We tackled a DIY outdoor table a few months ago, and it turned out well enough that we decided to try our hand at making a DIY outdoor sectional, too! (Apparently we don’t know when to stop!)
Fortunately, everything we learned with the outdoor table project helped to streamline the sectional project. We used Ana White’s website again to find outdoor sofa plans, which required the same basic steps and materials as the outdoor table, and decided to use that as our guide. We decided to make a sectional by putting together a 2×4 outdoor sofa and a one-arm 2×4 sectional piece.
While this was definitely a labor-intensive, dusty project, it was well worth it and SO much cheaper than buying a brand new, solid wood outdoor sectional.
So today I’ll be walking you through the whole process of how it all came together!
Before I share all of the steps that went into making an outdoor sectional, I wanted to include our total cost breakdown. We were able to reuse a lot of the materials we already had on hand from the outdoor table project, making this project even cheaper. Still, I included the total costs for you in case you don’t happen to make the outdoor table to go along with it!
In order to make the sectional feel like a custom sofa, you’ll want to design it with your cushions in mind. There are some standard sizes of cushions, but there’s also no guarantee that you’ll find the cushions you like in the exact dimensions you need. So I recommend finding and ordering cushions first.
The cushions we ended up getting from World Market were several inches bigger than the original plans allowed for. So I went through and adjusted all the measurements on the plans to account for that difference.
You can find details on all of the materials required for the outdoor table in Ana White’s outdoor sofa and one-arm sofa sectional plans, including:
You’ll also need a few tools in addition to these materials. Here’s what we used to build our outdoor sectional:
After gathering all the tools and materials, it’s time to start measuring and cutting. I am a paper person, so I printed our table plans before measuring and making cuts.
I labeled the tops of the boards with the coordinating letters from the cut list, which made it much easier when putting the table together. I didn’t want to do any guessing when it came to which piece went where!
Unlike the outdoor table plans, this sectional didn’t call for any notching. So once the wood was cut, it was time to start building the seating base.
I actually did a few miscalculations on the measurements, so we had to make a few adjustments to get it all together. We made a lot of alternations to the original plans to add depth and length to the sofa, but overall it still came together fairly quickly!
We also ended up adding 2x3s to the seating base and the back for added support. This wasn’t part of our initial plan, but I didn’t want to risk having cushions fall through and it wasn’t too hard to add on.
At this point I was pleased with how quickly the sectional came together. We learned a lot with the DIY outdoor table, and since the sectional didn’t require any notching, it really wasn’t too time-consuming. The hardest part was making all the measurements accurately!
I started out with 100-grit and then moved onto 220-grit to get a smooth finish. Then I filled all of the holes (that will show) with wood filler and a spackling knife.
Once the table was sanded, wiped down, and dry, it was time to stain the wood. I decided to use the same Varathane Flagstone stain we used on our outdoor patio table. I like to wear gloves and use an old rag to apply the stain. Once that dried, I applied water-based polyurethane to seal the stain. (Our sectional will be in a screened-in porch, but if your sectional will be outside, it’s best to use an oil-based stain.)
I bought these replacement cushions from World Market and they turned out to be a perfect fit for our sectional! Well, all except for the corner piece—which only happened because we altered the plans and put two sofa together. To make the corner cushion fit, I ended up cutting the inner foam with a serrated knife, then cutting the cover and resewing it back together as a smaller size. The project wasn’t too difficult, but I do have quite a bit of sewing experience!
This DIY outdoor sectional certainly brought its share of trial and error/improvising, but I am really happy with the way it turned out! The sectional is extremely heaving—meaning it’s also durable and will stand the wear and tear of use for years to come. (Hopefully!) It can seat a crowd and is the perfect match for our outdoor table. I’m so happy to have our Carolina room (mostly) complete!
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