Our Favorite Couch

We weren't really looking for a new couch.

However, while we were wandering around IKEA back in January, one in particular caught our attention. It was the FRIHETEN sectional sleeper sofa, and after a few weeks of deliberating, we went ahead and bought it.

It's everything we hoped, and nine months later, we still love it.

The process for purchasing it was pretty straightforward. We got the ball rolling in the IKEA sofa department, took our paperwork to the register downstairs and paid for it, and then we drove to the overflow warehouse down the street to pick it up.

Like most IKEA furniture, the FRIHETEN came flat packed in several boxes, which made it fairly easy to transport home.

Getting it into our small house was quite another matter. We waited until our girls were snug in their beds, and then we locked the cat in the bathroom and took the sliding glass door in the living room off its tracks so we could fit everything, including the old couch, through the opening. Then we had to unpack all the boxes outside and carry the sofa parts into the house one by one as we needed them since there wasn't room to lay them all out at the same time.

It's a good thing our girls sleep hard!

Our house did get pretty cold with that big gaping hole in our living room where the sliding door used to be. It was January, after all.

It's things like this that you don't really think about when you imagine yourself in a small or tiny house. IKEA furniture is so well suited for small spaces, but where in the world do you go to assemble it? I've laid bookcases down in the kitchen, a toddler bed in the dining area, some wire drawers outside, and when all else failed, I've gone next door and then carried the item home once it was put together. (Who am I kidding? Chris carried it home. But I usually put it together.)

You can't do that with a couch this big because once it's bolted together, it won't fit through the door. We had to get creative carrying it into our tiny living room piece by piece until it was all assembled. There were couch parts covering half our house for a couple of hours, and we were climbing over and squeezing around cushions and seats and backrests and random tools throughout the process.

The assembly wasn't overly complicated, but it did take us a while. There are a lot of parts to attach to each other, and since the finished couch opens and slides, it was a little more involved than your typical IKEA project. I think trying to do it in such a cramped space made it harder than it would have been otherwise.

Once we were finished and we slid the couch into place (and reattached the door), we were very pleased with the result. It fits the space perfectly. (Note: the two side pillows did not come with the couch.)
The transition from couch to bed is so simple that my preschooler can almost do it herself.
You just pull on the two fabric loops on the front of the sofa, and the bottom slides out. 

Then you pull up and forward on the loops until the cushion locks into place.
We actually leave it like this much of the time so we can all lounge around comfortably.
When we want it for sleeping, we lay the pillows to the side, and voila! It's just a little bit bigger than a full size bed.
We use the storage under the chaise section to store some of the girls' toys and blankets. The hidden compartment is vented, so mildew hasn't been an issue at all, and as you can see from the photo, the cushioned seat stays in place when raised, so we don't have to worry about it dropping down on little fingers. The compartment itself is not overly deep, but it extends the length of the chaise and actually holds quite a few things.

So how comfortable is the couch? For sitting, it's great. Since the back cushions are not attached, it's really easy to angle them up or down depending on how much you want to recline. There is a support bar running down the middle of the couch cushion that you can feel if you put all of your weight in just the right spot, but that hasn't really been a problem for us.

For sleeping, it seems to work best if you put your feet on the chaise side so the cushion break hits at your legs rather than your torso. The cushions are fairly stiff, which is great if you prefer a firm mattress. I have definitely slept on more comfortable sofas, but this one is not bad at all.

One feature I love is that the cover is pretty water resistant. We have a newly potty trained preschooler, so you can imagine how big of a plus that is for us.

Now for the bad...

We can already see some signs of wear, but we spend a lot of time at home, so it gets used a lot. The chaise section is not as well supported as the other seats due to the storage design, so that's where I notice it sagging more than anywhere else.

At one point, one of the springs popped out of place, but we were able to slide it back into its slot without too much trouble. Nothing was broken. Perhaps it just wasn't seated properly when we put it together. (That part came pre-assembled.)

The other downside is that, due to the nature of the woven cover, our cat has pulled a few threads loose. Not too many or too much, but it definitely is not as cat-proof as the microfiber couch we had before.

Overall, we are very happy with our purchase. I have seen this couch in a number of tiny houses, and I can understand why. It has nice, clean lines, and a very modern design. The dual function as a bed and a sofa along with the added storage is perfect for small spaces. If you are looking for a sleeper sofa with built in storage but can't or don't want to construct one yourself, IKEA's FRIHETEN is a great option to consider.