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
drill
circular saw
nailer
sander
staple gun
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 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!

I want to build this, but I don't want to use paint drop cloths.  If I don't how much upholstery fabric would I want to use?

 

P.s. I think your site is awesome.  Thank you for inspireing me to build for myself.

You need at least 12 yards of fabric. I got mine for $3-5/yd from the bargain bin at Fabricville. Depends on matress thickness + if you want to cover the cushion and whole back of the sofa. I got an extra 5m in a coordinating solid color for the underside of my cushion and to hide the lid since I made a removeable cushion.

Wanted a kid-sized sofa for the play room for my girls.  Thinking this would be easy to 'downsize' to little ones sizing!  Thanks Ana.

Lots of very positive comments about the plans but I don't see any comments of anyone else having success on building one????  Has anyone else had success of building this couch?

I'm come from the school of DIY. Why pay for something you kind of like when you can custom make something you love? Ever since I had to break the legs off my last sofa to get it into apartment, I decided to custom make my furniture. This is amazing. Thank you so much.

I've been looking for cheap furniture and recently became interested in the economics of building my own... This plan is perfect for what I want to do, but I'd also love to see it with arms on it. I was thinking perhaps the arms could incorporate that same tapered look that is on the back. I think that even with the high price of foam, building your own sofa or couch is much cheaper (and possibly more beautiful) than buying one any day.
If anyone did end up building this and modifying it to include arm rests, I'd be really interested in seeing it!

Achei incrível seu site e também este sofá. Venho procurando um projeto de sofá a tempo, queria algo funcional e este é perfeito!!!

Obrigada!

I just built this and it was easier than I thought!!! I have never even made a bookshelf before! So happy with my new sofa! :-)

Took a little longer since I covered the cushion so I could remove the fabric and wash it. We used an 8" thick memory foam mattress so it could be a spare single bed if needed. Due to the mattress height, we built the back of the sofa 3" higher.

My friends and family thought that I was crazy to want to build my own sofa - especially when I started @ 8 months pregnant...

This one is solid with the 2x6's and we love it! My husband helped me with the wood cutting and my best friend helped me with the sewing. It is good to get a buddy to help you for at least assembling the frame. We built it on our back deck (also good to be outside working with the glue).

Posted it in your brag book today.

Sammycat

I just finished my first one! I will be starting 2 with adjustments for our family in a few weeks. My kids thought it was so cool that Mom made a sofa for them for their play room. It only took me about 20 hours. My power tool batteries kept needing charged. I bought almost every piece new and it only cost 200 for everything! ( The fabric was leftover from when walmart had a $1 yard table) The living room ones will have a higher back and arms, but close to the same. Thank you for such an awesome sight. My mom and I searched your sight for hours while she was visiting planning out future projects.

I'm not having much luck finding the foam camping pad that the plan uses.. anyone find a cheap retail source?

I just called my local Fred Meyer and they have the 30x72x3 pads for $19.99

I love the idea , and as an addition you could use the back to make more storage for books

how many yards of fabric would i need to do this

think this could be modified into a sectional? I was thinking of just adding an arm to one side that could maybe be removed if I wanted to use as two pieces?

Hi Nicole, I definitely do think it could be done... I'm planning on making one myself, so if mine is a success I will definitely let you l
know. Keep me up to date if you get yours done first ^_^

We had the same need not long ago for a small, armless sofa. We moved into a small, small (394 sq. ft.) downtown loft area, and after putting in our desks and bookcases we had all of 45" for a loveseat/sofa. And being sandwiched between an aquarium built-in and a bookcase, we didn't want arms.

The design is almost exactly like yours, with one major exception - instead of skinning it with sheet plywood, we recycled old pallets, and planked the surfaces. Rustic yes, but functional. Built a small ottoman to go with it.

We've been using old sofa cushions, and have been thinking of covering it in foam and burlap (and, the same color as what you've used!). But burlap is spendy! And, other upholstery fabric is even worst.

Now you say use a paint drop cloth - canvas! THANK YOU! You just solved our dilemma, and saved us a bunch of money! Woo-hoo!

I really like this storage sofa, however I am in need of a convert-a-bed or something of the sort. I love this one http://www.seventhavenue.com/Furniture/Sofas-and-Futons/Lounger-Sofa-Bed...
and this one
http://www.seventhavenue.com/Furniture/Sofas-and-Futons/Madrid-Convert-A...

However I have no clue as far as the hinges go. Could someone offer me some advise on the best hinges to use for these two plans? Thanks in advance!

This is near perfect for my needs, Will be tweaking the plans to turn it into a chaise and the start building it. Thanks for a great starting point.

hi. thank you about your web page. i love you. good lock.

hi. thank you about your web page. i love you. good lock.

Yesterday my poor husband came home to find me cutting up our second couch to turn it into a sleeping ottoman. As always he just shook his head in bewilderment, said "I'm not even going to ask why because I'm sure I'll love it and grabbed his tools! I think I'll adjust some of your always fabulous plans and finish mine as a storage ottoman instead. Thanks for the continual inspiration!

I love your plans and I plan to build my own! Although, it is hard for me to find this foam! I live in California, The OC, and I cant find any local stores that carry camping foam pads or any foam pad period with those dimensions. I can order online but I wanted to pick up from store! Anyhow I will post in the brag post once I finish. :) Thanks so much for this and Happy Building :)

Hi Anna,

I really want to made it in the near time but I am beginner on woodworking. So far i have made 2 projects. They are a book self and a hanging planter. Do you think a beginner could make it?

Hi Anna,

I really want to made it in the near time but I am beginner on woodworking. So far i have made 2 projects. They are a book self and a hanging planter. Do you think a beginner could make it?

I love, love, love this couch. I decided to make one for myself. I built mine with storage but I used a twin size mattress as my cushion. I am going to work on a "love seat" option using a crib mattress next.

I just love this idea!!! I plan on making one ASAP!!! I saw someones idea in the comments to make one as an L and it could be used as a sectional... I can't wait to get started!!! I wish Lowe's was open 24hrs cuz I can hardly contain myself!!! ^_^

I don't comment too often but today I really wanted to comment because I was on another site that posted this couch and read a negative comment about Ana's site and building. I know she's aware of those who speak against what she does, but after reading that comment I thought about how much this site helps me. I remember when I 1st came on this site and how excited I was. Not only are the plans free, they are good. There are so many websites that only offer plans for money. I pray she continues to offer this because it helps a house wife like me to build things I can't afford to buy. I used to be envious of people because of what they have and because they spent a lot of money for it. But not anymore. Now I look at things and say, "I can do that". I've downloaded so many plans I plan on building in the future. I'm so excited about the things I have planned. I have to state, when I 1st saw this sofa I was intimidated and thought I couldn't build it. But after doing several projects already, here I am, months later ready to build. I just did my bedroom closet, a farmhouse kitchen table, a mission sofa, etc. My future projects are a coffee table, double pedestal dining table, a mantle, etc. These are things I didn't think I could do or have in my home. But with help from God, I am doing it. Thank God for using Ana to encourage women like me. Keep it up...

What a wonderful idea! My wife will get a cut down sofa for the bed room, and I will get an extra gun cabinet! Just gotta notch the interior 2 x 10 to provide support for the center span and to receive the stock of the weapon! Style with a large dose of Utility

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