This post was updated July 2023.
Learn how to build a small-scale pallet couch for your patio, garden or yard. This pallet sofa is easy to customize and perfect for any sized patio!
Welcome to Part 2 – How To Build A Pallet Sofa
The passion for pallet furniture all started with a mattress.
This old mattress was found it at a thrift store, where I intended to use it as a cushion for some willow furniture I was using on my porch at the time. But the more I played with it, the more I realized the willow sofa just wasn’t comfy enough.
I wanted something that went far beyond standard patio furniture. Extreme comfort was the mantra, as if I dragged out my comfy living room sofa outdoors. Hmmm…
So I decided to figure out another plan…
After digging through my entire wood stash, I stacked all the wood on the front porch and reasoned I just may have enough to build a pallet sofa of my DREAMS.
At the time, I had sort of just started to build real things other than crafty things, such as siding my garden shed with reclaimed wood. And a pallet farm table styled desk. So could pallet furniture be that much more difficult?!
Didn’t care. I just wanted it so I decided to go for it regardless of difficulty.
So this entire project was built with a mix of posts and boards from free pallets, and some other random reclaimed wood I had on hand.
Did I mention I collect reclaimed wood? Oh yes I do…
HERE is where I store it. Ok, some.
Is building a pallet sofa difficult?
I’d rate this build at a skill level of medium, since all the wood was cut and was constructed from scratch.
However if you want a super EASY way to build one, check out the companion pallet chair HERE!
Anyway, this build is all about the beauty of imperfection. Care was taken to use sturdy pieces of lumber where structure counted.
Other than that, this DIY pallet couch was designed and built by yours truly without patterns, guidance or advice.
All I did was study some structures of existing benches, and with a quick sketch, revamped to suit and went for it.
And 11 years later, I’m still using it and loving it!
My measurements are offered up only as a comparison guide. Ultimately, you’ll soon find you need to adjust all the measurements depending on your mattress and board availability.
So let’s build a pallet sofa for some super comfy luxury backyard outdoor living!
This post contains some affiliate links in which I earn a small percentage from qualifying purchases through these links, at no extra cost to you. Thank-you for helping to support my blog!
How To Build A Pallet Sofa:
Easy Step-By-Step Guide
Find a mattress of choice
This old mattress measures 24″ deep, 55″ wide, 6″ deep.
And cost me a whoppin’ $10. I was told it came off of a portable futon type sofa. All I know is I couldn’t make anything close for this price so it came home with me.
Tip: make sure the mattress you choose offers a deep sit. When sitting on it moving as far back as you can, the mattress should touch your inner knee. Mid thigh won’t cut it this round.
Update: I eventually replaced the futon mattress with this repurposed chunk of foam, getting it cut to the same size at an RV foam place. It is MUCH more comfy!
Dry-fit your pallet sofa plans
Being that I have never built a DIY outdoor pallet sofa before, I propped everything together and just played around until I figured out what kind of sofa frame I desired.
This is the most time consuming part. As I wasn’t going by any pattern, I went strictly by the thickness and size of the mattress, and what height felt comfortable to me when I sat down. I eventually had boxes and all sorts of things propped underneath to get a feel for where things needed to sit.
Ultimately you should be able to sit on the finished piece with your feet landing on the floor.
I decided on a double pillow system because it was more comfortable than single. This told me I needed to be a little unorthodox with the build.
The white one is memory foam. Makes for a very supportive DECADENT sit.
Measure out the frame needed
The two legs were used as a measuring guide for how large to make the (55″ wide) frame. The legs will sit on the outside of that frame for this design.
Building the frame
The thickness of the mattress indicated I needed a low sitting frame since I wanted my feet to hit the floor when I sat.
Arm height was also indicated by the thickness of the mattress.
All lumber was cut on a miter saw, sanded using an orbital sander, then assembled using long wood screws with a cordless drill.
I created center supports for the outdoor pallet couch as well. I looked at how other benches were made and it didn’t seem right to put all the stress on side joints. This may not be necessary but I did it anyway.
Adding planks for the seat
Cedar planks were cut (5.5″wide x 30″ long) and set into place for the sitting area, allowing for a slight overhang along the front.
My son was assigned to attach the planks with screws.
That frame didn’t budge! Heavy duty materials and LOTS of screws did their job well.
The arms look abit bare here and could use more detail, however when everything’s in place, it looks fine.
Update: I added some wider arm rest boards on top after the fact so there was no need for any side tables for my coffee.
Designing the back rest
Other random boards of all lengths were positioned along the back of the pallet sofa, resting on the frame.
I noted the height of the pillows and the house window to determine how high (32″) I wanted the back rest to be.
The horizontal board brace was attached with one center screw just to get a handle on placement.
Number the boards & mark the length
Each board was numbered, then marked for how long I wished them to be.
I chose a staggered look.
They were then cut to size.
Assembling the back rest to support boards
Using the deck floor seam as a measurement reference, I placed the pallet boards good side down onto two support boards.
The random back boards were attached to the mounting boards with screws from behind so the screws didn’t show from the good side.
Dry-fitting the backrest
With the backrest now intact, it positioned onto the pallet sofa frame to double check the fit.
A perfect fit! The backrest is sitting on part of the frame behind the arms.
See how the back height just misses the house window? This is the beauty of a custom build on site.
How the backrest sits on the frame
The backrest wasn’t mounted onto anything because I wanted it positionable depending on what pillows I had to use. So it will just sit loose. Unorthodox at its best.
But I did think about how to mount it on permanently. I’d move the side arm supports WAY back and run a board across the two in behind so the thing had something to lean on and attach to somehow.
And the double pillow system worked. I stole cushions from my indoor sofa so I may attach the back permanently when I land dedicated pillows for this guy.
Update: I eventually attached the backrest to the house window frames to keep it intact.
More about the tools used
A compound miter saw was used to cut all the wood and posts. Perfectly square and effortless!
Each piece of wood recieved a good sanding, going through medium, then fine grit sandpaper.
You cannot over sand pallet wood!
Extra attention was given to arm rests or anywhere one would touch.
You really don’t know what you’re up against with pallet wood so eye and breathing protection are musts. When I work with extra rough boards, I’ll even start off with gloves.
All wood joints were done with predrilled holes and 4″ deck screws.
The 3×3’s were oak and super dense. If I didn’t predrill, the screws snapped in half. Crazy solid stuff! But I liked the look of it and I had lots on hand.
The finished pallet sofa!
And the end result was an ultra sturdy pallet sofa or loveseat that feels like sitting on a real sofa! My favorite way to sit is pushing the pillows against one arm and sitting across the whole thing while reading. HEAVEN. 🙂
The pallet sofa is protected, as it sits on a covered patio with a PVC roof.
When the weather turns cold, the frame stays right where it is, but I do bring in all the cushions and seat. It’s a big of a pain, but I have space under a bed reserved for the seat cushion, so it’s all good!
The wood frame has never been wood treated for further protection. It hasn’t needed a thing.
It’s now July 2023 that I’m updating this post. The pallet sofa is now 11 years old. And it continues to outperforms any seating I have ever owned. It’s comfy, gets a new look each summer, and it’s my #1 spot on my patio to enjoy every single day the weather cooperates!
And it’s never going anywhere. Ever. Unless I move. Then it’s coming with me.
In fact, I love the pallet sofa so much…
A good beginners build
I built an oversized pallet chair for outdoor use to go with it! Isn’t it darling?! With extra thick padding as well. Which is even easier to build, because all you need are two like-minded pallets…
Good luck deciding! But if you’re anything like me, you’ll build them BOTH.
Now that’s some comfy outdoor areas kinda living!
Other related outdoor furniture projects:
Now that’s an outdoor living room sofa set I can handle… now bring on the guests!