Build Your Own Sofa Bed: DIY Couch Plans

Published by Deanna Yates on

Have a tricky space and cannot find the right sized couch. Have you thought of making your own? Yep, you can make a DIY couch from home. Here's how.

How to make a DIY Couch that Folds Out to a Bed

Last week when I posted about of our DIY couch that turns into a sofa bed many of you requested detailed plans so these are for you.

Below is an overview of how we created our couch from scratch. If you would like detailed plans, I have created a Free PDF download here. The plans include your full supplies list, cut list, pictures, and detailed instructions. 

All of the wood pieces were attached with wood glue in addition to screws. And all of the screws were countersunk for a level surface and nicer outside look. 

I did not use a Kreg Jig for this project so all of the screws are put in through an outside board, meaning that you can see the screw head. If you do not want to see the screws, I recommend getting a Kreg Jig so you can make hidden pocket holes.

How to make a DIY couch from scratch. This one cost less than $200 and can fold out into a bed!

This DIY couch when constructed measures 33″ tall, 72″ wide, and 32″ deep.

Additional Supplies You May Need

A full list of supplies we used is listed in this post. In addition to the wood, you will need:

How to Assemble a Couch from Scratch

It’s best to start with the back piece of the couch. This is the support for leaning against and will be attached to the base.

The boards taper about half way up as this is where you lean back when sitting on the couch.

If you have a Kreg Jig, you will not have to off set the boards, however, if you are like me these will have to be staggered so you can actually screw them in. Like this:

Yes! You can make your own couch from home. This DIY couch can even convert to a bed for when you have extra guests.
Once the frame was together, we added the plywood back piece. This completes the wood construction for the back portion of the couch. 

Next, I covered the openings of the couch with burlap. Have you ever noticed how couches have the fabric over the frames. This fills the same purpose and gives the batting an under layer for your comfort. 

Have a tricky space and cannot find the right sized couch. Have you thought of making your own? Yep, you can make a DIY couch from home. Here's how.

Once the burlap was secured, I added the batting to the back frame of the couch.

How to make a DIY couch from home.

Creating the Wood Base Frame

After the back of the couch was ready to be covered, I moved onto the base. 

We started by creating the outsides.

How to make a DIY couch from home.

Then moved onto the front and back pieces.

When this was done we checked for square.

If your measurements are off here, make some adjustments and check again. Once square, add the outer edge pieces and stain the base.

How to make a DIY couch from home.

Constructing the Bottom Couch Seat

With the back and base out of the way, let’s move onto the seat.

We used plywood attached to supports. These supports were then attached to the base.

However, before you attach this piece to the frame, you need to put the cushions on. It’s best to use spray adhesive to secure the foam in place, but you will also need to complete the slip cover too as it will be secured between the seat and the base.

How to make a DIY couch from home.

Sewing the Couch Slip Cover

The slip cover for this DIY couch was made in three pieces.

The first piece was for the back, the second piece was for the bottom seat and the final piece was for the top (removable) seat.

All three were made in a similar way. I laid the drop cloth against the couch (right side in) and pinned the pieces together to make a pattern. The pieces were carefully removed from the couch and sewn together where they were pinned. I sewed a straight stitch here and a zig-zag stitch along the seams to reinforce the fabric as the paint drop cloth was raveling. If you are experienced at sewing (I am not) you would probably put in a hem. 

I also sewed a zigzag stitch around where the supports extended past the plywood as this would be cut out so the fabric could go over the supports. 

When the sewing is finished, turn the slipcover right-side-out, pull it on over the couch piece and pull taught. Use your staple gun to secure the fabric on the underside.

How to make a DIY couch from home.

Adding the Top Seat

Then complete the top seat very much like the bottom seat (but this time you don’t have to mess with those pesky supports!). Secure the slipcover with your staple gun and move on to the pillows.

How to make a DIY couch from home.

Making the Pillows

For the pillows, my best advice would be to sew the 4 side edges together first and then attach the front and back panels. This will ensure even sides, more square pillows, and neater corners. Leave one small gap to fill the pillows with stuffing and then sew up the gap by hand.

Ta da! Your couch is complete and your guests will be very happy and comfortable the next time they are over for a visit.

How to make a DIY couch from home.

The top seat can be removed to make a queen sized bed when you have company over. When folded out, the bed measures 54″ wide x 72″ long.

Some of you have also asked how much this cost. All-in (tools not included) it was just under $200. And really that’s only because we were able to buy the foam off Craigslist and at garage sales. Have you seen how much that stuff costs at the fabric store?!? It’s highway robbery! Anyway, we spent about $50 on the foam and hospital mattress. The rest was spent on wood, screws, and staining supplies.

If you haven’t done so yet, you can download your free copy of the detailed plans so you too can make your very own DIY couch from scratch.

Let me know if you try this project yourself. I’d love to see how it turned out and feature you on my blog. And be sure to pin it so you can come back and reference it later.

Looking for an inexpensive but stylish couch and cannot find the right one. Have you thought of making your own? Yep, you can make a DIY couch from home. Here's how.
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Categories: DIY ideasMinimalism


Eve · March 13, 2018 at 3:17 pm

Thanks for taking the time to put together this tutorial…great idea!

Doug · February 26, 2016 at 2:39 pm

Am I right to assume these boards (2×4 and 2×6) are 96″ in length, uncut? And the paint drop cloths are what you actually using as the covering fabric correct? I know both seem like obvious answers, just want to make sure. My mother has a stockpile of fabrics for her running sewing shop. So I may be able to save that $40!

Brittany · July 22, 2015 at 9:02 pm

I’m planning on making your futon right away. I believe the dimensions of the top mattress are 9 3/4 x 27 x 72. Is that correct? But mainly I wasn’t sure of the bottom mattress size. Do you remember what it was? The thickness?

    Deanna · August 2, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    Hi Brittany. The bottom mattress size is 27" deep x 72" wide x 5" high. This takes into account the 4.5" for the legs and 1/4" for the plywood. Don't forget to subtract out the plywood thickness from your top mattress too. Stop back by to let me know how it turned out. Cheers!

Darci Adams · November 6, 2013 at 10:55 am

I found this couch design while searching for bed/couch/storage ideas for my school bus conversion…do you have the original storage couch plans that you tweeked to make this wonderful couch?

Hannah · May 17, 2013 at 3:54 pm

How did you get the foam level with eachother? Also, is the top piece attached to the bottom or are the mattresses separate?

    Deanna · May 19, 2013 at 11:41 am

    The foam is level because the bottom side only used the mattress topper on top of the wooden frame, while the top half is made of the mattress topper with the hospital foam bed. The wooden frame was designed to be the same height as the hospital foam bed so that when the sides were set next to each other the bed would be even.
    No, the top piece is not attached to the bottom. It sits on top and can be easily removed to make the bed when needed.

Shaidah Maposa · March 21, 2013 at 7:07 am

Hello Deana
I am failing to understand the measurements.I am based in Botswana,Africa where we use centimetres and metres.Cut List:
A) 1 – 2×4 @ 72″
B) 1 – 2×6 @ 72″
C) 4 – 2×6 @ 25 1/2″ (Tapered as shown in step 1)
D) 3 – 2×4 @ 22″
E) 1 – 1/4″ Plywood @ 72″ x 13″ (Back Support)
F) 4 – 4×4 Posts @ 4 1/2″ (Legs)
G) 2 – 2×4 @ 28″ (Leg Joiners)
H) 2 – 2×4 @ 65″ (Side Aprons)
I) 4 – 1×4 @ 2″ (End Apron Spacer)
J) 2 – 2×4 @ 24″ (End Aprons)
K) 5 – 2×2 @ 28 3/4″ (Couch Seat Supports)
L) 2 – 1/4″ Plywood @ 72″ x 26 1/2″ (Top and Bottom of Seat)

    Deanna · March 22, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    Hi Shaidah,
    I will try to explain better, but I am not sure how the measurements actually translate. Lumber in the States is listed in standard sizes like 2 inch x 4 inch boards in varying lengths. However the sizes are actually 1.5 inches x 3.5 inches. I have no idea why they are crazy like that. I converted the measurements to cm, but you will need to ask at the lumber yard, what the standard measurement translation would be. All of the length sizes for the boards and the pieces of plywood are accurate as these are cut lengths that you do yourself. I hope that helps!
    A) 1 – 2×4 @ 72″ [1 board that measures 5.08 cm thick x 10.16 cm wide x 182.88 cm long]
    B) 1 – 2×6 @ 72″ [1 board that measures 5.08 cm thick x 15.24 cm wide x 182.88 cm long]
    C) 4 – 2×6 @ 25 1/2″ [Tapered as shown in step 1) (4 boards that each measure 5.08 cm thick x 15.24 cm wide x 64.77 cm long]
    D) 3 – 2×4 @ 22″ [3 boards that each measure 5.08 cm thick x 10.16 cm wide x 55.88 cm long]
    E) 1 – 1/4″ Plywood @ 72″ x 13″ (Back Support) [1 piece of plywood cut to measures 0.635 cm thick x 33.02 cm wide x 182.88 cm long]
    F) 4 – 4×4 Posts @ 4 1/2″ (Legs) [4 posts that each measure 10.16 cm thick x 10.16 cm wide x 11.43 cm long]
    G) 2 – 2×4 @ 28″ (Leg Joiners) [2 boards that each measure 5.08 cm thick x 10.16 cm wide x 71.12 cm long]
    H) 2 – 2×4 @ 65″ (Side Aprons) [2 boards that each measure 5.08 cm thick x 10.16 cm wide x 165.1 cm long]
    I) 4 – 1×4 @ 2″ (End Apron Spacer) [4 boards that each measure 2.54 cm thick x 10.16 cm wide x 5.08 cm long]
    J) 2 – 2×4 @ 24″ (End Aprons) [2 boards that each measure 5.08 cm thick x 10.16 cm wide x 60.96 cm long]
    K) 5 – 2×2 @ 28 3/4″ (Couch Seat Supports) [5 boards that each measure 5.08 cm thick x 10.16 cm wide x 182.88 cm long]
    L) 2 – 1/4″ Plywood @ 72″ x 26 1/2″ (Top and Bottom of Seat) [2 pieces of plywood cut to measure 0.635 cm thick x 67.31 cm wide x 182.88 cm long]

      Jer · August 27, 2013 at 12:41 pm

      The sizes of the boards like a
      2X4 actually only being 1 1/2 X 3 1/2 is because they started out as 2 inches by 4 inches. Due to the drying of the wood they shrink. Nice plans for this sofa.

tammy · October 21, 2012 at 5:08 pm

looks beautiful! just one question: how did you cut the foam?

    Deanna · October 22, 2012 at 1:45 am

    I used an exacto knife. But, if I had to do it again, I think a serrated bread knife would have worked better.

      art · March 10, 2014 at 6:59 pm

      you can also use a electric meat cutter. just don’t use it like a saw. the motor/blades do the cutting (from past expericence.)

        Ally · January 21, 2015 at 6:28 pm

        Pretty sure Art is talking about an electric knife. (These are the ones you might use to cut a turkey) just wanted to clarify that you wouldn’t use a meat slicer from the deli. Electric knives do work great on foam!

Shari Stogdill · October 3, 2012 at 3:26 pm

I am considering using your idea in constructing a multiple sectional for a U shaped room at our church as a highschool youth TV/Media room with some adjustments to your design. No beds but underneath seat and behind back, making this area into a storage area as we lack storage room for this department. I also will install low level rollers on the bottom of each sectional for easy moving to clean under them. The cushions will lift up or be able to take off for easy access to the hidden leds to the storage areas rather stapled down. Well it’s a new twist to your simple design. It will not be as confortable as your design, however, in this area, we really do not want teens to get too confortable. They will not be designed to sleep on. Get my drift. Thank you for your creatitive design.

S · September 17, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Where did you get the foam? Having a hard time finding some for this..

    Deanna · September 19, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    I actually found a hospital bed for home use on Craigslist. That\’s what I cut up for use on the removeable top part of the couch. The mattress toppers were purchased at a garage sale. Good luck in your search! I just had to be a little patient and gathered materials for a few weeks.

Chelsea · July 17, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Awesome couch! My boyfriend and I are going to try this. Do you think we could use a different fabric or is it better to use drop cloth since it's a little more sturdier?

    Deanna · July 18, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    You\’ll definitely want to use a sturdy fabric. So, if you want to choose a different fabric, I\’d stick with home decor ones since they are thicker. I like the drop cloths because they were pretty cheap to boot. Good luck! I\’d love to hear how it turns out.

Freda · April 25, 2012 at 12:00 pm

I would love to make this!! One question…Is the back attached to the bottom frame? If so, at what point do you attach it, since it is totally covered? Great job!!

    Deanna · April 27, 2012 at 11:38 am

    The back is attached underneath with left over cuts of 2 x 4s. You could also use L brackets. One screw went in to the frame and one screw went into the back. There are 4 spaced evenly underneath. We had to get creative because the back is fully covered with the exception of the frame.

Michelle · February 15, 2012 at 8:48 pm

I am totally doing this for the upstairs loft.. Following you also on Linky, please follow me too! I’ll beg if I have to 🙂

Hillery · February 3, 2012 at 5:18 pm

This is amazing. My hub and I are also looking to build a new couch, these are fantastic plans. Thank you for sharing. I am going to run these buy him, because we may have a winner!

    Deanna · February 5, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    Awesome! Let me know if you make it and how it turns out. Cheers!

Little Green Bow Shows You How to Make Your Own Couch | Little Green Bow · January 12, 2012 at 1:54 pm

[…] the supplies we used to complete this project and some photos of it coming together. (Update: the detailed plans are […]

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