05 September 2012

About a couch

So, what’d you guys do over Labor Day weekend? Mr. P and me, well... we decided to buy a sofa.


Let me back up. Springing the news on you like that makes it sound like we impulse-bought a large piece of furniture to replace the sofa and armchair we sold before we moved. And that couldn’t be further from the truth! Behind the scenes here at the blog, I’ve been secretly researching for months. It’s been a bit of a roller coaster, so let me fill you in!

First, recall that Mr. P hated the old sofa because he found it so horribly uncomfortable. So his number-one-criterion for a new couch was comfort. He wanted a sofa on which he and I could both curl up and watch TV with cushioned tushes. And while his stipulation was super practical, as he and I do spend a lot of hours on the sofa each evening, I was a little bummed to rule out a lot of the stylish, super-tailored, sophisticated, dare I say... frou-frou sofas that I adore.

(From Ballard. Of course.)

So yes, I agreed to a more comfortable, casual style for the new sofa. Ugh, practicality. And I upped the practicality ante by insisting on a classic style in a neutral color. This one from Macy’s stood out to me (when I pinned it FOUR MONTHS ago):

And the sofa from Macy’s met another important consideration: price. While we were willing to pay a little more for a nicer sofa, we weren’t quite ready for an, ahem, investment piece. We really wanted to hit that sweet spot between the $3000 Pottery Barn swoon-worthy sectional and the $399 Sofa Warehouse special. Meaning the Arhaus that Sarah at Thrifty Décor Chick enthused over...

(source: Sarah at TDC)

... was sooooooo not in our budget.

Although that Macy’s sofa was the right price, unfortunately it didn’t satisfy another urge I’d been developing, which you may have noted already... the urge for a sectional. Our living room is huge, and I wanted to find a lounge-worthy sectional to fill it up. But only if – and this is a tricky if – I could find a big sectional I liked that was within a sofa-sized budget. Which is darn near impossible!

But there was one last consideration. And very, very important one.

OH RIGHT THIRD-FLOOR WALKUP. Mr. P and I are strong, Mr. P and I are capable, but Mr. P and I are not moving a sofa up those stairs. And a sectional? Whooooo boy.

It’s not just that we’d need to hire movers, though. Any sofa we purchase has to clear two important obstacles. First, the distance between the window frame and the handrail on the landing is a mere 32”. And the widest door that leads into our living room is also only 32”.

Have we gotten picky enough yet? We wanted:

- a sectional
- at an inexpensive sofa price
- which is comfortable
- with classic lines for me
- and modern lines for Mr. P
- covered in neutral fabric
- and is big but not TOO big
- that could be moved into to our third floor walkup.

Do you see why it took us months to find our favorites that met all the criteria and finally, finally buy a sofa?!

After a few months, this was the short list of contenders:

The EKTORP 2+2 corner sofa from IKEA

Really, who in blogland doesn’t have a white EKTORP sofa?


I loved this sofa for a variety of reasons. For one: DREAM WHITE SOFA, you guys! And the white slipcover was machine washable, so when (when!) I smudged chocolate ice cream on it, or Mr. P dropped one of his many ink pens for grading, I could bleach the stain into oblivion. The reviews said so (this one in particular is great)!

I also loved that it didn’t have a “sidedness”. Do you know what I mean? Because it’s symmetric, it would work in our current room, as well as any future room – just rotate it ninety degrees.

And of course, the price – under a thousand smackers at $949.

Mr. P, however, preferred...

The EKTORP loveseat with chaise from IKEA

It’s sectional! It’s a sofa with a chaise! It’s both!


Honestly, I personally liked the coziness of the 2+2 more; having “two backs” in the L-shape is my fave. But, the open chaise on this guy was Mr. P’s preference – which is important, because he wasn’t in love with the white slipcover like I was. Compromise is the name of the game at Casa P.

Still, this one has it has all the same pros as the other sofa – machine-washable slipcover, symmetric (the chaise can be attached on the left or right), and the price is so, so right at $600! I repeat: SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS. You could buy five of these for the price of one PB sectional.

I should mention, one of the reasons Mr. P and I liked IKEA sofas so much was because we could move the boxes up the stairs ourselves. It wouldn’t be fun, but we could do it – I measured the boxes in-store, to ensure that the dimensions could make it into the car and up our staircase. Compared to hiring movers, an IKEA sofa is easy in, easy out.

However, after searching at many furniture stores in-town, we managed to find one that would deliver this number...

The Randolph Sectional from Good Works

Huh? This is not a white slipcovered sectional.

The smaller-profile arms are definitely more contemporary than the traditional rounded ones I usually prefer, but Mr. P likes the style. And as different as it is, I must admit that this sectional delivered something the IKEA ones did not – the open chaise that Mr. P preferred, with the “two-backs” that I like. Letting us both have our way comes with a downside, though; this isn’t symmetric. It makes me a bit nervous to buy a sectional that wouldn’t necessarily work in another room.

But back to the fabric. Let’s be honest – as much as I adore the white slipcover look, do I really want to wash it? Can I handle the wrinkles, the sagging slipcover? Microfiber could save me a lot of trouble – and Mr. P found it way more comfortable.

Plus, after visiting all the sofas in person, this sofa was obviously nicer quality than the IKEA sofas, but only slightly more than the 2+2. That’s right, although most of the shop’s sofas are in the $2-3k range, this one clocks in at just $1050, $1100 with delivery from the local shop.

It took many months of research (in-person and online) and multiple store visits (big-box stores, specialty chain shops, and local boutiques) to help us decide which sofa was THE ONE for us. But we finally made our choice... and I’ll tell you about it tomorrow! Any guesses how we reconciled my love of white and hoping for a cheap sofa with Mr. P’s pricey taste and microfiber desire? Which would you pick?


Miranda said...


Rachel C said...

Yay!! I've been anxiously waiting for this post ever since you moved! Every morning when I open your blog I hope it's couch reveal day, so imagine my giddiness when today was the day!!! Well, almost. I can't wait to see what you decided. (My guess is the Randolph sectional in white or a paler beige.)

Tina said...

Ooooo, I am so excited for you!!!
Must admit about the "sidedness " business confusing me at first because I thought of Miranda's comment from the get-go...
Personally, I think the Randolph is more... Elegant? But then the washable-ness of the Ecktorp is soo practical, except I don't particularly care for the skirts on the covers... Also, I envision the Ecktorp more in a den/office for its casualness, too. So I'm betting on the Randolph. Please don't hold it against me if I'm wrong -y'all have been thinking this through for a such loooong time now. No way I would ever want to contribute to buyers remorse ever. Ever? Did I say Ever? :-)
How will I be able to sleep tonight waiting for tomorrow's posting - hopefully with "installed" pix??? Yay!!!

Tina said...

Oh. $50 for delivery? I'd pay someone $50 anyday to deliver GROCERIES up those stairs... No joke.

Helen said...

Hi! I just found your blog searching for info on the Ektorp with lounger. Is there any chance that you still have the measurements of the boxes saved somewhere? It seems to be an IKEA-national secret, which is not so good as I an trying to figure out whether the boxes would fit into my car :)

Sarah said...

@Helen, unfortunately, I don't still have those measurements - I'M SORRY! I remember how frustrating it was trying to find that info! However, I CAN tell you that it came in two big boxes. We thought one would fit my husband's car (a midsize Hyundai sedan) but the other box would have to be strapped to the roof to get it home. That was, admittedly, one reason we voted against it... as the nearest IKEA is five hours away. Good luck!

Kendyce Manguchei said...

Product dimensions
Width: 99 1/4 "
Min. depth: 34 5/8 "
Max. depth: 64 1/8 "
Height: 34 5/8 "
Seat height: 17 3/4 "

Width: 252 cm
Min. depth: 88 cm
Max. depth: 163 cm
Height: 88 cm
Seat height: 45 cm

Sarah said...

@Kendyce, those are for the assembled sofa, correct? We're still on the hunt for the box dimensions! Perhaps my next trip to IKEA, I'll remember to check...