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Published on April 23rd, 2012 | by Jules Yap


Box O’ Karlstad

Materials: KARLSTAD sofas (2), birch plywood, wood edging, walnut

Description: Two of the things I love most in this world are modern design and cats. My cats have destroyed furniture in the past so when it was time for a new sofa I was determined to outwit them by finding a modern sofa they could not use as a scratching post. In my search I came across the ‘box sofa’ by Autobahn. Perfect but at $7K, way beyond my budget.

Then I got the idea to make my own. Using birch plywood I bought at Home Depot, I made a box that would fit snugly around the Karlstad sofa. I finished the edges with 1/2 inch wood trim and stained it walnut. I had some red paint and used it on the bottom just for fun. I finished it with three coats of polyurethane. I bought the legs online — not IKEA. It fits the Karlstad like a glove and the cats are foiled… for now. I made two boxes for two sofas. I just love it.

~ Susannah Koger, United States

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The Author

Jules Yap

"I am Jules, the engine behind IKEAHackers and the one who keeps this site up and running. My mission is to capture all the wonderful, inspiring, clever hacks and ideas for our much loved IKEA items".

38 Responses to Box O’ Karlstad

  1. Dugleik says:

    I seriously considered moving to a bigger apartment (or you know throwing out all my other furniture) to make room for this.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Can I ask how you put the box together? I’m looking to build a new frame for my couch, but I’m worried that it won’t be solid enough for everyday use.

  3. Die_Kaiserin says:

    Great hack! Now I know what to do about my cat-destroying-furniture problem! My cat’s name is Godzilla so maybe giving her that name was asking for it?

  4. Brianna says:

    Totally brilliant! The exact reason I won’t buy a modern couch either…just too inviting for the kitties. Maybe now we will…thank you!

  5. Anonymous says:

    this is a true hack! lovely!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    There is another two-step solution to the cat scratching problem that is much easier. I learned this from a friend of mine who is a vet and cat lover. First, make sure your cat has a good quality scratching post, like the sisal posts made my SmartCat. Second, use clear contact paper cut in strips to cover the corners of the couch. Cats usually scratch only the corners of sofas, so it is only necessary to cover the corners. You can also use double sided tape, but we didn’t find that was necessary. Once your cats have an enjoyable place to scratch, and once the contact paper or tape is on the sofa, they should direct their claws to the scratching post and not your sofa. It has worked for us for years, and the cats are very happy focusing on the scratching post and not the furniture. Since the contact paper is clear and covers only the corners of our sofas, we don’t really notice it day to day. We’d take it off if our place were being photographed for a shoot, but really, it’s not ugly enough to bother us and we are fairly particular people.

  7. OhSusannah says:


  8. pegling says:

    I agree with the others…beautiful & brilliant! Only wish I had seen this before purchasing a new sofa.

  9. Anonymous says:

    This is the first hack I comment on… absolutely brilliant! :)

  10. Anonymous says:

    This is so great! Love the idea! Good job!

  11. Ny Muhtari says:

    this is best hack in years!!!!

  12. Anonymous says:

    uaaaaahhhh, brilllanttt, it is exactly what I need, same problem with cats, can I copy it with your permision? and can I recomend it? Definitly Fantastic!!!

  13. 1crzyaznmofo says:

    what did you use to fasten the plywood together? as i would imagine the couch will eventually push the plywood outwards

    • OhSusannah says:

      I cut the mitered edges with a table saw then glued and nailed them. The bottom edges butt against the frame and hold it all steady. The weight is evenly distributed and with six legs I’ve had no problems with bowing. I’m not an expert carpenter by any stretch and I needed help to lift and guide the plywood through the blade but you can hide a lot with putty and stain. Karlstad is fairly sturdy. The frame just surrounds it. All of the stress remains on the sofa. I’ve had these sofas for about 18 months and see practically no change in the structure since I made it.

    • 1crzyaznmofo says:

      Very cool. thanks for the explanation!

  14. Anonymous says:

    like it A LOT!!! :)

  15. Jenn(ifer) says:

    Very pretty and very well done hack!
    I would also love to know how you joined the wood…
    Thanks for sharing!

  16. MelD says:

    Definitely one of the very best hacks I have seen on the whole of this site!!
    I’m so impressed.

  17. woolywoman says:

    I didn’t think I liked modern design, until I saw this! Mind sharing the box dimensions and leg source?

    • OhSusannah says:

      I purchased the Karlstad sofas and constructed the boxes to be 1/4 inch wider. The plywood is 3/4 inch birch. The measurements — outer edges — are Height = 20″, Depth = 36″ and Width = 82″. As for the legs I’m not really sure. I made these boxes over a year ago — I only just found IKEA Hackers and thought the project would fit. But I bought the legs online somewhere. I probably googled contemporary metal legs or something similar. Sorry.

  18. Noelle Noodle says:

    It looks incredibly cool and I sincerely hope your cats don’t enjoy scratching wood as much as mine do.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Anon @8:26PM Apr 23 nailed it

    I want to do this!

  20. Anonymous says:

    One of the best hacks of 2012. Fabulous!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Fantastic! I think it looks better than the real thing!

  22. Love this project, very smart, very modern and looks great!

  23. Anonymous says:

    M or W.W haven’t heard of replicas.

    You can buy fake Noguchi tables & other designer style stuff for about half the price. So that Autobahn would drop to $3500 – if someone is faking it.

    Lovely hack.

    Loathe cats, but if you spray them lightly in the face with water when they do naughty things, they stop.

    • Anonymous says:

      Please don’t spray your cats in the face. They don’t connect the spraying to the naughty thing. They only connect the spraying to you.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Where did you buy the legs? I have been looking everywhere for legs just like that!

  25. Anonymous says:

    This is really quite nice! Well done!

  26. Anonymous says:

    I like it. That said, I finally foiled my scratching cats with a microfiber (faux suede) couch. I wasn’t convinced when multiple salespeople at furniture stores agreed it would work, but it has! My cats actually use their scratching posts and not my sofa now!

  27. M. or W.W. says:

    Love this hack! But if you couldn’t afford the Autobahn, how can you afford the Noguchi?? :)

  28. That’s both brilliant and beautiful!
    I love the walnut stain, and your wall and flooring colours as well.
    It really modernizes and tightens up the look of the sofa. Comfy! Sorry, cats!

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