Bringing home the KARLSTAD

Bringing home the KARLSTAD

This entry should be called, how to buy a couch the Canadian way. And that is, in a blizzard.

Well my husband will say that it was merely a slight snowfall. I beg to differ. People took off work. We like good Canucks with our snow tires went to IKEA to buy a couch.

Let me backtrack a second.

We swore we would never buy a couch from IKEA. Not that we don’t like the couches from IKEA. Quite the opposite. It’s that we have so much IKEA in our home that our living room was slowly starting to resemble page 28 of the 2011 IKEA catalogue.

There’s a lot of things we need in our home. A new fridge. More storage space. A kitchen counter top that doesn’t make me cry. A finished basement. And a couch was on that list as well. We had still been using the microfiber sectional that we had in our old condo. It was was great when it was just the two of us. Add our kids on it and guests coming over and we had no place for anyone to sit.

It also just unfortunately didn’t fit the size of our living room in our home. See below.

living room before

It does however fit perfectly into a section in the basement that will one day get finished. So that’s where this one went.

Now we searched everywhere for a sectional that would suit our needs.


And every single thing we wanted was beyond out of our price range. We could get a lot of ugly sofas in our budget but for the  modern style and sheer scope of seating that we needed, we were looking at 4-5K just for anything comparable. Finally realizing that it was just futile and having no luck with any sales in any stores or outlets, we said oh hell with this and drove to IKEA in a blizzard.

Oh and we called my brother in law to bring his truck to help out because unlike normal people that pay for delivery, we said oh sure let’s bring the KARLSTAD Corner Sofa/Sectional back home using not one but two pickup trucks.

Exhibit A – The KARLSTAD Corner Sofa/Sectional

 karlstad (2)

Exhibit B – the KARLSTAD Chais add on (yes just the lounge took up the entire back of the truck)


karlstad blizzard

Did I mention how much it was snowing?

So the rest went like this. Tear apart old couch and clean up living room. Leave before you’re asked to help put it together.

living room before

Try to sneak a shot of your husband and BIL putting it together.

putting together the couch

They catch you and as punishment it becomes your job to put on the cushion covers in the freezing cold garage.

Yes that’s my front porch tree. It’s the one Christmas item that I have yet to clean up. I’ll bet it’ll be there come July.

putting together the karlstad

Several hours later, you welcome your new KARLSTAD to your living room for its first night in your house.

karlstad first night at home

And here it is in the daytime!

I warned you its turning into Page 28. Right now I am contemplating one more EKBY shelf over top of the window. If I add bead board we have bigger issues.

IKEA Karlstad sectional (2)


IKEA Karlstad sectional (5)

Our side table is a LACK table. It was supposed to be a temporary table that we used for about a month or so until I found a cool thrift store table that I wanted to use instead.

It’s over 2 years later.

Re-doing the side table is on our Project List for the house. The crates are all from thrift stores that I took home this past year.

For the record, because I always think of this when I see people’s homes decorated with vintage items that are breakable or well, taunting to children, it took a long time before the novelty of pushing the typewriter keys wore off with my 2 year old. Right now I am just waiting for her to notice the gumball machine on the shelves. I try to keep the “Ooooh what’s that?” thrift store items in here to a minimum.

I just noticed the IKEA catalogue in the crate that we use to hold our magazines. I swear that was not intentional. It’s almost comical in the context of this post.

LACK side table with vintage crates

So what do I think of the KARLSTAD after having it in our home for a month now? Here are my liner notes:


It was shockingly easy to put together. Most of the frames and structure of the couch are all done for you. I honestly think this was a first with any IKEA item we’ve purchased. I.E. It took us a full day to put together a PAX closet and maybe one day I’ll get my husband to explain how his experience of putting together our HEMNES dressers was.


We bought the SIVIK Dark Grey colour. It is deep charcoal grey, almost denim like in its appearance but it looks much more expensive in real life than its price tag. It is a very durable fabric. The covers are washable and this was very important to us as we have kids and I like wine. I have already washed 4 of them and it was as simple as a cold water machine wash and then hanging them to dry. Not one shred of discolouration and the material felt the same after. The covers will be wrinkly upon drying but don’t feel like you have to iron them before you put them back on. Just put them back on and by the end of the day the wrinkles will have smoothed themselves out.

The one thing you will notice with dark colour choices in this sectional, is the white seat base peeking through. See right side of photo on the chaise. It does settle down once the cushions settle down and form into the base but for first while be prepared to have the white peeking through. We found this was prevalent on the chaise but not with the other cushions.

The chaise also has a velcro tab under it to hold it into place. I cannot begin to tell you how much I love this feature because it prevents the cushion from sliding forward. Our other couch didn’t have this and it was a removable ottoman and it had to be readjusted constantly. Drove me insane.

But one of the most important things about the cushion covers is that if something were to happen to damage them, I know I can always go to IKEA and get another set. Which based on my history of buying things from there and having them discontinued, a spare cover is definitely one of our future to buy items.

IKEA Karlstad sectional


The legs are paintable, stainable (after sanding) and interchangeable.  See what Sherry from Young House Love did with theirs. IKEA offers metal ones for it but there are tons of other options. Some customer favourites are from Uncle Bob’s Workshop and Pretty Pegs. Right now they’re not bothering me. We’ll see how long that lasts.


When you first sit on it after you’re done putting it together, the cushions are stiff. Very stiff. Don’t worry, they’ll soften up. They don’t feel like the comfy KARLSTAD that you sat on in the store because the store model is the one that has been sat on by thousands of customers. That will happen naturally over time (it has already with ours). When in doubt get your kids to do this:

IKEA karlstad corner sofa (2)

In the end, do we love it? Immensely. It’s one of those things that we didn’t realize how badly we needed the extra room until we had it. I am sure you have an item in your own home that you were like “Where have you been all my life?” after you brought it home. I feel like that about Betty Crocker and Kraft Dinner most days.

I am 5’11 and my husband is 6’2 and both of us can lay down on either side and there is still a ton of seating room available for the kids. We are lay down and watch TV kind of people. I need a sofa that I can sprawl out on with some popcorn, a cozy blanket and stretch my legs. This is paradise for tall people.

The fun part was the wood farmers bench that I picked up at the thrift store last year for $15 fits so perfectly in the nook between the sectional and the chaise, it was like it was meant to be used as a coffee table for this.

You may have noticed we are missing a rug. This is because in the past 2 years we’ve gone through one shag rug and a striped rug, both of which were destroyed by goldfish crackers, spilled juice and mud from rain boots. I’ve been contemplating buying a jute or sisal rug for it to finish the living room floor, but I’ve been reading how terrible they are to hardwood floors (leaving imprints in them that is). So if you have rug suggestions, I am all ears. Quite honestly, there are days we do not even notice a rug is missing and it’s so much easier to sweep the floors.

The bottom line for us, our living room is our everything room. It’s the kids playroom, it’s where we watch TV and movies and sometimes eat our dinners. It’s where family and friends come over to visit. It’s where weekend mornings usually look like  imaginary campgrounds with makeshift tents:

IKEA Karlstad sectional (3)

And we needed a couch that can stand up to the “imaginary” smores that were made while Mommy wasn’t looking with nutella and marshmallows. There’s a reason the KARLSTAD sells so well for IKEA and constantly gets good feedback. Because it’s a dream couch for families with young messy children and pets. And most importantly, it won’t break your wallet.

So I surrendered to Page 28 of the 2011 IKEA catalogue and it’s a pretty awesome page to be on.