Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Brand New Basement Seating

We went back and forth on our decision to buy a couch, two couches or a sectional.  We even used some tape to space plan a bit.  I didn't take any pictures of the 2 couch option with tape because it left the space feeling so crowded, we ruled it out immediately.  We wanted more couch seating than 1 couch could provide, so we made the decision to buy a sectional!  We really loved the idea of having the entire family cozy up for movie time on one couch, and we felt that a sectional fit the space nicely.  We were already sold on the Ektorp line, because we historically tend to lean towards more classic, traditional designs.  It looks just like a Pottery Barn couch at a fraction of the cost!

To be 100% sure the Ektorp sofa was meant to live in our basement, we taped out the dimensions on our floor:

In order to center the sectional so it made sense in the room for comfortable tv viewing, we were left with the above placement.  We probably could have shifted it to the left a couple more inches, but not much more.  We both felt a little disappointed after seeing this image because of all the wasted space it would leave us with behind the left side of the sectional.  We were really interested in placing a console table behind the sectional, but not a 3 foot deep console.  That would be weird.  Floating the sectional in the room would be okay, but would create a little race path for the kiddos behind the couch.  We tried to rationalize that it may be good to have a running circle for the kiddos in the winter months.  Maybe it would?  I don't know.  The biggest bummer was the limited in front of the sectional amount of open/play space it would leave us with.  Not to mention the fact that the sectional only seats 4 adults and anything but a tiny accent chair in addition to the sectional would crowd the space too much.  If only one side of the sectional was longer than the other!  The Ektorp would still be a good choice, but not great.  Shoot!

I should mention that we did all this taping/talking/decision making the night before we were set to meet Bill's Dad at IKEA with his pick up truck.  We were honestly getting ready to accept a sectional that wasn't perfect with the idea that a 'perfect' sectional for the space wasn't in the cards for us right now.  Then I remembered another sofa line that IKEA offers, the Karlstad:

With her clean lines and modern legs, she definitely isn't a sofa we would normally choose, but her versatility is amazing.  She is a 3 + 2 sectional (versus the Ektorp 2 + 2), which means that because one side of the sectional is longer than the other (Yeah for our space needs!), we can comfortably fit five adults on the sectional!  Additionally, the side of the sectional which is longer can easily be changed around to fit the space it's in.  That makes me happy!  Here is our taped out version of the Karlstad:

It may seem like a subtle difference from the taped Ektorp above, but it's really not, in our opinion.  We don't have to float the sectional to center it in front of the tv/fireplace (once the console is in place), we gain an additional seat, and we get a little more play area in front of the sectional.  Bottom line, the Karlstad fits the space better. (Side note: Please ignore the rocker recliner in the picture above.  It won't be staying in the space...we were just getting a feel for whether or not we could add a chair to that location, while keeping a nice open play area in the space (Our conclusion: a chair was okay, just not that big of a chair...not to mention the rocker recliner would really clash style-wise with the streamlined Karlstad.))  

We did have a couple issues with the Karlstad, however.  And the first issue was those legs.  I don't know what it is about those legs, but I'm not a fan.  Maybe they are too modern for my liking.  Maybe it's the birch color that screams, "IKEA!"  Perhaps the shape?  I'm not sure, but most of my inspiration couches looked more like the Ektorp product line or like this:

These two sofas look like a cross between the Karlstad and Ektorp!  A skirted Karlstad slipcover would be PERFECT!

In fact, they once made skirted Karlstad covers at IKEA, but they are no longer available at the store:

This is image is from an Ebay listing for a skirted loveseat slipcover.  I'm not sure if they ever made a skirted sectional slipcover or not, but I'm fairly sure I could come up with a way to recreate the look using a second Karlstad slipcover AND we'd have the back-up cushion covers as well.

Also, alternate leg options exist as seen here: 

Made by Uncle Bob for $30/4 legs.

Another Karlstad concern: Comfort.  We are tall people.  I'm almost 6 feet tall and Bill is 6'2".  We are very accustomed to higher backed furniture.  Would this sofa be comfortable enough for us?  

And after a long session of sectional sitting, here is our winner:
(Yup, that's Charm dive bombing my pillow piles!)

The Karlstad!  I'm not going to lie...the Ektorp was more comfortable for us, but the Karlstad was not uncomfortable, and that corner spot is heavenly!  We figured we would buy the option that fit the room best, and we could work with the legs and tweak a few pillows to get the Karlstad up to Ektorp comfy standards.  It's still not the perfect couch, but I think we'll be able to make it perfect with an update or two (Hi, I'm Beth. I like options:)).  

The first item on our basement checklist is crossed off!  Hopefully, more items will be crossed off soon.

Total cost: $800, but if you discount the cost for the gift card promo: $680.  Not too shabby for a huge sectional if you ask me:)!!

P.S.  And I need to thank Bill and my father-in-law who had to deal with my indecisiveness at the point of decision making.  It really was a tough one, but I think we made the right choice!

Has anyone bought an IKEA couch lately?  I'd love to hear about how great it is:)!


  1. We bought a Karlstad too! A 2x3 with chaise ... I'm in a corner right this moment. I felt the same way about the legs but we tackled them like YHL did with a little ORB spray paint. Anyway, we LOVE it!

  2. Wow! That's my sofa (second from the bottom). Our Karlstad(s) (we also have a free-standing chaise longue) are almost 4 years old, and so far no problems with them at all. The cushions have kept their shape, and the frames are still tight and sturdy.

    We did replace the covers on both pieces, though. Not because of human wear and tear, but because the cats really went to town on them (one of the biggest reasons we got the Karlstad, instead of a more pricey sofa. This way, everyone in the house can enjoy sitting on it).

    Oh, and the replacement legs from Uncle Bob's are still very much intact!

    1. Awesome! I love that you found my little blog:)! Glad to hear that you are still enjoying your Uncle Bob's legs. I ended up spray painting our original Karlstad legs Oil Rubbed Bronze, but I still toy with the idea of ordering some fun new legs.

  3. Hello! I found your blog while doing a search for photos of the ektorp sectional. We're thinking of getting one but I'm having trouble with the size. When you taped the size/shape out on the floor, was it approx 47" from the middle corner to each end? The ikea site lists the measurement as 95 3/4" so I'm guessing that it's about 47" for each side. Also, what's the difference in the length of the karlstad? We have a large great room (family/dining room combo) but we have trouble with furniture placement because of a fireplace, sliding patio door, built-ins, etc. I would really appreciate any help you could provide. Thanks!

  4. Hi Karen,

    The Ektorp is 96 inches long per side and is 35" deep, so the measurement I came up with from middle front corner to end is 61" (96"-35" cushion/seat depth = 61"). The Karlstad has one side that is 111" and one side that is 95". (You can place the long side on either the right or left side of the sectional.) The Karlstad depth is 37". I'm not sure of your exact layout, but things we considered for our basement included using 2 ektorp couches (instead of a sectional), one couch and a couple big, comfy chairs, and a sectional. Perhaps you could get out some graph paper and draw the room to scale and cutout mini 'couches' and 'chairs' that would represent the furniture options you are considering. This process might help you to think outside the box a bit too. It's fine to float furniture in the room too...just because you have many things that take up wall space(fireplace, built-ins, etc), doesn't mean you can't add furniture to those areas. In this post, you can see some inspiration images that helped me to come up with a furniture placement plan:

    Finally, look to Pinterest for furniture layout ideas.

    Good luck!

    1. Thank you so very much for your help and the suggestions. I truly appreciate it!