Storage Sofa

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Storage Sofa

A sofa that you can build with a fold out seat perfect for storing extra pillows and blankets. Based off a sleeping pad foam cushion, so seating surface doubles as a guest bed.

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If you would have asked me even a few months ago about building your own sofa, I would have said, it's not worth it.  Considering the high cost of foam (upwards of $50 a yard) and the cost of fabric (at least $10 a yard for an upholstery weight) I just couldn't see the economics of building your own sofa.

But then I walked past a pile of foam camping pads at a store we have in Alaska called Fred Meyer (owned by Kroger and is kind of a superstore) that were 30" wide, 72" long, and 3 1/2" deep.  And the foam came in soft, medium and firm weights . . . for just $20!  Instantly, the wheels were turning in my head.

Then when my sister Esther mentioned that she didn't have a sofa, and she couldn't find one that was inexpensive, square, and with storage, I was drawing up plans within minutes.  My sister Lydia (we've reupholstered quite a few sofa's together, but never actually built one from scratch) was visiting, and she was just as excited as me.  So we got to work.

And you all know how much I love using paint drop cloths for fabric.  So with some 2x4s, 2x6s, some 2x10s, some 1/4" plywood and alot of worn out pillows and stuffed animals, my sister Lydia and I built a couch in less than 24 hours for about $120.

And by the time we were done, both Lydia and I were making plans to build our own sofas.  Also pictured reclaimed wood carts.

And I just might . . .

Nice clean square design that is so popular right now.  Notice the 2x4 feet.  Please don't notice my messy garage, I was afraid to bring this one inside . . . my sister might not every get her sofa back!  Also, the deep cushions are perfect for sleeping on.

It is after all made from a standard camping pad.  And did anyone notice the little hinges on the front seams?

Big enough to sleep on and with built in storage for the bedding too!  This is my favorite part of this sofa.  You could build it for your office and use it as a reading sofa, then when guests are over, flip open the seat and get your bedding out.  Not shown here, but I did add straps to keep the seat from hinging all the way open and also straps that tuck in the seam behind the seat for easily pulling the seat up.  Just used an old dog leash.

Ready to build your own?  You can do this.

Shopping List: 

1 – 30″ x 72″ x 3 1/2″ Foam Camping Pad or Cushion
1 – 9×12 Paint Drop Cloth
6 yards upholstery batting
2 20 oz bags of pillow stuffing
2 1/2 yards of burlap
staples
3″ screws or 2″ pocket hole screws
1 1/4″ screws
wood glue
spray adhesive
2 – 2×4
2 – 2×6
2 – 2×2
4×4 (You only need about 2 feet for the sofa legs)
1 – 12′ AND 1-8′ 2×10
2 – sheets of 1/4″ plywood

Tools: 
measuring tape
square
pencil
hammer
safety glasses
hearing protection
level
countersink drill bit
Dimensions: 
I did a little tweaking on the design to decrease the cost to build (my sister wanted double cushions for the look) and also to increase the storage compartment. The legs above are shown as 2x2s, which you could do but a center fifth leg is recommended. You could also use store bought sofa feet. This sofa is designed around a camping pad measuring 72″ long, 30″ wide and 3 1/2″ deep. You can easily adjust measurements to use a different sized foam cushion, advisably 24″ wide and 72″ long and 3″ or 4″ deep.
Cut List: 

1 – 2×4 @ 72″
1 – 2×6 @ 72″
4 – 2×6 @ 24″ (Tapered as shown in step 1)
3 – 2×4 @ 22″
1 – 1/4″ Plywood @ 17 5/8″ x 72″
2 – 1/4″ Plywood @ 72″ x 30″ (Top and Bottom of Seat)
2 – 2×10 @ 72″
3 – 2×10 @ 27″
2 – 2×2 @ 65″
2 – 2×2 @ 28 1/2″
4 – 4×4 @ 5″ (Sofa Feet)

Step 1: 

Back

Screw the back together with 3″ screws or 2″ pocket hole screws as shown above. Use glue and adjust for square.

Step 2 Instructions: 

Back

Now attach the 1/4″ plywood to the back with 1 1/4″ screws and glue as shown above.

Step 3 Instructions: 

Back Batting

Now wrap the back that is not covered in plywood with the burlap and staple in place on the bottom edge. The burlap should be tight. Then use spray adhesive to glue the batting to the back as shown above. Read the direction on the can of the spray adhesive for the best adhesion.

Step 4 Instructions: 

Side Batting

Now glue pieces to the ends with the spray adhesive and then trim to fit as shown above. Set the back aside.

Step 5 Instructions: 

Storage Box

Screw the 2x10s together as shown above to create a storage box. Then screw the plywood to the bottom as shown above. Use the spray adhesive and foam to attach batting to the front and sides (but NOT the back). I did not wrap the foam, simply cutting it 9 1/2″ tall, surrounding the front and sides of the sofa.

Step 6 Instructions: 

Slipcover

Use the spray adhesive to attach the foam pad to the remaining piece of plywood. Then use the spray adhesive to attach batting to the foam on the top, front and sides. Cut a piece of fabric 73″ long x 31″ wide. Cut two pieces 31″ long x 6″ wide, and two at 73″ long and 6″ wide. Sew together to create a box cushion (see this post for details on sewing). Place the cushion slipcover over top of the foam and staple the slip cover raw edges to the underside of the plywood, hiding edges. This is shown below.

Step 7 Instructions: 

That one should be easy. Now cut strips of fabric as shown in the diagram above (step 6) and sew together and staple in place around the sides and front of the sofa. Should be easy to do. Turn edges under to hide raw seams.

Now the back was the most difficult part – certainly not impossible, but I thought was the most difficult part of sewing. To make this part easier, you could simply not put a taper in the back side of the sofa, and all your cuts are square. Anyway, cut out the side and back pieces and stitch together, and fit over the back. Turn under and staple to the underside of the legs. Reference the diagram in step 6 for exact measurements.

Step 8 Instructions: 

Base

Build the base as shown above. Don’t worry about the 2x2s not being strong enough – their is no support required here (it’s all in the 2x10s). The 2×2 aprons are to keep the fabric tucked under and to give you something to screw your feet too. Paint or stain your base. If you choose to use 2x4s for the legs, remember, this does change the dimensions of the legs, and adjust the 2×2 cuts accordingly.

Step 9 Instructions: 

Assembly

Assembly will be easy. Start by screwing the storage box to the back, through the 2×10 back boards into the supports in the back of the sofa. Use the 3″ screws. Then flip over and screw the base to the sofa underside with 3″ screws. Flip it back over and attach the cushion with hinges. Support the hinges with a strap to keep the cushion from collapsing all the way forward.

Step 10 Instructions: 

Pillows

The pillows I sewed for this sofa are square box cushions measuring 36″ wide x 4″ deep x 18″ tall. Cut four pieces of fabric 37″ wide x 19″, four pieces 19″ x 5″ and four pieces 37″ x 5″. Stitch with right sides together, creating a box, but leaving an opening to insert foam. Stuff with loose stuffing. Hand stitch open seam closed.

Project Type: 
Estimated Cost: 
Skill Level: 
Style: 

Comments

I've always wanted to build a couch because it's been really hard to find furiture that fits into my awkwardly shaped living room. No one really makes "apartment" sized sectionals, and that's definitely what I need for my tiny house.

ikea has awesome stuff for small spaces. we just recently relocated from a 2500 sqft home to a 986 apartment and i was very pleased to find that ikea has just about everything you need to decorate, even small sectionals at super affordable prices. though, with ana you get to have fun building and you could even build the stuff at ikea for far less. happy building.

When I was upholstering my enlarged version of your toddler bed I said to my husband..." I should build us a new couch"....We started discussing that it was just a wood frame with padding. Thanks for the plans! The storage part is ingenious and I'll be running off to Freddies tomorrow.....We have them here in Oregon!

This is perfect! I'd been waiting for a sofa plan and was beginning to consider just turning one of your outdoor chair plans into a sofa... but this is exactly what I need! thank you!

This is soooo awesome!!!!! I was wondering if you could show us how to build arms on either side of the sofa? My hubby likes your plans, but wants arms...thank you so much Ana, you are amazing!!!

Hugs

Nice job, Ana!!! I'm saving this plan to build in my daughter's room in the future! She is normally in our room, and her crib doesn't really work as a guest bed very well. We would use it as a reading place when a bed isn't needed. LOVE IT!!!

And just an idea, I believe the drop cloths are cotton, so you could dye them any color you wanted to!!! I'm thinking chocolate brown. :)

This is awesome!!! I have an entire set of replacement sofa cushions for my sectional - they are all taking up room in my garage because I didn't know what to do with them. I'll be using your plans to make my son a sofa for his theater room. Perfect timing! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

You never cease to amaze me. Just when I think you have done it all - you go one further. This is completely impressive. I have a mattress downstairs in the garden room sitting on some wood scrap (serves as an office sofa). There's a LONG winter coming and it's time to get on something more attractive!
Hopelessly devoted...
xo M

Wonderful!

Though I'm jealous of those camping pads you found, I've been going through camping sections of stores for quite a while and have never seen such thick or cheap pads as you found, nor would any of the ones I've seen hold up to being in a couch (they were all very thin, squishy, and expensive).

Wonderful!

A suggestion...my store-bought couch has batting wraped around the foam in the cushions. That might tighten up the seat pad and make it even more professional.

Love it! When my daughter gets a bigger bedroom, this will be on a build list for sure! It would be perfect as she hits the teen years! I could also see this transitioning to a college dorm room with ease.

I HEART this ANA!! I agree we need the corner piece to make a sectional! Even if the build cost for the sectional is $350 or even $400 with lumber and fabric it's still WAAAAAAAY cheaper than sectionals that start at $900 without storage! Love it love it! Thanks for all you do, you're such an inspiration!

Jennifer

Thanks for the plans, I plan to build these for our basement!!! I also have 2 suggestions for readers building their own...

- Ebay is a great place to find the foam, but shop around and know what you are buying - prices can vary greatly - we made our own temprapedic mattress from 2 types of foam bought on ebay - queen size less than $200 - as opposed to almost $2000 for name brand.

- New bed pillows work great for the back pillows. Depending upon the length of the couch (I didn't look that closely), either queen sized or king sized pillows would probably work, or even make 3 instead of 2 and use standard size. A standard sized pillow at W-mart or other discount stores are under $4. The other nice thing about using regular pillows is that you can take them out and wash the pillow cover, and could even was the pillow itself separately (following mfg directions) if needed. Unstuffing a fiber filled pillow is a pain, and buying fiberfill can be expensive. You could even go all out and get down/feather pillows!

Oh! you've been teasing me with this couch for days! it looks great and is def. on my list. I had a similar idea to the above poster about the upholstered toddler bed. I"d like to make this L shaped and with arms. I bet the plans for the back could be fitted to make some arms, with enough cushions they could be straight and still be comfortable.

Love these plans though I'm not in a couch needing mode. My college age kids might love it though. We don't have a Fred Meyer where we live but I know our local JoAnn's often has foam 50% which is when I buy it to redo ottoman's that I refurbish from the thrift store. Also our local thrift store sells new mattresses for $80 for a twin. Just an idea for those who need to build a coach. Just love your site Ana. Thanks for all the ingenious ideas.

Oh I forgot, drop cloths are cotton but wash them first to remove all the sizing. Then you can dye them easily. Also Kool-Aid works as a great dye and is very inexpensive if you like wild colors.

A dream come true! Really, truly. I have been eying the Karlstad sofas from Ikea for too long and this is almost there (save for the arms). Love it!

Looks amazing! Do you think it's easier to build this sofa or reupholster one? I'm not handy at all, haven't built anything OR sewed anything on that big of a scale (as far as reupholstering), so either one seems hard to me, but I AM going to do one or the other!

Ana,
This is a great plan! I was wondering if, instead of using the base as storage, you could make this into a futon-esque kind if arrangement that converts from a nice, comfy couch to a nice, wide bed by just folding out the second side. You'd need feet for support, but I wonder if you couldn't hide them inside the pillows that go along the back, or make them removable, with the holes/attachment points hidden by the pillows.

Really good idea here. What I would do is do a double cushion, with no seam along the front, but each cushion individually upholstered so it could flip open. Then put the front apron on wheels so it pulls out and supports the cushions. Hmmm . . . maybe a plan?

Leah, I think I did add this to the plan, we did wrap the top cushion in batting, spray glued to the seat cushion. My sister wanted a very square look, but adding more batting or higher loft batting will achieve this look. Thanks so much for mentioning this. Ana

Farah, I've reupholstered before, and it can be easy, if you have a very square sofa that is in great condition. My experience? Building was much easier. Much much easier. Reupholstering can be so tricky!

Thank you for showing us that there is nothing we can't build if we put our mind to it! This is a fantastic project and I've got it earmarked for our son's new bedroom if we close on our new home sometime soon! Thank you so much for all of your hard work!

This is neat, however, with any storage compartment you need to drill air holes into that storage area...just like you would a toy box. If a child were to become trapped in that small area, the nifty storage area could potentially become fatal.

Wow, camping pads?! Amazing. We plan to build the chunky leg bed with an upholstered headboard but I was concerned about the cost of the foam for our headboard and for some other upholstery projects I have in mind. Not anymore! Thanks for the ingenious plan:).

When I saw the snippet from a few posts ago, I thought maybe that was a Twin sized mattress... "Standard" (YMMV) twin size is 39x75. Your camping mattresses are 30x72, so my hopes are dashed. :-( I have a spare twin mattress, so I was hoping.

A comment on the new-ish site design: I dislike it. I feel like you've reoriented it to be about yourself, and NOT the furniture/designs that I come here for. If I feel this way, I know someone else does as well. It just rubs me wrong.

On a more positive note, this is an awesome plan. The boy and I have been skirting around the idea of a custom couch for a while (for now we have a twin mattress up on a couch-height platform). My best friend has already asked me to help her build one/two of them once she moves here (since I've got the tools and the previous experience). I may do it, and I may build myself a couple too. So bravo for a new plan not kid oriented.

I make foam headboards and things, but to cut down on the cost of batting, I buy used or cheap rolls of egg carton mattress pads...it works beautifully and is cheaper and more cushioned than batting. Great plan, thanks!

We have tried many sofa options over the last 4 years. Our problem is that our living room is rather small, our kids aren't nice to furniture, and I have home decor ADD! Next time I tell DH we need a new sofa, we will skip the hours sitting on tons of sofas at the furniture store only to compromise one one we both dislike, and make our own! My only concern would be that the camping cushion would squish down a lot and leave you sitting on plywood.

Koolaid and vinegar is great for dying cotton! Also, Wilton's icing dyes work pretty well for dying as well. ANd of course you can always buy the dyes at the craft store.

What would need to be done to be able to use a twin mattress? I too have a spare mattress laying around. Would it just be a matter of adjusting the base/box dimensions? I LOVE LOVE your site! Thanks.

http://www.foamorder.com/index.html
This website will let you get the foam you want to the thickness and demensions you want. Its so cool. A little bit more than Fred Meyer but its cheaper than a couch. :) Cant wait to make mine. :) And the material......ah I cant wait to have a couch with the material I want and not what the stores want me to have. LOL!!! YAY!!!!

Well... that first section of your comment was rude. It's her website, she can do what she wants with it, and if you're getting free furniture plans from it, who are you to complain about the way the website is designed? It's functional & it makes finding things a lot easier, in my opinion. It's also pretty with a hint of girly to it, and maybe that's exactly what she wanted?

How cool! I think if I did this, I'd cut the foam and the plywood in half and make two squares that could be lifted off instead of hinging the one big piece to open (with a little lip that fit down inside the storage compartment so they didn't slide.) What a really great couch!

I agree with Jessica. This is Ana's site and she can do whatever she darn well pleases with it! I personally love it! I've been visiting it frequently for weeks and have many projects earmarked for building. I think it's easy to navigate and find the plans I need without having to weed through ALL of them. As for the girly-ness of the site..LOVE it! I think it gives some of the women who visit the feeling that they can do this! They, too, can be home "makers". I feel more comfortable here on this site than at some of the other diy sites that feel more like a "New Yankee Workshop" episode. I have several teen-agers at home who are taking a "woodworking" class now! We homeschool and these projects fit the bill for them as well.
Thanks Ana! Love your site! Love all the projects! Keep them coming!
Now off to build a couch....and some ledges....got a pallet to pull apart!!!

HUH?? It's girly for a purpose. And that purpose is to show that building is something that girls and women can do. Ana's mission to inspire and empower women to pick up tools and reach beyond their traditional comfort zones has worked for countless followers, myself included.

I love this.. now to decidewether to build or wait for a plan for a fold out to double couch ( as this is where my mother in law sleeps when she visits and our toddler likes to "camp out" with her)

This is just what I needed! I'm so happy I found your site! My guest room needs something like this, I think I might be trying this in a few days! I'll let you know how it goes!

Pssssssst.....a suggested variation. If the flat platform is reduced in depth (front to back), it becomes the perfect, hard-to-find plan for a breakfast room banquette. So, thank you!

Thank you so much for posting this! My husband I have a very small family room and now we have a 20 month old. With that comes a lot of extra things you're just not sure what to do with. We have been considering buying a sectional for our family room, but can't find one to fit. This is great....we can modify the length and 3 of these will make a perfect sectional with a little modification. Plus the bonus of much needed storage! We thought we would use crib mattresses as our base cushion. These can be picked up for under $100 each. I am so excited. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You rock!

This is fabulous! I've been looking at daybeds for the room my three girls share. My two youngest (5 and 3), and their 19-year-old sister. It was her room, but since I only have one son I gave him the room alone. I want my 19 year old to have somewhere comfortable when she comes homes that's still somewhat spacious and personalized.

I'm hoping a girlfriend of mine will help me with this 'cause I really don't like to do stuff like this... LOL... love the idea of it, but not the execution.

Thanks for passing on such a great idea.

I think I can make the sofa...it's the upholstering I'm not sure of. Does one 9x12 drop cloth really cover the whole thing? I wish you had a layout plan for that. Also, do you think scotchguard would be helpful? I love the off white look...but I have small kids and live in the country, so lots of dirt.

Karla - I was thinking EXACTLY the same thing! Yep, we are adding this to the list of things we "need" to build ;)

Thanks Ana...you rock!

Kellie-
I would love to see your final product and how you modified Ana's plans to accommodate the different dimensions. Using three crib mattresses to make three-piece sectional sofa would fit perfectly into my living room. Ana, thank you for the awesome design!
Adair

Hi! I LOVE the look of the sofa and the whole idea of using affordably priced linen-look (well at least in my mind) drop cloths for fabric... Only thing is, I bought two drop cloths at Fred Meyer's here in Oregon and I ran them through the washing machine (twice actually) and now they're drying.... I'm noticing such a strong chemical smell it's making me wonder if this fabric has been treated by some nasty chemicals, etc? Have you or anyone ever looked into that (or perhaps the kind you buy doesn't have that and if so, please I'd love to know what you buy since they look soooo beautiful)!!!! We are a family on a tight budget so "normal" fabric is not an option for us but I love the idea of using drop cloth if it's not toxic. Please advise thoughts/experience?

Thank you so much in advance and THANK YOU for all the wonderful plans you've put out here, I am in the process of setting up my own mini woodshop in my garage (things I'm asking for from Santa are NOT pedicures but instead POWERTOOLS)!!!!!!!! :) I think I speak for the masses when I say we adore you Ana!!!! :)

Hi, I was wondering if you could tell me any specifications for the foam mattress, like say a brand. We don't have a Fred Meyers here, so I'd have them ship it here if they would allow for it. Otherwise I would try doing some shopping with the reference of the brand name online. I hope I can make this couch, looks cool!

I find that if you wash the fabric a few times with a half cup of baking soda in each wash, almost any smell will come out. Give it a try. Might work on that nasty chemical smell. Good luck.

I've mentioned this before on another piece, but I find that you can find some very good foam on thrift store couches. My local Goodwill has couches all the time for under $50 with really good usable foam under the dated fabric covers. You can buy the couch and really just toss it unless you can reuse any of the other pieces. But $50 for three nice couch cushions is a bargain.

I've also bought several beat-up tables for their legs. Again...4 good legs for $15 is something that you just can't beat!

Lindsay-for the "chemical" smell-If you wash any fabric with 1 1/2 cups of vinegar it will help...I do it with everything. It basically strips away any chemicals in the fabric and won't harm the fabric. I like organic and natural materials, and using vinegar, just for the first wash, basically makes the fabric organic. Won't discolor the fabric or anything, even if you're washing dyed fabric. Everything comes out looking the same, just healthier and chemical free. All it takes is one wash, then after that you just wash with your regular detergent. Easy, simple, and it works!

I have been searching for a loveseat exactly like this(but shorter)!!! Thank you so much Ana for sharing your plans! You have made many very happy. :)

I love your site! And this couch is to die for!!! I want to try it but here in Kansas we don't have any Fred Meyer's. Is there any way that you could give me the brand of the camping foam pad? I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks so much for all of the great ideas!

I love it!!! I have wanted to make a couch for along time, but didn't know if I could make one that didn't look homemade! Guess what I will make one this week thanks to your awesome plans!!! I'm also so excited that I am not the only wife and mother that has the desire to build things!!

This is a fantastic idea. I have been looking for something unique for storage for my small studio. I wonder if it would work as well with more padding and a different material...

I have been looking at cute little kid's sofas just like this with storage under on ebay for my daughter's playhouse, but they're so expensive. Once I've finished the playhouse (currently under construction) and then the gorgeous kitchen furniture you've won me over with, then I am going to try to make a child size version of this sofa. Ana you are so inspiring!

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