Introduction: IKEA Futon Hack

Picture of IKEA Futon Hack

I wanted an upgrade from the typical collegiate Ikea wooden futon in the living room to a bit more stylish adult living room sofa. Researching couches & sofas I found; I could get a used one off craigslist (not a very stylish selection), a new one from Ikea, or the couches that I wanted--that I couldn't afford.  With plenty of student loans and not much cash on hand, I ventured into making a sofa, upcycling the well travelled futon into a new Sofa.

Besides having an old Ikea Futon, I purchased the following: 
5 yards heavy duty canvas  $25.00
4 screw mount blocks (for Legs) $20.00
4 Couch legs $16.00
6 Steel 4 inch L-Brackets $6.00
1 package of 1.5 inch nails  $2.00
Fabric Paint $5.00

And for a grand total of $74.00 I have a new sofa! 

Staple Gun
(serrated) Bread knife
Sewing Machine
Marker / Pencil
Tape Measure
Hand Sewing Needles / Thread

To begin--disassemble and say your final goodbyes to your Ikea Futon! 

Step 1: IKEA Futon Hack

Picture of IKEA Futon Hack

Take apart the futon and lay it out, (I saved the hardware as it is also reusable). 

I decided on using the 4 panel piece for my sofa seat, the 3 panel piece for the sofa back. This left the 5 panel piece to be cut up into the sofa arm and the framing for the sofa seat. 
I also carefully sawed off the rounded attachement edges, to make sure the pieces were squared off and fit together properly. 

Step 2: IKEA Futon Hack

Picture of IKEA Futon Hack

The 3 paneled piece used for the sofa back, I measured the depth of the sofa seat panel and left the measured amount attached for extra support when the back attaches to the seat. 

Cutting the pieces to size, I nailed together the framing for the seat attaching it to the 4 paneled section as well, creating the sofa seat. 

Step 3: IKEA Futon Hack

Picture of IKEA Futon Hack

I added the steel L-Brackets to all of the corners of the seat base for added support to the frame. 

Measuring out the corners and making sure I had the position correct on the location of the sofa legs, I installed the screw blocks, from both the top and side of each block. 

I then attached the arm and back panels using nails, and using the last 2 steel L-brackets for added back & side support.
Now you have the sofa frame finished!  

Step 4: IKEA Futon Hack

Picture of IKEA Futon Hack

Next, I wanted a bit of color to my sofa fabric, and realizing my dream sofa fabric was well over $100 per yard, I opted to make my own. 

Using some left over foam I carved my own stamp-replicating the street tiles in Barcelona, Spain's exiample neighborhood (done by Gaudi) and secured it to a piece of wood for my stamp base. 

Then I spent hours....literally hours....stamping the pattern onto the heavy duty canvas with the fabric paint. I did this in two stages, as it needs to dry for 24 hours and 5 yards of fabric takes up a lot of space! After all of the fabric has dried, I heat set the fabric paint with an iron, going over all painted areas for 5 minutes with a hot hot iron. 

Step 5: IKEA Futon Hack

Picture of IKEA Futon Hack

Next up is cutting up the futon cushion & a little bit of sewing. I measure the seat area and used a marker to draw my measurements right on the cushion. The top layer you can cut with scissors, after the top is cut, I recommend using a (serrated) bread knife to cut the foam cleanly.  I doubled the seat cushion, using two layers of the futon cushion.

Using the excess top layer of batting from the cushion, I  surround the base of the seat, arm and back of the sofa, attaching with a staple gun on the back and undersides of the sofa frame. 
I measured and cut the fabric pieces for the sofa frame in the same manner. Sewing the corner edges of the arm and back covers for a cleaner look and then stapling them into place, again on the back and undersides of the frame. 

The last bit of sewing is the fabric cover for the sofa seat cushion, making the fabric 1 inch smaller on all sides then the cushion measurement to keep the seat firm, but comfortable. This part is similar to making a pillow, once the sewing is finished, turn the fabric right side out, stuffing the cover with the cushion foam and then hand stitching it closed. I chose the large section facing the seat back to hand stitch close. 

Step 6: IKEA Futon Hack

Picture of IKEA Futon Hack

Last -- screw in your sofa legs and turn the whole sofa on it's feet!
Grab a well deserved beverage and have a seat on your new sofa! 


nchoff (author)2017-10-26

What are the measurements?

kathynv (author)2016-12-07

What an amazing hack! I dare anyone to pick out your sofa from a bought one at IKEA. The fabric printing was especially ingenious. Did you get your canvas as dropcloths or in a bolt as painting canvas? Both have been good sources of cheap canvas in the past, back when I needed such material. At any rate, thank you for sharing such a wonderful instructable.

susiemossie (author)2016-07-26

Thanks for this fantastic idea!

Can you tell us please where to get heavy duty canvas at $5 a yard?

Much thanksl

BartholomewH (author)2015-06-11

You could sell this to IKEA! :D
If I were a regular customer I would totally buy this flat pack baby!

wittymamma (author)2015-01-09

You did an awesome job, Congrats! This would be perfect in my daughter's small space. I might give it a try.

ykim21 (author)2015-01-06

Awesome! What are the dimensions? I would love to make this but not sure if it will fit my space.

MarcusAvery (author)2014-07-20

I would call this a fainting couch rather than a sofa. Great Job!

lynettewood (author)MarcusAvery2015-01-04

Very similar. Usually fainting couches are more gradual. Not as geometric.

MarcusAvery (author)lynettewood2015-01-05

Quite right! The ones I've seen look like an unwinding roll of carpet, or something to that effect.

efraguada (author)MarcusAvery2014-09-08

Thank you!

jgause (author)2015-01-04

I'm really impressed. The self-stamping of the fabric seems like it was hard work, and I'm sure you're more happy with it than anything you could have purchased. The design is spot on. If it is as comfortable as it visually appeals you get a total A+ from me on this one. I only wish I had an ikea futon to hack myself. :D

pointedspider (author)2015-01-04

I never see a Broyhill hack!

pointedspider (author)2015-01-04

Something I don't understand. I've seen dozens of IKEA hacks for some reason. It's like IKEA is the only company that makes furniture anymore. I think they also make dog food. But why refer to this as an IKEA hack instead of a soda hack in general?

Ireek RN (author)2014-12-10

You should sell this to Ikea as a new project! Stunning!

Mielameri (author)2014-07-17

Soooo awesome! And very cost effective :)

efraguada (author)Mielameri2014-09-08

Thank you!

summerinhawaii (author)2014-07-18

Fantastic and very stylish!

efraguada (author)summerinhawaii2014-09-08

Thank you!

shyrell (author)2014-07-20

Amazing! I love it. I'm always loved the chaise lounge style. This would be perfect in my tiny living room!

efraguada (author)shyrell2014-09-08


scooter76 (author)2014-07-20

Wow, that turned out great. Well done.

efraguada (author)scooter762014-09-08


Build_it_Bob (author)2014-07-20

Very nice ! Great looking sofa ; thanks for sharing !


efraguada (author)Build_it_Bob2014-09-08

Thanks Build it Bob!

lebowski (author)2014-07-25

Such a great transformation!

efraguada (author)lebowski2014-09-08

Thank you! I hope so! :)

denise.tran.3 (author)2014-07-25

Wow, just wow. This is the best IKEA hack job that I have seen. You did a great job!

efraguada (author)denise.tran.32014-09-08

Thank You!!!

elaine.mcintyre (author)2014-07-25

This is amazing! Great job!!!

Thank you!!!!

kurt.hewett (author)2014-08-16

great job, but I like that futon, seems ikea no longer carries that, Can someone tell me its name?

efraguada (author)kurt.hewett2014-09-08

I think it's called GRANKULLA....thank you!

InsideSeen (author)2014-09-08

The painted fabric looks so great, and is a wonderful alternative to expensive designer fabric. Another low-cost option, and one less DIY step, is this discount designer fabric :

efraguada (author)InsideSeen2014-09-08

I checked out your discount designer fabric site--but the similar base fabric on your site is $30 per meter. I was able to get the same for $5 per meter. This is a pretty large difference when needing 5 meters of fabric--$150 compared to $25. I'll keep rockin the DIY, but thanks for sharing.

crank_girl (author)2014-07-16

Top marks for a great hack. You got stylez in abundance. ?

efraguada (author)crank_girl2014-07-17

Thank you!

Madeaj (author)2014-07-16

This is just wonderful! Just looking at your step by step gives me an idea for making one with 2x4s. No one looking at that beautiful chaise would think it was anything but an expensive custom piece of furniture. Wow!

efraguada (author)Madeaj2014-07-17

Thank you so much! Please let me know if you make one with 2x4s--I would love to see it!!

thebigjoy (author)2014-03-01


Awesome hack.

Query: What was the name of the colour of fabric paint and the paint on the wall?

efraguada (author)thebigjoy2014-07-17

Thank you!

The wall paint was Titan brand, Ochre and the Fabric Paint was Textile Color brand #61 Yellow Ochre! (it was a close match...but not perfect!)

HeyMimi (author)2013-09-01

Oh man, I had one of those IKEA futons and I threw it away! This is really neat. Thanks for sharing!

efraguada (author)HeyMimi2014-07-17

Thank you!

maryceecee (author)2013-08-29

Being home made is the last thing I would have thought for this sofa! Great job!!

efraguada (author)maryceecee2014-07-17

Thank You!

Picturerazzi (author)2013-03-31

Love this!! Great job!

efraguada (author)Picturerazzi2014-07-17

Thank you!

dana-dxb (author)2013-03-26

thats a nice a work uv don there and it look cute

efraguada (author)dana-dxb2014-07-17

Thank you!

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