Simple DIY Outdoor Lounging Bench

2 Materials
2 Hours
I was looking for an inexpensive seating option that would maximize seating on a narrow balcony (it’s only 4.5 ft wide) and that would be good for lounging. After looking at a few options, I decided to build a simple bench, much like the ones that I had built for my NYC apartment balcony. I tweaked the design a bit to make it wider so it was more like a sofa than a bench and I also added bracing to make it sturdier. It only cost $30 in materials, plus the stain, and by having all the wood cut at the hardware store, it turned out to be a very quick build using very basic tools: a drill, drill bits and a speed square (clamps optional)!
This is the space that I had to work with - the balcony is only 4.5ft wide.
I started by building the frame for the top of the bench with 1"x4". I like to use a speed square, to make sure that all the corners are at 90 degrees. If you don't have one yet in your tool box, I highly recommend getting one. They are only about $5 and it's so helpful to have around!
I added cross-bracing to make the top sturdier.
Then I screwed in place the top boards, leaving a 1/2" overhang around all the sides. To make sure that the boards are all spaced out evenly (3/4" apart), I used a scrap piece of 1"x4".
I used 2"x3" for the legs and for the bracing. Having a piece of 2"x3" to hold the bracing in place while attaching it is really helpful, especially when building alone. There's more details on this build on my blog.
Here's the finished bench! I chose to stain it with a semi-transparent stain from Behr in a color called coffee. I would recommend staining all the top pieces before putting it together - that would be much easier than trying to stain in between the boards when it's all put together!
It was the perfect solution for seating and by adding outdoor seat cushions and some outdoor pillows, the bench is a comfy place to relax and unwind.
And by adding a small stool that doubles as a table ($69) and an inexpensive outdoor chair from IKEA ($35), this small balcony can comfortably seat 4 people!
This bench was only one of the many DIY projects I did on this rental balcony makeover and you can see everything that I did, including the bench build, in this video.

Suggested materials:

  • 1x4
  • 2x3

Engineer Your Space
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

Frequently asked questions

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  • Cdean Cdean on May 08, 2018

    That turned out beautiful! What is the plant that looks as if it's coming out of the wood opposite the railing?

  • Bab33113098 Bab33113098 on May 12, 2018

    Very smart (the) hanging molding for additional privacy. Is that a weight holding the matching fabric over the edge? This way the landlord cannot object to altering the outside of the building correct? What is it and where might I buy one?

  • Katie Katie on Jul 25, 2019

    Do you have more exact measurements somewhere? How long were the leg pieces?


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