Review: IKEA Ektorp Sectional (after 4 years of daily use)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Lately I've been thinking a lot about our couch. This guy has been with us now for a full 4 years, dealing with a daily dose of two dogs and two adults. It's been at two homes, gone through one move and is on its second slipcover. As I was going through my periodic ritual of washing the sofa over the weekend, I thought it might be helpful to write an honest review of it after 4 years of intense use.

Our decision to get the IKEA Ektorp sectional back in 2011 was primarily cost-driven. When we were engaged and building our first house (read: strapped for cash), we began furniture shopping for our new life together. Finding ourselves often at the site of one of our registries, the one and only Pottery Barn, we would lounge on the super comfy, beautiful, overstuffed and overpriced PB sofas in the store. Gosh, how I wanted one of those! But I could not justify the price when we could get the same look from IKEA for literally thousands less. Plus, this was our first home and we planned to get a puppy and probably have a baby while we owned this first couch of ours. In the end, the washable slipcovers (that don't look like slipcovers), PB style, and amazing price of $999 including our preferred slipcover won us over. To put it in perspective, we were able to furnish our living room, bedroom and dining room for the same cost as ONE Pottery Barn sectional. No lie. 

When we decided on the Ektorp couch, we ended up ordering online and having the couch delivered. Our closest IKEA was only about 90 minutes away at the time, but we didn't have a vehicle large enough to transport it and we wanted it to arrive before we got married so it would be there by the time we got back from our honeymoon. It came 2 days before our wedding in two giant boxes and one smaller box (the slipcover) on a freight truck. I was out getting my pre-wedding mani/pedi when it arrived, but Alex, my brother, my stepdad and my bestie's hubby were at the house and assembled it in about 10 minutes. I was told it was very easy. (Since then, we've also purchased an Ektorp sofa that I assembled on my own in about 30 minutes, so I can attest to the simplicity. It's just easier with two sets of hands.)

I mentioned two slipcovers: the first, the one we ordered with the couch itself, was Svanby Beige, a color that is not offered anymore. It was a premium fabric and had a nicer texture - a thicker, lineny blend - than the some of the other options, and cost about $200 more than the cheapest option. I was THRILLED with how much it looked like Pottery Barn! The color was beautiful.

Here's the couch at our first house, at about 2 years old, with the Svanby Beige slipcover.

This Svanby Beige fabric was allegedly dry clean only, but I popped the cushion covers in the washer and hung them to dry when they got dirty. I never had the guts to wash the whole base cover though, so by the time we moved (and our golden, Ellie, had learned to make herself at home on the couch) it was looking a little dingy. We decided that after we moved we'd get a new slipcover. 

The cover we currently have is Tygelsjo Beige, which is only $99. It's machine washable, but I will say that the fabric quality isn't as nice as our first, more "premium" cover. It's starting to get some pilling in areas of high touch, and we've had this cover on for about 18 months. 

As for a dog-friendly couch: Penny and Ellie both take their toll on this couch, but I don't sweat it because at this point, we're at a cost of $250 a YEAR for this thing and that's only doing to decrease the longer we have it. To get a PB couch down to this annual rate, you'd need to hold on to it for at least 12 years. Woof. The girls definitely like to lounge on it and Ellie especially puts it to the test with her favorite pastime of lying on the top of the backrest cushions. But yes, the dog hair and bits of dirt add up - enter the ability to wash and dry! 
This couch has been through it. We are NOT easy on this thing!

Now I've read posts by some who have the white slipcovers, and they say keeping it clean is a snap because they wash their slipcover from top to bottom every WEEK. Not sure about you, but ain't nobody got time for that. I'm doing good if I wash my bath towels once a week, let's be honest. The disassembling of the slipcover, stripping off all the cushion covers, washing, drying and then reassembling is a royal pain in the butt. It's my least favorite household chore other than ironing or vacuuming the stairs (which we don't even have in this house, PTL). I get around to it every few months. When I do, I plan on washing 3 loads: one for the base cover, one for the seat cushion covers and one for the back cushion covers. 

It's a fun day when it's couch washing day. Not. 

Once the covers come out of the wash, you can throw them in the dryer on low heat but only until they're about 75% dry. This is especially important for the base slipcover. When it's still a little damp, you can more easily stretch it over the frame and the wrinkles will mostly fall out. 

Putting the cushion covers back on it its own kind of torture. I hate that part. But you've got to do what you've got to do. 

So fresh and so clean, clean.

Once everything is clean and smells like Tide, the couch looks almost as good as new! 

So here are my bottom line Pros and Cons: 

  • Price! You cannot beat it. The Ektorp sectionals start at $799. 
  • Replacement slipcovers start at $99. That's amazing. Cheap enough to replace annually if you wanted. 
  • Easy assembly. Don't be intimidated by the thought of putting a couch together. IKEA makes it pretty foolproof.
  • It's lightweight and easy to move around the room, or move from house to house (as easy as it is assembled, you can disassemble for moves). 
  • You can wash every bit of the fabric on this thing - great for pets and kids. And if only one cushion gets dirty, you can throw that in without the fuss of a total wash. 
  • It comes with a 10-Year Limited Warranty (keep that receipt!)
  • The style is classic and goes with just about everything. 
  • And yes, it looks like Pottery Barn. 

  • IKEA furniture in general is made for small spaces. So this couch is a little smaller than its Pottery Barn equivalent. The seats are not as deep, the backrests are not as high. Sometimes I wish it was a little bit bigger, especially the height of the backrests. 
  • The fabric, especially that of our second slipcover, isn't the highest of quality and I've noticed some pilling 18 months in. I'd spring for one of the premium covers OR be okay with replacing the slipcover every 12-18 months.
  • The cushions, especially the back cushions, have lost some of their shape and have become a little slouchy. Though this could have a lot to do with the fact that a golden retriever routinely sleeps on ours...
  • I have not had to try to replace anything with the included Warranty, but I've read that it can be tricky to get repairs or replacements covered by it. 
  • While you can purchase a replacement slipcover, you can't buy replacement cushions (which we totally thought you could when we bought this). I've heard you can usually find some in the As Is/Bent and Dent section at your local IKEA, however. 
So: would I buy this couch again? 

YES. I would. I'm not saying I will literally buy the same couch in a year or two (or more) to replace this one, but I am SO GLAD we bought this couch four years ago. It has given me the look I wanted at a price that cannot be beat, period. And the ability to wash it all or one cushion at a time has saved my sanity when Ellie comes back inside on a rainy day.

If you've been considering one of the Ektorp series sofas or armchairs, I highly recommend it. As I said, we have a regular Ektorp sofa in our front room in the same fabric (Tygelsjo Beige) and I love that I got a nice looking, classic upholstered sofa for $399. That's just insane.

If you're up for a little maintenance - which honestly comes with any upholstered sofa - this sectional is an incredible value! Good luck!


It's a Friday in the summer - what more could you want?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Whew, another week down! I'm still lucky enough to not be working on Fridays, which has been lifechanging. It is so nice to wake up on Friday morning and not do anything other than think about what errands I need to run, what household tasks I need to do, or what show on Netflix I'm going to watch next. But enough bragging ;)

We got our foundation fixed last week and lemme tell ya, the cost is NOT one of the things I'm happy about this Friday! However, the fact that the two doors to our two guest bedrooms easily open and close might have been worth the exorbitant cost. Or at least half of it. No more sticking doors!! And the house doesn't sound like a giant is walking across the floor anymore, either. Still - sometimes being an adult is hard. There are a lot of other things I'd have liked to spend that money on!

Figs, figs everywhere! Our tree is exploding with tiny ripe fruit. I'm sharing with neighbors, coworkers and friends as fast as I can before they all fall off! 

My mom sent me the BEST care package of gluten free goodies this week!  (Gotta love Amazon PrimePantry!). Crackers, wannabe pop tarts, cake and brownie mixes, mac and cheese, pasta - you name it! She is the best :) 

I just love heckling out library books! There's something's very old school about it, and I love the way a plastic-wrapped hardback creaks when you open it. Diving into and old classic and a new find this week! Go Set A Watchman is next! 

Getting ready for another girls weekend this weekend and this is just a portion of the food and bevvies I'm bringing. There is never a shortage of food on a girls' weekend!  Looking forward to a weekend of laughs, catching up and lotsa good with some good girlfriends! 

Linking up with
 AprilChristinaNatasha and Darci

Five on Friday: I'm back!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Hello friends! I didn't intentionally take a blogging hiatus this summer, but that's what happened. I got busy (poor excuse, I know). I wish I could say it was because of all the great trips we've been taking or all the crazy fun we've been having, but it was more due to work than anything else. And no one wants to write or read about work. Moving on...

The point is, it feels nice to write again and read your posts again. Looking forward to catching up with everyone!

Last week was our 4th anniversary! My how time flies. I am so incredibly lucky to have this man by my side through good times and bad, literally in sickness and in health. The last 4 years have been the best yet - and I know it's only going to get better!

The traditional 4th anniversary gift is fruit or flowers. So I got us (uh, I mean I got Alex) Apple TV! Guys, why didn't we have this sooner?? Life changing, I tell you. After only having a digital antenna for the last two years, being able to sign into A's parents' cable account and watch live sports and shows ON A TV is amazing. No more crowding around the iPad!
This week I got hooked on Unreal (thanks to that handy Apple TV contraption). If you haven't seen it, it's a must watch for Bachelor fans! It's about a Bachelor-like show but it's shown from the crew's POV - including all the manipulation they do to the contestants and story line. It's really entertaining: Lifetime brought their A-game with this one.

Look at the progress my little garden has made since I planted it in April! I've only lost one plant (the cilantro) and everything else is doing really well. I even have a few blooms on my tomato plants, so I might actually grow a tomato! *happy dance*  Plus, the fig tree nearby (for which I can take absolutely no credit) is bursting with almost-ripe figgies. Yay for backyard produce!

Life is good, friends. I'm feeling happy and optimistic these days! And I'm celebrating SIX MONTHS of being gluten-free and I'm feeling the best I've felt in a LONG time! So thankful that this experiment has seemingly kept me healthy and Crohn's-flare-free since January. Praise the Lord!

Have a fabulous weekend. Soak up some sun (but don't forget the sunscreen).

Linking up with
 AprilChristinaNatasha and Darci


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

What do you think of when you hear "girls' weekend"? Probably a beach, beachy drinks, music, dancing, gossip, food and more food, and a lot of laughs. Add one breast pump, one pregnant lady, 6 girls, one bathroom, and approximately 36 pieces of luggage and you have my weekend!

Six of us spent the weekend on St. Pete beach in Florida, on the Gulf. I'm the only one who doesn't live in Florida anymore, so I made an extra long weekend of it and spent Thursday and Sunday nights with my bestie Lesley and her sweet family. Since I don't get to spend a lot of quality time with her kiddos, I really enjoyed getting to do "everyday" things with them like bath time and breakfast. Love those babies! 

We got down to St. Pete (and yes, we left the kids behind for #GW2015) Friday afternoon and hit the beach as soon as possible. Then we prettied up and did dinner before dancing our butts off to live music at a nearby beach bar! 

Since we went a little hard on Night One, we took it a little easier on Day Two and a lot easier Night Two. But that didn't stop the good times! Or the excessive use of the selfie stick (best thing EVER and a mandatory for a girls' weekend!). 

Such a fun weekend with these girls! Too bad girls' weekend only comes around once a year -- though there was talk of making this a biannual thing! 


Friday favorites

Friday, May 1, 2015

It's here, friends: Fridayyyyy. I have been exhausted all week, most likely because of the jam packed weekend we had on Florida for my cousin's wedding. There just aren't enough hours in a day - or days in a weekend.

A few things that are making me smile this week:

One. I got to spend some QT with my cousins last weekend. They are so special and dear to me, and since we're spread over 3 states, we don't get to see each other often. We just have a blast when we're together. And our little "baby" cousin Katie was an absolutely gorgeous bride!

Two. I planted a garden a few weekends ago and I any wait to take advantage of some of my homegrown goodies! So far, everything is thriving...we'll see how long that lasts with my black thumb! 

Three. My Lilly came in! And almost everything fit! Happy day! 

Four. I've found some new Gluten Free treats lately: New Gist GF beer and Udi's frozen pizza crusts. So good for a cheat meal!!

Five. I'm so thankful for encouraging friends who send me uplifting messages and share things like this blog post with me. It really makes all the difference to have a support system! 

Happy weekending! 
Linking up with
 AprilChristinaNatasha and Darci

Turn down for Lilly

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Morning, ladies. Raise your hand if you're nursing a Target for Lilly hangover today. Ouch. 

I actually can't complain about anything other than lack of sleep. I got really lucky and scored a lot of things on the mobile app at 2:50am when I was waiting for the website to go live. I happened to refresh the app on my iPad and there were about 30 items available - most of which were on my short list! So I added some to my cart and checked out four different times. I actually let a few things go, like a tote, towels, and even some clothes because I didn't want to overdo it but of course I'm kicking myself now. If you got one of the straw totes, you're welcome ;)

Somehow, even thought my adrenaline was pumping like I had just completed some sort of competitive sporting event, I was able to go back to sleep until about 6:45. I was in line at my closest Target at 7:40 and I was at least 100 people back from the door. I didn't expect to be at the front of the  line but really didn't think there would be hundreds of Lilly lovers there by the time the doors opened (the line behind me was much longer than in front of me and actually wrapped the building). 

I have to say that my local Target handled things as good as can be expected, though my bone to pick with corporate is this: you have to set an in-store limit on items in times like these! I wasn't aware that I was on an episode of Supermarket Sweep but some people clearly got the memo to wipe out full racks of items in one fell swoop and then list everything on eBay within the hour. JerksI saw so many people with carts positively overflowing with things that - and I would bet my "real" Lilly on it - weren't even close to their size. Heck, I'm pretty sure I saw college girls buying toddler Lilly because it was all they could get their hands on. Their motive remains unclear though desperate times can cloud one's judgement. 

So what did my early morning Target run yield? A beach towel and some nail files. Better than nothin', right? 

So let the eBay games begin. Just say no to price gouging! I mean a little markup for your time is fine but 150%?! Seriously? I'll go to my local Lilly boutique at those prices, mmmmmkay thanks. 

The one thing I really wanted was the pink See Ya Later shift (size 8 if you're selling or trading!) but I did get the scarf in that print, so that satisfied my gator Lilly lust. Sorta. 

Despite the website frustrations, sleep lost and crazy women running amuck across the county, #LillyforTarget was actually kinda fun. I hope you managed to get a few of the things you had your eye on! Or even something you didn't think you needed until you saw it this morning, like nail files. 

Can't wait to see what everyone ended up with! And seriously - you can see my online orders and items that are en route to me above. I'm for real willing to entertain trade proposals! :)  (because I will likely not be keeping all three of those swimsuits!)


Keep it coming, love! (Don't stop it now, don't stop it no)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Keep it coming, love! Keep it coming, love!
Don't stop it now, don't stop it, no, don't stop it now, don't stop!

Don't know about all my Lilly ladies out there, but i can't get this song outta my head since first seeing the Lilly for Target tv spot earlier this week! Who else is dreaming of affordable Lilly? And who else is slightly freaking out about the possibility of a sellout in like 5 minutes? Better get your game faces on, ladies. 

Here's my list of must-haves from the Lilly for Target collection!

One. See Ya Later shift, $38
I love that they chose a gator print for this collab! As a Gator girl, Lilly's gator prints are a collector's item for me. This is my #1 must get and I will be super sad if I can't get one! (Or have to pay a scalper on eBay)

Two. Swimsuits, $24-40
I love these three suits. I'll be honest: I haven't purchased a one piece since probably middle school. But these are adorable. If I can, I'm going to get more than one since I can't make up my mind anyway (you can always return...but beware, there's only a 14-day return window for Lilly for Target!) 

Three. Shoes, $30-38
Love these pineapple sandals and the gold wedges. I have a few pairs of Lilly shoes and love them all, so I'm hoping these will be similar! 

Four. Nosey Posie canvas shopping tote, $15
A Lilly tote for under $20? Yes please ma'am. 

Five. Throw pillows, $25
Husband's just gonna have to deal with some pink. These are so cute for spring and summer, and y'all know how I feel about throw pillows! 

So what's my strategy? I've heard the online store will be up around 3am Sunday morning, so I plan to setting my alarm for about that time (there's no way I can stay up until then!). Then I want to head into my local Target early Sunday to check out the other pieces in person - or fight for the items I want if I don't get them online! 

Best of luck, ladies! Can't wait to see everyone's haul! 


Linking up with
 AprilChristinaNatasha and Darci

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