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Mint & Gray

2012 October 4
by Becky

It feels like a lifetime since I’ve written about any home decor stuff, and since after mentioning my new couch the other day so many friends have asked to see it, I figured now would be a perfect opportunity!

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Here is a look at what we had before…a ten year old, saggy, crusty couch we bought in a panic when our couch wouldn’t fit through the doorway of our first apartment.

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Dark, right? Dark couch, dark carpet, dark room. If I owned this house, I’d be punching a couple windows on the right side wall, even if there isn’t anything interesting to see. You can never have enough light.

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I searched everywhere for a couch to fit our needs. A corner couch that would be durable and cleanable with clean lines without being uncomfortable. Ikea was my first stop, of course. The Karlstad (the one in the picture above) met our needs to a “t”. Removable/replaceable slip cover, big, simple, ten year warranty, and very comfy. For under $1000. Nothing else I liked came even close to this price. Plus, all online reviews were incredibly positive…even after trying I couldn’t find anything negative. So after Ethan and I jumped and rolled around on the floor model at Ikea, we were sold.

While the light, tweed-ish “isunda gray” cover was very appealing, we thought the “sivik dark gray” would better suit our needs. Since the darker cover option is machine washable and would hide stains easily, it seemed to be the best kid-friendly, pet-friendly choice. So I grabbed a pillow in the dark fabric to try. After a week it was full of dog and cat hair. Plus, I thought it kind of looked like denim—not my fav.

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So, when the couch was finally in stock (it was out of stock at all of the THREE Ikeas near us), we bought it along with the slightly more expensive isunda gray slip cover. I wanted to live with it to see if it was really as great as it seemed. If we hated it, the friendly furniture salesperson promised we could exchange it.

We did not hate it. We love it.

The soft textured gray gives the whole room a fresh and cool vibe…so much better than the muddy brown. And while I’m starting to feel like my house is an Ikea commercial, we just love their furniture. Who knows what we will want in 10 years, but right now, everything we have found at the big blue store has fit the bill at an affordable (but not too cheap) price. And nothing has fallen apart yet!

Now for a project…

When Stu’s mom was in town recently, she and I went thrifting. Linda has a great eye for inexpensive gems and isn’t afraid to explore even the dingiest of shops. One of these dingy shops was where we found just what I was looking for: a side table.

I apparently only took one, very horrible, before picture.

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Don’t you love how on home improvement stores they are all, “We found all these amazing items at a thrift shop for $2 each and with a little paint they are just perfect!” Yeah, well after scouring thrift shops for weeks, this was the first workable item I found. I’m just saying, it takes time. 

We brought the table home and couldn’t keep Ethan off of it—Linda had to hold him back while I wiped everything down. Stu exclaimed, “You BOUGHT that?” After which I told him, “Yes, for $10″. Ten dollas! How could I pass it up? Hard wood, barely worn, very sturdy, perfect.

My next task was finding the perfect mint paint. I know, no surprise I picked mint. OB-SESSED! I went through dozens of minty paint chips before landing on…wait for it…”Soft Mint” by Benjamin Moore. I bought a quart of semi-gloss.

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I could have color matched this in a sample size at Home Depot or Lowes to save mucho dinero, but the Ace Hardware five blocks from my house was closer and carried Benjamine Moore—plus they are always incredibly sweet and helpful, so I didn’t mind paying the extra $$.

I hardly ever sand anything before painting. I just use a good coat of Zinsser 1-2-3 latex primer before painting and it always turns out great. I’ve used this method on trim, banisters, furniture, and kitchen cabinets. Like. A. Charm.

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LOVE!! And how about those Ikea handles? I grabbed them on my last trip, two for a total of $7.99.

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It’s a weird little table, but really perfect for our space. And it’s just simple enough to fit our overall style, with a few fun details for a vintage kick. Speaking of vintage, I had a little fun with the drawers.

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mint painted furniture, mint paint, mint color paint, mint furniture, side table makeover, painted furniture, painting furniture, thrift store find, thrift store furniture, priming furniture, rehabbing furniture(Ok, they aren’t real vintage maps. I found these sheets of 12 x 12 paper at Michael’s…it was much faster.)

[pinterest]

After looking high and low for something reasonable that I liked, I ended up doing it myself for a cost of around $23.

I must say our old arm chair is having trouble fitting in these days. I’ve had him since my sophmore year of college and just can’t seem to replace him. But I will soon. For now, he just provides a little pop of party under my growing wall collage.

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So there you have it. A project and a big ticket furniture update. We are extremely pleased with both! What do you think?

Product List: Couch Ikea, floor lamps Ikea, Ottoman World Market, Kids table and chairs Ikea, Chair Nebraska Furniture Mart, Side Table Lamp Home Goods, Rug Home Depot, Pillows DIY

31 Responses
  1. Linda Johnson permalink
    October 5, 2012

    I love the new couch and especially the coffee table!! It all fits together so well in your space.
    The “mint” coffee table turned out wonderful! What a creative linning for the inside of the drawers.

    I’m currently on the hunt for headboards for my room and guestroom. I cannot wait to hit the used furniture store in town for a great deal, then prime and paint. I even have my dad in on the action. He has become my sander/stainer on a current project..

    As always, keep those memories coming.

  2. Erika permalink
    October 5, 2012

    Love the new, brighter look! Can’t wait to see it in-person soon!

  3. Sandy Schon permalink
    October 5, 2012

    Everything looks great!! The couch is perfect and the table is too. We’ll see them in person real soon!!!

  4. October 31, 2012

    I so love this piece and especially love the map inside the drawers. I’d be tempted to keep them empty since they look so awesome!! Great job!
    DeeJay recently posted..Pintrest Challenge via Young House LoveMy Profile

    • Becky permalink*
      October 31, 2012

      Thanks!!! The maps were so simple but probably my favorite part. The drawers will probably remain empty for a while since our son is at that age where he goes through everything. No drawer is safe! :)

  5. Farra permalink
    January 7, 2013

    Looking at this very same sectional. Any chance you’ve tried machine washing it or plan to? An essential for me and it states dry clean only, boo! Thanks!

    • Becky permalink*
      January 7, 2013

      Hi Farra! I have not tried to wash because of the dry clean only status. And we haven’t had any stains or issues yet that we couldn’t handle with just water and a cloth. The fabric will actually be really great for hiding tiny imperfections, should they happen. And, worst case, we replace the cover down the road…it’s not all that expensive and is an option you wouldn’t have with ANY other non-Ikea couch. Love their system. Also, there are a couple covers for this couch that are machine washable…may want to give them a second look!

      Overall we LOVE It and are so happy with our purchase. Good luck!

  6. Rachel G permalink
    February 23, 2013

    Hi there, Came across your blog because we have our eyes on that same Ikea couch. Do you know what color your walls are in your living room? We are having a hard time picking the right shade to match the couch. Thanks!

    • Becky permalink*
      February 24, 2013

      Rachel, I took a tip from Young House Love and used Benjamin Moore’s Moonshine. Gray is a REALLY hard color to get right, so I just went with something I knew would work! I love it. Not dark at all but looks great with white trim. You will love the couch! We do.

      • Krista permalink
        August 10, 2014

        I also just stole YHL’s moonshine for my living room and I came across your site while looking for reviews on the isunda gray karlstads! as soon as I saw the pictures I knew it was moonshine and so excited because I was a little worried the moonshine would looks beige against the grey couch but it looks awesome!

        • Becky permalink*
          August 11, 2014

          Moonshine is a GREAT color!! I jumped on it because I’ve been burned by gray before…one time I bought what I thought was gray and it was TOTALLY blue. This one looks great in every room, multiple lighting situations and is SO SO much better than beige. I use Moonshine for all my most used spaces (hallways, entryway, kitchen). And we love our Karl!! I searched everywhere and couldn’t find anything even close to a great for anywhere near the amazing price Ikea charges. Good luck!

  7. Becca permalink
    July 29, 2013

    Hi! I am going to buy this same couch and am struggling with what color rug to get! I see you got yours at Home Depot – if you don’t mind my asking, what color/size did you get?
    Thanks so much!
    Becca
    becca.ktana@gmail.com

    • Becky permalink*
      August 1, 2013

      Hi! Thank you! I got the basic white shag rug at Home Depot…we’ve owned two now! It’s this one and you can’t beat the price! Best deal for the biggest rug we could find, and there is no ordering required, you just take it right off the shelf. :) Good luck!

  8. Lorena permalink
    September 14, 2013

    Loved your review for the karlstad sofa! I’m looking to get this and have 2 dogs. Does the isunda grey slipcover hold up well against dogs? Does it attract a lot of fur and if it does, is it hard to vacuum off? Thanks in advance!

    • Becky permalink*
      September 15, 2013

      Thanks Lorena!
      I was actually really careful in my couch cover choice because of this issue. After looking online I thought the Sivik Dark Gray was going to be our choice – wouldn’t show stains AND was machine washable. But when I got to the store I did not like it at all, it looked like denim. So we went with the Isunda Gray because of it’s lighter, textured color – again for hiding inevitable little stains – and it can be dry cleaned. PLUS, it hides pet hair. We have short haired animals but they do shed, so I have to tape roll the couch every few weeks or so, otherwise it looks great ALL the time. And the couple little stains we’ve had so far have come right out with a little Resolve.
      Hope this helps! We LOVE the couch. I looked everywhere and couldn’t find anything I liked better…and for the price? Amazing.

  9. November 8, 2013

    We are thinking of getting Karlstad, but not sure how the dark grey ‘denim’ will hold up with pet (cats) fur. We have heard it was fine, but after reading your blog, I’m not so sure…

    Does the Isunda grey just hide the fur? Does the fur still get woven into the fabric?

    Thanks so much. Your space looks great.

    • Becky permalink*
      November 9, 2013

      So far it’s been great with pet hair. I tape roll it or vacuum it off regularly, but the hair never shows. I haven’t noticed anything getting woven into the fabric either. We are 1000% satisfied with our couch decision! It is so comfortable and extra supportive (good for my busted back) AND it looks fabulous.

      Good luck on your purchase!

  10. Jill permalink
    January 2, 2014

    Thanks for the honest review of the couch cover. We actually have the Kivik Ikea sofa and have had white for a couple of years because it’s just so easy to justify buying a new cover for the cheap price! I think both my husband and I have grown tired of the maintenance for the white cover and are ready to move on. Is the fabric on the Isunda gray a linen that would fray over time? Specifically whenever we consider furniture for our dog, we imagine if her nails would be able to get under the texture of the fabric and create “divits” – does that make sense? Thanks again for your help!

    • Becky permalink*
      January 3, 2014

      Hi Jill! We have had our couch for over a year now and still love the Isunda cover. I’ve notice a few areas that have a few pills on them, but otherwise it looks brand new. We have a dog (that’s not supposed to get on the couch but does all the time) and a very furry cat, but we just tape roll from time to time to keep up with the hair…it’s no big deal. We’ve had a few tiny spills that came right out with a little water and/or carpet cleaner spray. No “divits” that I can see, and we DO NOT keep up with our dog’s nails…they are ridiculously long. I can’t speak for down the road but so far so good! Good luck!

  11. Molly permalink
    February 21, 2014

    Thanks for the great review. We are also thinking of getting this exact sofa, I’m concerned about the back pillows though. Do you find yourself having to fluff them all the time? Do they get misshaped and disheveled looking? Thank you for your help!

  12. Stephanie permalink
    November 20, 2014

    Can you make a white slipcover for your party chair? That’d look fab!

  13. Ashlee permalink
    May 12, 2015

    Hi, would you mind telling me the dimensions of your room. I love this couch and want to make sure it wouldn’t overpower our room. I think our room is similar in size to yours (at least I’m hoping) because I think it looks great in your space and hope it would work for ours too. Thanks.

    • Becky permalink*
      May 15, 2015

      Sorry Ashlee, we actually don’t live in that house anymore. I have no idea what the dimensions were! And the room was an odd layout to begin with. But I always use painters tape to mark the area of a new piece of furniture so I can “practice” living with it in the space. Maybe that would help you? It’s a great couch, I highly recommend.

  14. June 9, 2015

    Hi there! Just wondering how this couch is still holding up for you. My husband and I are thinking of purchasing but are nervous it will not hold up. It seems too good to be true!

    • Becky permalink*
      June 9, 2015

      Hi Ashton! We are still LOVING our couch. It looks amazing and is still really comfortable. I will say, the three cushion couch side is more firm than the two cushion couch side, but still all really comfy and looks great. AND, if you ever wanted to replace the covers, it would totally possible, the whole couch for $200. Our covers are dry clean only, we didn’t like the machine wash options, but we’ve never had an issue getting little spots out with just a little upholstery cleaner and water. Go for it!

  15. Jenny permalink
    October 13, 2015

    So, after a few years with kids, how is the isunda gray fabric holding up?? Did the fabric pill at all? I’m a little concerned because i have a tweed-like fabric right now and it’s horribly pilly. I’m thinking about getting the kivik sofa in isunda gray… Thanks!!

    • Becky permalink*
      October 13, 2015

      HI! The couch still looks fantastic. I’m diligent about flipping and fluffing all the cushions once ever few months so we wear them evenly, and there is no noticeable pilling. I feel like the longer couch side, the one with only two large seat cushions, is slightly less firm than the shorter 3-cushion side, but it’s still super comfy. We love it. It’s beautiful! I highly recommend.

  16. Alicia permalink
    November 1, 2015

    Hi,
    Loving reading this thread. We are looking at this sofa too, tho being in N.Z doesn’t make it a cheap option for us as we can only purchase it online. But I can’t find anything I like the look of more. We are a family of 6 so are looking at something this size, I am just weary of not being able to check out the comfort factor!
    So how do you rate it for comfort?

    • Becky permalink*
      November 1, 2015

      Hi! I feel your pain, living without an Ikea is torture!! I LOVE this couch and think it’s really comfy. I have a bad back so the firmness of the cushions is great for me, but it’s not a “sink in” type couch. It’s held up to our older son jumping on it, animals (cat and dog) sleeping on it, and plenty of play dates. It still looks great after 3 years! Good luck!

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