Friday, September 21, 2012

Part Two of PB Basic vs. Ikea Ektorp

Whew! Whoa! Whaaaat! I got lost in our remodel and left blogland for quite some time. Here I am and I am ready to write.
I have had my Ektorp for almost a year now. It is holding up quite well. Kids, dogs, friends, hubs, everyone sits on it and enjoys it. It is easily mistaken for our old pb basic sofa. I am happy to report that the stiffness of the cushions is a thing of the pass. They have softened with time and we all enjoy sitting on it.
Overall, the construction of the two sofas appears to be where the similarities make them well, two very different sofas. I can't tell you what my pb sofa looks like on the inside. The guts of her are protected by upholstery and stuffing. The ektorp's guts are there and exposed for all of the world to see. Her skirt flutters upward with a slight breeze and ugh! She is cheap and easy! Nothing to hide! She is vulnerable and I don't like it. So why did I invest in more pieces you ask? Because I am cheap but in no way easy. Oh no, not easy at all.

Pottery Barn basic chair

Ikea Ektorp

Solid wood PB basic leg (Does she sugar those beauties?)

Ikea Ektorp (plastic darling. Nothing but plastic.)

The soft drape of the basic white twill cover.

Ikea Ektorp. The skilled seamstress called-in sick that day.

The plastic legs show now that I washed the cover once and followed the instructions. Bummer.

Naked PB Basic

Naked Ektorp

That is visible plywood(?) and this "upholstery" is dang near see through.

PB Basic. No plywood, or hinges, or guts. She is classy. I like to have girls like this over to Highland.
(Ummm, yes, that is a sock on the floor. My dog has a fetish, okay? The funkier the better.)

Yes, those are her springs and hinges that you see. And yes, that "fabric" tears very easily.
The ektorp cover shrunk-up tightly after the first wash. My basic and charleston covers never did that. It is so tight, the cusions are bending inside them. When I called ikea and asked about this, I was told the covers are not under the 10-year warranty; only certain parts of the frame. When my first cranberry twill cover from PB faded excessively, it was replaced immediately. PB even had the defective one picked-up for me at their cost -not mine. Ikea said "too bad, so sad, sista!"

Isn't that a pretty label? Yep. I love her.

 Okay, okay. So you get it. The PB Basic sofa and cousins are the better buy. It really is that simple. If you want comfort, quality, and excellent service, then buy the PB Basic. Everything about it is better. Everything. Splurge on the down cusion option which is simply a dream. We have the down cushions on our Charleston. Like naps? Oh yeah. If I had all of the money I needed, I would buy anything but ikea furniture. I've been to the stores several times. I've looked at the pieces. I've flipped them over and wiggled them and tested them the way my pets and children would live on them. But, Ikea furniture fits into this mom's budget so I buy it and I like it. I can buy THREE ikea Ektorp sofas for LESS THAN the price of ONE PB Basic sofa. I can buy 12-14 (seriously?) new Ektorp covers for the price of ONE PB Basic cover. (BTW, the ektorp chair and sofa covers fit on the PB pieces ;). They are tight, but they do fit.) I haven't tried purchasing a pottery barn basic cover and putting it on an ektorp. That is a great idea though. It would probably produce some great results. I might have to do that. I confess that I love the pb basic covers. Even the least expensive twill covers are so much better in quality than the ektorp covers.
Now, listen closely, buy ektorp covers and keep them on your pb basic pieces. When you are having a party or guests, put the pb slipcovers on. Keep them nice and tidy for the good days. You know, like your good china or guest towels. I don't have either, but I'm sure some of you do.
Friends, you get what you pay for.
Buy the Ektorp if you are broke and/or have kids, dogs, friends, and you eat, drink, sit, live on your furniture. I recommend them. However I strongly recommend the pb basic simply because of the quality of construction. They are made in the USA too. Buy the Pottery Barn furniture if your budget allows.
Will you sweat bullets if someone wants to watch a Tinkerbell movie and eat Cheetos at the same time? Seriously. Don't sweat the small stuff just buy OXYCLEAN.

Thanks for stopping in!


  1. Hi Emily, excellent posts about PB and Ektorp. You made me laugh with the comment about her sugaring her legs! I'm in a similar situation--three kids, lots o' cats, my PB Basic small sectional sofa is in constant use and the slipcover is SHOT after 6 years. Used to be cranberry, now it's pink, with the white piping showing through on the edges of the cushions, and a few random, kid-generated holes. Can I really get an Ektorp slipcover and make it fit the PB Basic? (I can do a little sewing if needed...) I just need a new-looking slipcover for a few months, to get us through the spring while we show the house and move over the summer...then maybe I can afford to replace the real PB slipcover, but I don't happen to have $1500 lying around doing nothing at the moment. And since I have the right-arm sectional, nobody on ebay carries the floor model slipcovers, they're all left-arm. I can't believe the PB slipcovers are so darn expensive, but you do, in fact, get what you pay for ... learned finally after 43 years! Thanks!

    1. Thank you! I have not tried the sectional cover from PB on my Ikea sectional. I would be cautious about purchasing one unless you were absolutely certain. I use the ikea covers on my PB Basic pieces and they fit but they are snug. Remember: PB will not accept a return on a slipcover purchase. Compare the measurements closely...I think it will work. Please let me know if you go for it! I just checked online for sales on the PB slipcovers...not a chance! I wish they had REAL SALES instead of what they do. It just doesn't feel like a sale if the item is still $1000! Thank you for visiting!

  2. Hi there!!! I wash my white Ektorp slipcovers about every other week. In cold, with tide and oxyclean. And I've never dried them. I put them on from the washer and they have not shrunk a bit! I can't see the plastic legs. Granted, this is not PB, and I do own some PB pieces, but I adore my sofa, chair and ottoman. We have five cats and they don't get very dirty. I wash them because I'm a little OCD and love fresh linen smell. LOL.

  3. Thanks for your post, it has been a huge help when trying to decide on the Ektorp. Luckily, I found a PB basic on Craigslist for dirt cheap! How snug are the Ektorp slipcovers on the PB basic? This is for a spare room and does not need to be perfect, but the dimensions of each sofa are a bit different so I am curious.

  4. I just read your extremely helpful post on the exact issue I have been researching. Thank you. However, you post is titled Part Two. I have not found Part One. Can you help me? Thanks. I like your blog. Please keep posting.

  5. I have had my PB basic chair for two years and my IKEA Ektorp sectional for a little over a year. I would never waste my money on the PB again. Far too expensive and it's no more comfortable than my beloved Ektorp. I'm actually selling it on CL and buying two Ektorp chairs to replace it. I wash my slipcover once a month in cool and tumble low for 15 minutes, then put it on damp. No shrinkage at all. And, I had a zipper rip at the seam, and IKEA shipped me an entire replacement slipcover for free (they are 5 hours away). Give it another try!

  6. HI! I enjoyed your comparison post. Does it seem like the plastic Ikea legs can be removed and replaced with something more attractive? My budget is tight and I want to know all the dirt before I spend. Thanks!

  7. hi your blog..I too have the Charleston from Pottery Barn, Ive had it for about 14 yrs now, and she is still beautiful, except for my slipcover because Ive washed it so many times, it has now torn, I can not fathom spending the amount that Pottery barn wants for a new slipcover..will the Ektorp slipcover fit on the Charleston??

    1. Ooooh sheesh. Nope. The Charleston sofa needs the Charleston slipcover. I know I had one. They no longer make them and I would love to have it again. Invest in the cover. You'll be much happier with that and the sofa will last many more years past the life of an ektorp.

  8. I bought a PB from Craigslist for $20. The structure of chair is in excellent condition but it needs a new slipcover bc the guys cat scratched at it a ton and it looks bad on the legs. I read this review and thought I'd give the ikea slipcover version a try and see if it worked. It did not. The arms were about 6 inches too short (measuring front to back) and it definitely was not going to squeeze on there. Now I'm back trying to find an affordable slipcover. I may try but I've seen some interesting reviews. Just wanted to give you and other readers a heads up that Ikea EKTORP is not a sure thing.

    1. I'm glad you commented. I've been away for a long time. I'm planning on starting a new blog soon. Meanwhile, we are deep into the remodel of a new home.
      Since this post I've bought and sold all of my ikea pieces with the exception of a sofa and a loveseat. They will soon be sold simply because I would like a new look. The covers do not now and probably never will again fit a PB basic, I think PB got wise to this and changed the design just enough...or something. This is probably worthy of another post. To sum it up if you purchase an ikea cover for a PB basic please please please purchase at your own risk. It may not fit. My old PB basic chair that I've had for years still can squeeze into an ektorp cover. It's tight but it works. Kinda like when I put on skinny jeans. Thanks for reading!

  9. I sure wish you had a blog again-I have been researching these sofas and you have been very helpful but i still don't know what to do. Is it a pain to have a slipcover sofa? I really like things to look a little tidy so I wonder if the slipcover would drive me crazy-:) I really would like the white on a sofa so I can't imaging having one that did not have a cover to take off. I am leaning towards the ikea sofa because its cheap, it it looks bad in a couple years I would just get a new one, they are that cheap. My husband and I aren't real tall people and we do have young grandkids, do you think its the best for us?

    1. Hi Kristi! I've decided that it's time for an update on my ektorp pieces and how I feel about them. I started writing it out so look for the post soon. To briefly respond to your questions:
      It's not a pain. I love having machine washable slipcovers. I would not get a dryclean only cover. That would be a pain. You must have a front loading washer for the main piece. If not, you'll have to go to the laundromat. I wash all of my covers in my front loader. When I had the sectional, I took that main piece to the laundromat. I personally don't understand why people say that slipcovers look messy! It's not a messy look. It's a relaxed look but tailored. It doesn't bother me but I am not a formal franny so that could be why. If you are purchasing it for your grandkids and they are very young, then yes it is a good option for you. Get some of the ottomans too. You'll need them. If you have older grandkids skip the ektorp and get something larger such as the kivik. Big kids loooouuunnge long and hard. The ektorp doesn't cut it. Ask my teenager and his friends. I hope this helps!