They refer to this as "The Ikea Effect" — named after the Swedish retailer known for its DIY furniture. —Misty Harris, "'The Ikea Effect'," Ottawa Citizen, September 19, 2011
—"Why we D.I.Y. or the 'IKEA Effect'," Chicago Now, September 28, 2011
Norton calls it the "Ikea effect" because he's found that shoppers who assemble furniture purchased at the Swedish big box store seem to value the furniture more than it's really worth.
—Bruce Mohl, "What's worth more, your money or your time?," The Boston Globe, February 26, 2006
The basic idea is that everything is sold in flat packs, leaving you to assemble furniture at home with the aid of the ubiquitous Allen key....
I suspect that the Ikea effect may not be totally benign.
—Alan Taylor, "Taylor's diary," The Evening News, November 5, 1999
Other senses of this pliable phrase include the following:
- Traffic congestion near an IKEA caused by large numbers of people driving to the store on the weekend.
- The experience of performing a complex assembly operation, only to discover that one or more critical parts are missing.
- The tendency for people to purchase furniture and then throw it out after only a few years.
- The accessibility and affordability of modern design.
- An increasing emphasis on ready-to-assemble items in the furniture industry.
The last of these is the oldest sense, so here's the earliest use I could find:
—Ellen Neuborne, "The couch indicator," USA Today, March 4, 1993