Simple White Outdoor Sofa

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Simple White Outdoor Sofa

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.

HANDMADE FROM THIS PLAN >>

Projects built from this plan. Thank you for submitting brag posts, it's appreciated by all!

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Author Notes: 

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

2 1/2 inch screws
1 1/4 inch finish nails
1 1/4 inch pocket hole screws
2 1/2 inch pocket hole screws
wood glue
wood filler
120 grit sandpaper
primer
wood conditioner
paint
paint brush
Tools: 
measuring tape
square
pencil
hammer
safety glasses
hearing protection
drill
circular saw
jigsaw
nailer
sander
level
countersink drill bit
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!

Dimensions: 
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"

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 Instructions: 

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 Instructions: 

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 Instructions: 

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

Step 5 Instructions: 

Slats don't have to be perfectly spaced . . . I nailed mine down, two nails per end, per board. Leave a little gap on the ends for water drainage.

Step 6 Instructions: 

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 Instructions: 

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.

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.
Project Type: 
Estimated Cost: 
Skill Level: 
Style: 

Comments

Love this! You are truly amazing, Ana. I can not wait til I have some of my other projects done so that I can tackle this one.

Thank you SO much for all you do.

Love the sofa, can't wait for vacation to be over, this is my goal along with some great shelves you have on here for my playroom by end of summer with my hubby! Thank you for sharing!

Soooo love it! Question for you.....did you use the kreg jig screws that won't rust or do you think the regular kreg jig screws will be ok? Thanks for all you do!

I use the outdoor ones, but really, the pocket holes are pretty hidden (with the exception of the back) and get filled and sealed with paint and topcoat. I'd invest the extra few bucks . . . consider that the Restoration Hardware Nantucket Sofa retailed for about $2500!

I just discovered you on Friday...such great projects and I love the step by step directions. I can't wait to have my own house (in my mind, a house is a requirement for having tools like table saws and power sanders) so I can make your storage sofa and have a yard to have a reason to make sling chairs. (And yes, perhaps this sofa!)

OMG Ana, I have GOT to have this! You have done it in the EXACT colors that I am in love with at the moment! we gutted our master bath and I re-did it in 5' tall beadboard that i painted in bright white and i painted the walls a pure NAVY which is the actual paint color name by Martha Stewart paint colors. and i just wish i could put this couch in my bathroom! i am DEFINITELY going to build this!!!

what do you think about putting spindles/slats in the arms like it has in the back?? that was my instant thought of what i'd do to it... do you think that would work? should i used 1x2s or 2x2s for that?

Thank you for the wonderful plan! It looks so great I want it to be my first project.

I was going over the plan and noticed that the 1 x 3s for the back and seat slats are listed in the Cut List but not in the Shopping List. I am in the process of trying to figure out how many I need, but will wait for your confirmation.

Thanks for all you do!!!

This makes me very sad. I've been wanting an outdoor sofa (not a loveseat) for months and I finally broke down and bought one :( I love the set I have, just really wanted to build one. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to tackle my 'to do list' of other awesome projects :)

My son is moving from renting a room to having an entire one bedroom apartment for himself. He has no living room furniture and I was thinking yesterday about building him a sofa. Before I could sit down and draw up plans, here you come up with this design! Thanks, Ana! Eventually I am going to have furnished almost my entire house, and my children's homes, with handmade furniture!

The is such a beautiful couch!!! I love it! We have an all-weather-wicker (resin) set on our deck right now, but I'd love to make a beautiful wood version to replace them. :) The chairs look like a mini version of the couch, so I'm guessing the plans would be easy to adapt... unless you're planning on posting chair plans. :) Thank you!!!!!!!!!

I just want to say that this is truly inspiring... I'm usually hesitant to get involved in projects like this, but the results here are just so stunning (and so inexpensive, relative to the cost of buying the RH model!).

I've got a question about the cushions that you might have the answer to: are they Sunbrella fabric? I've heard that Sunbrella makes great stuff and I was wondering if they're worth the investment for outdoor sofa cushions.

Again, I love this project and this blog... bravo!

Hi Wyatt, the cushions are Sunbrella, just marvelous! They bead water and are just beautiful. I'd wait - RH will put these on sale at some point because the frames are actually sold out - and buy them at a discount. I'll be checking - my family wants some outdoor sofas, so if RH does put the cushions back on sale, will be buying more!

Would it be so hard to change the legs to be from 2x3?

For the life of me I cannot get a decent 2x2 in Lowe's or HD around me!

You know, I actually thought 2x3s would be ideal, but we don't get 2x3s up here in Alaska . . . so wanted to make plans fair to everyone. You could easily substitute 2x3s for the legs and arm rests. I'd love to see this done!

I would reccomend ripping them from 2x6 douglas fir.

So, the change is very minimal, right? Unless I am mistaken they can be just substituted with no more changes to any other part. Sure the end product will look different then yours; the Side Apron Top Trim will look a bit inside than the arms and legs.

Would it be so much time for you to post alternative plans to use 2x3 for legs and arms?

I am so excited about this sofa! It looks just like the one I emailed you last week. Not sure if that was a coincidence or fate but thank you!!! I can't wait to build this with my husband! $30 for the lumber is amazing!

Are there any Canadians on this site that would know where to find 24 x 24 cushions? If not then I think I'll have to adjust this to fit 18 x 18, which is all I can seem to find here :(

I was at Target yesterday, and noticing their cushions. Just a FYI, they are carrying some that are 24"X24" and about 4-5" thick for 25.00. Still not "cheap", and the color selection was limited, but it might work for someone. They had coordinating "back" cushions that were a different size.

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.

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.

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.

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...

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?

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

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.

http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/details?mid=92373022868b812fe9aa2...

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!

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

Hi Ana, I just finished building this and i'll put a brag post once it's painted, but I think I found an error - in the instructions you refer to the back seat support as a 2x3, but everywhere else it's a 2x4.

Other than that it was a cinch to build, thanks for the great plans!!

Hello Ana,

I am new to carpentry and I am having a hard time picking out wood types for outdoor projects. What type of wood did you use for this project? And does the type you choose vary depending on whether you are just staining or sealing it versus painting it in a solid color as you did here?

Thanks!

Kristen

Just got finished building your classic bunk beds...my kids LOVE them! We built and added a slide, which they love even more!
Just curious.....do you think you might be able to put up plans for an "L" shaped sofa? I'm planning on building this, as INSIDE furniture! I just adore the way it looks, I can sew the cushions easily, and I'd love to have a big L couch in my formal living room, so that all of our friends and family have a place to sit.
Thanks so much! I love your site, and all you do!

These plans look interesting; I was going to purchase an outdoor sofa for my deck from Pottery Barn, but they want a fortune.
I plan on doing a variation on this and using your plans as a basic template and combining it with the style of the one from Pottery Barn: will use pressure treated lumber as I live in Florida & plan on using it nearly year round..I also already have a Kreg jig, skilsaw, table saw, chop saw and many tools.

Hope to spend many hours entertaining and sleeping on it.

Thanks for sharing it with all of us.

Hello, I want to build this sofa but I do not have kreg jig. I was thinking of taking the back from the simple outdoor chair plan and using it for this plan. Obviously I have to make a few adjustments but I was wondering if you think this would work?
By the way I love your website! You are awesome Ana!

HJ

You can pick up a doweling jig very inexpensively from any hardware store, and use that instead of a kreg jig to make dowel tenons. They're very strong and the tools are inexpensive.

Can this unit be built without the arms and yet remain stable? I really love the overall design, but am looking for an "open ended" couch and chairs. I can see from the plans how I would modify the ends to exclude the arms, but will the unit remain stable without them?

Thanks and keep up the GREAT work!

Hi Anna, Love all that you have done and we are hoping to try a few of your plans in the coming months.
I noticed another person asked this earlier, but didn't get an answer. Did you just use regular pine for this outdoor sofa? wouldn't this deteriorate soon since it's outdoors? I have looked online for suggestions using regular pine for outdoor furniture and it seems everyone says that even with stain and or paint it isn't a good idea. I was wondering if you (or anyone else out there) had some way of preserving it to make it last. (I would cover it in the winter months) It would make this much more affordable to make... Not sure if sitting on pressure treated wood is a good idea, so we'd have to find redwood or cedar which could get pricey... Thank you....

Thanks for the great plans.  My wife and I built this sofa over the weekend.  We used Pine Boards and then stained it with Behr Weatherproof Bordeaux color.  Overall very easy to follow plans.  I do believe wood is much more expensive here in Texas because our total cost for wood was around $115.

We also added 4 support "feet" using leftover 2x4s. 

The only issue we ran into was during the last step (attaching the back rest to the overall sofa).  It wasn't clear on how high or low rest should be installed.  Also, definitely screw in the bottom part of the back rest first!  It was pretty difficult to get to this area with a drill as well haha.

Also, I believe on future projects like this, I'll sand /stain before assembly then do touch ups....it gets old quick trying to paint/stain in between all of those slats!

Here is a pic of the finished product:
http://s14.postimage.org/oq09tunld/Jarmahead_Outdoor_Sofa.jpg

We still have to find some cushions for it though.  We will be moving on to the outdoor coffee table next to match the sofa. 

Again, thanks for the plans and they worked out great!  The Kreg jig is my new favorite tool.

you did an awesome job, and love the stain! I myself cant draw a sraight line... i was interested in having someone build this for me, curious if you would be interested in building sofa, 2 chairs, 2 endtables and coffee table? Located in texas.. thanks

you did an awesome job, and love the stain! I myself cant draw a sraight line... i was interested in having someone build this for me, curious if you would be interested in building sofa, 2 chairs, 2 endtables and coffee table? Located in texas.. thanks

Go to the listing and to the right of the shipping line is a 'report item' url. It doesnt give an exact match to report, but just work your way through it, and post the link to here. =)

This same guy is also selling other plans off Ana-White! He sold 5 copies of this plan for $7.00 each. I have sent him an e-mail and am waiting for a response.

Raised Flower Garden Deck Patio Back Yard Plantar Boxes

I physically called Ebay and let them know that the seller was selling items that were not his to sell. I couldn't figure out how to report him otherwise. They were very helpful in taking the information and I hope he is unable to sell through Ebay again.

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,
Patrick

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

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!

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.

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.