A Review of Ikea’s Karlstad Sofa

When Tom and I bought our first house, we spent the weeks leading up to the move in date trying to hunt down the perfect sofa for our space. We wanted something modern, spacious and durable, but had a pretty tight budget to work with. After much debate, we decided to bite the bullet and order the Ikea Karlstad online, even though we had never actually seen it in person. Risky, I know, but one of this things that gave us the confidence to do this was the numerous online reviews by various bloggers. Much like them, we are here to tell you that -even after five years- we still love our Karl.

This is what it looked like on day one:

And here it is five years later:

See- almost no difference! The cover could probably use another tweaking, since it got a bit misplaced when we moved and the movers reassembled it, but we’ve honestly just been too busy to get to it, and it hasn’t bothered us much.

When we bought Karl, we opted for the full size sofa with the added chaise to allow for future movie nights with our kids. In total, the couch measures just over 9 feet, which can comfortably fit four adults. We also purchased the Kivik ottoman and Chair in the matching Isunda Grey cotton twill. This fabric has since been discontinued, which is a shame because it is was the nicest option available and is really high quality. I’m still hoping ikea will bring it back, as they sometimes do with their products. What do you say ikea?!? …cough cough.

One of the best things about the Karlstad, and all ikea couches, is that the covers are all removable and washable- which is essential for a house with children or pets. We’ve had some pretty major spills on this couch, such as red wine, blood, and yellow curry, and all have come out with a few sprays of Resolve and a quick wash. It’s magical.

Even after all of the daily abuse, the fabric still looks as good as it did on the day it first arrived. There is no fading, pilling, or loosening at all- which is pretty amazing for a $1000 sectional.

The cushion backs and seats have also held up incredibly well. They are still plump and firm, though I did have to start rotating them about two years ago when the filling began to settle. I’ve since added some extra polyester wading that I picked up from Walmart for $5, which has returned them to their former pouffy glory. Since the covers are removable, adding more stuffing was as easy as unzipping the cover and stuffing it in. Boom!

One thing that I think made a big difference to the appearance of our Karl was the addition of custom modern legs, which we found at Home Depot for $5 a piece.

I think they give it a more upscale look, since the original block legs are just a bit too ikea-esque. To secure them to the couch, all we had to do was screw baseplates to the Karl frame and then insert the legs. Seriously one of the easiest hacks we’ve done.

So there you have it. If you’re considering a Karlstad, or even an ikea sofa in general, we say -“just do it”! You can’t beat the price, and the long term durability really has been remarkable. And did you know that you can also buy replacement custom covers online to fit almost any ikea product?!? We’ve heard amazing things about the company comfort works, and play to one day try out one of their covers on our own. We will, of course, let you know when we do 😉


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