Ikea Discontinues Expedit Shelving – Ikea Kallax is the New Expedit

Undoubtedly one of the most popular pieces of furniture in the world, the Ikea Expedit range has become ubiquitous with shelving. Indeed the term Expedit has become a synonomous part of the language in some regions, a phenomenon known as a proprietary eponym which most brands only dream of. Yet Ikea have decided to discontinue this much beloved icon in exchange for a more or less entirely identical range known as Kallax.

The key difference between Expedit and Kallax seems to be that the outer boards of Kallax shelves are slightly thinner and Ikea claim that the reason for this was to make their furniture more sustainable. Ikea use approximately 1% of the planets wood – a startling statistic – and so slight changes like this can have a big impact when you consider that Ikea likely sell tens if not hundreds of millions of Expedit shelves each year. The edges of the new Kallax shelves are also slightly bevelled to make them safer for children and this must also save slight amounts of wood.

Ikea Discontinues Expedit Shelves and Replaces with Kallax

I suppose we won’t know until the new prices for Kallax shelves are made public by Ikea whether the reason for thinning down the panels was to make them more sustainable or indeed cheaper to produce. As anyone who has ever assembled an Expedit shelf will know, the outer panels are mostly hollow so savings in wood content will likely be minimal.

Ikea claim that the new Kallax shelves will be just as strong and have the same load capacity as the Expedit equivalents. However perhaps a more significant impact of the move from Expedit to Kallax is that the 5 x 5 shelves are being discontinued, which to me would indicate that the thinner outer panels are indeed weaker.

I personally like the variation in thickness between the outer and inner panels of Ikea Expedit shelves as it helps to define the outlines of the unit. Kallax borders are thinner, but still not thin enough to match the criss-crossing shelves, and so risk looking slightly off. Indeed the ratio of the Expedit’s proportions have become iconic and allow the range to be easily recognised over cheap(er) imitations; Ikea is at risk of making its only products look like fakes.

Ikea Expedit 2x2 Shelves Being Replaced by New Kallax

All these differences are admittedly very slight and someone who is new to Ikea furniture likely wouldn’t think anything of them. However if you already have an Ikea Expedit shelf and plan on getting another in the future then now is the time to do here so as Kallax shelves obviously won’t match your old shelves. As for future Kallax availability, an Ikea contact has informed me that the planned UK release date for Kallax shelving will be scheduled for a June 2014 launch.

The change from Expedit to Kallax has already caused a good deal of outrage online, and it hasn’t even happened yet. Complaints have come in particular from DJ communities who rely on Ikea Expedit for vinyl LP storage. A German Facebook page has been set up in protest which has already reached over 23,000 likes, as it is in this country that the transition from Expedit to Kallax will be taking place first. An english language Facebook page based in the US has also popped up called Save IKEA’s Expedit which has already garnered over 2,000 likes.

Feel free to share your thoughts on the change in the comments below but please keep shelf life puns to a minimum.

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  1. Nancy R Eichelberger

    Bring back the Expedit “birch look” finish! I planed my new flooring around the burch look pieces I already own, qnd planned to buy the birch look 5 x 5 unit. I am truly devastated.

  2. Io

    Ah, WHY DID I NOT READ THIS BEFORE buying a 2×4 Kallax? I have a 2×2 Expedit and wanted to expand the storage — did not even *think* that it had changed. The new brown-black is black, with some wood texture, far from the warm color My Expedit had. I could put this in a corporate office and nobody would bat an eye — it’s *that* generic. NOOOOoooooooo……

  3. Courtney

    I seriously need a 5×1 Expedit in my life. Why do they not make the Kallax in 5×1????

  4. Jeff

    Love this site my friends think I’m crazy to have Ikea in my house!
    They just don’t understand…….

  5. Karim

    Another think AFAIK expedit has a 5×5 model, the largest expedit is 4×4 possibly indicating how weak it is.

  6. Karim

    I have got the kallax (new to this stuff). I think the expedit may be a little bit more rigid than kallax. The outer panels are thicker so when they join they are inevitably more rigid.

    The expedit in store was free standing and i nudged it and was rock hard – the kallax I have built at home wobbles and instructions say it needs to be fixed to a wall

  7. jsbrennan

    A 40% reduction in the thickness of the outer edgings, which provide the rigidity of the unit, is NOT slight. These will just not do the same job. Still, the name is close enough to the expected quality level, and the green claim, like most industrial claims to be green, is straightforward B.S. Corporate values survive untouched in Sweden.

  8. Amy Nash

    They discontinued their best item, pitty. The Kallax indeed does look like every other poor imitation out on the market…

  9. Julie Williams

    Expedit looks stylish and balanced, and unique to IKEA. Kallax looks like every other poor imitation out on the market – why downgrade a best selling range. Big fan if Expedit & Lack, not convinced Kallax will make a good impression

  10. Pingback: IKEA Kicks Expedit To The Curb (and 10 Rules for Shopping at IKEA) | The Practical Aesthete

  11. Andrew Blake

    Nooooo! Ikea how could you take away our beloved Expedits.
    Kallax will never be able to match its majestic elegance!

    1. Bart Fantastic Assembler

      As a professional furniture assembler I can say that the “Kallax move” was far from a smart one. Many people continue to ask for Expedit flat pack assemblies. Ikea did not had to change such a well established name. Some of the other furniture retailers could only dream of such success and that’s a fact! If you dig in to craiglist, ebay and etc, you will come across many requests for the famous flat pack unit. In my humble opinion it would be a really smart move to “bring back the Expedit” in a year or a few. It’s a fact that the unit became really popular among dj’s (although I’ve seen crappy assemblage go terribly wrong there). Especially if the company manages to improve the Expedit’s ikea assembly glory Expedit would rise better and we could even expect it to be “stronger”. The billy book case has been around for a while and the brand awareness still pays of.

      Think again Ikea, think again..

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