Buying a couch is stressful business. It has to look good, be sturdy, have decent fabric that won’t show dirt or wear, is easy to clean, be comfortable, and be large enough to accommodate bodies, but not SO large that it takes over a room.
Sometimes I think just buying cushions and hanging out on the floor would be a better idea.
Not really. I love lounging on a big, enveloping couch, reading, watching TV, napping…whatever. So getting the right one is really important.
My first thought in my new, bigger living room was: SECTIONAL. I love sectionals. They provide structure in a room, obviously have more than enough seating, and have that awesome corner that my family calls “the Nest.” The Nest is a happy place for snuggling and reading and I wanted one quite a lot.
But then I started looking at sectionals. I figured they wouldn’t be too much more expensive than a regular couch. After all, I didn’t want a giant pit sectional. Just something smallish.
I couldn’t rationalize the prices I was seeing, so I turned to Old Reliable IKEA-land and thought that the Karlstad would suit my needs. It’s comfortable, has good reviews online and, in the Korndal gray cover, seems stain-resistant. You can even change the arms on it so you can use it in different rooms. Sold.
A little voice in the back of my mind said, “Look on Craigslist. You might find a deal.” And lo and behold, I thought I had. I found a $250, six-year-old Karlstad (OR SO I THOUGHT) not too far from us. We checked it out, found the sofa itself to be in good shape, and rented a truck.
Sure, I wasn’t crazy about the color, but it’s a Karlstad, I thought. I can just get another cover. And sure, the arm is on the wrong side, but I can move those! It’s a Karlstad!
Well, no. We originally set the couch up so it was under the window and blocking the fireplace, with the intent to move it once we got a new cover and the right tools. It fit beautifully there and I had high hopes that, once we switched the arms, it would work just as well the other way.
When we got the new cover, we discovered that it was in fact a Karlanda sofa, an older model. The cover didn’t fit and the arms are attached to the base; you cannot change them. A right-arm three seater piece has to always be on that side. Bemz offers covers (not cheaply),and the arrangement wasn’t the WORST thing ever, but it wasn’t quite right. I didn’t like the way it made the room seem smaller and I decided to repost the sofa on Craigslist.
It sold within a week, and I had already located a possible replacement:
At 1/3 the price of buying it new, the Axis sofa from Crate & Barrel fit our needs well. Sure, we had to lug it down four flights of stairs (which is why The Man looks like he is falling asleep on it in the picture) and drive it across town, but apparently that’s how far we’ll go to avoid paying full price for a couch. It’s crazy comfy and I love the microfiber fabric, which repels pet hair better than anything else in the world. Score!
That said, beware! Not every Craigslist misadventure ends this well. I was really lucky that I found buyers so quickly AND found a replacement on the same day the buyers came. I should have measured more carefully and checked the cover on the IKEA piece to make sure it was really what I thought it was. I definitely measured compulsively when considering the other couch!