An Ikea Friheten Sofa Comes to Live in Our Basement

The Ikea Friheten: it’s more than just a sofa with a difficult to remember or pronounce name.

I feel like most of my posts for the past….two years or so start out with me being like, “hey–remember that thing I meant to get done way back a million months ago but then didn’t get around to until now?”

Yeah, so, way back in November, I wrote a hilarious post (umm. At least it cracked me up when I reread it just now. I do that to myself) about the CATastrophe that happened in our basement when our kitty, Athena, got stuck in there for a day and peed on the futon. And then we didn’t have anywhere to sit in our basement for months and months. I mean, except for the eight chairs and two ottomans that we have down there. But no couch-like place. And also nowhere for anyone to sleep.

So none of this was a huge deal for quite awhile; the kids still used the basement room for board game and foosball (and an exciting foosball variation called “Danger Clown” that one of their friends invented. I think they’re sort of over Danger Clown at this point, but I can’t stop talking about it anyway, because I love the name Danger Clown. I might have a fifth kid just so I can name him or her Danger Clown). But now! We have my sister-in-law, Amy, and her kids, Benjamin and Louis visiting, so we’re in need of some extra sleeping space around here.

Back when I wrote the CATastrophe post (sorry. It’s a pun. So I have to say it over and over), I suggested that we would, when the time came, be choosing between these two sofas from the Novogratz collection at Walmart:

So why then am I here today to tell you about a completely different sofa that’s currently residing in my basement?

I know what you’re thinking: you’re thinking that at some point over the eight months that it took me to actually pull the trigger on this sofa buying thing, I changed my mind.

But you’re wrong! My love for the Novogratz collection is eternal and unwavering. See the velvet sofa up there? I bought it.

I put it right there in my online shopping cart on Walmart’s website, and I bought it. It was supposed to be delivered to a Walmart near our house the Tuesday before my relatives were due to arrive. Tuesday came and went with no word about our sofa. On Wednesday, Dave called the store to ask about it. They said, “no sofa here!” and weren’t able to offer anymore information. On Thursday, Dave called some official Walmart customer service type person, and she told him that, yep, our sofa had been delivered all right! Only the store still said they didn’t have it.

In the end, it turned out that no one has any idea where our sofa went. Nor could they find another one nearby that they could get to us. Nor could they rush an order for a new one from the warehouse. Basically, there was no way for us to get the sofa in time for Amy’s Sunday arrival. I will say that customer service was very apologetic about this; they offered us 5% off if we wanted to reorder the sofa, and, when we said that wouldn’t work, they refunded the money and offered us a $20 gift card (which is supposed to be waiting for us at the store; we haven’t checked yet to see if it actually is).

I’m not the world’s biggest Walmart fan (I mean, except for Novogratz stuff), but I will say that this seems like an honest mistake and they did what they could to make up for it (unless my gift card’s not there!). I’ve ordered from Walmart before more than once without incident.

But it did leave us in kind of a bind as to what we should to about the imminent need for more sleeping space in the basement.

So, as I so often do in times of dire need, I turned to Craigslist.

I’ve never had good luck searching for sleeper sofas on Craigslist in the past, because there’s just so much ugly to wade through. This time I actually started out searching for Karlstads. We love our Karlstad in our den, and I figured that they’re wide enough to sleep on comfortably if you take the back cushions off. I found a few prospects, but I started to feel weird about having the exact same type of sofa in two different rooms (this whole process was very impulsey, and I think I was on Craiglist for all of 15 minutes before we’d sent a text about the sofa we ultimately bought, by the way). Then I widened my search to other Ikea sofas, since I know they’re generally 1. not too ugly and 2. not too expensive. Winning combination! The funny thing is, though, I actually found the sofa we ended up getting when I gave up on my Ikea search and went back to searching for sleeper sofas in general fairly close to our house. The one we got had been listed for a couple of weeks, but they didn’t say it was from Ikea anywhere in the listing, and I think that’s probably why it was still around; it wasn’t coming up in searches. Also because they mysteriously described it as blue, even though it’s pretty clearly dark gray.

Anyway. We ended up with a brand new looking Ikea Friheten sleeper sofa. These retail for $599 (I gather that they used to be $699). They were asking $360, and we negotiated down to $330. I kind of wanted a half off retail sofa, but I was pleased with the price when I saw what great shape it was in. And it also means that we ended up with something bigger and probably more practical and more well-made and comfier than the Walmart sofa (although not as velvety and beautiful) for pretty much the same price. Incidentally, I might still get that Novogratz sofa someday for the office side of our master bedroom. Because it’s still so pretty.

Dave managed to fit the whole thing in our minivan (with all the back seats folded down or taken out). I remember the Karlstad being a breeze to put together. This one was a bit more of a PITA, probably because it has more moving parts. But we persevered (I’d say it took us maybe 45 minutes all told). And now we have a big comfy sofa for watching movies on and for people to sleep on from time to time.


The chaise lounge side that sticks out opens up for storage, which is handy. And it’s ridiculously easy to turn it into a bed. See those handle-like flaps of fabric? You just pull on those and this happens:

Ikea Friheten sleeper sofa

For reference, here’s the room back when the (not yet tainted by cat pee) futon was in there:

And here is it now, with the other furniture back in place:

basement rec room with Ikea friheten

So I think it’s probably a good thing that Walmart lost our sofa. This is really a much better set up for family movie nights and whatnot. Nothing says family movie night like a sectional!




An Ikea Friheten Sofa Comes to Live in Our Basement — 15 Comments

    • Thank you so much! (although I think most of the credit goes to the camera upgrade). Yeah, I really dislike going into walmart….I always leave frazzled and overwhelmed. We spend more time than we used to there now, though, because the parking lots can always fit our travel trailer 🙂

  1. We originally bought our Friheten three years ago (haha have to look up the spelling every time) for our basement in Germany and it is now in my sewing studio with a new slipcover. It has been a great sofa and I love that it serves double duty as a guest bed. Good deal finding one on Craigslist, it looks great!

    • Your blog was one of the first things that came up when I googled looking for friheten experiences 🙂 ….glad to hear it’s still holding up well!

    • ha! I think it looks a lot like regular foosball, only with wooden clowns from a game we have guarding the goals 🙂

  2. This is soooooo great in here. I actually prefer this a lot to the other – seems more streamlined.

    I kind of wish I had this for the barn. I think it would be a better fit for there than the daybed we have.

  3. I’ve never seen this particular sofa (and love our Karlstad for all the reasons you mention), but this might be just the thing to put in my daughter’s soon-to-be-not-really-her-room-anymore room. Getting rid of the elevated Ikea bed that’s a bigger PITA than any Ikea product I’ve ever owned.

    And have my own they-screwed-up-the-order-and-it-worked-out-better story last week, (with carpet for our stairs). I love it when it goes that way. Makes me feel there might be some order in the universe after all. 🙂

  4. Love the pictures Gretchen! How does the fabric hold up to cat hair!? we’re looking at this same sofa bed right now and wondering if our cat is going to do a number on it. =)

    • This is actually the only room in the house that’s off limits for cats; we keep it closed off when we’re not in there, so it’s pet free. Sorry I can’t be more help!

  5. Hi Gretchen! I just came across your post and am amazed the couch fit in your mini van! I’m hoping to buy a Friheten second hand, but hesitate without knowing how to transport it. I own a toyota sienna mini van, so if the couch could fit I’d be thrilled! Do you mind me asking what kind of van you used/ how the move went in general? Thanks!!

    • We have a Sienna, too :). Our rear seats fold all the way down into the floor, so we did that and then took out the middle row, and it fit fine. I wasn’t there when my husband loaded it up, but he says it wasn’t a problem at all. We were prepared to make two trips if necessary, but we didn’t need to. HTH!

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