These Chic Custom Couches Are Really IKEA Sofas in Disguise
The power of reupholstery.
Updated Jul 31, 2023 11:39 AM
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Buying an IKEA sofa is a rite of passage—it’s practically written in the starter apartment handbook. After a few moves or a couple of wine spills, that new-sofa smell wears off and you’re left with the question: To keep or not to keep? We vote keep. Like any beloved product from the Swedish retailer (think: Besta cabinets, Pax wardrobes), you can easily customize any one of the company’s couches. The easiest IKEA sofa hack? Reupholster it. Before you reach for the sewing machine, keep in mind that there are a number of companies out there making stylish, ready-made slipcovers for IKEA couches. Then again, you can always go the easy DIY route. Either way, these six makeovers will convince you to play dress-up.
Give It a Dye Job
Designer Robin Heller had swapped the legs on her Söderhamn several times to give it a refresh, but when she moved into her Baltimore dream home, she had a vision of tie-dye for the nine-year-old sofa. She turned to a brand called Upstate to bring that idea to life. It made a custom cover hand-dyed in swirls of yellow, pink, red, and blue that has not only become the focal point of the room but cleverly disguises messes. Bonus points for the matching curtains.
Create Your Own Fabric
IKEA’s Ekebol sofa was seemingly designed for tiny spaces: It has built-in shelving, removable cushions, and can squeeze into tight corners. The only catch? Its washed gray fabric isn’t quite as inspiring. Pro DIYer Lana Red gave her piece a floral flair by wrapping it in a bold print she designed herself and sent to Spoonflower for manufacturing.
Swathing a basic sofa in ultra-luxe fabric is a surefire way to elevate the piece. Christene Barberich likens her re-covered Vallentuna sleeper sofa to “1960s atomic Italian modernism.” The funky printed velvet fabric in question is Princesa by Gaston y Daniela and was fitted by Brooklyn-based Y&C Upholstery.
Customize It From Top to Bottom
When Black and Blooms blogger Sara Toufali and her boyfriend moved into their sunny Los Angeles apartment, they realized their dark gray Söderhamn sectional was dampening the mood of the bright and airy living room. Instead of scrapping the four-seater, Toufali worked with Comfort Works to create a custom cream-colored slipcover. They also switched out the metal legs for pinewood ones that picked up on the warm honey tones of the many rattan planters.
Cover It in a Flash
Self-professed “Scandiphile” Rebecca Thandi Norman, one half of the pair behind the blog Scandinavian Standard, upgraded her Söderhamn sofa with a made-to-order slipcover by Bemz in pale pink. The process, as Norman outlines, is super-straightforward: Request a few fabric samples and place your order—and it arrives at your doorstep six to eight weeks later.
Box It Up
This isn’t an upholstery trick per se, but you might want to level up your DIY skills after learning that this IKEA sofa hack saved a new San Francisco resident $5,000. Designer Erin Roberts was tasked with fitting an L-shaped sofa in a living room corner. When she couldn’t find the perfect fit and custom options clocked in way over budget, she rolled up her sleeves and made her own. All it took was two love seats connected by a matching corner table, all encased in a cherrywood frame. It looks built in, but luckily for the renters, the sofa is free-floating just inside the platform.