My sofa project

Posted on Sun, 1 Mar 2009 by KiM

I decided a little while ago that my living room sofa was not working for me. It was cute, I’ll give it that. But it was NOT loungey. Definitively not wide enough for my boyfriend and I to sprawl on and watch movies. I’m hoping to find it a new home since I have no other room to put it in. I knew I’d never find a sofa that would suit my needs and my budget so my boyfriend and I built one. Since our carpentry skills are limited, I am quite surprised it turned out as well as it did. We finished building it a few days ago, and I painted it Friday.

Since I wanted something low and loungey, I figured the easiest way to get what I wanted would be to get some cushions, and basically build boxes for them. Instead of buying foam for the cushions, I went to Ikea and bought cushions from one of their sofas where they were sold separately from the frame. There were 4 cushions – 2 for the base and 2 narrower ones for the back. So working with that we built one main base that houses the 2 larger cushions and an individual base for each of the narrower ones. This is the main base before I painted it.

We used rounded fence post toppers (?) for the feet of the main section (I have pieces of furniture pads underneath them in the photos because it weighs a ton and I’m worried it’s going to dent the floor), and casters for the feet of the 2 smaller sections. This way the smaller pieces could be wheeled around the living room to accommodate different seating arrangements. Because I wanted a pile of pillows along the back of the main section and I was concerned they would take up too much space, we built a ledge along the back (which you can see in the third photo) to house the majority of the pillows, leaving ample room for sprawling.

I’ve had a couple of chances to try out the new sofa (I’m on it as I type this) and it’s incredible. It’s so versatile and ridiculously comfortable. I need to make new covers for the seat cushions. I bought the covers from Ikea for them but they are a thick canvas and cat hair sticks to it in an obscene way so I need something more cat friendly. I also just threw on a bunch of pillows for the photos below, but I need to buy fabric for new pillows as well. I’m thinking of sticking with neutrals, with lots of texture, and maybe a couple pillows in jewel toned colours to work with the rest of the living room and kitchen. I’m also considering stenciling the frames, but I have to give that more thought.

Here are some photos I took of the sofa with different placement of the smaller pieces.

cintra says:

I am in the middle of constructing a modular sofa myself and was wondering what cushions you got at ikea for your sofa. I may try to speak to someone at the store but when I called a receptionist said that ikea doesnt have any separate cushions for sale. I really love the look and functionality of your sofa………bright ideas…..

KiM says:

Cintra, the cushions are from their Lilberg sofa. And you'll notice that when you buy furniture at Ikea that involves several different pieces that are packaged separately, each piece has it's own price. So you can buy each piece seperately if you want. They of course will tell you that you can't because it screws up their inventory but that's not your problem. 🙂 Just go to the sofa section, find cushions you like, figure out the name of the sofa, then go to the self serve area and just buy the cushions for that sofa. Easy as that. 🙂

Annique says:

I am so going to try this, with a few tricks I learned in Furniture Design class:). But for a quick switch out you can use the ikea bed slats for Twin beds for supporting for the cushions.
( still have to figure out where to get the cushions for a college student on a budget)

Frenchy says:

I was wondering if you could tell me your measurements for the base(s)/wood bottoms and of your cushions. I LOVE THIS SOOO MUCH and would copy it almost exactly, but im limited on space. Thanks for your time and KEEP UP THE AWESOME WORK!

KiM says:

Frenchy, instructions are in THIS POST. I didn't put the exact measurements because it depends on the size of your cushions.

jenny says:


I was wondeing how your sofa was holding up? I'm thinking of ding a pallet sectional couch but looking for cushions… and wanted toknow how you like yours now afte 4 years.

KiM says:

We found the leather sofa of our dreams so we are no longer using the DIY one. It held up well – it really just depends on the cushions you use. I didn't like the cushions we ended up buying at Ikea – they were not as durable and thick and did not hold their shape as well as they used to (the quality diminished I think because they wanted the cushions to be able to be rolled up smaller – before the foam was so thick and would not have been able to be rolled up)

Sarah says:

Hi, I was wondering if you had any plans for the frames? Or if you could possibly just tell me the dimensions and the materials you used I would greatly appreciate it!

KiM says:

Sarah, instructions are in this post. I didn't put the exact measurements because it depends on the size of your cushions.

Anaa says:

Looks cool

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