We recently went on a sectional hunt. Maybe this post would have been more entertaining if we channeled National Geographic and sprung for an Australian voice over artist to say things like “they wait in the brush, as the giant wildebeast sectional approaches” or “slowly and stealthily, the panthers Petersiks stalk their prey.” Oh well. The point is that we searched high and low for a new sectional. We didn’t just look around these here parts (now I’m getting all southern on you). We took a road trip all the way up to DC (2 hours north) to drop in on the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams store along with a huuuge Room & Board showroom (four levels and 3,600 square feet of furniture = heaven, at least if you’re me). Sadly the trip ended with us falling in love with a few gorgeous things that we couldn’t afford, namely this ginormous and oh so comfy sectional in a rich charcoal gray fabric:
But the ginormous and oh so scary price tag of $4,496 (before our “custom fabric choice” plus tax and delivery) scared me more than the scene where the mom dies in Bambi (and while we’re on that, isn’t that a little violent for a kids movie?).
We know that when it comes to a sectional, we definitely want something comfy that will last while holding up to all sorts of insane kid-antics (growing up we used to shoot our sofa at point-blank range with everything from nerf balls to rubber bands, and that’s only the beginning of the torture that thing endured). And we know that a high price tag from one of the two amazingly reputable companies mentioned above would surely factor in things like quality construction and premium materials. But after a lot of debate, we decided that with a pooch and a baby (who definitely both give our current slipcovered sofa what can best be described as a workout) something swanky and un-slipcovered (even in a dark color) might not be the best match for our family at this point in our lives. Especially with such a high cost attached. See, we want this house to be all about living. With an emphasis on large casual family gatherings. We don’t want to live in fear that a nephew of ours might pierce/stain/otherwise maim the 5K sofa every time we have people over. And we definitely don’t want to beat ourselves up every time the dog gets past us with muddy paws or the baby shows us her previously swallowed green beans after a rigorous dance interlude with daddy.
So off we went to two local sofa retailers (we’re very satisfied with our white slipcovered Rowe sofa and our green Rowe sleeper sofa, which were both purchased locally from a store called Sofa Designs). We figured we’d probably end up with a Rowe sectional that we’d love for years to come, and fell in love with this one in particular called the Townsend:
But the price tag (over $3,200 without tax and delivery) definitely caught us by surprise, especially given that our other two Rowe sofas were under 1K. I guess we expected to pay around 2K or even 2.5K (since a sectional is kind of like two sofas put together). But over 3 times the price still felt pretty high. And it left us wondering if a $3,200 sectional (also without removable slipcovers) would feel any less precious and “untouchable” than a 5K one. For cheap-os like us, that’s still a huge chunk of change.
And you guys know that we had been considering this Ikea sectional as well (seen here in this mood board of yore)…
…so that was on the table when we made another pilgrimage to Ikea just to sit on things and check them out in person. Which is when we discovered that the sectional that we had been eyeing seemed a bit too small for our giant 25′ x 15′ room (and the last thing we wanted to do was buy a cheaper sectional to save money that ended up being wrong, which would still be a colossal waste of funds). But then we saw Karl – er, the Karlstad:
Pardon this picture of Karl, since the one we’d get would also have a chaise added on to create a big U-shaped place to flop down and watch TV, play games, hang out, etc (it would be shaped exactly like the Townsend by Rowe that we pictured above). And we’d do a little leg-sprucing since those raw birch ones don’t really do it for us. But anyway, Karl was everything that the other Ikea sectional wasn’t. He was large and in charge- the perfect oversized dimensions for our oversized room (and supersized family- when we get together for something casual there are at least 16 people in one place). Plus Karl is 100% slipcovered (which means nothing is nearly as scary since the cushions and even the arms and base can be laundered – or even replaced for a few hundred bucks if we want to switch colors down the line). It’s also funny how similar he is to the 5K Room & Board version that we loved.
And the price for this giant sectional plus add-on chaise lounge (which will create a huge family-friendly hangout zone in our cavernous living room) was just… wait for it… $1,248. Basically just a few hundred dollars more than we spent on our white Rowe sofa, but it’s three times the size. Literally. We had to tape off the outline of the sectional on the floor just to make sure it would fit. And once the tape went down on the floor we started getting excited. It would be giant and perfect for our huge family. And best of all- not too precious! Bring on the ice pops and fruit punch.
But we were still nervous that it would look bedraggled in a year or two, or might not hold up to the whole “dog + baby = mess” equation. So we did a good amount of googling around for reviews and write ups. We were thrilled to find that pretty much everyone had great things to say about Karl (although a few people didn’t like the sleeper version of him, since it was hard to operate, but that’s not an issue because that’s not the one we’d get). And then it happened, we remembered that Anna over at Door Sixteen actually purchased a Karlstad sofa after her pups had ruined her fancy Room & Board one (read all about that here).
It was all the affirmation that we needed to hear. Anna’s sofa is holding up really well over two years later, and she says she is very happy with her choice. Plus knowing that she’s a gal of style who lives with real-life wear and tear (thanks to her dogs) was the last “sign” we needed to pull the trigger.
So we went for it and put in our order a couple of weeks ago. We just hadn’t bothered to mention it since Ikea’s delivery schedule doesn’t have it arriving until Feb 4th (update: it might arrive a bit sooner than that- woot!). We’ll definitely share photos as soon as Big Karl (yes that’s a Cougartown reference) gets here. Oh and we got it in the same “sivik dark gray” fabric as Anna (we looked at all the potential swatches at Ikea in person and it felt nice and durable – and not too nubby, so Burger’s claws won’t be able to dig in and create little loops). So excited. Anyway, that ends the big sectional hunt. Australian announcer, take us out:
The antelopes dash into the jungle, grateful to have survived the harrowing lion attack (aka: The Petersiks happy dance into the living room, grateful to have survived the harrowing sectional hunt).
Fade to black.
Psst- Want an update on Karl now that we’ve had him for over a year? Here ya go.
I have the Karlstad sofa in the dark grey as well. I love it. I have 2 kids and a dog and several juice/pizza mishaps, and the sofa still looks great! Good luck!
Wahoo! That’s awesome to hear, Jessica!
I have this exact sectional sofa too :)
From an Australian reader, not narrator, the Karl is great. I prefer it with the metal legs not the wood legs.
Timely Australian reference the 26th is Australia Day (it is the 26th in Australia right now)
Hey Cinta The Australian Reader,
Yeah, we noticed Anna went for those metal legs too. We actually have a plan for adapting the wood ones, but if that fails we can always go metal. Haha.
p.s. Oprah’s Australian adventure looked amazing and now we want to visit AU even more than we did before!
We’ve had the Karlstad couch in a light gray for about a year. We’re both pleased with the couch, especially for the price. (We also have an older, similar IKEA model in our basement that has been discontinued.) As a bonus we were even able to fit the Karlstad couch in our Toyota Matrix, which saved us the delivery cost. I do have one minor complaint about it–the slip cover goes over the arms and then you assemble the couch. So to take the slipcover off you would have to take apart the couch (I haven’t yet done this). Not ideal, but the cushions ARE easy to clean, and they tend to see a lot of the mess anyway. Congrats on the new place!
Too funny I was just in west elm the other day and was going to mention one of their sectionals to you, but I bet it is too small!
There is a very dangerous two blocks of Philadelphia.. a west elm and Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams store within minutes of each other!
I have a klippan that I adore and recently bought a new slipcover off craigslist for it!
Ok I have to know this because I’m an Ikea newbie but how does the delivery service work? Is it super expensive? Ikea is an hour away from where I live. We do own a truck so I guess it’s possible that we would not have to use a delivery service.
Also, does the Karlstad come with a slipcover to cover those legs? My husband and I planning on purchasing a couch from Ikea in a lighter color but I have no previous experience with Ikea furniture. Thanks in advance for your help Sherry! You guys are so awesome to answer all of our “inquiring minds” questions!
You can interchange the legs for metal ones (like Anna did) or spruce them up like we plan to do (deets on that when Karl arrives and we get to it). As for delivery, the rates depend how far away you live. I believe we paid $89 for delivery, which is a lot cheaper than the other stores (even the local one) that we looked at. Especially for such a giant piece! Hope it helps.
like you, i’m an hour away from ikea and didn’t feel like making the trek (and waiting in the checkout for an hour!) just for some shelving. i just discovered yesterday that a lot of ikea stores also set their delivery prices based on weight. the minimum shipping amount is $19.99 but then i noticed this little disclaimer for anything weighing over 70lbs:
Most orders that weigh more than 70lbs and the order value is more than $200.00, minimum delivery cost $99.00.
for me, the delivery option wasn’t worth it, as it is 3 times the amount i would spend on gas to go there! good luck!
Love the Karl. A friend got one for her house and it looks great, even when all our kids are together on a playdate and going crazy jumping off it. We were going to get one for our house but the Ektorp sofa with chaise suited better (we have a small living room). Gotta love Ikea sofas – great value, comfy and replaceable cushion covers (and washable ones to boot) – a must when you have kids and pets.
We have had an Ikea Ektorp sectional with the tan slipcover for two years now. Our baby was born a few weeks after Clara. I would have a hard time not buying a slip covered couch after our experience with baby spit up, drool, etc. I think you made a wise choice!
karen @ our slo house says
A few years ago, I had my own Home Staging business. I owned several pieces of large furniture to “rent” out, and one of them happened to be a Karlstad couch, in dark charcoaly grey.
Let me tell you, that couch was great! It looked good and the fabric felt *richer* than regular twill.
I can’t wait to see Karl in his new spot.
What are you going to do with the sofas that you already own?
Wahoo! So glad to hear that. As for the white slipcovered Rowe, we think we’ll craigslist it (like we did with our old PB sofa from the den) since we no longer have a place for it. It’ll be nice since the sale of that sofa will offset the cost of the new one.
What about your guest room, playroom, single-daybedded sunroom, or furniture-less entry/future dining room? I could think of a lot of places for that sofa in your big, new house!
There’s a daybed in the playroom which will stay because that room will be Clara’s big girl room someday (and baby #2 will move into the nursery with the crib). As for the sunroom, we love that daybed (it was a wedding gift) more than the sofa, so it stays. The playroom will get a bed so there’s no reason for a sofa in there, and the future dining room will get a table and chairs as well as an entryway (and we have no reason for another formal living room, hence not hanging onto a sofa when we won’t use it). We just like to use what we have and make the house the most functional as it can be! Empty rooms make more sense to us than keeping a sofa that won’t really get used!
“Baby #2”???? Sherry, is there something you haven’t told us?
NOOOO! Not for at least a few years. We’re “spread it out” people.
Leslie *Fresh Out of Lemons* says
Once again, Ikea saves the day!
Karl is beeautiful! Can’t wait to see what you do to his legs.
Also can’t wait to see what you do with the legs. I think the legs as they come make the couch look cheaper, but I know whatever yall do will make them look 10,000x better. For some reason I only like skirted couches – just think it looks way better, so I wonder if it would be possible to DIY add a skirt. Not that yall need to add a skirt, but I’m wondering for myself because that would make a lot of furniture more accessible to me, especially ikea furniture, because they aren’t too big on skirts over there in Sweden I guess and my skirting requirement pretty much limits me to ektorp.
You could totally DIY a skirt I bet! Since the cushions just sit on the slipcovered “body” of the sofa, I bet you could velcro or button some fabric under the seat cushions to hold a skirt in place and then pop the cushions on top. Good luck!
Looks awesome. I love Ikea and their slipcovered furniture! I recently picked up an almost new Drexel sofa at an estate sale for $100, didn’t love the “old lady” fabric but the Ikea Ektorp slipcover in White fits perfectly for $50. This sofa will last us years. Just a little trick of mine.
I’m in love with the Karlstad swivel chair in gray with the footstool.
A question: How do you plan to redo the legs? Are you staining them? I ask because I looking for ideas for an eco friendly, no/low voc wood stain and poly product to redo my stair railings and some CL furniture pieces with? Any ideas or ones you’ve used before? Thanks!
We have a few ideas for those legs but we’re not sure where we’ll and til we meet Karl and shake his hand, er, leg. More details to come! As for an eco friendly stain, they definitely exist! Just check out a place like greendepot.com or a local eco store (we have one here in Richmond called EcoLogic that sells all sorts of eco stain and even eco caulk and eco poly!).
Yay! So glad you were able to find a great sectional. I can’t wait to see it in action! I think Burger is going to be excited as well.
Good choice with the Karlstad! We didn’t even think to look at Ikea when we were searching for a sectional. I agree that it’s tough to find a nice one that isn’t several thousand dollars, but we ended up with the Amalfi sectional from Haverty’s (which was reasonably priced) and love it. http://www.havertys.com/Product_11046?curIndex=0&resultCount=22. I thought that they had a grey fabric option, but looking at the site now I don’t see one.
Michelle J says
Hi Kelly. I follow YHL but saw this post when I googled the amalfi sectional from Haverty’s. We are thinking of this sectional. If you get this comment I would love to know how it has held up!
I’ve been thinking about this sofa too – can’t wait to see it in your space!
hm, is something going on with your comments? They’re looking a little off to me. There’s a bullet next to each one?
Yup, we added threaded comments. So they look a little different but it automatically places my comment right under the question that it relates to. Here’s hoping it saves everyone some scrolling time!
Yes, it’s saved me lots of time and I love the new way the comments are organized!! Thanks for spending all that time and energy on figuring it out!!!!!
I second that!! And now we can hit reply under each comment – even better!
Wahoo! So glad you guys are digging it. Can’t say it was easy coding to master but we’re loving it too.
megan e says
Thank you for adding the threaded comments!!! I mean, it only make sense to mimic your organized style, right? I’ve always wanted to answer people’s questions, but knew that having it posted 3 pages later they wouldn’t see it. This will make the site muc hmore interactive and I bet other commenters will help cut down on the amount of replying you guys have to do.
Steph @ BirdHouse Family says
Great choice! I would love a sectional in our basement with a chaise or two to watch movies. I’ve been eying the Karlstad but it’s not something we desperately need yet.
I like the threaded posts but two other things seem to have changed. When I click on “comments”, the comment thread opens but the link doesn’t take me right to the beginning of the comments. Also, the “show all” option has disappeared.
We’re working on it! Comments have been a full time job lately and the “show all” button has been crashing the site! So for now it’s down (we need the site up more than we need “show all” to work) – but we’re on it for sure. Here’s hoping we can bring it back without crashing all the time!
The Room & Board showroom is a little slice of heaven, but you’re right on with the price tags (I was enamored with a pillow the last time I was there, but it was over $100, so it was a definite pass). Still, I love going there for some good doses of inspiration.
I wish you had planned a house crashing while you were in DC, my cozy Arlington condo would be honored to be on YHL!
Ooh sounds fun! We just zipped in and zipped out, but next time we’re around longer we’ll try to meet up!
Heather Thiel says
My husband and I were looking at the Karlstad line this weekend! We love the sectional, but were also considering a similar shape (though more expensive) by associating two of the leather Karlstads.
We have been told that leather will hold up better with our dog, cats and small child. But the washable slip cover seems like a hard price point to miss.
Did y’all consider leather at all?
Leather has never really been our thing (I always feel like I’m slipping off leather sofas, but it’s probably just a me-issue and not an everybody-issue) but we can see how it would be a dream to wipe down when spills occur! We have heard people say that their cats claws have ruined their leather sofas, so maybe be careful of that? Anyone with advice for Heather can hit “reply” under her comment and add to the convo if you’d like! Ideas?
Hey, Heather :o)
We bought a leather sofa back in 2004 and love it. We have two children (boys) and two dogs and it’s held up remarkably well–it’s gotten better looking with age as a matter of fact, though I suspect that has a lot to do with the quality of the leather to begin with.
The leather couch is in the office now because when we moved the new living room was way bigger than our last, so we bought the Karlstad in the light nubby gray fabric and that’s a dream, too. If we get tired of looking at the gray fabric all we have to do is drop a few hundred bucks on a new slipcover.
I guess my point is that you’re a winner either way! :o)
Heather…we purchased a leather sofa on the recommendation of my father who has two standard poodles that love to take up valuable people space on the furniture. We’ve found that the clean-ability can’t be beat, even with three kids in the house. We’ve also found, however, that the cats can do some damage :o( Good thing I love my 17 yr. old cat more than my 2 yr. old sofa ;o) In hindsight, I may have gone for something w/ slipcovers, even though I’d probably have to wash them once a week!
also chiming in re: the leather. my husband has always wanted a fancy leather club chair but we have three non-declawed cats. so we bought a cheaper leather chair as a “trial run” for whatever $3k fancy restoration hardware chair he was lusting after. the cats destroyed it in short order. they have other things they like to scratch, but all it took was one afternoon of boredom for them and they shredded the arm of the chair. would not recommend leather chairs w/ cats unless they are at least front declawed (not that i’m recommending declawing, but if you just happen to have adpoted a cat from the pound that was already declawed, etc…)
I’m with YHL: I always am slipping off leather couches and find them hot in the summer and cold in the winter.
I have a leather sectional, and I love how dog hair wouldn’t stick to it at all (after a microfiber couch that was constantly covered). However, I cat sat for 3 weeks at my home and unfortunately the leather sectional is completely covered in holes and very long scratches now. I would NOT recommend it with a cat.
You need to consider the quality of the leather as well. My girlfriend bought 2 leather sofas, a chair, and ottoman from Macy’s and while they looked nice and expensive, they lasted about 5 years with 3 little kids and no pets. The leather tore in several places on the backs of sofas and the ottoman. And they just replaced it…with more cheap leather.
My experience – I don’t like leather sofas for the same reasons Sherri said – but I don’t mind chairs or an ottoman. I bought one from Eddie Bauer Home when I worked there (now a closed division) but their furniture was made by several of the same places as Pottery Barn furniture. My leather chair is amazing and has gotten better with age. Softer, more character, and nothing is destroyed. We have an ottoman that i bought from Overstock.com. the leather color matches my expensive chair perfectly but the quality is so much lower. I know this ottoman will go away sooner than my high quality chair. It is all in the leather – how durable, how it is tanned, processed, dyed, etc.
Agent Scully says
I have a leather sofa and my cats have absolutely destroyed it. My Mum has a leather sectional and two dogs and one cat. Her sectional is also destroyed.
I’m sure it depends on your pet, but I don’t recommend it.
Lyndsay M says
I am also going to be in the “not recommend” crowd. hubby and i have a sofa that is microfiber on the top and leather on the bottom and arms and our cats destroyed the leather, but are fine with our fully microfiber and fabric couches.
My parents have a fully leather couch and they (and I) always comment on how they look nice, but you never really feel comfortable, always sliding off of it. You stick to it in the summer and its freezing in the winter.
This threaded comment thing is fantastic :)
I found that Ultrasuede material is the only thing that holds up with our cats. It’s a little harder to clean fur off of, but they don’t like to scratch it and haven’t made much of a mark yet after about a year!
Heather, we have cats in our house and in the past we’ve had leather sofas. If your cats are the kind that are likely to sink their claws in, then they may be ruined quite quickly, ours definitely were.
We switched to slipcovered Ektorp sofas from Ikea, and so far they’re holding up great – and even when the covers have been torn to pieces by the cats, we can just replace them.
LOVE your choice! Can’t go wrong with IKEA right?! My parents have an Ikea sofa (made of CARDBOARD) from 1989!
also I like the new bullets w/appropriate links to personal websites (unlike yesterday?).
Cait @ Hernando House says
Glad you found your sectional; hope it arrives soon!
My fiance and I just purchased a home and will be moving in a few weeks, and I had been looking at Ikea’s sofas online. While they look great, I’ve always wondered if they are really that comfortable or not?
Just scroll back through these comments from people who have owned Ikea sofas for years! They’re definitely crowd pleasers, and it was super comfy to us at the store when we tried it out in person.
I’ve had an Ikea Ektorp sleeper sofa for more than eight years and love it. It’s comfy for sitting and sleeping, the slipcovers are easy to clean, and the sofa itself is still in perfect condition, even after years of use. Realistically, it’s not cushy-down-sofa-comfort, but it’s still great, and it was the only sleeper I could find that was small enough to fit in its original home. Love it!
we bought the exact same ikea sectional when we moved into our new house a couple of years ago and it’s even the same color. we love it. we recently got a great deal on a slipcovered sofa at pottery barn [it was a floor modle] and we dismantled the chase off of the sectional [so we would have more room] and put the chase in our bedroom.
we also picked up a different set of legs when we were there.
Amy A. says
Thank you so much for doing such great research. All of your hard work has helped me make my case to the husband for a new sofa- one that is durable and checking account friendly. You’re great!
How comfortable is the sofa? I always assumed ikea furniture felt a bit like dorm furniture. Would love your thoughts…
Comfort is key! We never would have ordered it if it wasn’t comfy! Scroll back through the comments for other people who own it weighing in on that too- it seems to be a crowd pleaser for sure!
cathy s says
John and Sherry, I am soooooo impressed with the response you have recieved on you last post give away! How will you ever pick a winner is my question???? My blog is just for venting and I am thrilled with 14 views a day….so I humbly admire you two on many fronts. You two/three/four are awesome thanks for great ideas, practical info and great design.
Hey Cathy S,
We always use random.org to spit out a random number which we match with a comment to randomly select our winner. It’s a nice fair way to do it! Oh but we eliminate duplicate entries first to be sure that our winner followed the one entry per email address rule and everyone has an even chance. Hope it helps!
cathy s says
Thanks for the very prompt reply!
The Axis sofa at Crate and Barrel is THE MOST COMFORTABLE sofa EVER!!!!
As an Australian in the USA, I’d be happy to provide any authentic voiceover requests you might need while shopping in the future. I’ll just follow along in your search and provide commentary in that perfect monotone voice. (Provided I’m not witness to any native mating habits. Hehe.)
Haha- we love it! Deal.
Jen @ The Decor Scene says
Love Karl. Can’t wait to see what you do to the legs. And gorgeous color too. It’s going to look awesome in your LR.
So are you keeping your yellow rug? I love yellow & gray together.
We’re pretty sure our 5 x 8′ yellow rug will look too tiny with our new oversized sectional, but we’ll have to wait and see how it all looks.
Jen @ The Decor Scene says
Oh I didn’t realize it was a 5×8. Love that rug though.
Love the couch, looking forward to seeing it in situ. So appropriate that you mention the Aussie commentator. It’s just gone midnight here – now January 26! Australia Day!
Loving the new digs! My friends have the exact same sectional (minus the chaise) in grey and it is gorgeous. Maybe worth knowing about a brilliant company called Bemz that they have used who supply huge selection of covers if you ever fancy a change! They have a webside and supply to the US xxx
Oh yeah we love Bemz! Thanks for the heads up!
We’re joining the we-have-a-karl bandwagon too. We have the sofa bed version and can’t praise it enough. We’ve spent many a lazy weekend without it pulled out and watching movies oh and those slipcovers FANTASTIC. Ours we’re a bit tight to get on but with a little handy cardboard work, we got there in the end.
As for spills,we’ve had four dogs on there at once, a toddler forget her toilet training and no matter what’s thrown at it it always comes out clean and looking brand new.
We love our Karl so much that whileit’s currently in storage and on it’s way to Australia, we keep looking at our IKEA catalogue and going into the store to say hello to it’s Karl siblings…is that weird?
I love that you love Big Karl — both the new sectional and the Cougar Town cup. We have an Ikea sofa (not Karl but the Klippan) and it definitely stands up to a beating. As I like to say, it’s rated to withstand any guy! And it’s super nice to know that buying a new slipcover is always an option. Ikea is always a great place for furniture.
Kim S says
Quote from my husband while looking at a beautiful leather sofa with a $5000 price tag: “I’d kill anyone that sat down on that thing with a drink.” We immediately made a detour out of the “luxury” furniture store after realizing that while those sofas are lovely, we’re definitely going for liveable. Don’t want to have the hubby feeling the need to stand guard during any friendly gatherings. :o)
Snickrsnack Katie says
Looks SWEET! I have had a lot of luck with IKEA furniture, so I am sure you will just love it!!
Emily H. says
This is awesome! My boyfriend and I just moved into a huge, open apartment and we’re in the market for a nice, big sectional. Right now we have an old, tattered loveseat that we are really excited to get rid of! I’ve been searching around for an affordable sectional and I think I’ve found what I was looking for!
mike @ the lil house that could says
sectional hunting has been so difficult for us… mainly because we’d like this instead of that, for this piece to go there and so forth.
My Mom took me to see Bambi when i was a little girl. It was more than traumatic. She had to take me out of the theater when Bambi’s Mom died. I was very little but still will never forget that experience. Hope Clara doesn’t have a memory like that. Good luck on the sectional sofa hunting. I’m jealous. I’ve always long for a large enough space for one. Can’t wait to see the result!
Your picture of Karl, in that exact color, is my actual sofa, and I love him! Warning: I get sofa narcolepsy now!
[email protected] says
Good choice! I love Karl! My parents just got an L-shaped Karl for their house not too long ago and its awesome. It even survived the eggnog spilling fiasco when my sister accidentally spilled eggnog all over herself, and me on Christmas day. We just pulled off the covers, washed them, and the eggnog was no more. I wish I could say the same for my awesome Christmas pajamas…
Lol! It’s true the eggnog spilled, but yes, it came out without any trouble at all. Having said that, I love our karl sofa. Perfect for lots of lounging or when we have a house full. It’s super easy to maintain and if I want a new look or want to change our color scheme, I can get a new cover.
Sarah, sorry, I didn’t know about your pajamas :(
I love that you found your perfect sofa at Ikea!! Whenever my parents come to visit, my mom can’t believe that we’ve furnished our apartment in mostly Ikea and Target furniture. Can’t wait to see how Big Karl looks in your livingroom (the couch not the candle holder-turned-wine glass hahaha).
Thanks for writing this post. I was just at Ikea a week ago looking at the Karl’s. It’s so great to read your comments and see that it’s o.k. to take the chance. I think the options of slipcovers make it even more of a deal. A custom cover for another sofa would be very expensive. I guess I’ll have to think about putting my Sklar Peppler on Craigslist, unless I can find a spot for it here.
Amy S says
We have the karlstad sofa in dark sivik grey in my husband’s man room and it has held up to a dog and two cats beautifully. It’s also significantly MORE comfortable than a few of the other ikea sofas– i think you’ll love it!
Jessica Z. says
Love it! I have been wondering how you get your Ikea furniture from Woodbridge to your casa in Richmond since we moved from the much-more-convenient-to-Ikea Northern Virginia to the much-less-convenient-to-Ikea Charlottesville. So I was glad to see your answer to the question about delivery. I came to the comments intending to ask and see you already answered it!
We have been searching high and low for a loveseat for the play area we are doing, and there’s one at Ikea that looks perfect (turns out it is similar to your Karl: the Karlstad love seat, but with the pin cushion back). The complication is transport now that we are further away and have a car seat to contend with. So glad to hear delivery from Ikea has worked out so well for you!
Hey Jessica Z,
This is actually the first time we’ve used the delivery option (when we got our old Malm bed four years ago we borrowed John’s dad’s minivan, and when we got Ed the bed here, John’s family drove it up to us). Even our Pax wardrobes for either side of our old bed were shuttled in a borrowed SUV. Things like bookcases and dressers can be crammed into our car, thanks to their flat packing system though. Gotta love it!
What a great solution for your space! Cannot wait to see Big Karl!
also – cannot lie, i am very jealous to your close proximity to an IKEA store… so so very jealous. The closest store to us is 5+ hour drive. ::tear::
It’s 5 hours for me too. =( We have to drive from St.Louis to Chicago. We make the trip at least once a year and stock up on IKEA goodies. I so wish we could get a store in St. Louis.
I hate to be a debbie downer but you get what you pay for in furniture! I hope it holds up for you, we’ve gone thru a few Ikea sofas and all of them have broken…yes broken! The arm rest on one, the seat on another (it just …gave up one day) My problem could be that I have 3 sons and all of their friends, but my very expensive Italian-made sofas in the living room have endured the same abuse and they are still perfect, after 20 years.
I do love the style of it though, I hate to be negative but I wanted to share my experience. The slipcovers are awesome though, gotta give Ikea kudos for that :)
Thanks for the great website, Sherry and John.
Longtime lurker, rare commenter, but coming out of the woods this once.
You (and fellow Ikea couch owners) may also be interested to know that the company bemz.com does these really cool slipcovers for the most popular Ikea couches and chairs. It’s a bit pricey (the slipcover is probably alsmost as much as the couch itself!) but they have some really cool fabrics.
(disclaimer: don’t work there, don’t own shares, etc…)
You know, in case the couch IS actually durable but you get fed up with the cover!
Oh yes, we love Bemz! Thanks for making sure we’re in the loop!
Kiley Cogis says
Congrats on Karl! How fun! I am thinking about that sofa, too, and wondering how it does on hardwood floors, meaning do you need a rug to anchor it so it doesn’t move all around when you plop down onto the sofa? Just wondering about the heft of the sofa…
Katie @ Epistle says
Looks like you made the right decision. The arms are too tall on Karl for my preference, but its a great looking sofa!
Mandy Lynn says
This post could not have come at a better time! I just got a new apartment (move in on 2/1) and I have NO furniture! Well, that’s not entirely true…I do have a light oak dining room table (that with inspiration from the two of you, I hope to refinish to a deeper, darker stain)…but I have no bed, no sofa, nada. I’ve been looking at everything Ikea offers because, well, let’s face it, apartments aren’t cheap…but I am. haha anyway…I’ve been bouncing between the Karlstad and the Ektorp…and still can’t figure out which I’d prefer! I guess it has to do with the fact that I’m not crazy about the standard legs on Karl, but I’m not sure the more traditional styling of the Ektorp is me. I mean, it sure looks super comfy…but I can’t picture using it in anything but a beachy themed room…which I can’t decide if I want to do or not. lol I am such a design mess. Who knew starting with a blank slate and endless possibilities would be so hard?!? I have to go find the links you posted before with find-your-style quizzes…because I can’t pin mine down! Modern, beachy…or a combination of the two? Is that possible? hmmmm
My husband and i just bought the Ektorp as a christmas gift to eachother and we love it. We bought it in the dark brown for fall and are planning on getting the cream color for spring and summer. It is super comfy and i think a very classic sofa :0)
Mandy Lynn says
Maggie, you are so right about the Ektorp being a classic! Explains why it’s Ikea’s #1 seller :)Thank you for the response to my post! It’s great to hear that it’s as comfy as it looks!
Mind if I ask what kind of style you have in the room along with the sofa?
Also, I love that you’re planning to re-vamp the room for spring by getting a new slipcover on Mister Ek! That, along with some fresh, new cheery accessories, will definitely bring in a whole new look! Gosh, I can’t wait for the warmer weather!
To be honest we have no style yet! haha We just graduated from college last year and this is our first “adult” purchase together! everything else is hand me down from family and friends. i just want things to feel clean, classic, light and airy! if i could have John and Sherry come decorate our house i would!
Mandy Lynn says
Oh my goodness, so would I! I’m always emailing sherry with little design questions…and she is always so, so helpful. I wish they had time to bring back the mood boards, because I would LOVE to see what they’d do with the total blank slate that is my new apartment. But, alas, I’m on my own! haha I’m sure I could handle it…if only I could decide on a single thing! A couch color, a paint color, anything to help me dictate what else would look good in the space! Light, airy, and glamorous are my key words!
Congrats on your first “grown up” purchase! :)
Deja vu!! Reading this post was almost like reading my own line of thinking on this entire sectional issue!! I agree 100%!!! I have all your same concerns about the Ikea sectional though, so I am will be VERY HAPPY to hear your reviews on it in a few months, because I just can’t quite take the plunge on it yet (I have seen far too many sad Ikea sofas).
Eeeek. Ok I am SO excited to see this in your house!!!!!
Karlstad is great choice for entertaining and can definitely take a beating. The only downside is that the back is pretty low, so not as comfortable when vegging out, watching movies, etc. Especially for my husband who is tall. But the positives definitely outweigh the negatives on this on. Enjoy!
So funny because I was looking at Karl last week (online) and thinking that I would have to stain the legs. We’re considering it for the basement playroom – slipcovers seem like a dream come true! Not sure I saw anywhere what you plan to do with your slipcovered Rowe sofa? I guess you have plenty of room(s) to stash it now!!! BTW – I order Rowe from a store in NC now. It’s about 30% cheaper than our NOVA Rowe dealers and deliver for unlimited furniture is less than $200. Just in case you fall in love with a Rowe again.
We’re actually thinking of craigslisting our old sofa to offset the price of the new sectional. Since we’re hellbent on only having one living room (since we never used the formal one in our last house) we’re turning the front room into a dining room, so we just don’t have a place for it! Thanks for the Rowe tip too- very good to know!
My old sofa will be hitting Craigslist very shortly. It’s amazing how quickly sofas are picked up on there – especially good ones!
Could you share the exact name of the sore in NC for Rowe? Would love to price compare! Seriously about to make a purchase! Thank you —