Outdoor Sofa Made From Pallet Wood

5 Materials
1 Day
How to design an outdoor sofa and get the ergonomics right for maximum comfort. I made this one out of pallet wood and regular carpentry skills, but you could easily adapt whole pallets to achieve something similar. It's all in the angles!
I created a frame for the sofa base out of 2" x 3" incorporating a small rebate to leave a nice rolled front edge. However this was a lot of work and you can built a sofa with just square timbers or the pallets themselves. The only important thing is to slope the base back at 5 degrees. I stood the frame on short legs to give a front height of around 13" (don't forget the cushions are 4" tall).
The corner is tricky as it slopes backwards 5 degrees on each side and meets at a spar going 45 degrees into the corner. I planed a small slope each way on this angled spar. It makes more sense when you see the pic after the slats go on...
Space out the slats at 1". I used a wood chisel as a gauge.
One screw front and back is enough to hold the slats.
I used my school boy maths to calculate how much I'd need to step out the sofa back rest to give an angle of 110 degrees between the sofa base and the back (around 6"). The back therefore leans back at a 15 degree angle.
Here is the arms in place made from 2" x 4" pallet bearers notched over the bottom frame for strength. They are 22.5" high and around 2' out from the wall. The arm also forms the last leg of the base.
Here is the corner detail showing the slats sloping away both sides of the corner.
All the slats in place along with the two arms.
The back side is three cushions long and the nearest side is two cushions long, plus of course an extra cushion in the corner. I worried if the cushion would sit flat as the slopes away both ways but you don't even notice it, it sits well.
All finished! Two coats of white wood preserver still shows the grain but gives the wood some protection. I also put some hooks in the wall to hang a L shaped tarp over the whole lot. Not strictly necessary as they are 'outdoor' cushions, but they are white...  .

Incidentally the cost is just the cushions really, the wood was free.

Suggested materials:

  • Pallet slats   (local tile shop (free))
  • 2" x 3" timber   (reclaimed from long pallet (used to transport a staircase))
  • White wood preservative   (Local paint store)
See all materials

Ian Anderson
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

Frequently asked questions

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3 of 13 questions
  • Joanne Joanne on Apr 14, 2017
    Love your legs, too, but my question is where do you get such clean pallets. All I ever get is banged up stuff that needs a lot of sanding.

  • James Aarona James Aarona on Apr 14, 2017
    Where were the cushions & pillows from as they're costly when purchased brand new?

  • Lill Erickson Lill Erickson on Apr 14, 2017
    Thank you! I loved it b4 the cushions! We're extending our deck and that would be perfect! Not quite sure where you put the hooks for canopy?!


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2 of 56 comments
  • Martha Jay Martha Jay on May 14, 2017
    This is great. The angled back is really wonderful. Most of these designs have a straiget (uncomfortable) backrest. Now, I'd like someone to figu out how to make a porch swing from pallets. I'd like to make one long enough to lie down on, a snoozer-porch-swing

  • Marius Marius on May 15, 2017
    Got no picture ? Pls. show outdoor sofa !