Loft Living: Simple Sofa with End Tables

A tutorial by .



Tape measure
Circular saw
Orbital sander
  • 4 – Hairpin Legs, 3-Rod, 1/2" diameter, in desired height and finish
  • 2 – Cushions (you can make your own by covering dacron-wrapped foam with leather or canvas)
  • Plywood (we used 3/4" radiata sanded pine plywood)
  • Circular saw
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Speed square
  • Straightedge (such as a level or piece of trim)
  • Wood glue
  • Adhesive trowel
  • Clamps
  • Weights (such as bags of concrete)
  • Drill/driver and bits
  • Screws (including 3-1/8" finish screws)
  • Orbital sander and sanding discs
  • Finish (we applied Varathane water-based polyurethane in crystal clear matte)
  • Brush to apply finish
  • Cord (paracord and bungee cord) to attach cushions to plywood
  • Safety gear such as eye protection, a mask/respirator and gloves

Ben Uyeda

Ben Uyeda stepped away from the award-winning architecture firm he co-founded, as well as an Ivy League teaching position, to develop media companies that deliver affordable designs to the masses. In the last four years, Ben’s design ideas have reached more than 50 million people and the free designs he gives away are being built on six different continents. Despite the populist and affordable nature of his work, Ben’s designs have been featured in an exhibition and workshop at the Vitra Furniture Museum in Germany.

This DIY sofa is really easy to build using just three basic power tools. The design includes built-in side tables, and an angled back. You can use premade cushions, or craft your own by covering foam with the material of your choice.
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Step 1:
Make backrest supports

Cut the plywood down to pieces measuring eight inches by 18 inches. Draw a line from corner to corner, and cut each piece into two triangles. Glue and clamp the triangles together, let dry, and sand once the glue is dry.

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Step 2:
Create the sofa platform

Take two pieces of 32-inch by 96-inch plywood. Apply wood glue to one piece, place the other on top, and clamp them together. Set weight on top, and secure the plywood with a few screws.

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Step 3:
Reinforce the platform

Use wood glue, screws, and clamps to add an eight-inch-wide plywood frame around the edge. This will keep the base of the sofa from flexing too much.

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Step 4:
Attach the legs

Position your Hairpin Legs, and use a drill/driver and screws to secure them to the sofa platform.

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Step 5:
Sand the edges

Flip the sofa base over, and use an orbital sander to sand the edges of the base nice and flush.

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Step 6:
Set the angle on your saw

Use the angle on the triangular supports to set the angle on your circular saw. Cut the edge of the backrest where it will meet the sofa base to that angle.

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Step 7:
Smooth the wood

Plywood can get a little bit splintery when it's cut into too sharp of a point, so trim back the tips of the triangular supports a little bit.

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Step 8:
Finish the wood

Apply finish to the plywood. We used Varathane water-based polyurethane in crystal clear matte.

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Step 9:
Install supports

Attach the triangular supports to the backrest. Position the backrest about three-quarters of an inch from the back edge, and then screw it into place. Use 3-1/8-inch-long finish screws for extra strength.

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Step 10:
Cover the cushions

Place your material facedown with the foam cushion on top. Make small incisions with a knife, and then reinforce the holes with grommets.

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Step 11:
Set the grommets

Reinforce the holes with grommets so you can lace the leather up with cord.

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Step 12:
Cover the corners

At each corner, make two triangular folds and then grommet multiple layers of the leather together. Once all the holes are set, use paracord and short bungee cords to apply just a little bit of tension and hold the leather cover nice and tight.

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Step 13:
Set the cushions

Place your cushions. Drill a few holes through the backrest, and slide a piece of cord through the holes to attach the back cushion so it doesn't slide.

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