* Prices may differ from that shown
With a maximum budget of £500, we wanted to buy a sofa for our living room that would stand the test of time and also not be so unique that it would never fit into another property. We stumbled across a few designs at Ikea that ticked boxes, as well as trawling through several options at other retailers that had special offers but ultimately we chose the Ektorp two seater with chaise combination.
We paid £450 for our sofa, but roughly only £300 of that was for sofa and the rest was for the cover. Although we made it as an entire purchase in the shop, the items were split out and you can actually buy extra covers which is a great idea for freshening up the look of your sitting room, or just having multiples. We went for the red cover, which has served us well still a year on. There seem to be three price ranges in the cover selection. You can get plain white for the cheapest, a plain colour for a bit more (like ours) or some more premium ones that are a velvet sort of material or with a particular pattern. The cheaper ones are removable and washable, which we've done a few times. If you do this, I'd recommend putting them back on the sofa slightly damp so that they dry in the right shape and slip on comfortably. We've managed to keep ours looking quite fresh with this method. We've also recently invested in a blue and white striped ikea cover that was old stock, which we bought on ebay that was much cheaper than in Ikea, I'd certainly recommend looking there first. It was brand new and half the price.
The sofa is quite long at just over 2.5 metres, but with the chaise attached, it looks much smaller. You can also buy the sofa in a two seater format, or the three seater without the chaise. The cushions have lasted really well in the last year and I'm not somebody who plumps them up regularly. The only complaint would be that the covers have bobbled ever so slightly. The chaise cushion being so long does have a tendency to slide off the sofa with the way that we sit on this, but I've noticed in our more recent cover purchase, that there is an extra strap on this part of the cover, and a design where the cushion is attached to the base of the sofa, which really stops the slipping issue.
One reason we went for this sofa, or rather an ikea sofa in general, was that we could buy it there and then and take it home, which is not an option you'll often get with sofas that need to be built elsewhere and delivered weeks, or even months later. It took two car loads in a large car to get it home but it was incredibly simple to assemble. Although it's a big sofa, it's not hugely heavy and all the parts could be carried into the house without issue. I would estimate that it took us about an hour to put it together and the instructions were actually very clear.
Although it's a well priced budget sofa, I think it represents excellent value for money and we will be keeping our for several years to come. It accommodates a lot of people (probably five comfortably with the chaise) and it fits well in any room of our house really. My only complaint would be that it isn't quite deep enough when you're sitting upright (88cm apparently), so if you like to really lie back, you need to turn sideways, which is ok in a pair, but not when you've got a sofa at full capacity.
I've just moved into an unfurnished house so needed a lot of furniture fast and so being on something of a budget my housemate and I decided to take a trip to Ikea as it seemed to be the most reasonable place to buy the furniture. We needed furniture for the lounge and instead of picking armchairs I decided I wanted a sofa and one that would last more than a couple of years.
Therefore, instead of going for a cheaper sofa that wouldn't look so nice in years to come I opted for the ektorp 2 seat sofa with the svanby grey covers.
***What you get***
The basic ektorp sofa is quite traditional looking with rolled arms and plump cushions. The basic model comes in white and costs £225 but it does look like it needs covers to my eyes and besides I can be a bit clumsy so white is far from ideal for me. So because I wanted a neutral yet practical sofa I went for the svanby covers in grey (they are a medium grey so not quite charcoal) which made teh sofa £350 in total (the covers are £150 to buy individually) but well worth it for durability in my mind.
The sofa also comes with (according to the Ikea website):
"- The cover is easy to keep clean as it is removable and can be machine washed.
- Seat cushions filled with high resilience foam and polyester fibre wadding give comfortable support for your body, and easily regain their shape when you get up.
- Reversible back cushions filled with polyester fibres provide soft support for your back and two different sides to wear.
- A range of coordinated covers makes it easy for you to give your furniture a new look."
***In store and delivery***
Because we had a lot of furniture to buy we tried to order most of it online but when half the stock wasn't available online we went into store and paid an extra £15 for them to pick the items off the shelf and £25 delivery and I have to say that was a good investment as the sofa itself is massive and my housemate and I couldn't handle it on our own. In terms of getting it home we obviously got it delivered but I would imagine you would need a bigger car or a roof rack to get it in. The dimensions of the built sofa are Width: 179 cm, Depth: 88 cm, Height: 88 cm, Seat depth: 49 cm, Seat height: 45 cm so it gives you an idea of the size of the box.
***Putting the sofa together***
This was actually one of the simplest Ikea items we bought and we managed to have a serviceable sofa in no time. All you need to do is fold up the back rest into position and attach the side rests before covering it in your choose covers so the whole thing was really simple to do.
The covers themselves probably could do with an iron before they are put on the sofa but any creases quickly come out.
I find the sofa really comfortable and while I have only had it a few weeks it is still as good as new. I suspect I may need to plump the cushions once in a while but they are really comfy and squidgy and perfect for me to sit on or sprawl on. The arms are also at the right height for me to lie down with my head resting on the arms which is perfect for me. The covers are also really easy to remove so can be stuck in the washing machine and when you get bored of the colour can be changed for a lot less than purchasing a whole sofa.
At £225 for a whole sofa it is pretty good value and it seems to me that it will last a long time. However, the plain white looks slightly unfinished and it isn't the most practical item as I can imagine it gets stained easily so you will need a new covers which took mine to £350 but for a sofa that is good value and it seems that it will last a long time.
Ektorp sofa BED
~~~ The Back Story~~
In my adult life I have lived in 22 houses. Such mobility meant that I had the opportunity to live within 15 minutes' drive from the often maligned but always fascinating Ikea on not one but three continents.** Hence Ikea is usually our department store of choice and was where I bought many household items when I decided to furnish my home from scratch.
In 2002 I purchased two Ektorp sofas that I ordered in-store; a sofa bed and a 2 seater sofa along with separate covers. All were delivered to my home several weeks later.
This review is for the Ektorp sofa bed which I owned and used until 2009.
~~~ This Product ~~~
The Ektorp design of chairs and couches is what I describe as being a "classic" style with rolled arms, a high back and large removable cushions. The Ikea website's succinct product description explains the materials used:
Sofa bed frame:
Bed mechanism: Steel, Pigmented powder coating
Bed: 100 % polypropylene, Steel
Mattress: Polyurethane foam.
Mattress cover/ Ticking: 76 % cotton, 24 % polyester
Quilting: 76 % cotton, 24 % polyester, Polyester wadding
Lining: 100 % polypropylene
Back and seat frame: Fiberboard, Moisture resistant particleboard, Plywood, Solid pine, Polyurethane foam 1.2 lb/cu.ft.
Armrest: Polyester wadding, Solid pine, Fiberboard, Moisture resistant particleboard, Cardboard, Polyurethane foam 1.2 lb/cu.ft., Polyurethane foam 1.5 lb/cu.ft.
Seat cushion: Polyester wadding, Non-woven polypropylene, High-resilience polyurethane foam (cold foam) 2.2 lb/cu.ft., Polyester fiber balls
Back cushion: Hollow polyester fibers, Non-woven polypropylene
The sofa bed's assembled size is detailed on the Ikea website as being:
Width: 78 3/4 "
Depth: 38 1/4 "
Height: 34 5/8 "
Seat depth: 18 7/8 "
Seat height: 17 3/4 "
Bed width: 51 1/8 "
Bed length: 71 5/8 "
Width: 200 cm
Depth: 97 cm
Height: 88 cm
Seat depth: 48 cm
Seat height: 45 cm
Bed width: 130 cm
Bed length: 182 cm
The mattress is 4 1/2" thick and comes with a removable, washable mattress cover.
Covers and cushion seat covers are purchased separately. There are multiple colours and patterns/styles available and these seem to have changed over the years. Currently (July 2013) there are 10 block colours and two patterned cover designs. Neither of my two covers currently listed. My covers were both machine washable however I see that the website has different advice for different covers.
~~~ My Experience ~~~
As this was the very first couch I ever purchased (along with a matching two-seater sofa), I chose it after much consideration of appearance, function, expected durability and of course purchase price. The covers were bought separately; I chose a textured soft yellow/corn fabric that I felt would brighten up the room but also not show up marks or dirt too easily.
Once delivered, the sofa required a small amount of assembly. Despite this being over ten years ago, I recall this to be fairly easy - simply screwing chair legs into premade holes. This sofa bed was quite heavy, but I was always able to move it about the lounge room.
Obviously a sofa bed has two uses.
As a couch, it was close to perfect in terms of comfort. It was initially a little too firm even for me, but either I mellowed a little or the couch changed with use. Either way, I was always very comfortable sitting or sprawling on this settee.
As a sofa bed, it was also perfect. It was very easy to convert from a seat to a bed. All cushions were removed, the edge of the enclosed folded metal-framed mattress base was lifted upwards and pulled out, and then the supporting bed leg unfolded. This is actually much harder for me to describe than to do in life! The reverse process was undertaken to convert the bed back to a couch once more. Each of these conversions took me less than 30 seconds - it really was that easy!
This was my bed for up to two weeks at a time when my parents visited from abroad. Again it was slightly firmer than what I would usually choose, but I always had a good night's sleep in it.
The sofa bed was also used by friends on a number of occasions, all of whom seemed happy enough with it.
I gave this item to a local charity when I moved abroad in 2009. I am hopeful that it went to a good home as it had many years' use left!
I highly recommend the sofa bed. This was a good, firm but very comfortable couch and an excellent bed. It is durable with an easy-to-use bed mechanism. Five Dooyoo stars from me.
Incidentally, if it seems a long time before you actually get to read about the sofa in question, that's nothing compared to how long it took to arrive, so think yourselves lucky! I figure that the purchasing experience is relevant and needs to be aired.
A TALE OF TWO SETTEES
Couched in restrained terms, let's just say that I've just had the Dickens of a job decorating the lounge, one of my most pressing tasks was to break up our old and rather large 3-seat sofa before the carpet fitters arrived. I never realised that DFS built them so well, phew! I knew for a fact that it had taken 3 people to deliver it, and now with the added risk of scratching newly painted door frames if it was to be removed intact, even asking a local housing charity to come and get it wasn't an option. Curiously, they also weren't interested anyway, being up to their gussets in sofas already!
So there we were, with a newly-decorated and largely empty lounge, a sofa now 'up the dump' and just garden loungers to sit on. Then I remembered the IKEA Poäng chair that I'd so carefully taken apart and put in the loft only weeks before.
Oh, and before anyone asks; yes it did go back together again with no bits left over, or worse, missing!
I think it was at that point I was moved to look in IKEA's catalogue to see what sofas they had to offer. We'd hit upon the idea of two 2-seaters this time, or possibly one 2-seater and two armchairs and it seemed to us that the 'Ektorp' range fitted the bill either way, especially since it had a wide range of colours and removable dry-cleanable covers. The prices weren't bad either. Admittedly, the basic two-seater in 'Blekinge White' which is the cheapest of the whole range at only £229 serves as 'the hook' to get you interested. Virginal white covers didn't seem any too practical in our house, so we opted for the paler of the greens, 'Svanby Green', which pushes the price up by a cool £100. I never realised that dye-stuffs were so expensive! Even so, £329 for a sofa still seemed pretty good. With replacement covers at around £140, a change of décor could still be quite cheap as these sofas come with a 10-year warranty and may well outlive a whole 'let's redecorate cycle'.
SOFA SO GOOD
So off we trundled in those heady weeks before the introduction of the Olympic Vehicles Lane to IKEA Wembley on The North Circular Rd. to buy one, in the vain hope of bringing it home in the car. We'd found out from their web-site what the packaging measurements were, and with a supply of blankets and bungee-rubbers to tether the tail-gate on the way back, off we went.
Had we checked the weight?
Had we b*****y!
After the usual zombie-like trudge through all the displays you're not interested in, being more concerned not to step on the person in front's heels than actually looking at anything, we did eventually get to sit in an Ektorp two-seater and one of the single matching armchairs. It certainly seemed to be what we wanted, being neither firm nor sloppy, and didn't feel the least....well...packed-flat. (Even now that we've got one, I still have difficulty reminding myself that I put it together myself. It certainly seems 'creak-free', and like the Poäng chair, there were no parts left over or missing).
IN THE HALL OF THE MOUNTING THINGS
Then it was off to the cavernous main hall of towering racks full of large items to find one. The web-site helpfully tells you what aisle and section number to look for at your designated branch, as well as the current stock position to save you a wasted journey.
Not so helpfully, it tells you to ask a member of staff where the covers are!
Fine if you can find a member of staff who isn't manning checkout at that time in the evening.
Having gone at 9.00 pm, we'd avoided the crowds (of staff, is would also seem), so having taken one look at the two metre tower of cardboard that hid the entire sofa except covers, we realised that there was no way we'd manhandle it into the car despite the helpful 'finger slot's' in the packaging. Yes, it would fit but we'd probably break a tail light or rip the head-lining in the attempt. In theory, you can then go to a special section that will either help you to your car, or arrange for delivery. However, the entire desk was closed and cordoned off. Tails between legs, we headed for home, with at least the satisfaction of having taken Ektorp for a bit of a "test-sit".
After all, there was always their on-line ordering system. That would probably be as fast, eh?
THE ON-LINE EXPERIENCE
Actually, it's more of an on/offline hybrid experience.
The web site is easy enough to negotiate but not without its quaint lack of certain salient features. The published width of the sofa we wanted fluctuated anywhere between 80 cm and 2 metres depending upon which colour-way you clicked - I know they say that stripes are 'slimming' but some were just plain wrong with sofas being quoted as higher than they were long! So a bit more attention to detail and a bit more debugging please, Mr. IKEA!
When it comes to actually buying something on line, be prepared to cancel all holidays.
For example, when you complete your order, and there was nothing strange about the usual 'basket/checkout/pay process, you get an 'estimated delivery date'. "Oh well", you think, realising that you're visiting friends in Somerset that week -"I expect I'll get a chance to change that before clicking the Confirm button - surely they can't mean in over three weeks time?"
How wrong can you be? No, you can't change it on the web-site and yes, they really did confirm that it was going to take 3 weeks.
Not only are you not presented with some kind of calendar for moving that date onwards - obviously, pulling the date back isn't going to be an option anyway, but you're told that it'll take up to 72 hours to confirm that even the first estimate is correct. Come on IKEA, even British Gas let you do this when booking a boiler service!
Oh yes, and by the way, up went the price to £364 to include delivery. Admittedly, that's still pretty bloody reasonable for a 2-seat sofa of generous width.
In the end, I had to fire off an e-mail (to which they then promised to reply within 5 working days) asking for a further 5 day delay. I have to say, that in view of my local branch's possession of 5 Ektorps in stock, I certainly did not expect to be quoted a date more than 3 weeks away for delivery, but it seems that the on-line ordering process is supplied from one central point, not from stock at your nearest branch - if only that home delivery desk had been staffed! Either that or they've only got one van for the whole country!
If I'd known that the date was going to be so intractable, I'd have aborted the mission for at least a week (or hired one of those £9/hour vans! Come to think of it, with IKEA Wembley only 7 miles away that wouldn't be a bad idea in future). Get back to me they did, and it was almost an anti-climax to find that ringing the number left on my answering machine was all that it took to speak to a real live human being (and in the UK!) to alter the quoted date to delay it by a couple of days.
IDIOTEN KAUFEN EBEN ALLES
Well I think I've remembered that right. A German friend, who obviously has a lower opinion of IKEA than I do, reckons that's what the initials stand for, roughly translating as 'Idiots'll Buy Just About Anything'.
It's certainly true that you feel a bit of a plonker after signing up for their web-site
Signing up to create an on-line account initially might seem like a good idea, but it seems to be more of use to IKEA than to you. That is to say, you give them lots of details but the benefits of never having to retype your address and not much else seem few. For example, you might assume that having your own log-in would make it easier to track the progress of your order but you'd be wrong.
There's no sign of it.
Tracking your on-line orders is done through a separate URL called
www.ikeaordertracking.co.uk/ and is open to anyone who's received a confirmation e-mail.
Neither, when I was searching for them, were the opening times to be found. OK, I found them by using Google to search for 'IKEA Wembley opening times', and an official page was found, but a link on their own web-site? Well, it was bloody well hidden, that's all I can say.
Meanwhile, nearly three weeks later,
EKTORP-LASM METAMORPHOSES INTO REAL FURNITURE
After stripping our purchase of a seemingly never-ending expanse of cardboard, we got down to the nitty-gritty of building a sofa. Surprisingly it wasn't too complicated, just large. It helps that you can download the instructions in PDF format and 'rehearse' or at least work out if you need to supply any tools. A second pair of hands doesn't go amiss either!
The delivery consisted of two packs - one very large one containing the sofa and cushions and another smaller one for the covers, which if the truth be known are a separate item altogether with their own unique stock number.
Putting the sofa together required the fixing and tightening of just six bolts with the box-spanner supplied, which you start by inserting three into each arm. With the sofa on its back, you then tighten these from underneath. Then you screw on four feet and that's about it.
The skill in making it presentable comes when you fit the covers. The two rear cushions that are slighty 'L-shaped' are a pain to get into their zip covers. Having been folded tightly, a good deal of creasing is to be seen, but I'd advise letting this settle before doing anything drastic like ironing them.
The lower front corners have a triple pleat which looks a bit untidy at first, but I left mine pinched with clothes pegs for a while and they look right now!
Despite appearances with the covers on, there's about 6 inches of space under the sofa, ideal for my wife's 'comfort blanket' - yes I know; pathetic isn't it?
Appearance-wise, Ektorp is surprisingly un-IKEA-like, in that it's a perfectly traditionally-shaped sofa with scrolled arms and cloth covered all over. The range extends from single arm-chairs through two- and three-seat sofas to corner units and chaise-longue add-ons
THIS SOFA IS NO SLOUCH
Now for the bad news. Nor is it suited to 6-foot slouchers, loafers and general ne'er-do-wells.
If I'm brutally honest, I really should have given these a longer 'test-slump' whilst at IKEA, maybe by using them as a husband's crèche whilst 'her indoors' went browsing. There's nothing 'per se''''un'''comfortable about them, and width-wise they seem pretty generous but their rather compact size in other dimensions does leave me feeling like I'm sat on a comfy dining chair rather in a sofa. They are also quite a lot higher than I'm used to, which adds to the dining chair illusion. Bear in mind that we wanted a compact sofa, (or two as it now turns out) as the previous three-seater looked overbearingly large in our 'twelve-by-twelve-plus-bay-window' lounge and practically blocked the door, so we have at least achieved that.
Despite the fact that my wife has bought some rather nice examples, I now see little point in placing scatter cushions on this sofa, as the first thing I have to do is 'redistribute' them somewhere else just to give me adequate 'arse-to-back-of-knee room' without feeling that I'm perched on the edge of it rather than sitting on or in it. It's rather like all that ornamental bedding that posh hotels insist on adorning your bed with, tubular bolsters with tassels, that kind of thing. They look nice but all end up on the floor after you've concluded that they bring nothing to the party, or indeed, comfort process.
What upholstery there is seems well balanced between firmness and the kind of softness that gives you back-ache. It also springs back to a well-puffed-up shape. The rear uprights are reversible, but it's a shame that this doesn't apply to the seat cushions as they are markedly more domed on top and flat underneath. However, the covers range from machine washable (presumably the Blekinge White ones) to dry-cleanable; check the details on the set you buy.
Construction, according to IKEA seems to maximise the use of recyclable and sustainable produce, aka cheap wood! In fact the frame is, and I quote from their web-site:
"Back and seat frame: Fibreboard, Moisture resistant particleboard, Plywood, Solid pine".
It goes without saying that the cushion filling has to comply with modern fire regulations relating to fire-retardant furnishings.
Heh, it doesn't even creak!
Ektorp represents excellent value for money, but taller people need to take the 'test-sit' seriously before purchase. They may be guaranteed for 10 years, but not against discomfort, I guessing! .
2 seater sofa