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!



  1. That's so nice that you're able to wash it like that - sounds like a great investment!! Such a good deal, too! I might have to check out their slip covers & see if they have one that would work for an older couch we have!

  2. Wow I love that you can wash it ;) Thats a huge plus

  3. So nice that you can watch it! When we got engaged we got a cheap-ish couch and it's totally falling apart. The cushions have barely any padding left-it's like sitting right on the couch base lol. We should have gone with an Ikea option! :)

  4. Ikea's delivery is awful. They've blown me off three times. No call/no show. Since I bought the furniture partly due to your review I have to tell you that I regret ever reading this post. Seriously considering a chargeback on my credit card because I don't know if we'll ever get the sofa. :( If you order from Ikea, buyer beware.

    1. Oh no!! That's awful. That really sucks that you've had this issue. I can tell you we have had home delivery multiple times from Ikea and it was never a problem for us. I encourage you to call the U.S. customer service HQ (I'm sure you have) and the nearest store and complain. FYI, I don't work for Ikea and wasn't paid to write the post so while I hate that you have had this experience, please don't blame the reviewer ;) Best of luck getting this resolved.

    2. No blame, it isn't your fault. But delivery is a significant enough problem with Ikea that major publications have written articles on it. They've lost my business for good over it - I was going to get closets next and then the kitchen, but if they can't manage to get a couch here they'll never manage an entire kitchen. Sad!


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