I can not get over how expensive outside furniture is! I pulled out all the budget hacks to make this massive sectional for as little money as possible! Here’s how I built this DIY outdoor sectional couch for our patio!
Since we’ve moved into our home, we’ve wanted outdoor furniture! I have kept and eye out on wayfair for outdoor furniture but could never bring myself to spend the money.
We ideally wanted a sectional for the outdoor space but the idea of spending over $800 on something we wouldn’t be using on a daily basis was crazy to me (especially since our actual couch was a Habitat ReStore find of $95!!)
So I set out to build my own DIY outdoor sectional and while it did end up requiring more lumbar than I thought, the cost was still under $250. Here’s what I did!
Before we get into the build, let me explain my thought process for the cushions.
Budget Friendly DIY Cushions
For this build, I’m actually using the cushions off of our old couch which is broken and unused. In this post, I detailed how I weatherproofed them and created new cushion covers.
I did the cushions first so I could get my measurements for the couch from them. Regardless of if you’re repurposing old cushions, using an old crib mattress, or purchasing outdoor cushions, I recommend having them first so you know how big to make your couch.
Coming up with my plan
I built these as I went, I did not follow a plan. For us, it was important to me to be able to store this because we live in NY. This furniture is for our patio and we need to keep our patio clear of snow during winter months.
To snow blow, we will need to remove the couch and store it. So, for strength purposes and for storage purposes, I decided to build the couch as three separate sections that can be locked together with a simple sliding lock.
To disassemble and store, we can unlock them and stack them together in our shed.
I also decided not to use pressure treated lumbar because of its price right now and instead weatherproof my wood with wood sealant that protects against UV rays and water. We will also tarp the furniture when not in use to further protect from weather.
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Step one: start with the base
After I measured the cushions, I thought it would be best if each section held two cushions.
I’m using 2x4s for this build and to start, I’m going to create the base first. This is the part the cushions will sit on.
Whenever you’re making a “box” of any kind – whether it be a cabinet, drawer, etc – it’s important to make sure your corners are squared up.
On each corner, im using wood glue and 3 inch screws to hold them together. If you have a corner clamp, use it! It’ll make your life easier. If you don’t, no worries, just be sure to check with your speed square to make sure the corners are squared up before you add the top supports.
As long as the long sides and the short sides are exactly the same, you should be good to go! However, getting exact same cuts takes practice so I wanted to share some tips to make it easier for you– check it out in this post here!
Next, I cut the supports that will go on the top of the base. These will hold the cushions and the weight of all the people who sit on the couch so we will also support them from the bottom as well.
I’m using wood glue and 3 inch screws to secure these pieces to the main base. Then, I’m going to add supports under them.
These are essentially acting like floor joists. They will not only add a lot of strength but they will help prevent warping of the wood so the couch keeps its shape.
I used three supports and secured them from the side of the base and through the top of each board.
By the way, this was a still I captured from an Instagram story because I forgot to photograph that step! Hah! To see this whole process, check out my ORC: Fall Patio highlight and watch me build this!
After the base was done, we tested it out to make sure the cushions fit!
Step two: Add the Legs
I already had a couple of pressure treated posts so I used those and purchased two more. I cut four legs so that I could have a post in each corner of each section of the couch.
At first, I made this much harder on myself and tried to attach them while the base was balancing on them. Learn from me and just attach them while your base is face down on the ground. Much easier!
Note: at first, I laid the bottom supports flat. I learned from a friend of mine to lay them like floor joists so this photo was taken while I was fixing them.
I repeated these steps for all three sections. It became very fast after the first one was done. I pre-cut all my wood and assembled them quickly!
Once all three sections were done, I positioned them how I wanted on the patio before starting on the back and arm supports.
Step three: building the back and arm rests
I decided that I wanted the height of the back and the arms to be the same so that the lines were clean (I also feel like they will be easier to stack together when it comes time to store them).
Also, the back will be pillows. I purchased regular indoor pillows. This did add to the expense because I didn’t already have a lot of throw pillows. I would have reused already-owned pillows for this. When not in use, I’ll use them on my inside furniture. To keep cost down, I looked for the inexpensive 2-packs at Home Goods.
I started with the arm piece. When I found a height that felt comfortable with, I stuck with that measurement. I added vertical 2x4s at each corner and at each end of the particular section. Remember, the couch needs to come apart in separate sections.
I decided on a top piece that I mitered the corners to a 45 degree angle. that way, they could come together nicely all the way around.
To be honest, this part was most difficult as I’m not a math whiz at all. Once I got in the rhythm of it, it wasn’t too bad. A lot of it I was able to lay the full board down and trace where the mitered angle was. It took little actual measuring for the pieces that I could do that with!
I also did that with the ends which has an X design. I positioned the board on the inside of the couch and traced where the corners were. Then, I simply cut them on those lines and the pieces fit in perfectly!
Next, I chose to do a vertical “slat” design in the back using the 2x4s I had. I debated horizontal supports but I wouldn’t have been able to get more than one support out of each 2×4 and would have had a lot of waste/scrap. I could get a lot more cuts with the vertical design.
Once I made the first measurement, I simply duplicated the cut. I used a level to make sure they were straight and I measured the distance between each. Obviously, where each section ends, there is a vertical leg that supports the back. Without pillows, it looks like the spacing is off but once the pillows are on there, you don’t see it at all!
Of course I needed to test it out and celebrate that I actually MADE FURNITURE!!
Step Four: Final touches and Weatherproofing
To finish this project up, I will need to wait until the weather turns around as I did not beat the cold here in NY, unfortunately. I will update this post in the spring!
Each pressure treated leg is painted black to hide the greenish tint of the wood. I stained the rest Early American.
All of the wood will be sealed with a few coats UV and water protective sealant and the furniture will be tarped when not in use.
In the end, the lumber cost about $140 for the 2x4s and the pressure treated posts were $16. I already had the cushions and I spent about $20 on plastic (to protect cushions) and $30 on canvas drop cloth (to create 6 cushion covers) the fabric weatherproofing spray was on sale at Home Depot for $12 and I bought 2 bottles. In total, because I didn’t already have cushions, the cost was a little over $200.
Not bad considering this couch, on sale, is $1800 😳
DIY outdoor sectional for less!
I’m so excited for our family to have this outdoor furniture to enjoy the fall with! Our family loves to have fires, make s’mores, and play in the leaves. Now we have the furniture we wanted all along, completely customized to US and I built it in just 2 days!