Let’s talk about how to choose a couch.
In 2013, I splurged on my big girl sofa at Pottery Barn floor model. Yes, it was a slipcovered sofa in IVORY LINEN. And I had two kids at the time that were 2 to 3 years old. (You are probably shaking your head right?)
Everyone (including my husband) thought I was insane. I get tons of questions on why I didn’t just get the Ikea Ektorp couch since it was way cheaper and everyone’s automatic assumption is that the kids would just stain an ivory linen sofa! Below are a few things I was thinking about when purchasing the sofa.
Note: My comparison of the sofas are based on the Pottery Barn Grand Sofa versus the Ikea Ektorp. If you were going to just get the regular size sofa from Pottery Barn, I would say save your money and go with the Ikea Ektorp. However, read on to see why I went the other route!
How to Choose a Couch: 10 Essential Tips
The Ikea Ektorp is smaller than most sofas. If you don’t have a lot of room, the Ektorp might be perfect for your space. However, if you are trying to fill up an open floor plan living room and kitchen space, the Ektorp may look tiny in such a big space. Here are the width dimensions of the sofas for comparison:
2. Deep Seating.
This was a HUGE selling point for me. With three kids and a husband who likes to hog the middle of the sofa, I want to make sure there is enough room for all of us to fit. This is especially important when we are reading night time books! See how I can curl up my feet?!
In addition, I’m one who LOVES slouching on the sofa, so I need deep seating. Here are the deep seating dimensions:
The Ektorp definitely loses this battle. When I went to the Ikea Grand Opening in Kansas City, I remembered being in shock by how small it seemed. I just remember my gut feeling was that my husband would not feel comfortable on that sofa. If deep seating is important to you (like it is to me), this is probably your selling point on the Pottery Barn Grand Sofa.
3. Cost of the Sofa.
‘Obviously, the Ikea Ektorp wins by a long shot in terms of cost. In comparing the least expensive versions of each brand, you could buy 3-4 Ektorp sofas for the price of the PB Grand Sofa. If you have kids and want something that is durable enough to last, but not feel guilty about them tearing it up, the Ikea Ektorp may be a contender for you at this point.
Ikea Ektorp (in Lofallet Beige): $399 (other colors $100 more)
Pottery Barn Sofa (in Twill White, polyester): $1,119 (on sale at 20% off) regularly $1,399
Pottery Barn Grand Sofa: $1,359 (on sale at 20% off) regulary $1,699
4. Cost of the Sofa Slipcover.
There is also no comparison here either. The cheapest slipcover cost for the Ikea Ektorp is $49 (color: Lofallet Beige). The most inexpensive slipcover for a Pottery Barn Grand Sofa slipcover is $542 when you can catch their best sale at 20% off (color: Twill, Cream). At the highest price point, the Ektorp slipcover was $149 depending on which cover you got. The Pottery Barn Grand Sofa slipcovers ranged all the way up to $1,749. Insanity right?!
If you do go the Pottery Barn route, I might suggest getting the knife edge cushion. While I do prefer the box edge myself, eBay has a TON of slipcovers from Pottery Barn in only the knife edge version! Check it out for yourself: go on eBay and search for the slipcovers. I was able to find one in Twill Cream for HALF the price at $339. Now, I have a “home” cover and a “guest” cover! Click here to search for the term “Pottery Barn Grand Sofa Slipcover” and sign up to watch for the term!
5. Fabric Material Options.
Both brands have washable slipcovers. With the Pottery Barn specifically, depending on which fabric you choose, the care instructions are a little different. With each of them, the biggest tip is that you should dry them to the point that they are still a little damp. Otherwise, you risk shrinking the slipcover enough that it might take a bit of effort to put the cushion back on.
This is a given with slipcovers in general. When I visited my friends’ houses with Ikea Ektorps, I noticed similar wear and tear as compared to my Pottery Barn sofa – both had wrinkles in certain areas. Which includes the edges by the seat and back cushion. If this is something you know you will not get over, you have more options on fabrics that do not do this with Pottery Barn versus Ikea.
Pilling is when the fabric or upholstery wears and you see little piles of fabric, similar to lint on a shirt. With the Pottery Barn Grand Sofa, I have had no issues with the linen or the twill. A link to Kristen’s review of a sofa shows what pilling looks like. I don’t have any personal experience with the Ikea fabrics, but I do know that the linen and twill have held up with ours!
8. Options for Fill Material.
If you want down, you need to go with Pottery Barn, as they give you the option of either polyester or down. I have the polyester myself. The only issue that I have with my Pottery Barn Grand sofa like I said is it squishing at the corners. I think that you would also get this with the Ektorp. If you fluff it out, it would be as good as new.
9. Assembly and Cushion Fit.
Obviously, the most inexpensive option between the two is because you have to assemble the Ikea Ektorp. In a majority of the pictures that I’ve seen, the Ikea Ektorp looks like the cushion is bubbly (e.g. not flat). It looks as though it has an overstuffed cushion. See below for my instore photo.
I’m sure if you sit on it and use it, the cushion will flatten out. With our Pottery Barn Grand Sofa, it was perfectly flat from day one.
10. Delayed Gratification.
In this stage of my life right now, I’m also torn between whether I should wait “just a few more years” for that furniture I’ve been yearning for. At first, I couldn’t buy the furniture because I was new out of college and broke. Now that I have a little money to be able to invest in the furniture, but on the other hand, I’ve got these sweet beautiful kids who love to make messes. I’m just like my kids, “I want it now!” Which means I take a risk on this furniture! However, I am adamant about not being someone who puts protective plastic around the furniture! So, taking the risk with this awesome deep seating is what I’ll be doing.
- I wanted to be able to fit my entire family on the sofa comfortably, and the deep seating that it offered was well beyond what the Ikea Ektorp could offer.
- Pottery Barn offers a larger variety of material options for slipcovers (even though they are at higher price points).
- It’s Pottery Barn.
I’ve owned my Pottery Barn Grand sofa for over three years now, and the only downside that still bothers me a TEENY bit is how the back cushion squishes. However, we use this couch EVERY DAY and my cat loves to perch himself on the top of our sofa – so that probably is the reason it probably squishes like that! Honestly though, its easy enough to fluff back! I’m pretty sure the Ikea Ektorp also has this problem being a slipcovered sofa.
To answer all the pondering questions about having a white sofa with kids: I use Scotch Guard on the slipcovers and it does wonders.While Pottery Barn says that you SHOUL D NOT use protective fabric spray, I used Scotch Guard on both the ivory linen and the white twill. They have been awesome at deterring stains! In conjunction, we also have a rule about eating on the couch: no eating or drinking on the couch.
Since I use the white twill on a daily basis, I can easily bleach and wash these slipcovers if there should ever be an incident! I’ve washed the linen ivory with apple juice stains, and it came out clean!
Overall, we LOVE our couch and use them every single night.
With our entire family comfortably seated on our sofa.
In ivory and white.
With no stains.