Pottery Barn versus IKEA Couch – Which is Better?

Couch shopping can be difficult because it’s a major investment, costly, and it’s meant to last for years. When we were couch shopping I debated between Pottery Barn versus IKEA sofas because there is a large price difference between the two.    If you’re deciding between those two, read on for my couch comparison.

If you’re looking for the short answer of which sofa is better – Pottery Barn or IKEA, here’s my quick opinion. After having both for over 3 years, I’d buy them both again, but I actually prefer the comfort of the IKEA more. And it is significantly easier to get the removable covers on and off again after washing.

We had brown pleather (is that a real word?) couches for years.  I didn’t like them one single bit.  However, they were a dream at the time when we had two tiny kids and a giant dog – lots of messes are made on couches by tiny creatures and slobbering dogs. Eventually, the time came for new couches.  

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Couch Comparison – Pottery Barn vs Ikea

I had my heart set on white couches and it seemed that Pottery Barn and IKEA sofas always came up in my searches.  

Pottery Barn Sofa

Pottery Barn seemed to be out of my price range.  They are significantly more expensive than IKEA, but I also want a sofa/couch to hold up for years. 

The only way I even scored this Pottery Barn sofa is because I tagged along on an outlet shopping trip with a friend and saw it in the outlet for about a 1/3 of the price of a new one.  It was a special order for someone else that returned it so it made it’s way to the outlet.

Outlet purchases are non-refundable by the way. So, we brought it home and my initial thoughts were that it is too big for our space.

It’s the Cameron Square Arm in the Grand size (Pottery Barn Cameron Sofa).  

Reviews of Pottery Barn Sofa – Grand Cameron Sofa

  • The Pottery Barn couch is larger in person than I anticipated at 96″ long.
  • The cushions are stiffer than the IKEA sofa cushions
  • Cushion covers are removable and washable although the label says “do not remove”. I’ve now had this couch for years and washed it numerous times.
  • After washing the covers there are large numbers of frays and strings on the inside of the covers. I just clip them off so they don’t get caught in the zippers.
  • The covers have had numerous stains over the years and they clean up just like new.
  • There has been no pilling or fraying of the outside material after years of use.
  • The cushions are still in shape and not sagging or smushed after years. It has become a bit softer which is good.

The best part for me is the washable slipcovers.  I was nervous the first time about how easy it would be to get back on, but it is surprisingly quick.  I wash them in cold and dry until they are about 50% dry and then I air dry them the rest of the time.  

So far, I haven’t had any issues with the covers shrinking – it is tough to get the main cover on again and I feel like I’m going to rip it every time I do it, but so far it hasn’t happened.

pottery barn versus IKEA couch

IKEA Couch

Another stroke of luck happened with this IKEA couch. My neighbor saw it on Craigslist for $150. It looked brand new and I’m not sure they ever even sat on it.

It wasn’t exactly the cover color I prefer, but for $150, it was a steal.  

This couch turned out to be the perfect size for the other side of our living room and I love it too.  It’s from the Ektorp series (IKEA Ektorp) and it’s much smaller than its Pottery Barn friend, but that’s ok.  We replaced two old wing-backs with this couch and it gives us more seating options plus more than one person can stretch out.

Review of IKEA Ektorp Couch

  • Smaller than the Pottery Barn Grand sofa but comfortable room for three. I am 5’4″ and I can lay stretched out completely and comfortably. It’s 85″ long.
  • Washable slipcovers and they are easy to remove and put back on when semi dry.
  • There is no fraying on the inside of the slipcovers like the Pottery Barn.
  • Significantly less expensive than Pottery Barn if buying new.
  • Very comfortable – the cushions are softer and cushier than the Pottery Barn
  • After years of use, it seems to be losing a little more shape than it’s stiffer cousin from Pottery Barn. It also seems to be pilling a bit.
  • Several colors are available to choose from when buying a slipcover. The new slipcovers are also far less expensive than the Pottery Barn.

Overall Opinion of Pottery Barn versus IKEA Sofa

It’s been a few years since we bought both of them and overall I love them both. But if I had to choose one, I’d buy the IKEA over the Pottery Barn.

After using them both for several years (and they get tons of use because they are our only couches), we all agree the IKEA is more comfortable.

As far as looks go – the Pottery Barn definitely looks nicer, but I’m more concerned with comfort since it’s our main living room furniture.

Here’s a little recap of my Pros/Cons for both:

Pottery Barn Sofa – Pros

  • The Grand size is huge (96″ wide).   My husband and I can both share the couch without feeling like we are smothering each other.  And three people can sit with plenty of room and not feel “too close”.  Four people if you like that “close” feeling.
  • Removable slipcover – this is a must for me if I’m going to own a white couch.  This couch has had plenty of messes made on it and it always comes clean.  And it’s super easy to wash and put back together.
  • This is a quality couch that I think will last for years.  The construction is solid and the fabric is a thick canvas material that doesn’t fade or pick.  I haven’t noticed any sagging or lumpiness in the cushions.

Pottery Barn Sofa – Cons

  • Comfort – this couch was a bit stiff at first.  It took several months before I was officially in love with it.  There is definitely a “breaking in” period with this one.
  • Price – this would have to be the biggest factor when considering to buy Pottery Barn.  It’s considerably more than the IKEA couch by a long shot.

IKEA Couch – Pros

  • Price – definitely an affordable couch and it’s still good quality.  Even after years of use, I don’t feel like it sags or doesn’t hold its shape.
  • Washable Slipcovers – Again, a must for me.  Kids and dogs and life = messes.  This one also cleans up like a champ.  No stains after several years and these couches get tons of use. It’s far easier to get the covers back on than the Pottery Barn couch.
  • Size – this is not necessarily a pro for me, but if you don’t have a lot of real estate in your house to work with, then this one is perfect at 85″ wide.
  • Slipcovers are much cheaper for this one than replacing a Pottery Barn slipcover.

IKEA Sofa – Cons

  • Size – again, this could go under both pros and cons because it is a foot shorter than the Pottery Barn Grand.
  • Comfort – this could be pro or con. I prefer a cushier couch and this one is cushier than Pottery Barn. There is not as much support in the cushions as the Pottery Barn couch.  If I’m stretched out on it, I can feel the cushions sliding a bit.  However, for the price, it’s still an amazing couch.

Bottom Line for Pottery Barn versus IKEA Couch:

I know some people joke that if you’re out of college you shouldn’t be shopping at IKEA, but I disagree. For the price point, it’s an amazing choice and I’d definitely buy it again. Out of the four of us in my house, everyone says the IKEA is more comfortable and the Pottery Barn looks nicer.

We have two kids and dogs and so far I have no hesitation on white couches. If I can remove the covers and wash them and have them clean up as good as these two, there’s no problem!

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2 thoughts on “Pottery Barn versus IKEA Couch – Which is Better?”

  1. You should put your thrifty & fashionable eye out for me & find us some new couches! And yes, Roy deserves a prize. 🏆

    1. I certainly will! Maybe I’ll get that lucky twice!! And you are 100% correct. The more I write about everything Roy does to help me, the more I realize he’s pretty much a rockstar.

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