DIY Outdoor Love Seat With Storage For Apartment Living

Chill and grab a refreshing drink with me!

Hi Loves!

Christian and I have lived at our current apartment for going on 3 years now. Up until last spring the only thing we had for a seating area was this dining table and two chairs that was clearly not meant for outside use with its unsealed wooden top and metal legs, same for the chairs. After a few months in the rain it turned into more of a work bench for Chris to put our wedding centerpieces together on. Then last spring came and my husband built a two level raised garden with a plank along the front to make a secondary seating area. Mostly it was for the garden that we planned and pretty soon it was overgrown with cherry tomatoes, mint and zucchini. So no secondary seating. So we have a garden with seating, but no seating, and a crappy table and chairs that are falling apart.

Then during winter, I got the idea to build an outdoor couch/seating area that I could use to work on and do yoga, maybe even nap during the warm days. I talked with Christian about it and he showed why it's nice having a husband who is a CAD tech. He created a drawing so we could figure out how big the couch needed to be and how much of each kind of plank we needed. He also figured in for a storage space so that we could finally have a place to put away all of our gardening and grilling stuff.

Here is the empty space after we moved the table. You can see it on the right.

We started off by clearing out the space for the new seat. We had to go through a bunch of gardening items and other various things just hanging around and in the way. This was a great opportunity to get some decluttering done. I was so ready to have a comfortable, purpose made love seat!

Here is the plan that Christian came up with. Feel free to use it!

The above picture is the plan that Christian drew. It's a little difficult to tell what everything is but he did a pretty good job of making notes. This was the perfect size for our little patio. The dark shaded parts are representative of locking plastic totes that we built this around.

An important note: This drawing does not include the panels for the seat back. We got two 1x10 planks to cover the seat back framing. For the baseplate of the seat back, we used a 1x6 instead of a 2x4 so there was a lip to hold up the 1x10's. That 2x4 was instead used below the 1x6 to fill the space on the lid. There are a few other things that were changed to accommodate the design and I will try to explain it when it happens.

Getting ready to screw this!

Before you get started, make sure you have the equipment you need. It's a relatively short list as we took advantage of Lowe's lumber cutting service. All of our lumber was cut to size. That being said, have some sort of cutting implement handy just in case. We used a hand saw but you can use a power saw or some other equipment handy if you like.

You WILL need:

Electric Screwdriver
Staple Gun
Sandpaper (no specific grit, just to smooth some extra rough cuts)
Screws (we used two boxes of the above pictured screws)
Paint (we used spray paint/primer and used a outdoor clear coat)

All of these, except the screwdriver, we got from Lowe's.

The beginning!

Okay, so, go ahead and get started! So, the plan calls for some 4x4 posts to make the supports. Since we live in an apartment and we didn't want our neighbors freaking about my husband using his power saw, we got Lowe's to cut all of our lumber. Besides the obvious upside about that, they can only cut lumber that is 2-by or less (2x4, 2x6, 2x8 are okay, 4x4 is not). With that in mind, we found the 2x3's that you can see in the above photo. For the most part you can make the design work with these and we actually ended up with a tad bit more room because of it! Go ahead and get some 2x3's cut into 10 equal lengths, the same lengths as was prescribed for the 4x4's in the above drawing.

Using your screwdriver, get the first row of 2x6's put in. We used two screws per end to anchor into the 2x3 supports. Continue this pattern for the next 2 rows.

This would be a good time to mention that you might want to use a drill bit to get small holes started in the wood before driving in the screws. This will help to prevent the lumber from splitting when you drive the screws in. That being said, we didn't do that because the screws we used are self-drilling and we only had a couple instances where the lumber ALMOST split on us.

The bottom is almost finished! Just needs more support.

That wasn't so hard, was it? Don't worry, this love seat is going to be sturdy enough to dance on when we are through!

Build it up!

In the above picture you can see the details of the middle support. We really built this up to be a strong seat. Just screw 2 of the 2x3's into the middle of the front and back of the base. Then, lay 4 of the 2x6's across the middle, 2 on the top and 2 on the bottom. Screw them into place, taking care not to drive the new screws into the screws that were already driven. Lastly is to slide the remaining 2 2x3's into the middle of the middle support and screw them into place. My husband stood the base up on its end to make this step a little easier to complete.

Don't worry if the fit isn't exact, we just need everything held in place so that the weight of the seat/lid is supported when closed.

At this point, the base is completed. Go ahead and lay it in the spot that it's going to stay in. When this is all done it will be VERY heavy and difficult to move so, unless you have many strong friends handy, get it placed the way you want it now.

Let's make a space for your booty!

Now it's time to get the lid/seat done. The screws that we chose for this project were just a quarter inch too long for this application so we did a little extra work and ran the screws in from the top of the lid. This way the screws poke out through the bottom of the lid and not up and into your own bottom! Get two screws in each of the intersections of the 2x6's and the 1x6's until you have all of the 2x6's used with the exception of 2.

Now you need a spot to attach the hinge. At the rear of the top of the base, screw in one of the long lengths of 2x4. In front of it, screw on one of the remaining 2x6's. That 2x6 will give you a solid anchor to attach the lid to the base via the hinges below.

I swing my lid back and forth!

You can see that the hinges that we used were very heavy duty. The lid is very heavy, I have trouble lifting it by myself, so you need strong hinges. Go ahead and lay the lid onto the base and get it as centered with the base as possible. Then, place the hinges at equal distances (as seen in the photo below) and screw them into place.

Halfway there people! Keep it up!

Once you're done with the hinges, unscrew the side that attaches to the lid. This way you can find the exact spot you placed the lid into once the loveseat is painted and upholstered.

Now, go ahead and get the seat back prepared according to the above plans. We screwed 1 of the 2 longest 2x4's into the ends of the shorter 2x4's then topped it off with the final long 1x6. This will resemble a very short stud wall for a house with the 1x6 being the bottom. Once it's done, go ahead and set it on the top rear of the 2x4 that sits behind the hinge base and screw it down to the base using several of the screws, about 2 on either side of the studs. When you're done, give it a wiggle or lean against it. It should be very solid and not move very much. If it does, add a few screws along the front of the bottom 1x6 to further anchor it.

When you are satisfied that you've got the seat back locked in tightly, go ahead and screw on the two 1x8's onto the front of the seat back to close it up.

Get some color on there!

Okay, so, the loveseat is nearly done. Minus the paint, it should look similar to the above photo. Paint it how you like at this time but make sure you get a good top coat on the outside surfaces. Also before painting, be sure to go over the edges and rough patches to make sure there are no splinters that you could run against and get hurt. It's a good idea to get a tarp or something like it to cover the seat when you're done, but you will still need a good top coat to further protect your hard work from the wind and the rain.

Once the paint is done and dried, it's on to the padded seat!

Get this wrapped up!

Alright, so, you should still have the lid unscrewed from the hinges. Go ahead and take that bad boy off!

You will need to take a trip to Joanne's Fabrics or whatever hobby store is closest to you to pick up a roll of polyfoam to serve as the cushion and a bunch of whatever fabric you like best to cover it all. In the picture above you can see that the cushion hangs over the seat slightly and the fabric hangs past that. You will need a roll of foam about 6' long and 3' wide and as thick as you like. The foam we used was 3 inches thick and we agreed that we would have liked it to be a little thicker but we also still enjoy a nap in the shade often.

Then there is the fabric. We went with an actual outdoor fabric that is made to allow water to either bead off in small amounts or drain quickly away so that none of the moisture remains to encourage mold and mildew. Make sure that you have plenty of overlap, about 12 inches on all sides. Unlike us who only had about 6 inches.

Using the staple gun, go around the seat bottom and staple the fabric to the seat at regular intervals, no more than 1 or 2 inches apart to keep it as even as possible. Pull the fabric tight as you go. When you get to the corners, twist the fabric and carefully pull it tight as you staple the rest of the way around the corners. Keep stapling all around the seat bottom until the fabric is tightly bound to the seat. Don't worry too much about covering up the drill holes for the hinges, if you did everything properly, then the lid should be centered with the base so the hinges will attach to the same places.

Speaking of which, it's time to get the seat in place. Go ahead and trim off some of the excess fabric and set it aside for whatever project you have down the road. Carefully lay the seat down and scoot it around to get it centered. When you're satisfied that the seat is centered, flip the hinges down and go ahead and screw them through the fabric and padding. Make sure they are tight and open and close the lid a few times to make sure it opens freely.

And so you have it, a new seating area that you can use for yoga, napping, work, storage and all sorts of nifty things. I hope you enjoyed this post and it helps you create a great space on your patio for whatever your needs may be. If you have any questions about this project, please let me know! Thank you!

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