Saturday, July 7, 2012

DIY Outdoor Sectional

A few weeks back I posted about the progress my husband and I were making on this outdoor project. Well I am happy to say it is almost complete...I say almost because I did not get around to sewing the throw pillows that will go on it. Let's be honest- I haven't even decided on the fabric I will use. So for the photos, I stole some from my living room, which don't coordinate real well, but you get the idea. Here is how the piece turned out.
Now, I will give you the links I used to complete the project but PLEASE read through the advice below before you decide to take on this project- I hope to save you some trouble! The sofa was created using Ana White's plans with the modifications Thrifty Inspirations guest posted about here.
Overall the parts went together well but there was some confusion about the measurements at times. It took several days to complete the building, priming, and don't begin to attempt this unless you have the time to spend. Next, was the daunting task of cushions and here is my advice...BUY seriously, BUY THEM. 

If you are anything like me you are probably thinking, why would I buy them when I can make them myself and save money. This was also my line of thinking, but after finishing these I have changed my mind. Here are the hurdles I ran into that got me to change my mind. First there was the issue of what foam to use. All foam is pricey and saving money compared to purchasing outdoor cushions is tricky. I first purchased the precut Nu-Foam cushions that are created to be weather resistant. This would have been great but they only come in 22 by 22 inch squares and the seats were 24 by 24 inches. I did not want gaps in between the cushions and wrapping the precut squares with the roll of NuFoam would have made them more expensive than purchasing pre made cushions. So, then I went to plan b and purchased 3 inch foam by the yard when it was 50% off from Joanns. This allowed me to cut the foam to the dimensions I wanted since the backs of the cushions did not fall into any of the precut foam sizes.   I ended up cutting 6,  24 by 24 inch squares for the bottom cushions and 6, 24 by 15 inch rectangles for the backs and 3, 21 by 15 inch rectangles for the corner back pieces. I also wrapped the foam with some light batting to help smooth out the edges. The biggest hurdle to creating the cushions this way is that they are not weather I have to take my cushions off when storms are coming or cover the furniture (I have yet to make a slipcover but plan on it). So this is one big reason why buying pre made outdoor cushions would have been better. 
Next, I decided to use drop cloths for the fabric and save some money and overall I am okay with this decision, but again, I think the quality of the pre made cushions out weigh the cost savings of using drop cloth for the fabric. If I would have used outdoor canvas, I would have been spending more money to create my own than purchasing the cushions. You also have to factor in the cost of thread, cording, zippers, and velcro.  I made each bottom cushion with cording around both the top and bottom of the cushions. The back of the cushion has a zipper to make it easily removable. The top cushions have velcro closures on the bottom and both top and bottom cushions have ties attached so they can be secured to the couch. Putting all of this together took A LOT of time. Which is the third reason why I would say it is well worth it to buy pre made cushions. Each bottom cushion took about 1-1.5 hours and each top cushion was about 45 yea, way more time than I wanted to spend! 

What's are still wondering how this came together? You still want to attempt your own? Ok, but don't say I didn't warn you. The best tutorial I found was here and it worked great for every cushion. But again, why make them when you can pretty much buy them for the same price and avoid all the headaches mentioned above :) 

The sectional was supposed to be the first of many projects for our porch. I had grand ideas of a couch, outdoor rug, stenciled curtains, pallet coffee table, etc. And so we made this sectional to fit our  porch specifically and go figure, we sold our house and are supposed to be moving next month. The funny thing is this was not planned, our house was not on the market, but my husband had a friend who wanted to purchase it. So, fast forward a few weeks and we are now packing up and getting ready for a move...hopefully I can find a spot for the sectional in the new house after the many long hours that were spent on it! 


linking up to:
Home Stories A2Z


  1. awesome!! Now...will you be taking this with you?

  2. Wow! Sounds like it was a ton of work but it looks fabulous! Hopefully it will be able to move with you after all of that! Thanks so much for coming out to the party at Clean and Scentsible - I'll be featuring it tomorrow. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
    Jenn :)

  3. wow, how amazing that you made all that. it looks so good, and clean and crisp. beautiful!

  4. Wow, that looks great and so professional! Good job! Liz

  5. Oh girl, this project is amazing! Praying for your move and that you have the perfect spot for it. Hopefully it will all be like childbirth---in a year or so you will forget all the pain that went into creating it and just ENJOY it ;)! Love it and will be featuring!

  6. Definitely pinning this! I love that you took on a big project like this and DELIVERED! Good job!

  7. Really appreciate your comments about purchasing versus buying outdoor cushions. I am in the planning stages of making an outdoor sectional, and I was toying with the idea of making the cushions (me, who has absolutely no sewing experience). The thing is, since I'm designing and building the sectional pieces, I could make the sectional pieces the size of the cushions that I purchase (rather than trying to find cushions later that fit the sectional). Having read your article, I will look for cushions first, then build around those. Again, thank you so much for saving me a great deal of work (and which, likely, would not have turned out half as nice as the cushions that you made.

  8. Thank you so much for the information and your opinions regarding purchase versus sew-your-own cushions.. I was toying with the idea of making my own cushions for an outdoor section that I'm building (me, who has absolutely no sewing experience... ha!!!). I'm sure you saved me a lot of headache and, likely, something that would have looked terrible. Instead, I will look first for pillows, then design and build the square sectional pieces around those already-purchased pillows. Again, thank you so very much for averting a disaster.

  9. You did a beautiful job. I was just wondering, what color paint did you use on the sectional? Its a great neutral color. Thanks.

    1. Hi Lisa, hope you check back, I couldn't respond directly to your comment via email. The paint I used is Behr Exterior Latex paint in Coffee Bean. However, it went on much lighter than expected. I think because we used a sprayer and my husband didn't do many coats it seemed a lot lighter than I was actually going for. If I could do it again, I would use Sherwin Williams paint in Black Bean. This is the front door color on my house and I prefer that chocolate brown compared to the lighter...but I really thought the coffee bean would have been much more like the Sherwin Williams...who knows what happened? I didn't question my husband's painting skills after all his hard work (haha).


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