Easy How to Build a DIY Modern Outdoor Sofa

August 12, 2021

Hi! I'm Nicole

Fearless DIY. Sharing building project tutorials and interior design tips. Let’s build something beautiful together. For more projects, design tips and behind the scenes, follow me @designtobuild.nicole

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Here comes the good stuff! The DIY outdoor sofa step-by-step tutorial. A couple weeks ago, I revealed my patio makeover and promised the plans for all of the modern outdoor furniture would be coming soon. And here it is…just the beginning! The outdoor sofa. But for fun, lets take a look back in time at what this space looked like before….

Pergola space with a couple rattan chairs and couch along with a planter

And here it is now….

Pergola space with outdoor sofa and new planters

Don’t you just love a good before and after!??? Ready to build your own outdoor furniture? Let’s get to the step-by-step outdoor sofa tutorial…


(Instructions are based on a sofa with the following measurements: 25″ tall; 72″ long; 25″ wide) If building a different size, be sure to adjust measurements accordingly. Sofa is built to fit 22″ x 24″ cushions. I purchased these cushions from Target. 

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Materials Needed: 

10-2x4x8 pine boards

Kreg Jig Screws 2 1/2″

Wood Glue

GRK Wood Screws 2 1/2″(any brand wood screw will work; just sharing my favorite here)

Wood Filler

Paint or stain

Outdoor Poly

Tools Needed:

Miter saw



Kreg Jig

Table saw (OPTIONAL)

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NOTE: If you’ve never used a Kreg Jig, here’s a great tutorial.   If you don’t have one, I highly recommend buying one. You will use it all the time in the DIY realm! And it makes builds so much easier! 

Step One: (OPTIONAL) Rip your boards 

This step is completely optional. I like to get rid of the manufactured edge on all of my 2x’s before starting any project. This is very easy, but does require a table saw. I’ll share the width I’m ripping them down to for this project and then explain how I do this…

Since this project consists solely of 2×4’s we’ll rip all of them to 3″.

Now for How I Do This: (Here’s a great post on how I give my boards this finished look)

I want all of my boards to be 3″ wide. (Originally a 2×4 is 3 1/2″ wide). I simply set my table saw for 3 1/4″ and rip one side of my 2×4. Then I set my table saw to 3″, flip my board over and rip that side of my board. Now I have a 3″ board with straight edges on both sides. This extra step gets rid of that manufactured curved edge and achieves a straight edge look.

SIDENOTE: I found it easiest to sand each board as I went with this project…rather than sanding it all at the end. 

Step Two: Build the armrests

Cut four 2×4’s to 22″

Cut four 2×4’s to 25″

Drill 1 1/2″ pocket holes into each end of the 22″ boards.

Attach together to make a square using 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws. See picture below for more clarity….

Two 2x4's jigged together to make an L shape

Three 2x4's jigged together to make a U shape

Follow these same steps for the second armrest.

Your armrests should now look like this and you should have two….

Four 2x4's jigged together for an outdoor sofa armrest

One last step to the armrests:

Measure up from the bottom of the square 10″ and mark both sides. Cut a 2×4 to fit between the two 22″ boards. Drill 1 1/2″ pocket holes on both ends of your board made to fit and attach between the two 22″ boards using 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws. The top of your board, “made to fit,” should line up with the mark you made on both sides….

Armrest complete for outdoor sofa

Repeat for other armrest and you should now have two armrests that look like this….

Two side armrests made of 2x4's for an outdoor sofa

Step Three: Build the seat

Cut two 2×4’s at 66″

Drill pocket holes on both ends and attach with 2 1/2′ p.h. screws to the front and back of the armrests. You will want them flush with the “made to fit” 2×4 at the 10″ line you marked in step two. See picture below for more clarity….

Diagram of placement for boards for the outdoor sofa build

Gravity will want to work against you on this step. Nothing fancy, but I stacked up some scrap boards to hold my 66″ board in place while I attached it to the armrests….

2x4 propped up using boards to jig into two armrests

Cut five 2×4’s to fit between the armrests. (Cut to fit, but they’ll be approximately 66″)

2x4's cut to fit between armrests to form seat for outdoor sofa

Drill 1 1/2″ pocket holes on each end….

A girl making pocket holes in a long 2x4 pinewood board

Attach using 2 1/2″ p.h. screws. Your outdoor sofa should now look like this….

2x4's attached for seat of outdoor sofa

Step Four: Build the back

Cut one 2×4 at 66″

Drill 1 1/2″ pocket holes on each end. Attach, using 2 1/2″ p.h. screws, in between top of armrests (making it flush with the top of the armrests)….

Diagram for outdoor sofa build to point out placement of 2x4's

Cut two more 2×4’s at 66″

Evenly space them between the top back board and the seat back board. Attach using 2 1/2″ p.h. screws.

Diagram for outdoor sofa build to point out placement of 2x4's

Step Five: Finishing touches

Always the best part! Your outdoor sofa is built and you are ready to add all the finishing touches.

Fill in pocket holes with wood filler (only necessary to fill in the ones that you’ll be able to see when the cushions are on)

Sand (If you didn’t sand as you built, sand the entire sofa. If you did sand as you built, sand the wood filler spots only)

Stain or paint. I used Varathane Ebony stain on my outdoor sofa. Here’s what it looked like after one coat…

A girl laying on a couch with cushions

I wasn’t going for the distressed look, so adding one more coat was necessary and gave it the exact look I was going for….

Backyard patio space with outdoor furniture and plantersHere’s the link to that beautiful soft, cozy throwBe sure to add designtobuild.nicole in the promo code for 20% off!!

Add 4 coats of exterior poly and your outdoor sofa is finished!!

Pergola space with outdoor furniture and planters

Pergola space with outdoor furniture and new planters

Be sure to check back next week for the plans to the two chairs to match the outdoor sofa.

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Until next week,

Happy Building, Friend!!

Be sure to join my VIP List below for many more great tutorials. 

Hop over to Instagram to see all of the RL behind the scenes. What am I working on now?….come check it out!

More outdoor build tutorial posts:

Modern Outdoor Chairs-Easy to Build and Affordable

The Cheapest Way to Make a Flower Box

How to Build the Pottery Barn Brooks Dining Table








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