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16 Out-of-Context IKEA Instructions to Help You Live a Better Life

Ikea.com
Ikea.com

Printed without words, IKEA instructions are meant to be used around the globe. Someone in Tokyo can build his KLÄPPE swivel chair from the same booklet as a college kid in her Maryland dorm.

This saves the Swedish furniture manufacturer tons of money in printing costs, but it also serves a surprising purpose: Taken out of context, certain pages and details from IKEA instruction books can be interpreted as guides to living a fuller and more happy life. Here are 16 examples.

1. Relax

You earned it. Follow steps 1-3 as shown above for maximum relaxation. If you don't feel like going all the way, stop at step 2. This is you time.

2. Wash Your Garbage

Sanitation workers will appreciate and even look forward to your spring-fresh bag of trash on collection days.

3. Attach Wheels to Your Pet Starfish

Now he's the fastest echinoderm on the block. Look at him go!

4. The Area Behind the Knee is Very Sensitive

It's a little-known erogenous zone, as demonstrated by the shaded "heat" sphere above.

5. There's Your Wallet

Right there, underneath that thing with all the other wallets.

6. Have a Beer

Long day? Kick back with a cold one or two, which will be floating in space for you to grab when you're ready.

7. Stefan Is Gone

And he's never coming back. Time to move on.

8. Check Under and Inside Your Grand Piano Twice a Year

There may be loose change or even forgotten treats that have accumulated down there. Best to make sure.

9. Don't Be Glum

There's a daybed right behind you. Lie down for a bit and think about things that'll cheer you up. Remember the Home Improvement episode where Tim enters the lawn mower race? That was a good one. Think about that.

10. Diving Boards Make Great Presents

Attach a bow to the bottom to give your gift some decorative flair.

11. Look Up

There, at those branches. Fall is around the corner; you can tell by how the leaves are changing color.

12. Do Squats

A great butt isn't given, it's earned.

13. Start At the Top Right Square for Tic-Tac-Toe

It's the secret to winning this classic game.

14. Fonzie Melted

Fold up what's left of the King of Cool for easy storage.

15. You Only Really Need Two Keys

Why are you lugging around that loaded keychain? Free up some much-needed pocket space by streamlining.

16. No Sketches of Punch and Judy

A hastily drawn outline doesn't do these beloved characters justice.

[All images from IKEA product instructions. Source Products: Karlstad, IKEA PS, Mysinge, Pax Tonnes, Premiar, Rakke, Rationell, Smaldal, Stefan, Tylosand, Udden, Verner, Vreta]

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Courtesy of Studio Segers
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Design
These Unique Benches Are Made From Yogurt Cups and Plastic Bags
Courtesy of Studio Segers
Courtesy of Studio Segers

When sent to a landfill, some plastic waste will sit there for centuries before breaking down. The Belgian design firm Studio Segers has found an alternative use for the plastic containers some people throw away by re-purposing them into innovative outdoor seating. This modular bench spotted by design milk is made from used yogurt cups, butter tubs, and plastic bags and is 100 percent recyclable.

Commissioned by the recycling company ECO-oh!, the H-bench consists of slender, plastic components. They come with or without backrests and are available in dark gray, medium gray, light gray, pastel green, pastel blue, and beige. Snap three of them together and you have a chair. Keep adding pieces to build a snug love-seat or a bench long enough to fit a crowd.

Recycled bench.
Courtesy of Studio Segers

The seat is designed to be customized to suit the user’s taste. Chair backs can face one way or alternating directions; the bench can feature multi-colored stripes or a uniform shade; one side can have seat backs while the opposite end is built for laying down.

The makers didn’t skimp on quality to make their product sustainable: The H-bench is made from plastics called polyolefins, which means it's durable enough to stay strong and vibrant even in harsh outdoor conditions. Get a closer look at the smart design in the video below.

[h/t design milk]

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iStock
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The Elements
Sit Down at a Periodic Table That Holds Samples of Every Element
iStock
iStock

The periodic table maps out the atomic numbers, electron configurations, and chemical properties of all the elements found on Earth (both in nature and in the lab). But have you ever wondered what a traditional periodic table would look like as a physical table? That’s the question Wolfram Research co-founder Theo Gray asked himself years ago, and the wooden Periodic Table Table was his answer.

As you can see in the video below from Reactions, the furniture piece he built at his office looks like something you might find in your dining room, albeit a little more educational. Its surface features dozens of wooden squares, each one etched with the information for a different element. Beneath each wooden panel, there's a compartment that contains a sample of that element from the real world.

Gray’s table includes straightforward examples of the elements, like a jar of mercury and a chunk of bismuth, as well as some more creative entries like an aluminum knee implant. The 2400-plus items in his collection have long since spilled beyond the table and onto his shelves. While many of the objects are stored within the table itself, in some cases, he has too many examples of one element to keep them in the same spot. Some, like the knee implant, are just too bulky to fit. Valuable elements like gold and dangerous items—like a radioactive bottle of the early 20th-century quack-medicine Radithor—are also kept in more secure locations.

Even Gray’s vast inventory reflects just a small slice of how we see the chemical elements manifested in everyday life. For more examples of where you can find elements in the world around you, check out this illustrated table.

[h/t Reactions]

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