Duo Ventures

Thursday, August 17, 2017

DIY Outdoor Wood Sofas

After we finished our DIY deck back in March, it became even more apparent that we needed more outdoor seating.  The only seating we had at the time was a round patio table with 4 chairs.

Initially, we looked around for sectionals, but everything we liked was at least $2,500.  Then we came across some plans to build your own outdoor sofa from Ana White...for around $50 in lumber!  The cushions are the most expensive part of this project, but even so, we were able to build 3 sofas for under $800 total.

Here is the original Ana White sofa design that we modeled our sofas after:

Ana White Outdoor Sofa

It's a great basic design, but I wanted to modify it slightly by adding a couple more 2x4's for extra back support, as well as some 2x2's under the arm rests for more detail.

Since we also built our sofas to the size of our cushions, they ended up being less deep than Ana's original sofa as well.  Our sofas are 25" deep, while Ana's are 28 1/2" deep since because we used one less 2x4 on the seat bottom. Here's a comparison of the original vs. our sofa:

I assumed the most difficult part of this project would actually be finding cushions that we liked in our budget, so we decided to pick out our cushions first & then build the sofas to those specific dimensions.  Ideally, I wanted something in the grey family, but the few grey cushions I came across were either too brown, too thin, or too expensive.  We ended up going with the IKEA KUNSO cushions in black instead:

Here are the dimensions of our cushions:
Back cushion dimensions:
Width: 24 3/8 "
Depth: 17 3/8 "
Thickness: 7 1/8 "

Bottom cushion dimensions:
Width: 24 "
Depth: 24 "
Thickness: 4 "

The entire sofa was built out of pine 2x4's, with the exception of the "X" detail under the arms - which were pine 2x2's.  We did not use treated lumber for this project since I planned on staining & sealing the sofas - so we saved a little money by going with regular pine AND the lumber was also not as heavy since it wasn't treated.  If you can afford to build with cedar, that is the way to go for outdoor furniture (since we were on a budget we went with pine).  My dad helped us build the first sofa, but then we were on our own for the remaining two.

Before we added the "X" detail:

Here are the sofas after we added the 2x2 X detail under the arms:

For extra support, we also screwed in two vertical 20" 2x4 supports on the back of each sofa:

Once all three sofas were assembled, I filled the holes with exterior wood filler & gave them a light sanding all over.  I focused on the edges - particularly around the arm rests.

Next, I gave them all one coat of semi-transparent stain & sealer in the color Pewter by Rustoleum:

The stain is subtle in person (and even more difficult to tell the difference in photos), but the stain sort of reminds me of that gray driftwood Restoration Hardware look.  I could have done a second coat of stain, but I was honestly exhausted & just wanted to be done.  You can see the stain the best in this photo:

Ana's original lumber list only calls for (11) 2x4x10' boards, but because of our modifications we ended up needing to buy the following for each sofa:
(12) 2x4x10'
(1) 2x4x8'
(2) 2x2x8'

Here is the final approximate cost breakdown:

$65 lumber + $180 cushions = $245

$195 lumber + $540 cushions = $735

We also spent $37 in stain, so our total cost was about $772 ($735 + $37).  Please keep in mind there can be other costs involved depending on what materials, tools, or stains you already have on hand.  We already had the screws we needed (mostly 2 1/2" & some 4" galvanized screws), sandpaper, wood glue, and tools - so all we needed to purchase was the lumber & stain.

Overall, we love the sofas - they are comfortable & very sturdy!  Since I didn't give step by step instructions, please let me know if you have any questions on our building process.

We also ended up building an X-base dining table for our new deck as well.  I will write a post on how we built that in the near future...

Thanks for reading!


  1. I wanted to see how these were holding up after a couple of years without having used treated lumber. I'm about to build these and would prefer to use non-treated pine too, as I plan on painting them. They will be under a covered deck.

    1. Hey Peyton, The sofas have held up awesome actually! The only thing I've noticed is that the exterior wood filler has come out of some of the holes - but other than that, no issues. I think you should be fine to use non-treated. :)

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