Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Day 31 - Build a Simple Modern Sofa With 2x4s

Woohoo! We made it! Day 31! Exclamation points! You can see links to the complete series here. In this series, we're seeing what we can make out of 2x4s. I want to keep it cheap, keep it easy, and keep it totally doable for anyone. I thought we'd go out with a bang today, and tackle a big, unique project - we're building a sofa!

This is a sofa with a twin sized mattress as the base. So it's super comfy for lounging during a movie, and it's ready to go for overnight guests! It would also make a great daybed in a guest room. Ready to build it? Let's go!

Shopping List:
9  -  2x4s @ 10' long  
1  -  2x4  @ 8' long
Twin Mattress (I've seen them under $100 on sale - check Big Lots!)
Throw Pillows or Back Cushions (optional)

2 1/2” screws (or Kreg Jig & 2 1/2" self tapping screws)
4" screws (or Kreg Jig & 2 1/2" self tapping screws)
Wood glue
Wood filler

2x4 Cut List:
(A) - 2  @  33" (back legs)
(B) - 4  @  71"  (back rails)
(C) - 6  @  39"  (arms/sides)
(D) - 2  @  27"  (front legs)
(E) - 1  @  71"  (front)
(F) - 10  @  39"  (slats)

Dimensions: 78" wide x 33" tall x 42" deep

Please read all the directions before beginning, and cut your pieces as you go, measuring before each cut. Use 2 1/2” screws or pocket holes with 2 1/2" screws unless otherwise indicated. Always use glue. Pre-drill and countersink your screws. I have not built from these exact plans, so measure lots to make sure things work out!

Step 1: Build the Back 
Use the four back rails (B) to connect the back legs (A) as shown below. The first should be flush with the top of the legs. Below that there should be 3" of space before the second rail, then 3 1/2" before the third rail, then 4" below the final rail (with 8 1/2" left at the bottom). Attach the rails using a Kreg Jig and pocket hole screws, or by drilling through the legs into the rails with 4" screws. Use glue

Step 2: The Arms
Start by using one arm/side board (C) to connect each front leg (D) to the back section as shown below. The front of the arm should be flush with the top of the front legs. Attach it by drilling through the front legs into the arms. The back of the arm should be at the same height on the back section with 25 1/2" of space below the arm, and 6" of space above. Attach it by drilling through the back legs into the arms. Do all this with 2 1/2" screws, or with a Kreg Jig and pocket hole screws. Use glue.

Now attach two more side boards (C) on either end of the sofa as shown below. The outside edges should be flush with the outside edges of the legs. The top side board should be spaced 4 3/4" down from the arm, and the bottom side board should be 5 1/2" down from there (with 8 1/2" of space underneath). Attach the side boards by drilling through the legs into the side boards with 2 1/2" screws, or by using a Kreg Jig and pocket hole screws. Use glue.

Step 3: The Bottom
Now attach the front board (C). This runs between the front legs, and should be set 8 1/2" above the floor. Attach it using a Kreg Jig or by drilling through the legs into the front board with 4" screws. Use glue.

No you need to install all the slats. These run between the front board and the bottom back board. Space them evenly, about 4 1/2" apart, and set them down 1" from the top edge of the front and back boards (setting them down a little will create a little lip around the slats that will help keep your mattress in place). Attach these boards using a Kreg Jig and pocket hole screws, or by drilling through the front/back boards into the slats with 2 1/2" screws. I recommend using two screws on each end of each slat for this step. And be sure to use glue!

Step 4: Finishing
Start by filling any holes and sanding everything smooth. Then finish with any paint or stain and polyurethane. Try a crisp white (with bold fabric accents) or use this opportunity to try a fun paint color on your couch... remember, you can always paint over it later if your tastes change!

Now add a twin mattress. You can cover it with fabric, or just use a fitted sheet. Also add some fluffy throw pillows or cushions across the back to make it more comfy and give it a more couchy feel. Then chillax with a big bowl of ice cream. :)

Project 2x4 Cost:
$28.80  -  9   2x4s @ 10' long ($3.20 each)
$31.30  -  1   2x4 @ 8' long ($2.50 each)
$31.30 Total

See giveaway winners here.

Share on Facebook

Day 30 31 Days of 2x4 Projects - Full List Day 1


  1. This would be great in my office that doubles as a guest bedroom!

  2. I could so use one of these right now for my extra bedroom.. how hard would it be to accomodate two mattresses instead of one??

  3. I've enjoyed your projects! Maybe I'll be motivated to try some out soon!

  4. Love this idea! Would be perfect for an office/guest room when I get my own place.

  5. Okay... this is great! I'd love to try this one!

  6. This looks pretty simple. Good work.

  7. I can't believe you can make a sofa!

  8. This would be great on my screened in back porch!

  9. This is my first time checking out your blog. I am excited to try out some of your projects. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Love it! Exactly what I have been needing for the office in our new home!

  11. Thank you all for visiting! It has been suggested that this design would not hold up to the load common to sofas, but I haven't gotten any complaints from anyone who actually built it. I have not yet built from this design, but if you do and you have a problem, please let me know so I can update the plans. Thank you!

  12. I'm tempted to make this for my geriatric Great Dane. I will let you know how it supports him.

  13. I used 2 x 6 for the base then insert 2x4 along the bottom of the 2x6 then installed the 2x4 slates. would hold up a house lol

    1. Ha ha! Thanks for sharing! I'd love to see pics if you have any. :)

  14. Hi, just started this project. Trying to screw the back legs to the rails, the 4" screws don't seem to be long enough. i think I'm using the self tapping, am I missing something? thanks

    1. It will definitely be close. Are you countersinking the screws? That would give you a little more length. Either way a Kreg Jig would create a stronger joint in this instance. Hopefully you've gotten it to work by now, so sorry for the slow answer!!

  15. Since you didnt make this yourself, can anyone or has anyone confirmed that a twin mattress does fit in it? From the inside of front 2x4 is 71" but a twin is 75" Planning on making this Sat and Im super excited, my first project but Im nervous

    1. Yes! The mattress actually sits behind the front legs so it has an extra 2" on either side where it rests against the side boards, giving you 75" total. And having the legs in front keeps the mattress from sliding forward. :)

    2. Awesome!! Thank you so much for the quick reply. Once I give it a go I will post how it went.

  16. HI! I'm going to build this soon and have a question: at the end of each step, you say "use glue". What am I glueing? I figured the screws would hold it in place.

    thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Emica! We put glue between all the wood pieces before screwing them together, so I probably should have put it earlier in the directions. :) We've found it really helps things hold together for the long haul. Some of the earlier things I built without glue have started to shift & wobble over time... not like they're going to fall apart necessarily, but just not as nice and sturdy as I want after I put all the time in to make them. Hope that helps!

  17. I'm almost finished this. My partner and I are not in the least handy, so why we started with this ambitious project I don't know!! The hard part was finding the drill we had somewhere!! I also found that I can't measure to save my life. The helpful folks at Home Depot made all my cuts for me, and as I was selecting my 2X4 boards a nice man pointed out that a couple of them were bowed. Oh!! Good to know. I used 5" screws in all the spots where you are drilling through the wider part of the 2X4. I forgot to use glue in some spots, but it still seems sold. I have the last few slats to put in, and I can hardly wait to "dress" my daybed. I did paint it and it will be outside so I'm planning on using spar urethane on it to protect it from the elements. I may add an aerial structure, in order to hang curtains and weave fabric over the top to keep the sun out and make it a really nest-like spot. I'll post some pix when I'm done.

    1. Oh my goodness, this all sounds wonderful! Shady little next spot = yes please! I'd LOVE to see pictures!