Assembling Our Ikea Karlstad Sofa (We LOVE It!)

Despite its original February 4th due date, our big bundle of sectional joy arrived ahead of schedule. Being our first Ikea couch, we were a bit taken aback by how many different boxes Karl came in.

But since we’re no strangers to assembling our Ikea purchases we dove right in…and even made a time lapse video of the longer-than-we-expected process. Watch it below on Vimeo or here on YouTube.

For those who can’t watch the video (maybe you’re being sneaky at work?) here’s the important stuff: the final pictures of Karl in place.

We’re especially enamored with the fabric, which is nice and durable (it’s completely impenetrable to Burger’s claws, which is always the goal). And the dark color is perfect for hiding those spills and drool spots that happen with a dog and a baby around. Plus because the entire sectional is slipcovered (even the arms and the frame) we can always wash it if something crazy happens. Which is definitely a probability in our house.

Karl certainly is a big boy. It took us a couple of hours to adjust to how much more space he took up than our old couch – but it took almost no time for him to win our hearts. He fits the space really well, the dark charcoal color rocks our socks, he’s extremely comfortable, and he makes us want to schedule a huge friends & family movie night (although that might be more fun when we get a larger TV someday).

Speaking of which, Karl’s presence really highlights the need for some other “heftier” items in the room (it’s a huge space, so larger items will make it look a lot more balanced and proportionate) – like a bigger rug, a new media cabinet, and lots of colorful art on the walls. Plus we need to make this space next to the window look more intentional. We plopped the little game table there because of the light that hangs above it, but we’re thinking that zone might be better served as a play / toy storage area for Clara (and future kiddos) down the line.

We also want to add (maybe build?) a long narrow console table to go between the sectional and the wall to host a couple of lamps and act as a spot for drinks, etc. Especially since our current nailhead ottoman & faux sheepskin solution is great looks-wise (light and round ottoman + dark and square sectional = love) but it doesn’t really function beyond feet propping. But with a console table behind the sofa, that’s all it needs to do. Plus it’s baby-head friendly, unlike an angular coffee table. And with all the angles in Karl we were itching for something soft and round anyway.

We also want to try a DIY upgrade to Karl’s legs. Ikea offers sleek metal ones (which take the look to über modern) but we wanna work with the chunky wood ones that came with Karl.

Especially since the fancy pants sofa that we coveted from Room & Board (more on him here) has the exact same legs in a darker finish. And they look surprisingly sleek in that color, as opposed to cheap and birchy like Karl’s (no offense, man):

We’re thinking we might try to stain or paint them darker (maybe even with high gloss spray paint) to help them work better with Karl’s deep charcoal outfit, er slipcover. We considered swapping them out for tapered or round spindle legs, but Karl is a big dude. So we want him to remain as well-supported as possible. Which is why the legs that come with Karl (along with a 10 year warranty) seem like a smart thing to stick with.

Despite our still-growing to-do list, we’re loving our new spot to relax. I’ve got two directions where I can lie down completely (all 6′ of me), Clara’s got a couple of deep corners to be propped up in, and the chaise just happens to be perfectly Sherry sized. Accordingly, she’s been monopolizing it since Karl’s arrival. Good thing I’m not a jealous man.

Burger is basically nutty with options for curling up, jumping around, and perching upon every possible cushion and cranny. Here’s where we discovered him sit-standing yesterday. Yes that’s business in the front, relaxation in the back. What a weirdo.

Apparently it’s a great vantage point to scope out squirrels in the backyard.

So yes, we still need to stain/paint the beams, get/build a sofa table for behind the sectional, get a larger rug, upgrade the media cabinet, remove the fans, add in a few lighting options, and possibly create a little play area for Clara behind the far side of Karl – but we’re happy to take our time and let things evolve instead of rushing into any big purchases we might regret (we have to replenish the ol’ bank account after buying Karl anyway). But I guess I could tackle those fans sometime soon. And Sherry claims to be saving up the energy to take on those beams (she says as she reclines on the chaise and lies motionless, closing her eyes as if to “charge”). Should be interesting…

UPDATE: We’re still loving Karl over a year later. Check out our little update post here.


  1. says

    NICE! I love it! I’m working on convincing hubby to go get me a mini sectional (our livingroom is a lot smaller than yours) but he’s not sold on the attached chaise part …meh! It must be a “short-women-thing” :o)

  2. Lindsey says

    Wow!! I love it! I love the yellow pillows on the gray sectional too. Yellow and gray were our wedding colors! We want to get a sectional eventually too…this one is pretty snazzy. Congrats!

  3. says

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!! I’ve been waiting to see how it looked when you got it and it fits so well in your new home. Please keep us posted on how it holds up through wear and tear, kids and pets. Gotta love Ikea :)

  4. says

    Lookin’ good! What a super perfect sofa for your space! Oh, and I’m diggin’ the mustard yellow accent pillows…that’s what we’re doing in our boudoir! : ) Congrats on Karl’s arrival!!!

  5. Abby C. says

    Karl looks great! As far as the beams go, do some research into Milk Paint and stain. You could get that nice dark grey you’re looking for while still keeping some nice wood grain and texture showing through!

  6. Deb says

    Karl rocks!! I LOVEEEEEEEE the gray/yellow combo! What a big color step from the last house!! Congrats and use it in good health!

  7. Heather says

    Love it! He fits perfectly.
    And I think that area is perfect for a play area, lots of light and seems like it would be hidden from view because of the couch.

  8. Joanne says

    Karl is very dreamy!!! I think I might have a crush on him ;)
    I am also loving those yellow rose bud cushions!!!
    Enjoy relaxing :)

  9. says

    ahhh!!! it looks so good! I’ve had my eye on a smaller gray sofa/chaise (more like a 3-seater for my apartment) from ikea…maybe Karl’s younger cousin. But Karl fits the room perfectly! Great decision…and I love the idea about the console table in between the couch and wall. That will definitely serve the space well, especially when you guys have a par-taaaay. That room would be perfect for a super bowl party…

    • says

      The old sofa is sitting in the formerly empty future dining room (which is technically the formal living room at the front of the house that we’ll be converting). But we’ll be craigslisting that sofa since we don’t have a need for it in the future dining room. Plus it’ll be nice to put that money towards the purchase of Karl.


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