006

I know that when we were buying our Ikea laminate floors, we had to make sure everything was from the same manufacturer and the same lot. Even products from the same manufacturer from roughly the same time frame have variation. However, I think BlzofGlry is probably right, too.
posted by acoutu at 7:52 PM on June 3, 2006

I had this happen also. Bought a beech "Billy" bookcase in 2000, bought a twin for it in 2005, but the beech colors didn't match.

Luckily I was also buying wood doors for both bookcases at the same time, so even though the bookcase sides didn't match exactly, the doors were a perfect match and the two units together look fine.
posted by dudeman at 7:56 PM on June 3, 2006

I worked for a home design company, and this was one thing customers never seemed to understand: you MUST buy everything all at once if you want things to match perfectly. There will be color variations, especially over a several year period.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:59 PM on June 3, 2006 [1 favorite]

Yes, they have changed their Beech Veneer. Fortunately, I got my stuff all at the same time.

[plug]I live in Brisbane, Australia and I am selling my bookcases and desks that are in the old colour beech via ebay...[/plug]
posted by dantodd at 8:21 PM on June 3, 2006

Go drive to the lumber yard. Walk over to the birch. Find ten pieces that match exactly. Now clean up the huge mess you've made. Now you understand.
posted by popechunk at 8:23 PM on June 3, 2006

They changed it within the last year, I think. Last time I was there, some of the pieces with the old veneer were on sale, and they had big signs announcing the change.
posted by amarynth at 11:32 PM on June 3, 2006

So, how exactly do they vary? I quite like the old beech from Ikea, have a set of Bondi cases from it. I love beech, and have done everything in my house that's wood, in beech. The tones vary, but still play nice together. The (old) Ikea finish has more red in it, I'd say, than my other pieces (non-Ikea).
posted by Goofyy at 12:20 AM on June 4, 2006

In an alternate universe, there is an IKEA bookcase clearinghouse where all good readers can go and assemble in peace a set of matching bookcases sufficient unto their needs.

Until I find that place, I'm just waiting for someone to get rid of their red-brown discontinued Billys.
posted by Sallyfur at 1:15 AM on June 4, 2006

Yes! The gorgeous red brown! I'm so pissed they discontinued those. More evidence that you have to buy as many bookshelves as you can at the same time.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:36 AM on June 4, 2006

popechunk, he's talking about veneer -- it's basically printed on a printing press. It's not affected by the actual colour or grain of the wood.
posted by winston at 7:18 AM on June 4, 2006

Response by poster: I think IKEA veneer is real wood. Just sliced off of boards in really thin sheets. If it was printed, I think they would choose better grain patterns.

Given that, I've always assumed it's not actually "beech" or "birch" or "cherry". It's a lot easier and consistent to use a cheap light wood and stain it to the desired color. That's why I figured that IKEA made a concious change at some point.
posted by smackfu at 7:48 AM on June 4, 2006

popechunk, he's talking about veneer -- it's basically printed on a printing press. It's not affected by the actual colour or grain of the wood.

Veneer is real wood, a natural product. Even if you cloned birch trees, there could be tone variations rooted in environmental differences.
posted by popechunk at 8:55 AM on June 4, 2006

Just thought I'd mention this, since no one else has. We bought six beech dining room chairs (not from Ikea) in 2000. We replaced one a year ago and the newbie was much lighter than the others. We called the store and were told that beech darkens with age and use. It has indeed, and now almost matches the others.

So, if your new bookcase is much lighter (you don't say in your OP) it's possible it may mellow out in time. Good luck.
posted by CMichaelCook at 1:17 PM on June 4, 2006

winston writes "he's talking about veneer -- it's basically printed on a printing press. It's not affected by the actual colour or grain of the wood."

You are thinking of laminates.
posted by Mitheral at 2:18 PM on June 4, 2006

Today I went to Ikea to purchase a beech venner nightstand to complete my bedroom set. Sadly, there isn't malm beech bedroom furniture. Any idea where to purchase the beech venner malms? Anna didn't help!
posted by CLASETURISTA at 10:54 PM on July 22, 2006

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