Amazing Upcycle: How to Make an Outdoor Lounge Chair From Bed Slats

by DIYfixman
2 Materials
3 Hours

My best ideas for DIY projects often emerge as a result of found items, upcycled treasures, or just using materials in unexpected ways. When I bought a new bed, I knew I could not throw away the roll of bed slats that came with my old one and made a plan to upcycle them. The contemporary design plan for this amazing outdoor lounge chair was built around a sheet of wooden bed slats that could have ended up in the trash but instead helped make a one of a kind piece of furniture! Everyone has items that they pick up or hang onto because they just know they’ll work for something. Don’t hesitate to use materials you find or have on hand to imagine up and create furniture designs like this one for your home.

You Will Need:

  • Wooden bed slats (or other slats cut to the same length)
  • Square tubular steel 
  • Welder
  • Saw
  • Angle grinder
  • Steel bristle wire brush
  • Paint and brush
  • Drill
  • Self-tapping screws
  • Adjustable furniture risers
  • Clear spray sealant
Measure and Cut Steel for Chair Base

Step 1: Measure and Cut Steel for Chair Base

I cut and measured the steel at the angles needed to create the level of recline I wanted for my outdoor lounge chair. These angled pieces—when joined together and welded—would form the base of the lounge chair

Build the Lounge Chair Center

Step 2: Build the Lounge Chair Center

I welded the angled pieces of the backbone of the chair base together. I welded three pieces of square tubular steel together at an angle to create the centerline of the chair frame, welded them to a long base bar, and then joined the two sections by welding a short piece in between them as a brace. 

Build Lounge Chair Base

Step 3: Build Lounge Chair Base

I cut and welded two stabilizing base pieces on to both ends of the centerline base bar in the shape of a capital letter I. Before I attached them, I drilled holes for and then welded adjustable furniture risers into the underside of the two cross bar support pieces of the base. This would help ensure that the large chair was level and able to better support weight.

Welding the legs
The base is ready
Paint Steel Chair Frame

Step 4: Paint Steel Chair Frame

I used a brush and painted the now-assembled welded steel frame with glossy black paint. Use a paint specifically designed for use on metal. Once the paint was dry, I sanded away any brush strokes by hand.

Cut Wood Slats to Desired Width

Step 5: Cut Wood Slats to Desired Width

I disassembled the sheet of wooden bed slats and used a saw to cut them a bit shorter to get the width I wanted for the chair. If you are purchasing wood for the DIY project, cut your slats to your desired width depending on the specific look you want. It cannot be too wide or the narrow frame won’t provide enough support and will cause the lounge chair to be off-balance.

Cutting wood I took from a bed frame
Attach Wood Slats to Chair Frame

Step 6: Attach Wood Slats to Chair Frame

I used self-tapping screws to attach the wood slats to the steel chair frame. I used two screws per slat, one above the other. Be sure to place a small piece of wood or another spacer in between your slats as you drill them to ensure equally spaced slats the entire length of the chair. After attaching all of your slats, recline and relax in your new lounge chair!

Attach wood slats to frame
Attach wood slats to frame

Outdoor furniture options usually consist of plastic, wicker, or other less durable materials; and quality wooden outdoor furniture can be extremely expensive. I wasn’t happy with either of those options and created an outdoor lounge chair from upcycled wood bed slats and welded steel that will withstand the elements and has a unique, contemporary vibe impossible to find in stores! I love that the mixture of wood and metal creates a look that will always be in style and that I saved hundreds of dollars by building it myself.

Have you incorporated found materials or upcycled something unexpected into a DIY chair or other DIY outdoor furniture? Share your photos and tips or find inspiration for amazing custom furniture pieces like this one on Hometalk!

Resources for this project:
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Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  3 questions
  • Ellen Ellen on Feb 17, 2020

    How stable is the chair when getting on or getting off? To an older person it might be a concern about safety when getting off. How high is it off the floor where your rear end would be?

  • Fran Fran on Feb 18, 2021

    Beautiful design!

    But, wouldn't someone sitting off-center snap the slats rather easily?

  • Ted Shuster Ted Shuster on Feb 24, 2023

    I really want to build this chair. Can you post the angles and lengths? I can adjust to what fits me but I would really like a starting point.

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