Is everyone familiar with the term Poang? It’s the iconic chair from IKEA originally introduced as POEM in 1977 for $250! It had a name change and cushion upgrades in 1992. It’s now only $69 for the chair frame and a basic cushion. The chair is reminiscent of mid-century design with its bent wood frame (which is my fav, ya know). I bet it was influenced by the Alto arm chair first produced in the late 1930’s. Obviously I love its timeless style, and it’s comfortable and affordable too.
Sometimes IKEA has what they call Seize the Day sales where only one item is on sale per day, and often drastically so. They seem to do smaller items in current years, but I bought our Poang during a Seize the Day sale about six years ago. I got it for our classroom when my middle child was just tiny. I needed a chair with an arm on it for more comfortable nursing during school time.
The Poang frame was only $15 during the sale, but it didn’t come with a cushion. You had to buy a cushion separately; they always have several options. (They currently range from $29-$109.)
I was fully prepared to pay full price for a cushion when I purchased the discounted frame during Seize the Days, but of course I checked the As-Is room first. I found an orange cushion for $9.99. I don’t know what the style name was called, but it was most like the Korndal they just discontinued which sold for $89.
I would have purchased the very basic cushion which is thinner and has a less durable cotton cover if I had to buy at retail. The as-is cushion that I was able to purchase was much more comfortable and durable. The color was also great at the time, and for years to come, in our classroom.
Now that we have two desks and two huge wall units, we don’t really have room for this chair in the classroom. That’s fine because I’m not currently nursing any babies and I prefer to sit at the desk and do my own work/etc at the computer in between teaching/instructing/helping the kids.
So this chair went unused for a couple years and sat in the garage at our last house. We had some different chairs in our living room flanking the fire place there and didn’t have space for it. When we moved here, we played musical chairs (literally?), with chairs from the living room ending up all over the house.
This living room is larger and I was lucky enough to find a second Karlstad on Craigslist shortly before we moved for $70. I knew I wanted two sofas in the living room, so that only left room for one chair near the fireplace instead of two. I considered a new purchase, because while I do love the Poang, a tiny bit of my brain thinks “college apartment” when I see it (although I never had anything from IKEA until well after college).
I decided to use it in the living room anyway because I love it. If you guys are judging my living room and thinking to yourself that it’s not sophisticated enough, I don’t care. If, however, you’re judging my living room and thinking to yourself that it’s starting to look like an IKEA showroom, I’m with you. Eek. I’m starting to get concerned. I love IKEA, but I don’t ever want my house to look like a store showroom. I swear I won’t bring in anything else from IKEA for this room.
So, all that long story just to say that I have this Poang and it had an orange cushion and I wanted to use it in my living room but of course orange was not going to work in there. So I re-covered it.
When I was there buying my beloved rug, I bought a Kivik slip cover from the as-is room. There are always so many textiles to choose from in the as-is room. IKEA likes to change them out often in the showrooms so they don’t start looking disgusting. You know, since a kajillion people go through there every day. (We were even able to buy a complete cover for our sofa out of the as-is textile bins when we first got our original Karlstad. It saved us about $200. It took an hour to dig through everything, but the hubs and I were able to find all the pieces we needed. That was a happy day!)
I went with black, because it was what was available in a texture that I liked. Also, I thought white would be a horrible idea and I didn’t want more gray. Had I found a fun color that matched my living room, I probably would have gone for that. For this amount of money, I would pay for colorful upholstery. (I usually avoid it just for longevity’s sake.)
I’m glad I got black, though, because I know that I’ll change my living room color scheme a dozen times (probably more) before I tire of this chair.
Enough chatter…let’s get to it…
Well, actually I have horrible pictures of this. My son was being a stinker. He wanted to pose and model in every shot. They’re all horrible, so I’ll just leave some here for your entertainment.
When I went to return that darn rug, I picked up a child-sized Poang for my then-three-year old’s fourth birthday. I put it in the garage and planned to recover it to match the larger one and give it to him for his birthday. But then I got distracted by his train board and totally forgot. (I’m not the only parent who buys presents and then hides them and forgets, right?)
I also grabbed a blanket from the as-is textile bin.
I chose it because it matched the nubby upholstery on the larger Poang.
The method for covering this one is different than the larger one, because the cushions attach to the chair frames differently.
The kid’s version comes with a metal frame that has canvas that you stretch over it. The larger version is an all-wood frame and the cushion attaches with velcro.
We assembled the chair first, so I could see exactly how the cushion fit in order to determine how to attack this thing.
It had a “pocket” thing on the back of the cushion that slid over the frame and held the cushion in place. It had a little “lip” with velcro underneath to keep the seat part from sliding out.
I am so not a tutorial person. This fabric being black didn’t help at all. It made it difficult to see the differences in fabric layers in a picture.
But pretty much, I just cut around my cushion twice (front and back pieces) and cut around the “pocket” and the “lip.”
I sandwiched the pocket and lip between the front and back cushion pieces, like you would do with piping, and sewed it all together. I checked it about fifteen times to make sure my pocket and lip were going to end up on the right sides.
I left several inches open so I could shove my cushion in there, and then I sewed that part closed. I was planning to make this a slip cover, but then decided it was much easier not to. In the event that I need to remove it, I’ll seam rip this side.
I used a piece from the Kivik slipcover that I used on the larger Poang for the little lip part underneath, since the slip cover already had velcro attached.
Also, I used the finished edge of the blanket for the bottom edge of my pocket, just to avoid making a hem.
Oh yeah, I took the headrest off the cushion. It was just a basting stitch, so it ripped right off.
The orange cover for the larger Poang had a pillow that attaches to the back of the wood frame via snaps and flips over to the front. That same method won’t work for the small chair, since it doesn’t have that wood cross bar in the back, but rather canvas stretched over metal.
I need to pick up some snaps (and learn how to work with them) for the larger headrest and figure out a method to attach the smaller headrest. Maybe velcro? Or maybe I’ll leave them both off? They’re pretty comfy without them.
Anyway, since all that explaining probably makes no sense, I’ll just show you the after pics.
I’m not sure if the smaller one will stay right there. It will likely get drug all over the living room by the four-year old. Also, that frame will darken/yellow over time, I’m assuming. Like all the IKEA birch does. (Though everything just looks pink in these pictures. I seriously need photography help.)
Have a great weekend! I’ll just be here finishing our taxes. Woohoo!