Family Room Sectional: Ikea Ektorp Sectional

You all convinced me on the merits of a sectional within about 30 seconds of my asking for feedback, so thank you thank you! I had a pretty good idea in my head of what I wanted whether we went sectional or two couches, and that was slipcovers (I am doing everything in my power to transform this 2001 suburban home into a craftsman style cottage inside and out), gray fabric (because we’d be keeping the white slipcovered couch in the nearby living room and I wanted some contrast), and square arms (to contrast our IKEA Ektorp sofa’s rolled arms in the afore mentioned living room).

And then B and I started sectional shopping. I decided originally that we were grown-ups now and would buy a “grown-up” – high quality and expensive – sectional. But sofa shopping is so personal – what’s comfortable to one person is not necessarily comfortable to someone else. And it turned out that all of my ideas for my “grown-up” sectional didn’t work in reality. I loved the idea of the Crate and Barrel Lounge, but when we went to sit on it, we discovered it was too deep for practical every day use and comfort in our opinions. Then we hopped over to Pottery Barn where I fell head over heels in love with the square arm PB Comfort sectional in a silver taupe (light gray). We were both sold – decided we’d save our pennies and buy it when we could afford it. I searched around for real life pictures and reviews and even found one on Craigslist in a different color and came to one conclusion: this sofa does not hold up. It looks droopy and sloppy in a few months. And at the price we were looking at paying for that sofa, I wasn’t going there.

We looked at a few big furniture stores near us and didn’t love the options – mostly microfiber, which I hear is wonderful, but not the look I wanted. So we came back to IKEA. I was really hoping we’d like the Karlstad sectional so we could get the square arms we wanted, but B and I both vetoed it within 30 seconds of sitting down. So, I started considering an Ektorp sectional. And in the end, that’s the route we went. So I compromised on my arm style, but now that it’s in our house, the two couches look so different, I don’t even notice.

At $999, the Ektorp sectional just makes sense for our family right now. In 7 years, when our kids are less spilly, we might be able to cough up big bucks for a sofa, but right now, it just doesn’t seem reasonable. We want people to be comfortable in our home, we don’t want to be worrying about spills and shoes on the furniture. Casco’s already found his favorite cushion. Thomas likes to set his race track up using the sofa back as a ramp. Nell scoots around on it. We’re all very happy with our choice. And, since the sectional is from IKEA, I’ll do my best to find everything else for this room elsewhere to keep our home from screaming “IKEA showroom wannabe” when you walk through the front door.

I chose the Svanby Gray cover – I was worried it would be too dark but it’s actually much lighter than the Karlstad Gray fabric option, which is what I’d assumed the Ektorp came in, too. It’s technically not machine washable, but I intend to give it a go when it needs to be cleaned. I’ve loved our Ektorp sofa and the sectional is no different – comfortable, appropriately sized for my 5’6 frame but long enough for Mr. B’s 6’1 frame. We love snuggling on the couch. And as with our Ektorp sofa, we love that we can replace the slipcover fairly inexpensively if this one gets ruined or we want a different look.

My one complaint: I wish the Ektorp sectional was more customizable like the Karlstad. I think this used to be an option, but it’s now just the 2×2 – 2 seats, a corner, then 2 seats. In our room, we could really use one extra seat going across the back of the family room. We’ll make it work with accent chairs on the other side, so it’s not a big deal, but if there had been an extra chair add-on or a chaise add-on, it would have been perfect.

Eventual next steps for this room will include figuring out the seating across from the sectional – not a big heavy piece, but one or two airy accent chairs, and replacing the hand-me-down rug with something new. Eventually I’d like a rustic coffee table, but for now, our DIY slipcovered storage ottoman works great.


  1. Just wanted to let you know that Rugs USA has a 75% off sale going on right now. That is the one I wait for when I’m itching for a rug :).

  2. Your sofa looks awesome and I have tod at that I really love the gray. It’s a nice color. I wish they had it when I bought out Ektorp. You are so right about this being such a personal decision. Sofas are so hard. We loved the lounge too but I agree that it’s
    Not prrfect for normal use. In a den maybe? And I really thought I wanted the Henry from West Elm until I sat on it. Too petite.

    Anyhow, great choice.

  3. Danielle says:

    It looks great! We were between the ektorp and the Karl for our basement and went with the Karl. It definitely made me fall in love with the sectional. We have an ektorp in our living room, which I love. I especially love the being able to wash the slip covers. It’s the cleanest sofa in our house! I’m impressed with how much you guys have done with your house in such a short time!

  4. i don’t know how I missed this post and i’ve been wondering about a closer pic of your sectional so I”m glad you posted the link in today’s post. i love it! i love the different color and it looks great!

  5. I’ve got a question. Have you already washed the cover? I’m thinking about changing my red cover for Svanby but I’m worried about this “chemical wshing only” thing. I’d rather have the chance to put it in my washing machine. I’m afraid it’s going to shrink or sth after that :/
    I’d appretiate your help 🙂

    • Don’t wash it shrinks

      • The huge what to buy couch dilemma! I have been searching, and I think I am going to just buy the Ektorp sectional in the gray. I have a friend that has the same material except in the beige. She says she washed some of her cushions and let them air dry. They were tight getting them back on, .but eventually they stretched back out. She hasn’t washed the whole base piece though. Thanks for the info!!
        The Pastor’s Wife

  6. your write very nice

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  9. love the look. I was thinking of getting the white ektorp sectional but kinda scared. After seeing the grey I’m sold on it. I have green walls and after seeing your green pillows I think the grey will go perfect

  10. Hi, I am about to buy the Ektorp for our new house and just read your “complaint”. This is exactly what I am strungeling with. So now, I am thinking about going for the Ektorp 3 seat sofa in combination with the Ektorp 2 seat and chaiselounge (so actually a three-seater too) instead of the sectional. Anyone has any experience with it ? We live in Spain, so I am not sure if the same sofas are available in IKEA in other countries as here, but hope you can help !

    • I have been wondering about hacking the sectional. We have it right now, but it would work better in my room with 3 cushions, the corner, then 1. I kind of wonder if there would be a way to change the configuration and Resew the slipcover. My husband thinks I’m crazy, but…

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  13. Benjamin Kappes says:

    Where did you buy the pillows, ottoman, and ottoman slip covers for your living room?


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  16. Just to let you know…we bought our IKEA sectional 15 months ago with the Svanby Beige cover. It’s a creamy colour, leaning more towards white than beige. It’s also a linen blend and says dry clean only. We had purchased an extra slipcover at the time we bought it, just in case ours got wrecked somehow. So given that, I got brave and machine washed mine. I used cold water with Tide and Resolve powder. Then I dried it in the dryer (I know I’m a crazy person but I’m all about easy…) for about 30 minutes. It was still damp when I took it out. It was hard to get back on, but it looks AMAZING….you can wash it, mine turned out perfect and I have read about others who washed it also. It was a bit wrinkly but within a few hours all the wrinkles had come out and it looked brand new. I would, without a doubt, buy this same sectional with the same slipcover again in a heartbeat. It’s comfortable, the cushions have not lost their shape even with 5 people in the house. We have not babied it, we lounge on it, eat on it, put our feet on it, and we could not be more pleased with the performance. The linen blend fabric just took it up a notch for me anyway, it rivals Pottery Barn and looks more high end than the white cotton cover. WIN WIN. We love it! And to think with two slipcovers we still paid less than half of what the Pottery Barn one cost!!!

  17. Hi Em! Have you tried washing the slipcover yet?? I need to replace the white one on our loveseat and I’m thinking about splurging for the svanby gray this time (on eBay, since it’s discontinued :/)

    • Yes! I have washed the cushion covers but not the whole thing, but the cushion covers are fine – I haven’t dried them, but the washing hasn’t been an issue. I will say that even before I washed them, the slipcovers seem to be wearing super fast – granted, we have 5 people and a dog on them all day every day, but…they won’t last forever.

      I was at IKEA Tuesday and they have a VERY similar gray (I don’t know if I could have told you the difference if I didn’t know they had discontinued the Svanby) and this one is machine washable, so just something to consider if you want truly washable.

  18. Loved finding this review! We are thinking about purchasing but live about 3.5 hours away! Can anyone that has the ektorp sectional give me the measurements, particularly from one corner to the end? I am a little confused with the info in the website. Is it really 96″ long on each side???

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  20. I also have the Ektorp (sofa and loveseat) from Ikea in white. After struggling to get covers back on after they were dry I read somewhere to put them on while they are still somewhat wet. They slip right on like butter. I have a front loader and simply set for an extra spin cycle and when they come out the are ready to put on and are mostly dry about an hour after I put them back on. The cushion covers themselves are not a problem to put on dry, just the frame cover!

  21. Not a big fan of the Ektorp. Cleaning them are always a struggle haha!

    I have a list of my favorite loveseats of the year located here:

    Let me know what you think! Keep up the good work too 🙂

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