How to assemble an Ikea Ektorp 3.5 sofa

How to assemble a white slipcovered Ikea Ektorp 3.5 oversized sofa. Click to learn how easy it is and how big these are!

Back in January, I came home with a truck loaded of 2 Ikea Ektorp 3.5 sofas.

And that is no understatement. If you’re in the market for this set, you’ll want to be forewarned on a few things, thanks to their size alone.

So here’s my little story on getting these guys home, then how easy the install went, and finally, a mini room tour!

How to assemble a white slipcovered Ikea Ektorp 3.5 oversized sofa. Click to learn how easy it is and how big these are!

What is an Ektorp 3.5?
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Everyone under the sun pretty much knows what Ektorp slipcovered sofas are by now. They are white slipcovered sofas you put together at home yourself, and are Ikea’s #1 seller for a good reason. They’re super comfy, affordable, and easy to change the look and clean, thanks to the perfect-fitting slipcovers.

Comparing Ikea Ektorp 3.5 sofa to the original. The 3.5 is much bigger in scale.

However in 2018, Ikea introduced a 3.5, which basically means oversized. Very oversized, in all the right ways. So if you previously felt that Ikea Ektorps were sorda minimal in size, you aren’t alone. Apparently North Americans requested a larger scaled sofa so Ikea supersized their best selling sofa and called it 3.5.

The sofa is massive! As in, when you sit down, your feet off your 5.5″ frame will dangle about a foot off the floor. Scrumptious and perfect!

However I was a little dismayed to learn they only oversized the sofas.

Meaning, no sectional nor loveseat nor chair nor ottoman will match the size of your 3.5 sofa.

So I bit the bullet, and heard myself ordering “2 sofas please…” and gulped big. While I knew they’d fit in my living room, I felt 2 may look too big. But one wasn’t enough. So two it was.

Unboxing an Ikea Ektorp 3.5 sofa to transport it home. The boxes are massive!

Showing how large the frames are of the Ikea Ektorp 3.5 sofas. The main frame took up the entire tailgate in the down position!

Getting it home
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But I kid you not when I say truckload. When I picked up the two boxed sofas at the warehouse, my jaw hit the loading dock concrete floor. The boxes were massive!

My heart dropped because there was no way they were coming home with me that evening that way. Until I decided… why not save a $169.00 delivery fee and unpack them?

So the loading dock gal helped me rip open the two boxes, and piece by piece, we stuffed that truck silly right up to the rafters. The seat beside me in front, and the entire back seat too. There was literally not one square inch to spare. This basically put my rear view mirror totally out of commission. But that’s ok…. that’s what side mirrors are for right?

Once I got home, I played a little eye spy with the neighbourhood. These frames were stinkin’ massive and there’s no way I could even lift the end of one myself let alone carry one up the stairs.

So know… while Ikea sofas are super easy to assemble, you’ll need help due to the size and weight alone with the 3.5.

Thank Heavens for Rudy and Ross! Within minutes, they lugged the two massive frames up the stairs.

9pm… I could put at least one together right?! Absolutely! Honestly, it went so fast and smooth, I purposely left the 2nd sofa for the next day so I could get these day shots to share!

So let’s move on and learn how easy it is to assemble an Ikea Ektorp 3.5 sofa.

Assembling the sofas
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The directions that come with the sofas are excellent by the way! But as with most Ikea instructions, they are pictures that leave you guessing and redoing some stuff because you didn’t understand the picture.

So here are my added tips:

How to assemble a white slipcovered Ikea Ektorp 3.5 oversized sofa. Click to learn how easy it is and how big these are!

How to assemble a white slipcovered Ikea Ektorp 3.5 oversized sofa. Click to learn how easy it is and how big these are!

The main frame
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This is the main frame that weighed a million lbs. You raise the attached back from the seat, and it already sorda resembles a sofa.

Pretty big, huh? It is.

This is all the hardware that comes with an Ektorp 3.5 sofa. Click to learn how to assemble!

It’s hard to believe, but these are all the tools that come with 1 sofa. Except for one threaded screw post missing in the picture… oops.

How to assemble the arm of a white slipcovered Ikea Ektorp 3.5 oversized sofa. Click to learn how to put the entire sofa together!

Installing the arms
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Two double threaded screws turn into two arm holes from underneath.

There’s a little trick to this one though. Part way through each metal post is a smooth part divided by two threaded parts. You insert the short threads into the arms, but only as far as the smooth part, because you’ll need that extra length for attaching the arms to the sofa.

Ask me how I know…

And one post gets screwed into an arm side topped with a plastic washer. This one will ultimately secure the arm to the back.

How to assemble the arm of a white slipcovered Ikea Ektorp 3.5 oversized sofa. Click to learn how to put the entire sofa together!

I found it easier to flip the sofa frame on its back before attaching the arm.

But if you are doing this on your own, I suggest to slip a plastic spatula in between the back and the floor. It’s really hard to lift without that little bit of leverage otherwise.

How to assemble the arm of a white slipcovered Ikea Ektorp 3.5 oversized sofa. Click to learn how to put the entire sofa together!

Turn the rolled side of the arm outwards, then slip the threaded screws into the main frame’s predrilled 3 holes.

How often can you say you’re actually installing a sofa? This is a very satisfying DIY because it’s just so out there!

How to assemble the arm of a white slipcovered Ikea Ektorp 3.5 oversized sofa. Click to learn how to put the entire sofa together!

Once the arm screws clear the bottom of the main frame, you slip metal washers in place, then screw on the bolts, tightening them up with the handy tool that comes with.

Remember that one screw with the washer? Tightening up requires a little arm stretch inside the frame. (as seen in the above picture near the bottom)

I suggest to loosely attach all bolts, until you get everything in the right position and place, in case you have to undo anything.

How to assemble the arm of a white slipcovered Ikea Ektorp 3.5 oversized sofa. Click to learn how to put the entire sofa together!

Then tighten the bolts up and one arm is attached! Cool huh?

Then do the same with the other arm.


How to install the legs of a white slipcovered Ikea Ektorp 3.5 oversized sofa. Click to learn how to put the entire sofa together!

Installing the legs
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Unlike some other Ikea sofas that don’t come with legs, they do with the Ektorps! YES!

They are plastic legs that screw in from the bottom.

They do not come with felt liners, so I just added those from what I had on hand.

The compressed vacuum packed Ikea Ektorp 3.5 pillows are very compact however do fluff up well! Click to learn how to put the entire sofa together!

The compressed cushions
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As with most Ikea furniture, their super duper vacuumed packing system have puffy cushions resemble pancakes. But amazingly, they do puff out as soon as you puncture the package.

Putting on Vittaryd white slipcovers on the Ikea Ektorp 3.5 sofa. Click to learn how to put the entire sofa together!

The slipcovers
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The beauty of the Ektorp series is the fact that you can choose your sofa slipcovers! Lots to choose from. I chose the whitest white called Vittaryd.

Ektorp 3.5 sofas with 3.5 Vittaryd white slipcovers <– Ikea Canada link

Putting on Vittaryd white slipcovers on the Ikea Ektorp 3.5 sofa. Click to learn how to put the entire sofa together!

And I’m super happy to report, the slipcovers were a breeze to put on! A large one goes on the main frame first, then all the cushions are separate. The seat vs. back cushions are easy to spot due to their size alone, with the seat cushions being the largest.

Once I slipped all the cushions inside the covers, I punched them up a bit so they’d puff out more.

White Ektorp Ikea 3.5 sofas in a winter living room. Click here to learn how easy it is to assemble these sofas!

Isn’t she a beauty?! It’s big and huge and beautify and yes, comfy! Oh I am so in love!

I also brought home some cozy blankets to sit ON. I did my homework on the white…. 🙂

As for throw pillows, the 26″ looked better on this sized sofa. You can really afford to go big here!

Ikea was low on pillow covers so I’ll pick some neutral ones up next round.


A rustic reclaimed wood bench as a coffee table in an Ikea Ektorp white sofa livingroom tour.

And I’m not going with big coffee tables because I want the space for two footstools next time I go back. But I’ll eventually build slightly bigger side benches to better suit the sofas.

Note: The Ektorp footstools are not supersized to match the 3.5 but I felt they looked ok regardless.

White Ikea Ektorp 3.5 sofas in a winter living room. Take the tour and learn how easy it is to assemble these sofas!White Ikea Ektorp 3.5 sofas in a winter living room. Take the tour and learn how easy it is to assemble these sofas!

I am completely smitten with the new look!

To view the full living room tour, visit THIS POST HERE.

Do cats leave the Ikea Ektorp sofas alone? Learn what I use to stop the cat scratching on furniture.

Scratching cats
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It took awhile for my two cats to accept everything, however they now sit on the sofas, generally squishing down the back cushions. Lovely…

Cat hair indeed shows on the white, but at least you know where you need to vacuum… 😉

I have a Dyson Animal with the pet hair attachment which works quite well.


The best cat scratchers are the Kong cardboard cat scratchers which are double sided. You can add catnip as well. Cats love scratching on them!

The best cat scratchers are the Kong cardboard cat scratchers which are double sided. You can add catnip as well. Cats love scratching on them!

One cat did start scratching one back corner of a sofa, so I quickly covered the corner with clear packing tape, then scooted two cardboard scratchers on the floor nearby which they happily go after instead. They ADORE these things!

Read My Fav Cat Tips Post HERE to learn all about my kitty favs with fabulous vet tips.


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If you’re more of a video learner, click above for a short video on the install.

Music: Inspire by www.bensound.com

White Ikea ektorp 3.5 sofas in a winter living room tour - learn how easy it is to assemble the sofas in this post!

And all that’s left to do now? Have a seat… or two!

To view the full living room tour, visit THIS POST HERE.

And read more Ikea posts HERE and about my fav Ikea Gorm shelving HERE

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Categories: All Cool Projects, DIY, Full Rooms, Furniture, Junk Drawer
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  1. Hi Donna, In the last photo I noticed that you got a plant at IKEA as well! I got the same one, plus three others, at IKEA this weekend. I hadn’t been there in a couple of years (a two hour ride for us) and took a friend who had never been. We spent two full days there and could have used even more. I love the ECKTORP sofas and chairs and am waiting for mine in the living room to finally give out so that I can replace them with Ecktorp. I plan to save your post on assembly – looks a bit more complicated than I had guessed. Now that yours is assembled, it looks perfect in your room. I just wrote two posts on my IKEA trip – lots of photos – you may want to check them out! Best, Cheryl

    • Hey Cheryl, you’ll find the assembly actually incredibly easy. Writing out anything is always more labour intensive than actually doing it. You’ll be shocked that you can actually built a sofa!

      And I know exactly what you mean about spending days there… one time I only gave myself 3 hours and it was a total rush. Never again! My best days are getting there for lunch and leaving after dinner!

      I checked out your posts… now I want to go back even more! Best to bring good walking shoes… 😀

  2. The room is gorgeous, and your fireplace is big, so the proportions seem just fine. What a room makeover these sofas give. And I like the stenciled piece in front of the window, for contrast. And my fav, your lamp, looks great with them. You must be so pleased. Lovely.

  3. Beautiful room. Looks perfect for snuggling up on a cold, cold day with comfy sweats and oversized sweater; sipping hot chocolate and dozing in front of a crackling fire. Don’t you just love these sofas! Very comfortable, affordable and while some assembly is required, it also means that you can pack them if you have to move!

  4. Love your sofas and the look of the room. Beautiful! I hope you enjoy your sofas as much as I’ve enjoyed my chairs. I’ve had two Vittaryd white Ektorp chairs for about eight years now and they have been amazing. With three kids who are now young adult/teens, these slipcovers have been washed countless times, everything from hot sauce, blueberries, coffee and tea, nacho cheese dust, mustard, chocolate and blood (don’t ask) – I throw the slipcovers in the washer with bleach and Tide (pre-treat stains with Clorox pen), wash, throw in dryer for precisely 8 minutes on low heat, put the slipcovers on damp and smooth out the wrinkles, prop the seat and back pillow vertically on the chair and wait a couple of hours for them all to dry. The chair looks like new and everybody’s happy. Some would question why I let my kids eat food on white chairs and to that I say “we live and relax in our home”. That’s why I bought the white Ektorp chairs in the first place so they could be washed and messy kids can be forgiven and honestly, a couple of those coffee stains were me! PS I’m planning to replace the slipcovers with new ones as they’re showing signs of wear mostly the lining with the velcro and a small tear in the fabric. Other than that they are holding up great.

  5. I love your two new sofas. When I was In California I love going shopping there at IKEA. We don’t have one here in Wichita. I did order a Duvet and pillow shams on line from IKEA and I love them. . I enjoy your blog so much. Enjoy your new sofas. They look so nice in your living room.

  6. Holy Cow! They up-sized the Ektorp?? I have an original Ektorp sofa and one thing I love about it is that it isn’t super-sized because my living room is small. But it’s my favorite style for a sofa so I hope they haven’t discontinued it. Mine is grey which isn’t my most favorite color but I could never do white with my two eight-year-old grandsons living with me! And, frankly, I don’t like most of the other colors they offer in slip covers. They used to have a really nice green but they seem to have discontinued it. I’ll have to replace the grey one as it is taking a beating with those boys on it with all manner of food and sometimes shoes, etc. Maybe they will come out with some new colors by the time I am ready.

    I’m in awe of you wrestling those babies. I hope they didn’t give you back trouble! Your living room looks really nice with the new seating and the other decor you’ve used. I love the fireplace and am just a tiny bit envious of you having one. I would love a fireplace but there’s just no place to put one in my LR. I’d even be happy with just a mantle, but alas, can’t find a place for that either!

    I hope you enjoy the comfort of your new furniture and congratulations on a job well done!

    • Hi Naomi! The original is still being sold, they just added the oversized as a supplement.

      No back trouble, as I didn’t do the lifting! haha

      My living room doesn’t have a place for a fireplace AND big screen TV either but since the fireplace was there when I moved in, there’s no way I’m removing it! I just make it work right beside the TV. They are both necessary IMO! 😀

  7. How do you find the cushions stay on the sofa? I’ve always loved the look of these, but have been worried that the cushions would scooch out towards the floor and you’d always have to push them in to sit down.

  8. I love the idea of the larger sofa! I have the regular size sofa, love seat, chair, ottoman and the sofa with the extended lounger piece. I am an expert at putting them together and for that reason I’m glad it wasn’t the larger size. They look just beautiful in your living room!

    • I adore the look and function of the extended lounger piece! Do you find you use it a lot? The extended isn’t avail in the oversized anyway but I’m always secretly envying those extensions and would get it in a heartbeat if I lived in a larger home!