How to Make a Sofa Bench


A sofa bench is a padded, sofa-length combination seat and foot rest that may also have under-seat storage. Sofa benches can be made of wood, plastic, or acrylic and steel. Your sofa bench should match the style of your sofa and carry elements of the color scheme of your living room. If designed to include storage space, be sure to build the correct shape and depth to accommodate the items you wish to store.

Things You'll Need

  • Router 2 18-inch-by-1-inch-by-6-foot maple, oak or walnut boards for top and bottom 2 18-inch-by-18-inch-by-1-inch matching maple boards for bench ends 2 18-inch-by-1/4-inch-by-3-foot sheets of matching maple, oak or walnut for sliding doors 1 18-inch-by-1/2-inch-by-6 foot sheet of matching maple, oak or walnut for bench back Carpenter's square Coarse, medium, fine and extra fine sanding belts Belt sander Hand block plane Box 1 1/2-inch-long brass finishing nails Box 1 1/2-inch-long brass wood screws 2 brass drawer pulls Power drill, 1/8-inch diameter drill bit Countersink drill bit 1-inch-diameter hole saw Paraffin 18-inch-by-6-inch-by-6-foot piece of foam cushion 3 yards upholstery fabric Clear acrylic or other wood finish Plastic loop closure tape such as Velcro
  • Cut a dado, or groove, 1 inch from the edge, down the long side of the 18-inch-by-1-inch-by-6-foot boards. Place the 18-inch-by-18-inch-by-1-inch end boards between the first set of boards, with the dado cuts facing each other. Use a carpenter's square to mark positions for two screws going down through the top and bottom boards and into the side pieces, so that the screw position will not result in the screw going through the dado cut. Do this for each end of both the top and bottom boards of the sofa bench. Be sure each screw will wind up centered in the 1-inch edge of the side boards.

  • Drill pilot holes for all of the screw positions using a 1/8-inch drill bit. There will be eight holes. Countersink all the holes. Screw top and bottom pieces to the sides. Make sure the dadoes in the top and bottom are facing each other. Do not tighten screws all the way.

  • Sand and plane the two 18-inch-by-1/4-inch-by-3-foot sliding door pieces until they will fit into the dadoes between the bench top and bottom. Remove the doors and cut a 10-inch-diameter finger hole in each, using a hole saw and a power drill. If you do not want a finger hole, attach a brass drawer pull to each door. Rub the edges of both doors with paraffin. Return the sliding doors to the dadoes and tighten all of the screws in the top and bottom of the bench.

  • Use 1 1/2-inch brass finishing nails to attach the 18-inch-by-1/2-inch-by-6-foot sheet of wood to the back of the sofa bench. Finish the bench in your choice of clear acrylic, varnish, lacquer or shellac.

  • Cover a piece of 18-inch-by-6-inch-by-6-foot foam cushion with upholstery fabric. Attach the cushion to the bench using plastic loop closure tape such as Velcro.

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