Ikea Friheten hack!

My projects move slowly and this one took six months. Not because it was so difficult, but because I take forever to make decisions and some things required help.

If you recall, I manifested a Friheten from Ikea for $0. Or $11 for loading fee. After deciding I wanted one I put it out in the universe and found one for free. Check out the story!

It did not take long for the dogs to destroy the fabric on this couch. They did not tear it up in anyway, but things like licking their toes or slobbering a treat created stains that were impossible to remove. Any attempt to clean just increased the damage. This fabric is not friendly to children or dogs!

I decided I would find fabric and recover it. There are multiple reasons for this. One is that with my asthma new furniture often makes me sick while the worst of it off gasses, so I try to avoid new furniture altogether. Just an aside: same thing for new houses, new cars, and other new things. Two, the couch was in great shape except the ugly fabric and I’m pretty sure another person would have tossed it away. It’s not trash! It’s uncovered treasure. The waste of it has already been made. Keeping it living a happy life is a more sustainable way to live and a way to reduce my impact. Thirdly, my money has more important things to do than to fund a whole new/new to me couch. Let us be economical and creative here. And just to tack on a fourth thing – it is always so rewarding to complete something yourself!

The plan: hack it into 3 new pieces of furniture. Ambitious I am. A trip to Joann’s yield $40 (with coupons) of clearanced outdoor fabric. I figured outdoor fabric would be easier to clean and maintain. I was able to find three different patterns that I felt went together and were fun.

But first, I had to take it apart. I was able to break it down 3/4 of the way, but with my hand nerve issues I needed assistance getting the last two bits done. After that, I spent time deciding what I was keeping and what was going.

I wanted to create three pieces. The right side is a storage ottoman that pops open. The left side contains the part that pops up into a full size bed. I wanted to keep the pop up as a love seat sized piece. The part that it slid under was claimed by Imri and I intended to recover it as a dog bed for him.

I removed the rigid outer pieces because they wouldn’t work with the new pieces I was creating, but also, because they would require a ton of fabric to recover. Vetoed.

The easiest piece to cover was the ottoman. I elected to use a chevron type grey fabric because I believed it would hide spots. (It did.)

I used an air compressor with a nail gun at first, but found that a staple gun actually worked better with this woven fabric. I quickly realized that I would not have enough of this print to do everything I wanted if I used it on the bottom as well. I held onto a twin sized bed skirt that was solid grey for some unknown, but fortuitous, reason out of a bag of things a friend sent over. Ended up working out great and being free. I also did the bottom front in the coral pattern I purchased for a little punch of color.

Then I did the other side, which had the pop up mechanism. This was much more complicated. I ended up removing the brackets and disassembling it completely. The bottom is basically a six inch box missing the back side that the mechanism allows the top to fall into or be popped up out of.

You can see that I have created TWO pieces that are full of storage. The ottoman and the pop up section. I also now have two love seat sized pieces that can be put together in several ways, or used separately for versatility. It can no longer become a full sized bed though so some functionality is lost.

I initially intended on taking the sofa seat Imri chose as a bed and recovering it, but it was so large I decided not to and to instead get him something else – that’s a future story!

My best friend sewed the pillow cases for the three couch pillows and the three throw pillows. They have zippers and can easily be washed. So now, here is the final product with lots of variations.

I’m amazed at how well I did recovering the bottom pieces. I don’t know how I got the corners so crisp. Impressed with myself! Huge kudos to my best friend for her incredible job on the pillows. Especially the coral one with the solid ends. I threw that at her and she handled it like a champ and produced gorgeousness. I have ideas in my brain, and she made them come to life!

I did end up spending another $10 on fabric because I needed that solid coral. BUT. The remaining pieces of this fabric has LEGS people, because more projects are being completed with it! Can’t wait to share the next thing I’m doing.

If you are going to recover a couch, this was an EASY one to do. It’s all square with no tufts or piping. You could easily do the entire thing, I just didn’t want to spend that much on fabric. This couch is $699 at Ikea. I got it for free ($11 in labor) and spent $50 recovering it. I got it figuring if it lasted a year it was worth the effort. It lasted the year and more, and now I spent the $50 on fabric hoping to buy another year. I think we’ll get a bit further than that.

I’d love to see what you guys are working on my friends!

If you learned anything from my labor or want to offer support, please consider a small donation. ABLE is best, but I understand it may not work for everyone. As an alternative consider Cash AppVenmo, or Paypal. Thank you for your support and generosity.



  1. […] I HAVE A COUCH!  I haven’t had a real couch for a couple years, and I’m quite excited about the versatility of this one.  I had a twin bed in my living room that I used as a couch and my niece and nephew used for sleepovers and a new couch had to accommodate them.  This couch is really neat in its design for sleeping areas and will be good for me, the dogs, and the kiddos.  I love that I decided I wanted this, and manifested it for free (or $11 depending on if you attribute that to the couch or labor costs) into my home in under a week.  Put it out there folks – you never know what will happen!* See me Hack this Friheten sofa here. […]


  2. Love this! I’m moving to a new apartment soon and I’m taking my old couch back from my brother. I want it to feel fresh and this gave me some great ideas. Thank you!


  3. random question – I’m looking to buy a used Friheten, but it’s literally one arm rest too wide for the space I want it in. Do you think the couch would still be supportive enough as is, without the armrest on the chaise side? Since you seem to have taken it apart and are using it separately in this way, I thought you might have some idea.


    • Absolutely. Especially if that side is against the wall. The thing about this, is the chaise can be on either side. It’s very flexible. You would, however, have the side of the back piece where it connects to the other piece, exposed. You’d need to hide it against the wall, or cover it. Good luck!


  4. I did the same thing! I was looking online to see if anyone else had tried this too! I put the lift up storage piece in my office and covered it with a furry rug and it looks awesome.


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