Custom Built Sofa

Preliminary design for a mid century modern inspired box sofa
Mid-centruy modern inspired custom built sofa design

Earlier this year I made a joke that I “wasn’t good enough” for a full size sofa (as I currently have a modest loveseat). I could go out and buy one tomorrow, but all the sofas in my budget are “just okay.” And who can afford a custom built sofa? From time to time I have searched “DIY Sofa” with mixed results.

Then I found something promising.

Ben Uyeda at Handmade Modern made a leather upholstered Zig Zag Sofa. And even though I like his design quite a bit, the design isn’t right for my house. What really caught my eye was his method of covering the cushions. Instead of sewing slipcases, he used brass grommets and laced the bottom sides together. This is great for me because: 1. Sewing is not a skill I have acquired yet. 2. With this method if either the cushion or the upholstery needs replacing, I’m able to do that in the future.

It worked well enough for Ben that he made a second sofa similarly, the DIY Modern Plywood Sofa.

So why not make my own custom built sofa?

Custom built sofa design with high arms
Custom built box sofa with high arms

My idea is to use Baltic birch plywood. It takes waterbased dyes well and typically has fewer voids in the plies so showing the edge is more acceptable than some other varieties. Instead of two large cushions for both the seat and back, I’ve designed mine with six. However, I may play around with the idea of three seat cushions and one large back cushion.

For the hidden parts of the frame I will use less expensive pine boards and plywood. Current designs show 8 inch tapered legs, but already considering other possibilities.

The color coding helps me imagine how it might go together. It will undergo refinements to minimize materials and reduce weight.

This custom built sofa might be tackled as early as January 2021. For now this is a placeholder for another “Big Idea.”

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