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This is a great, easy DIY project to create a couch that is perfect for anything from your patio, to a kids playroom, and beyond. This simple DIY is a great weekend project which can be done in one day, plus 24 hours to let your paint dry. If you follow our plans to build a couch, let us know! We would love to see how your project turns out.
We recently moved. And while moving to a new house can be stressful, I was super excited about the DIY possibilities for our new home.
One of the first projects I had in mind was a couch for our kids. How I got to that being our first project is a funny story.
See, a while ago, we built our own toddler bed. And it was super sturdy. I loved it so much, that even after my twins outgrew toddler beds, I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of it.
So, as we decluttered when packing, my husband asked what I planned to do with the toddler bed. And that is when it hit me… what if we turned it into a couch. It would be perfect for our kids to have in the family room or a play room. Or maybe we could even make it into patio furniture. The possibilities were endless in my eyes.
I love that this project allowed us to upcycle some items, including the crib mattress. And since the bed was a build I shared previously, you can see how to build it from scratch if you do not have a toddler bed to convert.
DIY Couch – Perfect Patio or Playroom Furniture Piece
This build can easily be done on a weekend, and, doesn’t require too many tools. Below you will find the lists of wood cuts and tools needed to build this couch.
Wood cuts needed for DIY Couch:
These are the cuts for both the bed and couch portions. If you already have the bed, you will only need the last cut.
- 2 cuts 52″ – 1×6
- 2 cuts 52″ – 2×2
- 4 cuts 24″ – 2×2
- 11 cuts 28″ – 1×4
- 6 cuts 28″ – 1×6
- 1 cut 52″ – 1×10 or 1×12
This is a budget friendly DIY Couch. Total cost of wood: Under $50
Tools and supplies needed for this DIY Couch
These are the tools and supplies needed for this project.
- Table or miter saw
- Wood glue
- Wood putty
- Putty scraper
- 2 inch wood screws
- Drill and bits
- Screw Driver
- Measuring Tape
- Sand paper
- Safety Goggles
- Lint free rags
- Stain or paint
- Crib mattress or foam cut to size – We used a Newton Mattress which is great because it is waterproof and works for outdoor use.
You may also want fabric to sew and cover the mattress. However, in a pinch, a plain colored sheet will do. I sadly, do not have a tutorial for the mattress cover as my mom made it for us. (Thanks mom!)
How To Build A Patio Couch or Kids’ Couch
First, you can follow my previous DIY Toddler Bed instructions for the best tips and tricks on this. While I have the instructions for this portion written below, the previous post has visuals as well.
See photos of the bed portion of the instructions here
Building your patio couch or kids playroom couch
Below are the steps for building the couch frame.
Build the Frame
- Take one 52″ 2×2 and attach it to the bottom of a 52″ 1×6 using wood glue and then reinforcing with screws. This will be the first side rail (bed) or the front/back rail (couch).
- Repeat with the second 52″ 2×2 and 52″ 1×6. This will be the second side rail.
- Take two of the 24″ 2×2’s and 3 of the 28″ 1×6’s to create one arm of the couch (or if it is a bed – headboard or footboard).
- Be sure the top piece is flush with the top of the 2×2’s.
- Measure down on the boards and mark where you want to predrill your holes making sure to center the drill holes on the 2x2s
- Repeat step 3 for the other side.
- Attach the long 52 inch pieces to arms (headboard/footboard) making sure the 2×2’s face inwards. These are where your support slats will rest. Use a level to make sure you don’t end up with a slanted frame. (This is also a great time to add the back rest if this will not be used for a bed)
- Space the 11 support slats out over on the bed and screw them in to the 2×2’s
Simple right? Now you have a bed or a couch (depending on if your back support piece is on yet.)
We did a few minor adjustments to our DIY couch build that I will cover for you before getting into the painting, etc part.
Frame modificiations we made during our bed to couch conversion
Before we converted, we decided we wanted to make our mattress sit higher up. We took some scrap pieces of 1×4’s and screwed them to the cross bars throughout the frame.
This made it so the mattress sat a little higher. We did this simply because our mattress was so low in the bed that the boards hit the back of our kids’ knees.
Second, because ours was a bed first, we had not attached the back when we did the original build. So when attaching the back, we had to be careful to make sure we drilled our holes to miss the screws that were already in the bed.
Prep and paint your couch
Now that your frame is built, it is time to prep and paint your couch. If you prefer the natural wood look, a simple sealant may be all you need.
Because we decided to use ours in our family room as a couch for the kids while we watch movies together, we decided to stain ours, with a paint like stain.
First we filled all the screw holes with some wood filler.
I promise, it looks a lot prettier when it dries then it does in this picture.
Once that was dry, we sanded the legs down everything and then wiped it clean.
Even one of the twins helped out with getting the wood prepped.
Now, as I mentioned, we are going to use this inside, but we also wanted this to be useable as a patio furniture item (thinking ahead), so we picked up some indoor outdoor, one step stain that could be colored at Lowe’s.
Tried and True Tip: If you can’t decide on coloring, using the support slats to test out different colors is a great idea. They will be covered anyways, so if you can’t quite cover them up, it is okay.
When I got this, I had just watched a YouTube video where they used rags to paint some wood and it let the grain come through. So I wanted to give that painting technique a shot.
Spoiler: this was a little too thick for the grain to come through a bunch, and a little too thin to be a solid paint. I did end up trying this technique again on our DIY Rustic Headboard I made, and it turned out great.
Finally, I found some outdoor upholstery fabric on clearance in a neutral color. It didn’t exactly match what I had in my head, but I couldn’t beat $5/yard for upholstery fabric.
I took it to my mom, who is way more creative then I am, and she figured out how to make an envelope style cover for the mattress, and made some throw pillow covers for the pillows I purchased online.
And of course, my family had to add on a Disney pillow cover we found online. That one is not really for outdoor use, but we love it anyways.
My kids are already loving this couch and getting a lot of great use out of it. I am excited that I was able to re-purpose one of our first furniture builds into something that will last us several more years.