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Just under 11 months ago we bought 2 Karlstad 2 seater sofas from Ikea, 1st June to be exact as we moved into our new house on 30th May. We chose Ikea sofas as we had recently had the really cheap Klippan sofa from Ikea in a rental apartment and we had been really impressed with it. We decided to spend a bit more money this time and not go for the ultra cheap Klippan, however we didn't want to spend an awful lot, we just wanted something middle of the road.
We settled on the Karlstad range, and we decided that we would get 2 x 2 seaters. The Karlstad range comes in a wide range of different fabrics and colours, ranging in price from £249 to £500 for a 2 seater sofa. Some of the fabrics are machine washable, some are dry clean only. We went with the 'Tranas light brown', which I would say is more of a mid brown really, it's a cordouroy effect fabric - this sounds a bit naff but it's actually really nice. This is one of the dry clean only fabrics, and each 2 seater was sofa was £500.
Like most Ikea sofas when you buy the Karlstad sofas you buy the sofa itself, and the cover seperately, so basically if your cover gets ruined or if you just fancy a change you can buy just a replacement cover. Some of the fabrics in the Karlstad range are machine washable, so if you spill something on it, or even just to freshen it up you can just pop it in the washing machine. The remainder of the fabrics are dry clean only. We have one of the dry clean only fabrics, in hindsight I think that we should probably have gone for a machine washable fabric. Within a month of having the sofas my husband didn't look what he was doing and sat down on a chocolate wafer biscuit that our little nephew had placed on the sofa, he didn't realise until he stood back up again a short while later by which time it was well and truly mushed into the sofa!
As with all Ikea furniture the Karlstad sofas are self assembly, the Karlstad sofas are a bit fiddly to assemble, and it probably took the both of us around 2 hours to assemble each sofa, including putting the covers on. The sofas seem to come in a million bits, and the covers are also in various parts, around 8 seperate pieces for each sofa cover if I remember correctly. I guess that there is an advantage to the covers coming in so many seperate pieces; you just need to wash or dry clean the part that has had something spilt on it.
The Karlstad sofa is a square boxy looking sofa, which stands on beech effect square legs. You can get a chrome legged base, but this does cost extra. All of the cushions; the seat cushions and the back rest cushins are removable so that you can turn them frequently (or indeeed turn them to hide a stain!!) The sofas have flat square boxy armrests, which are big enough to rest a drink on.
I have to say though that we have not actually been all that impressed with the quality of the Karlstad sofas, all of the seat pad cushions and all of the back rest cushions have gone flat and and have dented in really quickly. I do always turn both the seat pads and the back rest cushions on a monthly basis, so each side has had equal wear and plumping up, it's not as it they've never been turned. I think that the fact that the cushions look so dented and worn now makes the sofas look older and shabbier than they actually are, I can't believe that they are less than a year old when I look at them.
Another issue that my husband has with the Karlstad sofas is that thay are low backed sofas, he is 6'4'' and so he feels that the backs need to be higher for more support, I'm only 5'5'' and so don't notice this. This is personal choice/preference though, not really a fault of the sofa. This is the design of the sofa and so you have to decide if this works for you.
I'm not 100% sure that I would reccomend these sofas, maybe if you got one of the cheaper fabrics so that the sofas don't cost as much. But I definately think that for the £1000 that we paid for the 2 sofas then they are not worth the money.
When I first moved in with my girlfriend just over 2 years ago, we had a 'furnished' flat where the only seating available was offered by 2 small, hotel-lobby-style armchairs. We weren't ready to buy a proper suite, and didn't have the room either, so looking for a basic sofa, we went to Ikea.
There is a decent selection of options in Ikea, most of which are quite simple and modern in their style. We liked the Karlstad range as it provided large seating space without being too bulky, and the seats were very comfortable. The range includes armchairs, 2 and 3-seater sofas, corner units, sofa-beds and chaise longues. We chose the Karlstad 3-seater model, with pale beige fabric covers, which was around £350 at the time. A range of colours and fabrics are available, and depending on the cover you choose, this same sofa currently retails between £289 and £540. These prices make the Karlstad a very accessible option, and it was ideal for us at the time, looking for a comfortable and affordable basic sofa.
It took us by surprise, but the Karlstad comes in traditional Ikea flat pack format, so we took it home on the day to avoid delivery charges. After a great deal of rearranging and dropping of the back seats, we were pleasantly surprised when the whole package fitted snugly in the back of the little Ford Escort we had at the time.
@@@ - The dreaded assembly! - @@@
I generally find Ikea products to be simple and quick to assemble, with good clear instructions, and this sofa was no exception. Putting aside the cushions and legs for a moment, the body of the sofa comes in 4 parts; the seat, the back, and 2 sides. As you attach these parts, you also put on the fabric covers you have chosen, stretching them over the main structure and fastening them on. At this point I was slightly disappointed to learn that they attached by Velcro, which seemed to me a little tacky (I was expecting zips, perhaps).
Overall, putting the Karlstad together was pretty simple. I managed it alone in about 40 minutes, although these things can be quicker if you have a glamorous assistant, provided they don't get in the way! The trickiest part of assembly without doubt is ensuring the covers are neat and straight, and that the edges of the sofa match up with the seams of the fabric, but this is worth the effort to create a tidy result.
@@@ - I'm going for a nice relaxing sit...- @@@
The finished sofa is very comfortable; the cushions are thick and soft, but substantial enough that they don't squash into nothingness when you sit on them. Most importantly for me, as I am tall, the seats are very deep, so I can sit right back on them and have my legs properly supported. My mum is only 5 foot 2, and if she sits right at the back of the sofa, her feet and lower legs dangle over the front like a toddler (we give her extra cushions).
@@@ - Fast forward 2 years... - @@@
We've owned the sofa for over 2 years now, and taken it to 2 different homes. We have recently bought and moved into our own home, and placed an order for 2 'proper' sofas which are due to arrive in the next fortnight.
It is the end of an era for the Karlstad, but its time has definitely come. It is still comfortable, and still looks quite good, but we are now ready to move on. The covers have become slightly loose in parts, with the Velcro fastenings needing to be straightened up, and the fabric stretching slowly over time. The cushions are also looking more squashed and messy (they need to be 'plumped' every so often to keep them looking good and feeling comfortable.
Over time, you will undoubtedly spill various things on your sofa, and if the worst comes to the worst, the covers can be removed, and you can buy new sets separately, allowing you to change colours or just spruce it up a bit. Crucially, some of the covers can be machine washed, which is ideal, but ours don't fall into that category sadly. However, despite my best efforts with pasta, red wine, curry and the like, ours is still remarkably clean, as we have managed to use spot removers such as Vanish or similar to remove any marks. Needless to say though, it does not look as good as it did when we bought it.
@@@ - Overall Thoughts...- @@@
Our Karlstad sofa has served us well over the last 2 plus years. It is very affordable, and is comfortable and hard-wearing for the price. Of course it isn't of the highest quality compared to high street furniture stores; I look at it and I know that it's made of MDF, Velcro and fluff, but when the finished article is completed, it does look smart and feel good.
The styling is simple and modern, and it can complement most rooms well, giving plenty of seating space without being unnecessarily bulky. It was absolutely ideal for us at the time, and I hope we can find another place for it in the next few weeks; maybe in the spare room...
Grey, simple, cheap!
On the lookout for a new sofa recently, I had a few criteria - I wanted charcoal grey, I wanted it to be quite simple and I wanted it to be reasonably cheap! We checked out a few stores but no-one came close to ikea on price and the style we wanted.
There are lots of different sofa options available in the Karlstad range, from two and three seater sofas to chaise longues, footstools and cushions. We purchased the three-seat sofa which comes in a range of colours including green, red, blue and neutral shades. The sofa is 205cm long, 94cm deep and 80cm high, which was perfect for the space we wanted to fill. We got this for under £400, although prices seem to have gone up due to the VAT increase and it now costs just over £400 for the charcoal option, which is what we chose. In terms of style and shape, it is identical to that pictured above.
I was also pleased that delivery would take only two weeks or so, as I'd ordered a sofa before which took well over a month to arrive! The delivery did cost an extra £35.
Do it yourself
Having paid the extra money to have this delivered, I was pleased that we were kept up to date with the progress of the order with text messages. But quite stupidly I didn't realise that the sofa would turn up in the same style as all Ikea items - flatpacked! And there was me worrying that the sofa wouldn't fit through the door.... But actually it was fairly simple to put together with just the arms and legs to sort out, as well as putting the fabric on the sofa and cushions. For the main body of the sofa, you simply stretch the fabric over and attach it using the pre-stuck velcro strips. There are two cushions on the seat and two at the back, and these had the usual zip-up covers to put on.
The colour is just what we were after - a very dark, charcoal grey - it's perfect for more minimal rooms or if you just want something simple that will go with everything. The style is also very simple with slightly boxy, clean lines. The legs are short, square and wooden so they don't detract from the sofa's simplicity. If you prefer big, squishy sofas then this isn't for you! However, it is perfectly comfortable to sit on and although you don't exactly sink into it, you can certainly snuggle down for a night in front of the telly or with a good book.
You can take all the covers off and wash them at 60 degrees (very handy as despite the dark colour ours still gets dirty!). You can also buy new covers if you fancy a change of colour but these will set you back £100 or so. The other thing I like about the dark shade we bought is that you can also brighten it up with cushions - pretty much anything will go with this neutral shade.
I think the size of this sofa is just right - we've had three people sitting on it perfectly comfortably, without invading each other's personal space! My husband has had many a nap on it too. The cushions make it very comfy to sit on, and they stay where they are as well, so not too much plumping is required. I was also willing to pay more than this for a good sofa, so the fact that we got it for under £400 was a great bonus.
We've had the sofa for about six months now and although the cushions are a bit grubby and in need of a wash, there are no signs at all of wear and tear or damage - this is despite having a little girl in the house who is getting very into climbing and jumping...
Overall I'm very happy with this sofa. It's exactly what we were after - very dark grey, simple and modern looking - and a good price for a sofa too. It's comfy to sit on - I'm sitting on it as I type - and it's good if you want furniture to match a minimalist, modern style property.