Hackers Help: Can I make slimmer KIVIK armrests?

KIVIK armrests taking up too much space.

My boyfriend and I are exploring our options as far as living together goes. He owns an apartment which is pretty tiny. Luckily, our Swedish friends have solutions to most of our issues! 

We do struggle with the couch. We would only have a width of about 220 cm (approx. 86″) for a couch whereas a three seater usually measures around 250cm (98″).

I was therefore thinking about getting a couch and replacing the armrests.  For example, this beauty.

kivik sofa and chaise - armrests

KIVIK 3-seat sofa with chaise lounge | IKEA.com

I know that the legs are usually incorporated in the armrests, that’s why the KIVIK seems like a decent choice for this hack.

However, has anyone ever done something like this before? I couldn’t find a similar project through the search page. Can anyone tell me whether this can be easily done? I would love any advice from experienced hackers 🙂 

Thank you so much in advance! 

Kind regards,



Hi Veerle

As far as sizes go, IKEA sells sofa beds with a chaise which will fit your space. The SANDBACKEN and BRÅTHULT measure 212 cm wide.

ikea sandbacken sofa bed
ikea brathult sofa bed

Given the small apartment, a sofa bed is not a bad option. I know, not everyone likes using a sofa bed as a regular sofa. But it’s worth considering.

Minus KIVIK armrests, still won’t fit

The KIVIK 3-seater with chaise which you linked to is, unfortunately, a little too big for your space, even without both armrests. It would be 232cm wide (280cm – 24cmx2), according to measurements below.

KIVIK armrests and sofa

Why not consider the 2-seater KIVIK instead? It’s 190cm wide, just 30cm shy of your space. A 15cm margin on each side is not too much. And add an ottoman for the chaise lounge feel.

Or take a look at the other smaller 3-seaters (without a chaise) like the SÖDERHAMN, HÄSSELBY or even the modular VALLENTUNA. They will fit!

Armrest-less sofa

If a chaise lounge is a must-have, then I would suggest the NORSBORG 3-seater with chaise. The good thing is, the legs are not embedded in the armrests. So you can pretty much do away with the armrests.


You can just buy the 2-seater section and the chaise lounge section and NOT get the armrests at all. No waste.

However, you do need to sew or hot glue on some fabric to close up the exposed edges on the sides of the frame.

NORSBORG sofa assembly
  • NORSBORG 3-seater with chaise (and armrests) the width is 231cm.
  • NORSBORG 3-seater with chaise (without armrests) the width is 201cm.

Alternative armrest ideas

But if an armrest-less sofa looks kinda odd to you, try this idea on for size.

The simplest thing would be to cut two thick sturdy pieces of wood and attach them in place of the armrests.

If you want to amp up the style, make a frame for it. Like Susannah’s gorgeous box sofa hack.

box sofa ikea karlstad hack

Susannah used a KARLSTAD sofa but it should work with a NORSBORG. Unlike her hack, you won’t reuse the armrests.

Attach the main frame of the sofa to the plywood sides, if necessary. And get some new pretty furniture legs to go with it, if you don’t want to reuse the NORSBORG legs.

Here’s another tutorial I found which details out step-by-step instructions. Your sofa should end up somewhat like the photo below. In this version, you won’t need the existing legs.

plywood armrests

Source: Homemade-modern.com

I hope these gave you a few ideas.

Let us know if you do hack your NORSBORG or KIVIK armrests. We would love to see it.

Happy hacking,