Saturday, March 31, 2012

Part I : Ikea Ektorp vs. Pottery Barn Basic Sofas and Chairs

Of course a disclaimer first: I am not an employee of Ikea nor Pottery Barn. I am not being compensated for this review. I was an employee of Pottery Barn for a few years but have not been for over three years now.

Waaaaaaay back in  December of 2000 I purchased a Pottery Barn Basic Sofa. It was frustrating. It took over three months to be delivered and did not come with a slipcover. I ordered a "quick-ship" sofa and cover that should have arrived within two weeks. It did not. I was not compensated and was disappointed with the "Oh well!" attitude I received on the phone. The slipcover came separately in the mail. That was fine. I purchased the cranberry twill cover and I loved it! I was young and it was fun and looked great for the holidays. Several years later, I purchased the Basic Chair. I still have it and am very pleased. No complaints.

When I washed the cranberry cover for the first time, it streaked and faded noticeably. I contacted PB immediately and was told that dry cleaning was recommended even though care instructions on the cover read that it was machine washable. I stated my case and they immediately sent me a new cover. I was pleased about that.


It looked just like this. Pic via Pottery Barn.

This sofa lasted about ten years. It was well constructed. I was very pleased with the comfort and quality. After nine years, its old bones began to squeak and creak and sag. The back and seat cushions held on and never disappointed me. Rhyan complained that the basic was too small for a grown man to be comfortable on it. It was perfect for me and the kiddos. It was our only sofa and I am sentimental. I wanted to fix it. I called an upholsterer about repairing the PB bones and he recommended I buy another sofa. So, I sold it on craigslist (regretfully) for $200. I paid $1300 for it back then, so I got my money out of it.

We replaced it with a Pottery Barn Charleston Sofa in September 2009. My heart melted when that sofa arrived. Oh, how I loved thee! Again, it took over three months (what??) to be delivered but I didn't care! It came with a fantabulous white denim slipcover and those back pillows! I love that sofa. That is why she is still with me today. I wrote in a previous post how I recently ordered a white twill cover for her. It was pricey, so I waited for a 20% off email and a tax return. The white denim cover needed replacing only two years after we purchased it. It frayed and ripped. We wore that fabric out. I washed it constantly and the kids had a blast with the pillows and cushions making forts and having pillow fights. It was our only sofa and we five Lindleys could all fit on it for movie night. Not anymore, of course. The kids are growing!

Image via Pottery Barn

I also purchased the Charleston Ottoman at the same time. It is great and I think they are a must have together. The dogs like to lay on it and my feet still fit too!


My Ikea Ektorp Sofa and PB Charleston Ottoman

Then, in November 2011, we made the all-day-long trek to Chicago and purchased our Ikea Ektorp Sofa and Chair. To say I was a bit shocked at what I saw when I opened the boxes, is well, an understatement. Then I remembered what I paid for them. Remember : One always gets what one pays for. I was okay with that because it was going into the sunroom where the children watch TV and eat snacks. A new white cover would be only $49 for the sofa and $29 for the chair. A mom on a budget can't beat that. I was okay with the kids making it work to earn space in this frequented room. The Ektorp and the Basic look very similar but the similarities stop right there. Because of this Ikea purchase, the regal Charleston was moved to the media room where its over-sized presence and fluffy loose pillows will be appreciated and gently cuddled. It is in a much safer place now.

Part II of the review will be up tomorrow.
Thanks for stopping by!
~Emily





14 comments:

  1. Is there a part 2? I'm very interested!

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    1. So sorry about the delay! I hope this helps. Please feel free to email with any questions. Thanks for visiting LOH.

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  2. Hi Emily, I've been wanting a PB sofa for a long time. I found Charleston Sofa & Loveseat on Craigslist. I'm going Sunday Morning to look at it. The gentleman that listed it as PB slipcover sofa & Loveseat $200. I ask him if it was for sure PB he said it had been given to him by some friends & that he was told that it was. From the pictures he posted it looks like the Charleston, I'm not sure what the fabric is but, can you please advise me on what I should look for, any special markings or tags so I'll know it is PB b/c I will need to purchase a new slipcover & I want to make sure I'm getting the correct one.
    Thank You, Lisa

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  3. Hi Lisa!
    I understand your concern. I bought a slipcover from ebay once that the person claimed was Pottery Barn for the basic sofa when in fact, it was an ikea ektorp cover. I was very disappointed in the dishonesty. Look for good, solid construction. My PB Charleston has a label underneath the seat cusions that says Mitchell Gold - they manufacture and design the pb sofas. It also has round, solid wood feet. You might find a brand name underneath the sofa. All of my slipcover pieces have the pb label on the inside of the cushion covers. Also, my zippers are metal and not plastic on the covers. The Charleston has 4 back pillows and two toss pillows. I know you plan to buy a new cover, but try to get at least one old cover that went with the sofa. You can use it as a pattern to someday sew your own cover or have someone make one for you.
    Best of luck and I hope this helps!
    ~Emily

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  4. What if you had the choice between a used PB Charleston set or a new Ikea Ektorp set? That is what I am faced with right now and can't decide!

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    1. Oh, you asked the right person! I recently decided on buying a new Ektorp sectional for my sunroom. The charleston pieces are so extremely comfortable and slouchy. The quality of the pb pieces exceed the ikea pieces. The price tags on the pb slipcovers make them untouchable for me. If you have children/pets get the ektorp if it will be used all the time. I love the pb furniture pieces but I can't invest in them anymore. I think that pottery barn is extremely overpriced on their slipcovers. The quality is there, no doubt. I still can't justify paying that much. The ektorp can't touch the comfort level of the charleston. The ektorp is a small sofa with a shallow seat and feels quite firm for some time. If you have the big budget for the pb pieces then go for it! If not, the ektorps are great pieces if you accept the flaws and remember you are getting what you pay for. A little hint, if you buy large down pillows and sew white covers for them, the ektorps can look and feel very similar to the charleston. Good luck and thanks for stopping by!
      ~Emily

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  5. Thanks for the advice reading your reviews and your answer to my question really helped! I have wanted the Charleston for at least 10 years, but couldn't justify the price either...I was just about to buy the Ektorp and then as I listed my couch on Craigslist I found a Charleston sofa, chair and a half and ottoman for $600! However, I do have kids and pets and knew I could never afford a new cover for it so I was really torn. I found out that she had three sets of covers with them though, all in great condition! Since we have a separate Tv room with a couch for the kids comfort won out and I went for the Charleston set!

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  6. Oh wow! You found a fantastic deal! You will love the Charleston pieces. They are so comfortable and beautiful. Enjoy and thanks so much for visiting my blog.
    Take care,
    Emily

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    1. Hi! I just sold my brown leather furniture (hope I don't regret it) and plan on purchasing the ektorp sectional in off white. How do you like yours? Is it really that uncomfortable? Do you sink in it, or are they uncomfortably firm? Does it wrinkle like crazy? I just really want to brightn our room, but can't spend more than $1,0000 on a sectional...especially since we are also buying two of the chairs to match. I would live a picture review of your sectional...pretty please? :)

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  7. My family and I love the ektorp sectional that we purchased a few months ago. It is sink in comfortable and works very well in our small space. It is far more comfortable than the ektorp sofa that we bought. I will do a review with pics for the sectional just because you asked so nicely! :)

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  8. I love this particular style of couch--I am looking for a loveseat sectonal with chaise for my small living room, and was thinking about the Ektorp. However, by the time you get it delivered and pay someone to put it together, it's not that much of a value anymore.

    Are there any other companies besides PB and Ikea that make a couch like this?

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    1. Yes, there are several companies that make slipcovered furniture. Prices vary considerably. For value, try JCPenney and Lee industries. Other options are Crate and Barrel, Restoration Hardware, Quatrine, Williams Sonoma...just to name only a few. None of those retailers will have the low prices of ikea. Keep an eye on craigslist or local classified adds for pieces. Ikea slipcovers fit a wide range of pieces and you can often use them on other pieces. They may not fit perfectly, but it saves a ton of cash! We are fortunate enough to have an Ikea that is only a few hours away. We don't have to pay for delivery or set-up. We do make it a day trip and leave very early in the morning. Ikea pieces are very easy to asseble as long as you don't have any physical concerns. Good luck!

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  9. Its a great sofa for a great price. The company that sold/shipped it was a bit of a hassle. The product came in 3 separate boxes with 3 separate tracking numbers. Somehow the boxes got lost through shipping but after 2 weeks after anticipated arrival date, they arrived.

    Quality and comfort is a 5 star compared to pricing. It fits nicely in a small apartment with a small living room. Some reviews claim the cushions are brick like, that is absolutely not true. The firmness of the cushions are just right for support. Installation took about 2-3 people in about a little over an hour. I am satisfied with my purchase.

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    1. Did you purchase the Ikea Ektorp Sectional? In response to your comment regarding the brick-like cushions...I did have that problem with the ikea ektorp sofa but not with my sectional. I have the loveseat with down cushions and they are terrible. The down comes out constantly and they are very noisy! They sound like crinkly paper when we sit on them. I am very glad that you like your sectional. We love ours! I think it would fit in just about any space, big or small. My husband and I put it together very quickly. Thank you for your comment!

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