IKEA HACK: KARLSTAD Pink Mid-Century Inspired Sofa Makeover

Ohhhh man, you guys. I’m reallllly excited about this project. Bear with me because there’s a lot to cover (no pun intended).

A while back I posted about how I was on the hunt for a new sofa and narrowed down a few of my favorite contenders. One of the contenders was the KARLSTAD from IKEA because I knew I could save a lot of money by attempting a hack, and thanks to a pretty hefty tax audit (kill me) that’s what I ended up having to do. As luck would have it I found a perfect KARLSTAD at IKEA for $250 in the clearance section. A lot of you already know that I’m no stranger to IKEA Hacking, but it has been a while since I did one so I was feeling up to the challenge. Luckily it didn’t take long before I knew exactly what I wanted to do in order to make it come close to the couch of my dreams.



The KARLSTAD is pretty much an IKEA staple and I’m sure you’ve seen it in many homes. It has clean, modern lines and comes with an easily removable slip cover. Perfect for my hacking plan. The one I bought had a grey cover and my IKEA was sold out of the white slip cover, but luckily my best friend in Florida found one at her store and was able to send it to me. Since KARLSTADs have completely removable slip covers I knew I could dye it to be whatever color I wanted.

Rit Petal Pink

I picked up a few boxes of Rit dye in Petal Pink. I filled my bathtub with boiling water and dye and soaked the slip cover until it was saturated.Dye Sofa Slip Covers in Bath Tub Then I promptly had a minor freak out because it didn’t turn out the rosey/peachy/blush pink color that I wanted and that appeared on the box. Dye Karlstad Sofa Slip Cover

I took a deep breath, refusing to be defeated, and rushed to the fabric store to grab some Rit Color Remover, a magical powder that  gently removes all of your regrets and gives you a clean start. If only I could bathe myself in it. Just kidding…!


How to remove Rit dye

After a quick soak the slip cover was back to white. I knew at this point I was going to have to custom mix my own shade of pink so I threw the covers in the wash and went back to the fabric store for the 5th time to pick up more dye.

I can’t tell you the exact ratios of these colors that I used for my shade because I was constantly adjusting and testing the color. I want to say it was something like 4 parts pink, 1/2 part yellow, 1/8 part tan, but I’m not 100% sure so don’t come back yelling at me if yours turns out gross. I also diluted it a lot more than the first time so the color would be more pastel.

My husband and I worked nervously and quickly, scalding our hands and sweating over the boiling dye bath in our typical Melo-dramatic style, but it was worth it. It worked out perfectly!img_4426-3


Dying the slip cover was only the first step. I wanted new legs and pretty tufting, and dammit that’s what I would get. These steps were actually much easier and less annoying than the dye part.

I changed the legs on my last KARLSTAD Love Seat in the past, so I knew that wouldn’t be a big deal. I used mid-century style furniture legs that I got from Lowe’s for like $2 and spray painted them gold and white.

DIY Furniture legs for $2

Then I installed a top plate and attached the legs to the corners of the sofa.

Change the legs on your sofa for under $20I wanted to have legs in the center of the sofa, too. Partly for more support, but mostly because I like the look of it.

For this I just drilled a hole and inserted the leg directly into the wood.

Change the legs on your sofa for under $20

That would have looked great on it’s own but I wanted tufting. I had spare fabric from an extra piece of slip cover that I found in the clearance bin at IKEA. I used this for my color test strips and then dyed a piece with the plan of covering buttons for tufting.

I used 7/8″  button cover kit and thread to make my tufting buttons, much like I did in this past IKEA hack.DIY Upholstery Button Covers

Then I attached the buttons to upholstery string and used a long upholstery needle to feed the string through the cushion. I pulled the string tight and used these decorative buttons to anchor the string on the back of cushion. I didn’t want to go through the back of the cushion cover, and a knot would have just pulled back through the cushion insert, so I used the decorative buttons to hold my tufting in place. Am I making any sense at this point? Hopefully these visuals help.DIY Couch Cushion TuftingDIY Couch Cushion Tufting

And voila!

KARLSTAD SOFA IKEA HACK: Mid-Century Inspired Pink Sofa

The decorative pillows are also from IKEA.KARLSTAD SOFA IKEA HACK: Mid-Century Inspired Pink SofaI love the way the warm pink looks with the white and gold legs.KARLSTAD SOFA IKEA HACK: Mid-Century Inspired Pink SofaI’m so excited to finally have a dreamy pink couch! And for less than $300!KARLSTAD SOFA IKEA HACK: Mid-Century Inspired Pink Sofa

Update: Here it is in the finished room!




42 thoughts on “IKEA HACK: KARLSTAD Pink Mid-Century Inspired Sofa Makeover

  1. I actually have a white slipcovered Karlstad myself right now and have considered dyeing it as well. I’m curious thought, how did you avoid staining your bathtub?

    1. Luckily my bathtub didn’t have too much staining with the red/pink dyes, and the color remover actually removed a lot from it. Whatever residue was left was easily removed with Bon Ami and any really stubborn areas were removed with a little bit of diluted bleach. Hope that helps!

  2. This turned out beautifully!!! I researched dyeing my Kastad about a year ago but chickened out because I read many accounts of the covers not dyeing evenly. Did you have any issues with this?

    1. Good question! During my first attempt I noticed the dye was a little marbled and didn’t absorb into some parts of the fabric, from what I could tell it’s because of a coating on the cover. I washed it in hot water after removing the dye and the second attempt turned out much more evenly. There are some streaks here and here but they’re hardly noticeable. It could also be the dye bath method vs washing machine method. My advice would be to make sure you wash the cover in hot water first, and dye it while it’s still wet. Thanks!!

  3. Super upset you don’t know the formula. Been looking day and night to find one just like this so I can die the ikea kivik sofa I got on clearance Saturday.

  4. I cannot wait to try this on our Karlstad instead of investing in super expensive covers. I was wondering if I washed my covers first, do I have to dry them before I dye them? Seems like a silly question and they will be wet again anyways hahha

    1. I threw mine in the dye while they were still wet and it turned out fine! I think being wet first helps you get a more even dye throughout. Good luck!

  5. was there any issue with the velcro strips not sticking properly anymore after dyeing? im a bit worried about that.

  6. Also verty important: did you use the regular Rit dye?? Because it says that doesn’t work on polyesther and you need Rit Dyemore. I’m so helpless when it comes to stuff like this 😦

  7. THATS AMAZING! it looks sooooo good and thank you for the pictures and explanation – i think you just saved me like a thousand dollars! THANK YOU

  8. Gorgeous!! Same question as 14a about the Rit dye and polyester. I just bought a Karlstad on LG and want to change the color a bit. So Excited if this would work in the tub!! 🙂

  9. I was actually skeptical about ordering this couch based on some of the reviews and the extremely low cost. But it looks terrific and fits perfectly in my very small (420 sq ft) studio. I had just done some remodeling to my place and need a couch that would not be too over sized and bulky. This couch does the trick. I did not use the throw pillows because it was too much of one color. I used my own to add different color dimension to the couch. As far as comfort-the couch is firm which is okay for me. It is easy to assemble. You can beat the price!

  10. Love what you did to this couch, and the colour is absolutely amazing.
    I have a question; couldn’t you used the Rit colour remover on the grey cover then dyed it pink? I have never dyed before so maybe this is impossible!

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