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. Jenny says

    Love the new couch – we actually enjoyed the very same one in our house for two years (sans chaise) and recently sold it to a friend. We have a toddler and the fabric is so easy to keep clean – you’ll love it. And it’s super comfortable, right? The three of us could all lounge and not even touch – unless we wanted too, of course =) Great purchase! And PLEASE let me know if you decide to sell the yellow rug – I’ve been wanting the same one forever and you can’t buy it anymore!

  2. Helen says

    Looks wonderful!
    I love the couch, but I’ve got to say that my favorite part of the video is watching Burger…it reminds me so much of our babies. “What’s going on? Oh. Nothing. Just Mom and Dad doing that crazy assembly thing again. *back to sleep*”

  3. says

    My furbaby does the sit-stand on my front porch steps. He’s a 100 lb lab mix, so he always looks a little off balanced as he has his hind quarters sitting on the top step bu his front legs standing on the second or third!

  4. fdr says

    wow it looks great! Sherry, were you on the phone and building ikea furniture at the same time? If so, that is taking multitasking to a whole new level, and explains why you guys seem to get so much done each and every day. Am so impressed.

  5. Jen E. says

    Oh DEFINITELY plan on that play area for Clara. We’re on the hunt for a sectional right now for that very reason, so we can “wall off” a little play space for our 2.5 yr old daughter. Our room layout will look a lot like yours.

    Clara may seem containable now, but you will be amazed at the havoc a toddler can wreak. The option for a mostly-out-of-sight area with easy kid-friendly storage and a bit of play space will go a long way toward everyone keeping their sanity down the road. :)

  6. says

    love the sofa! we have a sectional and i’ve been wanting to do the same thing with a console between the sofa and the wall. would love to put some lamps back there.

    i’m looking forward to what you come up with…

  7. says

    OMG! That looks fabulous!!! Don’t you just love when things come early?!? I think Karl is a perfect fit for the space. The yellow and gray combo is to die for!

    A great storage sofa table is the Expedit shelves at IKEA. You can turn it on its side, put lamps on top, and wicker baskets in some of the cubbies. I think it would be perfect for hiding toys and it is very cheap.

  8. laura says

    wow i love that sectional! and I love the charcoal gray with the yellow-goldish color!

    P.S. I have those same yellow-goldish pillows from tar-jay! they are in my bedroom on my charcoal gray herringbone coverlet. :)

  9. Breanna says

    Karl looks amazing. I did have a question though. I’m not familiar with Ikea furniture since it’s super far away from us. How did you guys attach the gray fabric to the the rest of the base piece? It honestly in the video just looks like you’ve magically stuck it in place and I think that using a staple gun would make it much harder to pull it off and wash.

    Thanks in advance! Karl looks amazing!

  10. says

    So fun! I didn’t realize the Ikea couches came without the fabric on. That’s smart, and if you ever get tired of this fabric you can change it out! It’s funny your battery died… it makes me feel better. We decided to do a time lapse video of setting up our Christmas tree because we liked your video so much. We tried, and our battery died like 20 min in! Good to know we’re no the only ones!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *