What does an EKTOPR couch from IKEA look like five years later? It’s a bit lumpy — but it’s clean. (Jennifer Bardsley)

What does an EKTOPR couch from IKEA look like five years later? It’s a bit lumpy — but it’s clean. (Jennifer Bardsley)

How an IKEA couch held up for this family of four — plus a dog

After five years, the cushions have become saggy and lumpy. But the slipcovers mean it can be cleaned.

Five years ago I tricked my husband into giving up his entire Saturday to IKEA.

“We’ll just grab lunch,” I said. “You love meatballs.” As soon as we arrived, I told him the truth. “We’re buying a new couch today.” Our family room sofa was broken beyond repair, and I was tired of crashing down into the cushions.

The problem was, I hate spending money on fancy things my kids might destroy, and my husband doesn’t enjoy spending money at all. So I thought we got a good bargain for our new suite of furniture. For the sum of $1,000 we bought an EKTORP couch with chaise lounge, an armchair, an ottoman and a replacement slipcover. I paid a small fee to have it delivered to our house a month later.

To be clear, from the very beginning my husband thought this was a bad idea. He had serious questions about the engineering of our new sofa because of the cushion construction. But I pointed out the cleverness of having machine-washable slipcovers. If juice spilled or a kid puked, all I needed to do was toss the fabric into the washing machine.

That sounded great in theory, but it turns out that the EKTORP covers were tricky. Our beige slipcover was easy to put on, and I could complete the entire process in 20 minutes. The white slipcover was tighter, and guaranteed a 40-minute struggle. Both slipcovers required physical strength and mobility to get the job done, which often aggravated my tendinitis.

With two pigs — I mean kid — and a poodle in the house, I needed to wash the slipcovers every month. Each time I did so, I was shocked at the filth I found. But once freshly-washed slipcovers graced the cushions, it was like having a brand new couch — until the sofa became lumpy.

Remember my husband’s concerns about construction? He was right. After two years, the back cushions flattened like old pillows. The biggest problem was the chaise lounge section. The end hung over the edge of the frame in an odd way, and the center part sagged when you sat on it.

I searched online for remedies and came up with solutions like “fluff the fluff up,” and “add more batting.” I tried these techniques, but they didn’t work very well.

“Yes, the couch is becoming saggy and uncomfortable,” I told my husband. “But at least it’s clean.”

Sanitation is an important issue and can’t be overrated. The EKTORP couch survived puke, blood, coffee, chocolate milk, ice cream, mud, poodle slobber and more. I felt confident inviting guests to sit down, because I knew that I’d bleached the heck out of it.

Five years later, I’m satisfied that I got my money’s worth from our IKEA furniture. That being said, I’m planning on taking my husband to La-Z-Boy in the near future.

“Don’t worry,” I’ll tell him. “We’ll only be there 20 minutes.”

Jennifer Bardsley publishes books under her own name and the pseudonym Louise Cypress. Find her online on Instagram @the_ya_gal, on Twitter @jennbardsley or on Facebook as The YA Gal. Email her at teachingmybabytoread@gmail.com.

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