Product Type: Ikea home furniture
Newest Review: ... 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 ... more
EKTORP Sofas. Better Suited to Little Botties
Ikea EKTORP Sofa
Member Name: Nibelung
Ikea EKTORP Sofa
Advantages: Good price. Nice firm upholstery
Disadvantages: Not too luxurious for those with long legs
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! .
Summary: Series of armcahirs and sofas of varying lengths
- Maine Tall Extra Wide Deep Bookcase
- Cooke & Lewis Corner Unit Soft Close
- B&Q Powerslide Pull Out Trays
- Ikea Moppe Mini Chest of Drawers
- Wimbledon Green Armchair
- Argos Cream Luxury Office Chair
- Homebase 5 Tier Shelving
- Levv Glass Computer Workstation
- Zingzillas Junior ReadyBed
- Eliza Tinsley High Back Computer Chair