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dyeing an ikea ektorp loveseat cover

Filed under: — adrian @ 2:36 pm

Update: I’d recommend reading this entire post and the comments before dying your covers. I list the directions I used but you may wish to make some changes. (I would if I did it again.)

ektorp loveseat before

ektorp loveseat after

When I bought my Ektorp loveseat, I found that the white cover ($11 at my local store) was reasonably priced whereas the cover I really wanted, gray ($239) was not. So I decided to see if I could dye it close the color I wanted. I found that similar things had been done before.

Here’s what I did. Time required: about 3.5 hours (though you don’t need to be there the whole time). You may also want to reference Rit’s washing machine dyeing instructions and their tips for success.


  • 1 Blekinge white Ektorp loveseat cover—I bought an extra because they were only $11 and I didn’t want to be without a cover if I messed up the dyeing
  • 2 bottles black liquid Rit Dye
  • 1 bottle navy blue liquid Rit Dye
  • 2 cups salt
  • 2 tablespoons laundry detergent + 4 normal loads-worth
  • A washing machine or four
  • 2 cups bleach


  1. Split covers into two lots: the main slip cover and the 4 cushion covers. These weigh the same amount (5.2lb by my measure). Do all steps in parallel for both sets. The instructions below assume you are using two washing machines at the same time. You can also do one set of covers and then the other.
  2. Wash love seat and cushion covers normally.


  1. With the washing machine empty, start the cycle with the hottest water (usually a ‘white cottons’ setting). Wait until it’s about half full.
  2. Add 1 bottle of black dye (8 oz.) to each machine. Add 1/4 cup* navy blue dye (1/4 bottle, 2oz.) to each machine. Make sure to shake well, as instructed on the bottles.
  3. Add 1 cup salt to each machine. This apparently helps the color stay.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon laundry detergent to each machine. This apparently helps the color evenly distribute.
  5. Wait till the machines are mostly full and then add the covers to the machines. (Again: the slipcover to one machine and the 4 cushion covers to the other.) Check that the covers are full submerged in the water. Push them down if necessary.
  6. Let the machine run its cycle. Check about half way through the agitation cycle that the covers are fully submerged.
  7. The machines are probably stained by this point. Remove the covers from the machines. Run a full cycle with the hottest water and 1 cup of bleach to each.
  8. Once the machines are clean, put the covers back in the machines (or if you have access to more machines, you can do this step in two new machines) and wash them normally. Use a cold water setting for this wash.
  9. Dry the covers in the dryer in a normal cycle. One idea is to take them out when they are a little damp so they dry in place on the sofa without wrinkles.
  10. Put the covers back on the sofa.

*If I had to do it over I would put less navy dye in to give it a primarily grey look, with a slight navy tint to it. I think 1/8 cup (half of what I put in) would be sufficient for this.

So there you go.

25 Responses to “dyeing an ikea ektorp loveseat cover”

  1. Neeki Says:

    Thanks for the info.I am planning on dyeing my white covers too. I am wanting flat even color without streaks. Were you able to achieve this or was the color splotchy and uneven?
    Also do the covers bleed or give off color when u sit on them?
    Any feedback is much appreciated!

  2. adrian Says:

    Neeki, I answer the question about unevenness of color in the post. The colors do not bleed when I sit on them. Good luck!

  3. SuzyQ Says:

    Oh, I’m glad I found this post! I want the gray Ektorp covers too, but yeah – expensive, and also, the Svanby covers are dry-clean only. I’m looking for a washable gray cover.

    So now that it’s been a while since you dyed these – how has the color held up? Have you washed them since, and has the color faded or bled any?

    The color looks fairly charcoal-y on my screen…but you say there’s more of a navy tint than you’d planned? Does that opinion still stand?

    Thanks for giving the instructions! I may be much more interested in buying an Ektorp now that I know I can dye the cover.

  4. adrian Says:

    SuzyQ. The color has held up fine, though it’s probably faded a little bit. I haven’t washed them since.

    The color definitely has a navy tint. I would put 1/2 or 1/4 as much navy in (if any) if I were to do it again.

  5. Shawna Says:

    Have you washed this yet? If so how does it look?

  6. adrian Says:

    Shawna, I’ve only washed two pillowcases. They faded a little bit but not too much.

  7. shandra Says:

    Hi there,

    I actually want to do the opposite..I want my blue cover to be white..a white cover here costs $179!! Any ideas how I might get it plain white?

  8. Jenn Says:

    I dyed my couch slipcover as you instructed. However, since it is a full size couch I used an additional bottle of black and 1/2 bottle of navy to each load (as your directions say to break up cushions from the back couch cover. The color turned out even, however, the color turned out to be a purple-gray. I thought if I used more navy Id get more blue like you mentioned but instead I got purple. Perhaps the black is dominant in red hence purple? Any suggestions? I may try to just go with the ” light gray” option on the website. The measuring is confusing from tablespoons-ounces. How did you figure it out?

  9. adrian Says:

    Jenn, I ended up with a bit more purple than I’d like too. As I said in my instructions, if I had to do it again, I’d put in about half as much navy in as I used. Maybe even less.

    Here’s a conversion tool for tablespoons to fluid ounces.

  10. peggy Says:

    I have been searching for other options to my white covers and I am going to dye mine a saffron color. I just ordered a duvet cover and shams from crate & barrel on sale for uber cheap….going to do some indian rich curry color scheme!

  11. Vanessa Says:

    It’s the rit brand black dye that makes it look purple. I didn’t use any blue and got a very purple outcome. Would’ve been good to know beforehand.

  12. Adrian Says:

    Vanessa, that’s good to know–perhaps there’s something about the Rit black or the way it interacts with the Ikea sofa covers.

  13. Michelle Says:

    This is amazing, Im on the Rit site atm and can see on the colour chart that there is a pretty decent darkish grey #397 is this the colour code you used? If not can you let me know? Im dying both my 3 eater and 2 seater on the weekend :)

  14. adrian Says:

    Michelle, I mixed black and navy blue to make my color, but Pearl Grey looks pretty close to what I ended up with, perhaps with less of a blue-purple overtone to it.

  15. Paula Bubbles Says:

    Hey! Dyed my Ektorp cover with colors from, way more colors than rit and much more rich, no fading!

  16. amanda Says: dyes ALL DAY!!

  17. Naomi Says:

    I bought an Ektorp couch several years ago from a local ad for about half the price for a new one. BUT, it has a PINK slipcover. I’d like to buy a new cover, but I don’t like any of the colors the new ones come in and they don’t fit my budget. I was thinking that I could buy a white one and dye it the shade of green I’d like, but I have a front-load washer which uses a lot less water than the top-load agitator washers. I’m wondering if anyone has done the dying in a front-load and if so, what adjustments to you have to make and how successful were you?

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