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
Part 1 – The Pallet Sofa Reveal is HERE
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.
And HERE is a more updated photo of my current workshop.
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!
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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.
Visit the big reveal post with all the details HERE
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.
View the subway styled chair and sofa look HERE
Build the crate coffee table from HERE
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…
Learn how to make the pallet chair out of two pallets HERE
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:
Using the pallet sofa as a lounger
Pallet sofa and pallet chair with DIY subway stenciled fabric
Now that’s an outdoor living room sofa set I can handle… now bring on the guests!
Pallet-style adirondack chair makeovers
Replacing a PVC patio roof… and what NOT to do.
Visit other patio projects HERE
92 thoughts on “How To Build A Pallet Sofa: Easy Step-By-Step Guide”
I love it Donna! It’s perfect!
Thanks for showing us how to make that great bench. I just pinned it!
You are amazing! I love this piece! On my honey do list for my screened in porch. Guess I should find a cushion first though, huh? Love the way you finished it out!
Smart thinking to find the cushion first!! And I guess you just covered it with muslin or drop-cloth or something. Too smart!! You give woman-kind NO EXCUSES for not doing things ourselves. 🙂
Wow, that is pretty freaking awesome!
I love your chutzpa to invent anything you dream of. Inspiring! 🙂 Thanks!
Simply inspiring. I have a growing pile of wood, which I am hoping will go with my shrinking fear of power tools. I’m getting there, keep the inspiration coming! Jules from bles-id
Kristy @ 4 the love of WOOD
Oh, my, I wanna’ be you when I grow up! Saw two pallets on Craigslist today and had this feeling I should have gone to get them…
I love it! I was inspired by your reveal, but couldn’t wait for the how-to so I grabbed my pallets, hand saw (ugh), and screws and figured it out as I went along. Pics are on my blog. I’m now looking for a seat cushion.
Thanks for the idea, love your blog!
I think I`m gonna try to build myself a pallet sofa…inspired by yours:)
Have a lovely day:)
Hugs from Kari
Wow it’s so nice!!! thanks for the tutorial! i want try as soon as possible…in the second week of august i take my holiday and i can try!
What a cool bench! Just gotta say you are sooo creative Donna!
Awesome as always! So comfy looking too!!! 🙂
You have to check out what I made with your awesome inspiration with another one of your pallet wood projects:
Can’t wait to see what your up to next girl!
I love your pallet love seat. You did an amazing job building it and the instructions are really good. Thanks for sharing!
Wow! That piece is amazing! I’ve been mulling over using the crib mattress sitting in my attic for a love seat. Your project just pushed that idea to the forefront of my todo list. Thanks for sharing.
YOU…are absolutely positively freakin’AMAZING lady!!! I’d like to rent your artistic BRAIN…just for a while…siiiigh…FABULOUS project…AGAIN!!!
Good job Donna!!! I have never waited for my hubby, I have my own tools, tool box and saws and he best keep his hands off. It all falls back to “if you want something done right…do it yourself”. If I waited for hubby it would never get done. My daddy taught me a lot growing up, he was a great handyman. Love your bench, and you had great help too.
It came out great. Love all the textures mixed together. I like the ottoman- nice detail and your helper is the cutest helper a girl could ask for.
My best- Diane
You are a genius. Love it and love your helper. Nice! 🙂