I need a sofa.

Well, I needed a sofa.

Clearly,  I have one now.

But not long ago, I found myself in need of one.

It could go without saying that this is usually a large purchase. These are big pieces of furniture with seemingly complicated assembly requirements.

People don’t just build their own.

Well, most people don’t.

Part of the problem with a DIY approach to sofas is that there are aspects that seem daunting. Upholstery isn’t exactly a universal skill.

These issues tend to lead to workarounds that sacrifice design aesthetic for functionality.

I refuse to accept that this is necessary.

To be fair, there are a few DIY sofa designs around that find a good balance of form and function. They just don’t fit my idea of optimal form.

So, to address my need for a place to comfortably sit that doesn’t scream “I BUILT THIS IN MY BACKYARD”, I first decided on the general look that I wanted.

I drew inspiration from Milo Baughman’s case sofa design, and Gerrit Rietveld Jr.’s 1955 sofa design(both pictured below).  The Baughman piece has a sense of formality, while the Rietveld is playful and unusual. They both speak to me on different levels and I couldn’t resist taking cues from both.

Once the look was finalized, it was a matter of finding a balance between strength and comfort. I also wanted to keep the build as simple as possible to ensure that it was approachable for even a novice DIYer. This meant avoiding steps that would be outside of my ability to effectively convey with written words and in short-form video content.

In the end, I feel that I was relatively successful in keeping to my self-imposed guidelines.

Relying on pocket-hole joinery and a simple box design make the body easy to build and using plywood bases for the upholstery keeps the skill barrier very low for inexperienced people to succeed.

This is about as easy as I can imagine making a decent-looking sofa can be.

If you’d like to see the full build video, you can watch it below.

And, if you want to see what I’m working on next, follow me on Instagram.

You can download a build guide for this project here.

Thanks for reading!