Simple White Outdoor Sofa

Submitted by Ana White on Mon, 06/06/2011 - 00:00
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An outdoor sofa DIY plan inspired by Restoration Hardware Nantucket collection. Features relaxed seats with modern styling and deep cushions. This simple free easy step by step plan is an affordable alternative to designer furniture.

Thank you thank you thank you for this sofa!

You see, I've dreamed of having a beautiful outdoor sofa set for years now, specifically Restoration Hardware's Nantucket set.  But we are just an average family on an average budget, and I'm just an average mom who always knows there's somewhere better to spend money than on dream patio furniture.  So this sofa (and the pieces that will follow) have been a distant dream for me for a long long time.  
Now you are probably thinking that Ana, you build furniture for a fraction of retail cost, that IS what you do.  So what's the prob?

You see, I've been building furniture for quite some time.  But a few years ago, I would not have had the confidence to tackle such a project.  I would not have had the experience with Google Sketchup.  And I would not have the excuse to build yet another piece of furniture  :)

I can promise you, if not for this blog, and for you reading this blog, I would not have this sofa.  Thank you so much for challenging me and enabling me to better my own home.
And the best part is I hope some of you have an opportunity to build this outdoor sofa as well.  
The Ram and I worked on this project together.  Anyone else love working on projects with their DH?  I was just thinking how different our relationship might be if we didn't spend so much time together working on projects.  Although this was really a quick afternoon project.  Truly just a few hours.
And the frame itself was rather inexpensive to build - I'd say around $30 in lumber.  But those cushions . . . I purchased the cushions from Restoration Hardware for $189 with free shipping . . . and they've since marked the price up quite a bit . . . 
If you can sew, you can either purchase custom sized cushions (even darcon wrapped!) or you can purchase 24" widths of foam, in three 48" long sections.  
My cushions measure as follows:
Seat: 24" x 26 1/2" x 6"
Back 24" x 18" x 6"
From each of the 48" lengths, cut one seat and one back cushion.  
And here are a few sewing tutorials for box cushions that  I thought you might find useful
Good luck to you whichever route you take . . . and thanks again for helping me get my new sofa!  Love love it!


Shopping List

3 - 2x6 @ 8 feet or stud length
2 - 2x4 @ 8 feet or stud length
3 - 2x2 @ 8 feet long
3 - 1x2 @ 8 feet long
1 - 1x6 @ 6 feet long
1 - 1x4 @ 6 feet long
8 - 1x3 @ 8 feet long

Common Materials
2 1/2 inch screws
1 1/4 inch finish nails
120 grit sandpaper
wood conditioner
paint brush
Cut List

4 - 2x2 @ 22" (Legs)
2 - 2x2 @ 34" (Arm Tops)
2 - 2x6 @ 31" (Side Aprons)
2 - 2x6 @ 72" (Front/Back Aprons)
2 - 2x4 @ 72" (Back Support/Seat Support)
2 - 1x2 @ 31" (Side Apron Top Trim)
2 - 1x2 @ 72" (Front/Back Apron Top Trim)
1 - 2x2 @ 72" (Front Cleat)
16 - 1x3 @ 25" (Seat Slats)
2 - 1x2 @ 16 1/4" (Back Slats - Ends)
12 - 1x3 @ 16 1/4" (Back Slats - Center)
1 - 1x6 @ 72"
1 - 1x4 @ 72"

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Circular Saw
Brad Nailer
Power Sander
Drill Bit Set
General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!


Step 1

You will need to build two arms. I used the Kreg Jig with pocket holes set for 1 1/2" stock and 2 1/2" pocket hole screws and glue.

Step 2

Once the two arms are built, attach front and back aprons, and backrest support. I again used the Kreg Jig and 2 1/2" pocket hole screws and glue. Adjust for square.

Step 3

You can click any image for a larger view. The front cleat is a 2x2 and needs to sit 1/4" down from the top of the front apron. The back cleat is a 2x3, and sits flush to the bottom.

Side note - if you would like to increase the weight capacity of this sofa, simply add 2x4 "legs" to the 2x4 seat support, they would be about 9" long, and would just be screwed to the side of the 2x4 seat support, and act as hidden legs right where you might need them.

Step 4

The trim just makes things prettier. I used a nailer and glue.

Step 5

Step 6

Begin by marking the location of your slats and predrilling pocket holes set for 3/4" stock. Join using 1 1/4" pocket hole screws and wood glue. If you wish (we choose not to) you can round the top edge of the back with a jigsaw. Sand until smooth.

Step 7

Now the fun part! Slide the back in place, and then screw to the two 2x4s as shown above in the diagram. Make sure you use a countersink bit.

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth. 

It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.


Vicky (not verified)

Wed, 06/08/2011 - 05:41

Love the sofa! It's exactly what I'm looking for. I was already in the process of trying to design one for my Dad & I to build together and this saves us a lot of work! Just a few questions, though.

I actually want 4 2-seater love seats. Originally I wanted armeless love seats so I could push 2 together to make an extra long sofa. Any ideas for a very very simple way to do armless (or 1 armed, so they can be pushed together)?

I am a little worried about the weight of this furniture because we will have to carry it up to our deck and then down again to be stored for the winter. This makes me consider a whole bunch of single seater chairs pushed together.

How about a design for a removable back so they can easily be stacked for winter storage? I was inspired by my boys wagon that has the wooden sides that lift off.

Sorry for all the questions, I'm just really excited to get started on something.

Guest (not verified)

Wed, 06/08/2011 - 18:29

I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions for assembling the back for people who don't own a Kreg Jig? I want to make this in time for a party in a couple of weeks but I won't be able to order one in time so I'll have to make it without.

Guest (not verified)

Mon, 01/02/2012 - 15:56

Same here. I don't own a Kreg Jig and was wondering whether I can use plain screws and patch up the screw holes. For the back, I am thinking that a solid back to eliminate the need for Kreg Jig holes. Appreciate any suggestions and feedbacks on how to revise the plan without using the Kreg Jig tool.

In reply to by Guest (not verified)


Mon, 01/02/2012 - 20:02

You can use a dowel jig and glue. I picked up a self centering dowel jig for less that 15 bucks at Harbor Freight. Not a top of the line jig, but I have used it a lot for attaching slats, just like in the back of this bench. Hope this helps...

Thomas (not verified)

Sat, 06/18/2011 - 14:20

Can you give any more advice on attaching the back? Since the back is at an angle and the back support and bottom support are both square (to gravity, anyway), do they just attach as best they can?

Guest (not verified)

Fri, 07/08/2011 - 17:02

Plus, where the back attaches to the bottom cleat will form a V. Water will well up in there, won't it?

guest (not verified)

Wed, 07/13/2011 - 11:02

I made an easy modification that I think will help with drainage. I have yet to actually build this, but am in the process of it.…

There's the Sketchup model for details. Remember that my nominal 2x4 was actually 1 5/8 x 3 5/8!

I moved the back cleat up 1 inch and shortened the seat slats by 1 inch. I also added to the back bottom corners of the back cleat some 1 x 2 (cut 1 5/8" long to be square). This is actually what the back attaches to, leaving the middle wide open for drainage. It does create 2 small v's, but they're open on the inside. (And as I type this, maybe not having them against the outside edges, but in 1" will alleviate really all problems.)

Hope this helps!

Maidelin (not verified)

Sat, 07/09/2011 - 19:41

Son hermosos todos tus trabajos. Siempre aprendo algo en tu Blog!