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ikea friheten sofa bed in beige fabric in living room

Should you Buy the IKEA Friheten Sofa Bed? Every Question Answered

Updated for 2021

What a luxury it was to move into my new Melbourne home recently and have a spare room big enough to use as an office and guest bedroom. With most of our friends and family in Sydney, we’re expecting a few interstate visitors from here on in, so making this zone function and look good was imperative. Keep scrolling to read my IKEA sofa bed review.

I gave the office component of this space a makeover recently, so the bedding aspect was all that remained to make the room feel complete.

I’d been on the hunt for a sofa bed the last few weeks. Truth: as soon as we got approved for this place I began looking for furniture to fill it with. That’s what occupies my mind most of the time, actually; thinking about what decor I can buy, where it can go, and what pieces in my home it’ll work with. That’s what a decorating addict does and I won’t apologise for it! I searched high and low for a decent IKEA sofa bed review, couldn’t find it, so decided to turn my own thoughts into one!

IKEA Friheten Sofa Bed in Charcoal Grey

The IKEA Friheten Sofa Bed Review

The biggest issue I faced on the search for the idea sofa bed was coming across a whooole lotta ugly. And I mean ugly. I think you’ve seen the types I’m talking about; puffy arms, chunky cushions, thick bases that go all the way to the floor. It felt like nobody had invented a new sofa bed since 1992, and I really didn’t want that typical two-seater that folds out with all the springs and steel.

A friend of mine actually purchased the Friheten Sofa Bed for his living room. This was when I was living in Sydney a few months back and I was really impressed with how it looked. So it was always a frontrunner unless something better caught my attention. Clearly nothing did, because I purchased it this weekend just gone (and no, IKEA did not give me the sofa. Trust me, I asked and they declined lol).

I went into Richmond IKEA when the doors opened at 10am, purchased it, organised delivery and was back home within half and hour. The sofa bed got delivered the next day and my partner Gavin and I put it up a LOT quicker than some of the other IKEA furniture we’ve purchased in the past. And there were no arguments – bonus!

IKEA Friheten Sofa Bed - Chaise Lounge Storage

What’s good about the IKEA Friheten Sofa

  • It comes in a variety of colours – five to be exact – and the fabric is pretty soft
  • It folds out easily – not in the traditional sofa bed style (you’ll see what I mean in the pictures)
  • There’s no creaky metal bits and pieces like in sofa beds of the past
  • The chaise can go on either end of the sofa (so it’s versatile if you move house)
  • The chaise lifts up so you can store bedding or anything else inside
  • If you don’t want the chaise option, it also comes in a standard three-seater
  • One end features no arm, which means it works well in small spaces (your eye glides over it)

What’s bad about the IKEA Friheten Sofa

  • You might find the three large boxes the sofa comes in hard to transport
  • You won’t fit the boxes in a standard hatchback car, so delivery or a ute is your friend
  • The boxes are heavy and you’ll need two people to put the sofa together
  • It’s not going to win awards for the comfiest night sleep. It’s firm. But it’s fine for a few nights

IKEA Friheten Sofa Bed - Review on TLC Interiors IKEA Friheten Corner Sofa Bed Review

Every One of Your Friheten Sofa Bed Questions, Answered

Below I’m going to go pretty in-depth with my IKEA Friheten sofa bed review. I’ve put together a list of the most common questions asked by you about this sofa bed, and then I’ve answered all of them based on my individual experience.

Of course, every sofa is different, every person is different, every house is different. The answers are based on what worked for me, but I think you’ll find it informative.

1. Is it comfortable to sit on? Soft or firm?

The Friheten is definitely on the firm side in terms of the seat cushions. It doesn’t feature a lot of padding; a 7 out of 10 on a fitness scale, I’d say. I wouldn’t recommend it as your every day sofa without testing out the firmness in-store first to see if it’s something you’re comfortable with. I personally would suggest you use it more as a spare room sofa you can convert to a bed when needed. That’s what I did in my own guest room and it’s been amazing.

friheten ikea sofa bed in beige fabric

2. Would you recommend the Friheten sofa for daily use?

I found it too firm for daily use. Many readers have reported the same, but some do use it in their main living room. I’ve had friends use the Friheten in their rental home living room and they said the same thing. It’s a wonderful budget-friendly option so I think it comes down to how much money you want to spend on a sofa for everyday use. I recommend the Friheten sofa bed as a sofa in a guest room/spare room. 

3. How long will it last?

This would depend on how well you care for it and how frequently it was used. I used my Friheten sofa bed in a spare room for several years, to sleep guests and for occasionally lounging. In my years owning it I did not notice a decline in comfort with that level of use at all.

4. Have you found the seat cushions to sag or soften over time?

Not with my occasional level of use. The cushion inserts on the base of the sofa bed are made from Polyurethane foam which gives a slight bounce, so they’re not likely to dip substantially over time unless you’re sitting on it every single day. That said, I’d say you still get years out of it before you saw a noticeable butt imprint.

ikea friheten sofa bed in beige fabric in living room

5. Which is better: 3-seater Friheten or the chaise option?

It depends on the size of your space, firstly. They’re both great options and they both have storage within them. The main difference is the way the sofa looks and feels once it’s converted into a bed. The standard three seater will have a long crack/strip running across the bed (between two people if they were sleeping on it). The chaise option will have two cracks in a T-formation; one running across your upper back when sleeping, and then one down the middle of two people. 

6. What size sheets does it need?

Making the Friheten sofa bed when it’s pulled out to ‘bed’ form isn’t the easiest undertaking. The major issue is getting into the corners of the sofa bed when it’s pushed against the wall. To counteract this I’d recommend you pull it away from the wall a bit when making it up so you can get around all sides. I’ve used queen fitted sheets. It takes a little work to get them secured between the base and the arms on one side, but it’s doable.

7. Does the Friheten come with cushions?

Back cushions are included, and they’re covered in the same fabric/material that the rest of the sofa comes in. The inside of the back cushions are filled with the same style foam as the base: Polyurethane foam. I found the back cushions to be softer than the seat cushions though, and they’re not attached so you can move them around if required. I recommend you buy scatter cushions for extra comfort and cosiness (but I’m a cushion addict).

ikea frihiten sofa bed chaise storage light grey fabric

8. Do you recommend a mattress topper?

A reader, Ashley, recommended “a really good, thick featherbed mattress topper– size is US full (double). Then you can get a sheet that goes directly on that and zips on like a pillow case– and you just fold it and it fits right in the storage chaise.” I have used a queen mattress topper (Australian sizing) on mine in the past, and I would recommend it. As mentioned above, the sofa bed is somewhat firm, so I like to give my guests some extra padding underneath them. 

9. Will it fit in my car?

IKEA lists the packaging dimensions of the Friheten sofa bed and other products on their website. I recommend you check, you may need to use their delivery service, do multiple trips, or borrow a larger vehicle. When I purchased my Friheten I got it delivered to my house. I’ve been caught out before; trying to jam multiple boxes into the back of my hatchback car like a game of Tetris. Not fun!

10. Is it easy to assemble?

I would call it moderately difficult. It’s definitely a two person job. IKEA instructions are clear, but you have to pay attention to the level of detail they include. Some people reported issues lining up some of the bolts. I personally did not have this issue. You’ll need two people because during some stages of assembly you’ll need to turn the sofa bed on it’s back to get underneath to fix some parts. It’s too dangerous to attempt solo. 

Attempting assembly with your partner? Check out my guide to doing it while staying sane

ikea friheten sofa bed review light grey sofa bed with chaise in living room

11. If I need to move it, how hard is it to take apart and put back together?

I did have trouble taking it apart and reassembling it when I moved it between rooms, or from one home to another. I suspect this is because I tightened everything too much the first time I put it together. But outside of that nut/bolt issue the rest of it pulls apart rather easily. 

12. My sofa bed rolls away from the couch. Did I miss something during assembling?

There are two hooks the roll-out bed part should attach to. This is shown in the assembly instructions at step 19 at the time of writing this. I’d take a look at that and see if you missed that step. Mine definitely doesn’t roll away.

13. The bed has started collapsing when I sit on it. What should I do?

I’ve never had this problem before. I would recommend contacting IKEA to discuss whether the Friheten is faulty, damaged or has been assembled incorrectly.

ikea friheten sofa bed review dark charcoal fabric

14. Do the handles that release the “bed” part tuck into the sofa or are they always hanging out?

Depending on the model, they can be tucked away or come with velcro to adhere them. Mine had velcro on them so they do attach/tuck away under the front of the sofa bed for a nice clean look. That said, you do always see them, so there’s no way to conceal them from view.

15. Can the Friheten be assembled without using the arms?

Some people have reported doing it. I have not tried myself and wouldn’t recommend it. When you start to mess with products that are meant to be put together a particular way for sturdiness, I’d suggest it quite unsafe to not include all components as per the instruction manual. 

16. Can two sofas (or more) be attached together to make a large wide U shaped couch, with a chaise at both ends?

Some readers reported doing it successfully. I’ve not tried it myself for the same reasons listed above.

17. Has anyone tried to switch the side of the chaise from one end to the other? 

Some readers have reported joining two sofas together. So theoretically, changing the side the chaise is on should work. I’ve not tried it myself and would not recommend it.

18. I am concerned about stains. Is it easy to clean?

Some people have reported problems cleaning their Friheten sofa bed. IKEA advises cleaning with a damp cloth, which isn’t effective according to some readers of this blog. In my experience though, with small stains, I’ve used a damp cloth to blot the stain up as IKEA have suggested and the stain came out.

Comfort Works, an Australian company, makes slipcovers which can be machine washed for Ikea (and other brand) furniture. I’ve not used them myself so can’t give an opinion on them. But it’s worth a look.

19. I have cats. Will they be able to damage the Friheten?

My cats did give it a bit of “love” (used it as a scratching post from time to time). The (non-leather) fabric held up reasonably well, but over time the cats damaged it more. Some of the threads did pull away from the fabric, but I just cut them off with scissors. From a distance (when you walk into the room) it didn’t scream ‘cat damage’ but you could see it when you got up-close. That said, I can’t blame Ikea for my feisty felines’ bad behaviour.

ikea friheten sofa bed review in beige with white bedding

20. Is it easy to remove pet fur?

Vacuuming it with the appropriate vacuum head picks up the fur in my experience (non-leather material). I have a Dyson vacuum cleaner and put on the small head to vac away fur. I found this worked really well. I vacced the base, the sides, the cushions. It takes vacuuming really well; you don’t have to be precious about it (though every vac is different).

21. The Friheten Corner Sofa Bed I just purchased emits a very strong toxic-like smell.

I did not experience this however have seen it reported. It’s called “off-gassing” and can happen with many modern products, not just from Ikea. Some sites recommend using odour-absorbing material like coffee grounds or baking soda in a bowl or container to absorb the smell until it goes away. I can’t speak to the effectiveness of this, or the dangers (if any) of off-gassing. I would suggest contacting Ikea if you experience this issue.

ikea friheten sofa bed in black leather

The Verdict

If you want something that’s suitable for a few nights of rest, or to sit on during the day (which I do when I need a break from the computer) the Friheten is ideal. Your guests aren’t going to declare they’ve had the cosiest of sleeps on it by any means, but if you put a mattress protector on top to thicken the base of the bed I think it’ll work a treat. I give it an 8/10 overall.

The IKEA Friheten Sofa retails at different prices throughout the year and changes depending on your location. Click here to discover pricing and more.

Have you encountered an awesome sofa bed or do you own this one? What did you think of our Ikea sofa bed review? Drop me a comment below and share your thoughts with me and other TLC readers! 

Images in this post are from my own home (first images of sofa bed in bedroom) and the rest are via the IKEA website.



Chris Carroll

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He’s also spent time on TV, on Channel 10’s Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7’s Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you’d like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

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124 Responses

    1. I know this is a late response and you probably have figured it out by now, but that’s because it is pretty uncomfortable as a bed when you have your head at the chaise end. It ends up so that there’s a hard ridge under your back (I think from the storage box?) The other end has a springy mattress part under it so it’s a bit more comfortable.

  1. The other Friheten, the sofa without the chaise, is a DIFFERENT construction, BTW.
    The back is higher.
    A higher back makes it better to lean back, to get really cozy when watching TV n stuff.

    True, you have to buy an ottoman separately. Marshall’s sometimes has pretty and cheap ones.

  2. Hi!
    What a great review – thank you for all the details!

    I was just in Ikea today, trying this sofa, and am interested in buying one. They aren’t in stock at the moment, and it seems that the only way to find out where some Ikea products are made is to look at the sticker on the box it comes in. I didn’t see any tags on the sofa itself, but it was the floor model, so it’s possible they have been torn off, I guess.

    We are avoiding buying products made in China (it is hard!) both because of the Uyghur genocide, and because of how China treats Taiwan (where some of our family is from). Today, the person working in Ikea could only tell us it was designed in Sweden, but he couldn’t tell from his site where it was made.
    I realize this is a longshot, but do you (or any of your readers) happen to have a tag/box/etc., and know where the Friheten sofa bed is made?

    Thanks again for your great review. 🙂

  3. My 80 year old mother has problems lowering and getting up from the sofa, can risers be used to extend the height? If so can you send name brand. Thank You

  4. Hi, Love this product, altho not used as a bed on a daily basis. Still looks great after 3 years. Best feature is how it opens into a bed…taking up “less space”. Question: Looking for a slightly smaller one…full size instead of queen size…for a tight condo. Could be either by Ikea or another brand. Any suggestions?

  5. Hi Chris – I’m the Ashley who wrote about using the featherbed mattress topper with a duvet cover around it to make the bed soft and easy to make – thanks for the shout-out! I just bought another one of these for my mother, and after putting it together the bed portion is giving me all kinds of trouble. It doesn’t pop up smoothly – it’s a real struggle. Has anyone else had this problem and does anyone have ideas for a fix?

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I’m interior designer Chris Carroll, and at TLC Interiors we’re all about helping you create an amazing home without breaking the bank. It’s affordable designer style at its best, and we make the whole process easy and fun for clients & readers alike!

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