Here’s what I wrote nearly two years ago about wanting a Karlstad sectional:
Yes, I know….EVERYONE has a Karlstad sofa from Ikea. But you know what? Sometimes everyone is right. Because where else am I going to find an attractive sectional, with a cover that I can replace if/when the evil cats destroy the first one, for $900?
Since then, there has been some waffling about what sofa we wanted in this room and whether a sectional was really the best for the space, but we always came back to the Karlstad. I feel like our family and the Karlstad were meant to be together.
Like I said two years ago, I realize that we bought the same sofa as everyone else. I can think of half a dozen other bloggers with this sectional without trying hard at all. But, seriously, this thing is such a good deal in the world of sectionals that it’s nearly impossible to pass up.
To back up, until a few weeks ago, the sofa situation in our den was…..well, ugly:
Big, brown, poufy, AND uncomfortable! We bought these cheap at Goodwill a few years ago, and we were more than ready to be done with them.
And yet, with one thing and another, it took us until 2 1/2 years after moving in to this house to actually BE done with them.
The nice thing about this kind of procrastination is that you’re able to get a really good grasp on exactly what you want and what would work best in your space. By the time we were finally ready to buy something new, we knew that we wanted:
1. A sectional and as much seating as we could reasonably fit into the space available
2. something comfortable
3. a low profile: the giant old couches were actually a little less intrusive in our old house, but in this house there’s a large arched opening between the den and the library, but the high back of the loveseat destroyed any sense of openness between the two rooms.
4. something that would hold up to our chaotic household and not fall apart in a year (A few months ago I wrote a post about my top picks for types of sofas that go well with cats, kids, and dogs. One of my picks was slipcovered, and I mentioned that this was the only one we hadn’t personally tried yet)
5. not a million dollars
And, at last, we were ready to commit to the Karlstad. We were planning to make an Ikea trip sometime this month to get one, but I kept doing searches on Craigslist every few days in hopes that one would show up and save us some money. One night, a little after Christmas, I was doing one of these searches…and there it was! A Karlstad sectional, with a gray sivik cover, a few minutes away from us.
The only issue was that it included not just the longer and shorter sofa sides, but a chaise lounge. We hadn’t been considering getting the chaise at all; we didn’t think it would fit into our space. The sofa in the listing was, in fact, exactly the same sofa that John and Sherry from Young House Love bought for the massive family room in their old house, and I remember looking at that and thinking it would be fabulous to have such a huge sofa and wasn’t it too bad we didn’t have room for it.
But then we measured! Visual aids might be helpful here. This is the Karlstad we were planning to buy–the 2+3; it’s basically a longer side, a shorter side, and a corner piece:
We were planning to put the longer side against the back wall of the den, opposite the fireplace.
This is what was listed on Craigslist:
We’d never thought about getting the chaise, because we knew that the long side plus the chaise wouldn’t fit against the back wall. BUT! The Karlstad comes in a million interchangeable pieces so that you can configure it any way you want to. And we figured out that we could put the short side plus the chaise against the wall and have the longer side coming out toward the fireplace and it would work fine (and not stick out as far as that big poufy loveseat did, even). The only other concern was that the chaise would stick out too far and block the door to the sunroom, but it turned out not to be an issue at all.
The guy was asking $650, and we didn’t negotiate at all since it was the first day it was listed (and we thought the price was fair). The sofa itself is five years old (it was in storage for 2 of those years), but they bought a new cover just a few months ago. The whole thing is in great shape and looks pretty much brand new, which bodes well for the long term prospects of our new to us sofa. So, basically, we saved $250 (plus tax) over what we were planning to spend AND got a bonus chaise. Or we saved $550 plus tax over the retail price of the sofa we actually bought. Either way, we’re very excited with our unexpected savings and with having an even bigger sofa than we’d hoped for.
Dave borrowed a friend’s small truck and managed to fit the whole thing into the back of it, which was quite a feat of engineering. Hundreds of hours of his childhood spent playing Tetris for the win!
While we were carrying it in, I decided that we are never again going to buy a couch that you don’t have to put together yourself. It was so light and easy to carry compared to pre-assembled sofas! And, compared to most anything else you can buy from Ikea, it was super easy to assemble. We had the whole thing together and were sitting on it watching TV within an hour, I’d say.
We’re a couple of weeks in to life with the Karlstad now, and we’re very still very much smitten. It fits in the room like we designed it for that space. It’s HUGE, with tons of space for all of us and then some, but it’s still visually much less weighty than our old sofa and loveseat. It’s really comfortable (I hear tell that the cushions are unpleasantly firm when new, but we avoided that whole breaking in period by buying it used). I love the fabric and the way it looks with our red rug. Despite the price tag, it doesn’t feel like a cheap sofa, and it seems well made. I love that we can switch out the covers in a few years if we need or want to.
Downsides? My sister-in-law has a smaller version of the Karlstad with the same cover, and she’d already warned me that hair sticks to and shows up on the fabric. Yes. We’re trying to keep dogs and cats off or at least confined to a throw, but it’s an uphill battle. We’re keeping a lint roller handy, though, and it hasn’t really been too much of a headache.
And no one really loves the legs that come with the Karlstad. We may wind up switching them out for some prettier ones down the road (it will probably depend on how the rest of this room shapes up), but I’m not really minding them as much as I thought I would at the moment. They’re pretty basic and unobtrusive, so I’m not sure it’d be worth the cost to me to put something prettier on, particularly since we’d need a ton of legs.
I was thinking of adding a bunch of stuff about our other plans for the den, but I knew I’d want to go on and on and on about my love for the sofa for so long that there really wouldn’t be time. For now, know that you should ignore the yellow walls, because they’re not staying. Also the rest of the room is a big disaster right now because we’re moving stuff around. So I craftily shot just the sofa pictures instead for today. But we have big, big plans for the rest of this room, and I’m getting excited about them. More on that….next week? Probably next week!
As for the ugly brown sofa and loveseat? We thought about selling them cheap on Craigslist, but I didn’t really want to deal with it. Craigslist and dealing with e-mails and no-shows and all that is a pain under the best of circumstances; it’s an even bigger pain when you’re selling something that’s far from perfect and trying to describe every little flaw so people aren’t angry/disappointed when they come out to look. So we hauled them off and donated them to the thrift store instead; we had them out of there the very next morning, before we returned the truck. I went by the thrift store the next day and they were there with a sold sign on them already ($80….apparently they found the price for which they’d go fast).
Abe approves of the new sofa, too: