by

Rashi

2018/06/30

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Ikea Bråthult and Sandbacken Review - Same Frame, Different Name?

IKEA recently launched two different series this year called the Bråthult and Sandbacken, and guess what? They’re almost identical – we were surprised as well!

Both of them come in these size varieties: the 3 seater sofa, Corner sectional with Ottoman and Corner Sleeper sectional with Ottoman.

When we entered the IKEA store for another team outing, we found the two sofas with different names and didn’t realise it until we took several double takes.

“Feels like dejavu” we thought but upon careful examination of each sofa we found out the truth – their wireframes are indeed exactly the SAME, copied and pasted.

The only thing that sets them apart are the cushions and skirts:

IKEA Sandbacken
IKEA Sandbacken
IKEA Brathult
IKEA Brathult

OVERVIEW

Both of them were designed by Lisa Hilland and David Wahl, and it seems like they were meant to give two different overall vibes.

The IKEA Sandbacken looks a lot more relaxed and laid back, with its two oversized back pillows that look like a giant ribbon, additional armrest cushions for extra comfort and the pleated skirts on all corners of the sofa.

The IKEA Brathult on the other hand, looks a bit more modern minimalist with no pleats on the skirt and has 3 distinct boxed back cushions.

Ikea Sandbacken and Brathult Cushions
Sandbacken Knife edged cushions (left) and Brathult Box shaped cushions (right)

This seems to be further exemplified by their colour offering: Sandbacken comes in Lofallet beige and Frillestad light gray which are more neutral while the Bråthult is available in Borred gray-green and Vissle red/orange – which seems more daringly avant garde.

Another similarity between the two though is that the Corner sectional and Corner Sleeper sectional for both come with an Ottoman with an extra storage space.

Note: This ottoman is not sold separately.

While dimensions and structure are generally the same, there is a slight price difference nonetheless.

PRICE

3 Seater Sofa:

Interestingly, the IKEA Sandbacken 3 seater sofa is listed at US$229 while the 3 seater Bråthult is tagged with a price of US$249.

Ikea Sandbacken and Brathult 3 seater sofa
IKEA Sandbacken (Top) and IKEA Brathult (Bottom) 3 seater sofa

3 Seater Corner sectional

We’re not exactly sure why there’s a US$50 difference between the two – but it could possibly be because of the extra lumbar armrest cushions?

IKEA Sandbacken and IKEA Brathult Corner Sectional
IKEA Sandbacken Corner Sectional (Top) and IKEA Brathult Corner Sectional (Bottom)

The sleeper versions are US$30 more, respectively at US$349 for Sandbacken and US$299 for Bråthult, with the same price difference between the two models still.

The sofa turns into a bed without much hassle and the mechanism seems similar to its ancestors – the Manstad and the Friheten.

In terms of price point though, the IKEA Friheten corner sofa bed seems pretty expensive at US$599 – so it does feel like a good bargain to get the Brathult or Sandbacken!

Let’s see if they can hold up to the luxurious feel and comfort of its ancestors though.

<uNote:</u

  • Prices for Sandbacken in Frillestad light gray are higher than in Lofallet beige
  • Prices for Bråthult in Borred gray-green are higher than in Vissle red/orange

Comfort

Now comes the real test!

Upon immersing ourselves into the sofas, we felt the seat cushions are not as comfy as it looks to be. When you closely inspect the sofas and pull up the skirt for example, you’ll find that the wireframe is indeed a wireframe.

IKEA Bomsund frame for Sandback/Brathult

The Manstad and Friheten were built with solid wood, but the Sandbacken and Brathult are built on metal stilts – which are quite disappointing but explains a great deal of its significantly lower price point.

Height of the armrests are pretty good but they are quite lean and non-existent, so you cannot have a person sit on it during a family get-together nor can you rest your head on it comfortably for a 5 minute power-nap even!

The saving grace is that the Corner and Sleeper sectionals have a modular Ottoman, you can place them wherever you feel like – left, right, centre of the sofa OR just use it as an extra seat even.

Overall it does look alright for a typical apartment, but when it comes to actually sitting on the sofa it’s hard to shake off the feeling that it feels cheap.

Verdict : 5/10

Aesthetics

Neither the Sandbacken nor the Bråthult comes with a WOW or an OMG factor. Again an okay-ish set of furniture by IKEA.

The Vissle red on Bråthult looks relatively cheap and the Bolmsund mattress on them for sleeper sectionals make them uncomfortable and less classy! The Sandbacken with the more neutral and practical options does allow it to look more premium with a few accent throws even.

The sleepers are also good for an additional guest for a night over. But what I like the best about this series is the muti-purpose Ottoman – useful as an extra storage and versatile enough to create different looks in the space just by moving it around.

Verdict : 6/10

Ikea Sanbacken with an Ottoman
IKEA Sandbacken with an Ottoman

Hackability

As mentioned above, just changing the position of the Ottoman you could give a different look to your room. And with many new IKEA sofa models, it comes with removable sofa covers, making it easy to make your own cover in a different fabric even.

This is typically a great way to personalize it and protect it from daily wear and tear.

Also the sad and the boring looking Bråthult can be elevated by replacing the normal-looking cushions with some funky pillows in contrasting colors with the sofa.

Maybe try picking out some pillow covers here.

Verdict : 7/10

IKEA Sandbacken Sectional with Contrast Pillows
IKEA Sandbacken Sectional with Contrast Pillows

Overall Conclusion

Well, the truth is that we don’t really like this sofa.

If you’re on a budget then we’d say go for it as it is relatively cheaper when it comes to prices when compared with other Ikea sofa beds.

But if you’re willing to invest a bit more (and you should), there are definitely better IKEA sofa beds out there. Check out our Friheten sofa bed review and Flottebo sofa bed review.

The main priority while buying a sofa is that you can always sit comfortably and happily on it, since they are an essential part of the house decor and allows one to be a couch potato when needed.

Hence the need for a sofa or sofa bed to be comfy, practical and beautiful as well!

That’s just our take on it though – what’s yours? Leave it in the comments below!