Simple White Outdoor Sofa

Submitted by Ana White on Mon, 06/06/2011 - 00:00
| Print this plan

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.


patrick1973 (not verified)

Sat, 09/15/2012 - 06:14

i plan to bui9ld my wife the sofa and chairs and i am not sure which Jig to purchase? either the $40 R3 or the $99 K4.

i know for sure i will build these 3 pieces so wondering which is easiest to use on this furniture. may tackle some other products in the future,, so should i just spring for the $99 K4?
thank you,


Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:57

I love what you have done with the sofa, but would like to see the necessary mods to turn it into a Futon. Need some seating/sleeping on our house boat and this look would work wonderfully. Is this something that would merit your time?

thanks Gary

Patteeh Manalo

Thu, 07/11/2013 - 23:17

HI Ana I feel so lame for discovering you sooo late! But I was super excited to start building this sofa cus I saw that the lumber would run me around $30. And i even ordered a Kreg Jig on Amazon. But after going through the lumber at Lowe's and Home Depot, they will be running me close to $150 :( Where can I find it cheaper? The lumber stores are way more expensive!


Sun, 03/02/2014 - 05:33

Just built this bench this weekend! Turned out great. I found the cost of the wood to be $175. I used Poplar for the legs and arm tops. I used a mixture of Top Choice and Select pine for the rest of the sofa. I used the Poplar because it is a harder wood. Also bought a Kreg pocket hole tool. First time to use and REALLY liked it. Was well worth the $40.

Here is one TIP that I'd like to share.

Before attaching anything, I drilled all of the pocket holes in the aprons.

When I went to attach the side aprons to the legs, the 4 right angle joints (back and side, side and front) had the pocket holes at exactly the same height. This meant that tips of the screws were right on top of each other.

Doing it again, I would have offset the pocket holes from each apron so that when the screws went into the legs, they would have not come close to intersecting.


Mon, 03/03/2014 - 06:17

I assembled the entire sofa and then started to prime / paint. Since this is going to be outdoors, I wanted to make sure that I had really good coverage and didn't leave any bare spots.

I had trouble getting paint into the section where the bench is attached to the back rest, due to the angle.

If I were to do this again, I would have painted this tough to reach spot, prior to attaching the back to the bench.

I still haven't figured out how to get paint in this "V" area. I'm going to look into finding an oil based spray primer and paint.


Wed, 04/29/2015 - 16:40

What type of wood are people using for this sofa? I can't imagine they are using framing lumber??