How to Make Your Own Couch and DIY Sofa Bed

Published by Deanna Yates on

How to Make Your Own Couch

When my mother-in-law came to visit back in October, my husband and I spent a really busy couple of weeks getting our apartment together. We had moved into a new 2-bedroom plus loft in August and pretty much ignored getting our place in order for the first two months while we were busy working.

Then, time started running out and setting up our apartment became REALLY important. I mean, I couldn’t have my mother-in-law stay in an apartment that looked and felt as if we just graduated college. We had barely any furniture and were eating on TV trays every night. It was pitiful.

So, we started a checklist and worked our way through it. One big project was figuring out where guests would sleep when they came to visit? The living room and loft do not provide enough privacy so they were out. And our second bedroom was already filled with desks, computers, and guitars so a real bed or even a futon would not fit.

Then it hit me…we crafted our own dining table, so why not try to make our own DIY couch that could double as a guest bed? I headed to Ana White’s blog, but since the only couch was more of a storage couch, we took the basic idea and expanded on it.

And here’s how our couch turned out…
I LOVE IT! The color is neutral and it’s actually really comfy to sleep on. It’s even Mother-in-Law approved!
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.Here are the supplies we used to complete this project and some photos of it coming together.

(Update: the detailed plans are now available!)

How to build a fold out DIY couch from scratch. Detailed plans from LittleGreenBow.comSupplies:
* 6 – 2×4 boards
* 2 – 2×6 boards
* 2 – 2×2 boards
* 24″ of 4×4 post
* 2 sheets of plywood
* 2 yards of batting
* 2 yards of burlap
* 2 paint drop cloths (9’x12′)
* sand paper
* stain
* screws
* staple gun
* mitre saw
* circular saw
* foam mattress
* 2 foam mattress toppers

The is a picture of the foam used for the seats. It’s one foam hospital mattress cut to size and 2 foam queen mattress toppers cut in half.

The foam used for the seats - One foam hospital mattress cut to size and 2 foam queen mattress toppers cut in half

This is the frame of the couch starting to come together. The frame of the couch - it's starting to come together

Burlap was attached to the back before the batting and fabric

Burlap was attached to the back before the batting and fabricThe batting was attached to the back frame.The batting was attached to the back frame

The bottom seat gets upholstered with supports on the underside

I sewed around where the supports would be and cut out the inside square before stapling to the bottom

I sewed around where the supports would be and cut out the inside square before stapling to the bottom

The top seat getting upholstered

The top seat getting upholstered

Check back next week when I have the plans up. Feel free to subscribe so you don’t miss it.  (Update: The plans are up! Check them out here.)

Or download a free PDF with the detailed instructions including supplies, cut list, directions, and step-by-step plan images.

How to build a fold out DIY couch from scratch. Detailed plans from
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Categories: DIY ideasMinimalism


Jimmy from TRA/Sofas · December 22, 2017 at 4:17 pm

Deanna, this is the type of project I’m talking about. Love it!

Brittany · July 22, 2015 at 9:10 pm

I’m planning on making your futon soon to put in my twins’ nursery. I had a question about the mattress sizes. The top one is 9 3/4 x 27 x 32, is that right? I wasn’t sure of the thickness of the bottom. Do you remember it by chance?
Your blog is fantastic!

    Deanna · August 2, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    Hi Brittany. Don't forget to subtract out the plywood thickness from your top mattress measurements. The bottom mattress measures 27" deep x 72" wide x 5" high. This takes into account the 4.5" for the legs and 1/4" for the plywood. If your top mattress thickness is different than mine, simply adjust the bottom mattress by taking the top thickness minus the height of the legs. Stop back by to let me know how it turned out. Cheers!

Heather Hamilton · November 28, 2014 at 9:59 am

This is really wonderful! We are planning on making this couch as it is exactly what we are looking for. One question, how did it wear over time and use? Did they way you put it together ensure that the shape is kept after a couple years of use? What would you have done differently? Thanks for all of the information you have provided for this project. It is wonderful!

Sakinah · November 24, 2013 at 10:34 am

Wow this is exactly what I was looking for. I bought a sofa like this ions ago from IKEA, but they no longer sell it. So I was also thinking about making the sofa on Anna’s site minus the storage and making it a bed. You know you can make it so that both cushions are joined (not the foam but the upholstery) at the corners so that you can just flip the upper cushion down, and it will be one entire piece instead of two. This is the way that the one at IKEA was made. I plan to use your idea modified slightly so that it is all one piece. Thanks so much.

Kelli · August 16, 2013 at 8:40 am

This is so awesome!!Do you think this would work with 2 twin mattresses? WE have 5 people living in a 2 bedroom home so we are always looking for ideas to give our 3 girls more space!

    Deanna · August 26, 2013 at 11:20 am

    I don't see why that would not work. It would just be pretty deep.

hannah · July 28, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Incredible !!!!! You did a fantastic job of creating such a great looking couch / bed. And you couldn't receive a better endorsement than your mother-in-law's approval

jesterqueen · June 26, 2012 at 4:41 pm

How COOL is that? And it has the mother-in-law stamp of approval, so it must be OK!

    Deanna · June 27, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Thanks! I know…I was so happy she said it was comfortable.

Liz · June 25, 2012 at 12:35 pm

This really does look amazing!! Any idea on the total cost to build?

    Deanna · June 27, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    Because we were able to find the foam on Craigslist and garage sales, we kept the cost under $200.

lifethegreenway · June 25, 2012 at 9:32 am

Wow, this is awesome! You did a great job. I'm a green blogger who loves to share DIY projects and tips, so I'm glad to connect with you. Happy SITS day!

    Deanna · June 27, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    So nice to meet you! Thanks for stopping by.

Kelly Stilwell · June 24, 2012 at 4:57 pm

This is awesome! It actually looks like something I could tackle! Great job:) Happy SITS Day!

Jean Lynd · June 23, 2012 at 1:52 pm

That’s so creative and completely awesome! Happy SITS day 😉

misssrobin · June 22, 2012 at 11:18 pm

What an amazing project. Totally cool and beautiful. Nice job!

misssrobin · June 22, 2012 at 11:18 pm

What an amazing project. Totally cool and beautiful. Great job.
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Tracy Larson · June 22, 2012 at 10:39 pm

Wow, that is amazing! Looks very comfortable. Love it!
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ashleyinnc · June 22, 2012 at 8:47 pm

That is absolutely amazing! Happy SITS day! 🙂
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@Newmommabeckers · June 22, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Wow, that couch looks awesome!! You could sell that if you wanted to! Happy SITS day!!

Whitney · June 22, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Happy SITS day! I wish I had the patience and time for this, I can't find the time to make jewelry and I love doing that.
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Tammy · June 22, 2012 at 3:39 pm

That is absolutely amazing. I always dream about doing things like this but never have the nerve because I always think that it won't turn out like I imagine it.

@secretsofamom · June 22, 2012 at 2:42 pm

I cannot believe you guys made that! I would be so quick to buy something- never even imagining I could possible make something like that! Kudos to you guys!!!
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tiffanyvee · June 22, 2012 at 12:40 pm

AWESOME project!

Classic NYer · June 22, 2012 at 11:22 am

So clearly you're just much, much cooler than I am, because there's no way I would ever have pulled that off. Then again, I would have absolutely no problem inviting my mother in law to an apartment that looked like we just graduated college…
Happy SITS day!
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littleblogdress · June 22, 2012 at 10:23 am

How awesome!! Happy SITS Day!
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@HomeJobsbyMOM · June 22, 2012 at 9:27 am

Awesome idea!! Looks like a project my husband would love.
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Louise Ducote · June 22, 2012 at 9:09 am

Y'all are amazing! I can't wait to show this to my husband. Hope you're enjoying your SITS day!
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colleenieg · June 22, 2012 at 8:53 am

Hi! Stopping by from SITS today. I love that couch. That's a bit too much project for me though. I'm horrible at measuring. I'm impressed!

Laura · June 22, 2012 at 7:32 am

Wow. You are much more ambitious in the DIY area than I am. The sofa is beautiful. You said it it comfy to sleep on but I wondered if it was comfy to sit on? Happy SITS day.

    Deanna · June 22, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    Thanks Laura. It is surprisingly comfortable to sit on. I will say it's squishier than a normal couch. Not sure I would want it as my main seating, but it's perfect in the office. I love to be able to read on it or have it for guests.

Jennifer Leigh · June 22, 2012 at 7:24 am

Happy SITS Day! What a great idea and I love that you used burlap!
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    Deanna · June 22, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Thanks Jennifer! I was glad the burlap got covered up though because, to be honest, that stuff is a little stinky and messy.

morgan · June 22, 2012 at 7:18 am

Wow! I'm so impressed!! I could see us using something like that in our basement/playroom/guest room, for certain!
Enjoy your SITS day!
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    Deanna · June 22, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Thanks Morgan. It's great to have in an extra room.

Inspire Me Heather · June 6, 2012 at 6:41 am

Your sofa bed looks fantastic – nice job!!! I have this linked to my sofas post as well today, you rock!
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Mazy · May 15, 2012 at 8:06 pm

This is EXACTLY what I was wanting to do with the Ana White storage couch plans as well!! My husband didn't seem to understand what I was talking about & said it couldn't be done….can't wait to show him your pictures 🙂
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    Deanna · May 15, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    So happy I could help. Good luck making your couch. I'd love to see how it turns out.

Monica · March 8, 2012 at 8:28 pm

I love this couch. So classic. Thank you so much for sharing at Furniture Friday.

NighLon · February 4, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Hi! I'm a Sitsta! This is absolutely amazing. I have always wondered how to build a couch that doesn't look like a caveman built it. I'm so impressed. I will be back, and I will be building one of these! Thank you so much for sharing!

    Deanna · February 6, 2012 at 2:46 am

    Thank you so much! We had a lot of fun making it. I'd love to see how yours turns out! Nice to meet you SITSta!

Stacey · January 27, 2012 at 10:40 am

about how much would this cost to make?

    Deanna · January 27, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    Hi Stacey,
    This project was pretty affordable only because I was able to find the foam on Craigslist and at garage sales. Foam from the retail store it REALLY expensive! I think we figured out it cost us just under $200 for everything. The big thick foam was from an in-home hospital bed mattress that I cut down using an exacto knife – should have used a big bread knife – (craigslist for $20) and the two mattress toppers were found at a garage sale for $30.

shari lynne · January 13, 2012 at 10:29 am

Wow! That is fantastic! you are very ambitious and creative! Thanksf or sharing:)

Ashley · January 11, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Great job ! I love it !

Ellie · January 10, 2012 at 4:25 pm

That is so cool! What a great idea!

Liza · January 10, 2012 at 10:56 am

Awesome! Do you have a cost breakdown?

    Deanna · January 10, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Thanks! I'm working on a more detailed instruction post for this week and will make sure I include a cost breakdown. Thanks for the suggestion.

Deb · January 9, 2012 at 10:33 pm

Amazing! I would never thing to be so creative. Great job!

Ruth · January 7, 2012 at 9:02 pm

This bed is amazing. Fantastic job!!

Rebecca · January 7, 2012 at 6:39 pm

This is fabulous! I've pinned this and will be following you now. 🙂

Sue · January 7, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Wow that is very impressive. Well done.

Chris · January 7, 2012 at 11:02 am

Very cool! I love that you made this all yourselves. The fabric for the cover is perfect.

Kristen · January 6, 2012 at 8:48 pm

Amazing! You are so talented. I love this!

    Deanna · January 6, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    Thanks Kristen! It just takes an idea and determination. All the best!

katie · January 6, 2012 at 3:54 pm

How big of a bed is it when it is laid out? Like a full size?

    Deanna · January 6, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    It's a queen size bed when laid out. In addition to one thick stiff foam mattress (on the top layer) used 2 queen size foam mattress toppers and cut them in half. One half was placed on the bottom and one half was placed on top so they would be even. The top one is actually memory foam so it's REALLY comfy.

Jen · January 6, 2012 at 11:13 am

Wow, what an amazing diy couch! This would be the perfect spot for guests to crash if you don’t have a designated guest room. I’d love it if you came to share this at the Head to Head Showdown link party, going up tonight at 10. I hope to see you there! Jen @

Angela · January 6, 2012 at 9:34 am

Awesome idea! My kids would much rather have this in their rooms than their beds! Love it!
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    Deanna · January 6, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Thanks Angela. Since the bed is in two pieces it would be great for sleepovers too.

Rachel · January 6, 2012 at 1:18 am

Wow!!! that is amazing!!!

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