DIY Outdoor Lounging Bench

While working on my friend Lisa’s balcony, I was looking for a seating option that would maximize seating on her small and narrow balcony (it’s only 4.5 ft wide) and give her a place to lounge with her dog Leo. After looking at a few options, I decided to build a simple bench, much like the ones that I had built for my NYC apartment balcony. I tweaked the design a bit to make it wider so it was more like a sofa than a bench and I also added bracing to make it sturdier.

DIY-outdoor-Bench-tutorial-main-image

It only cost $30 in materials, plus the stain, and by having all the wood cut at the hardware store, it turned out to be a very quick build using very basic tools: a drill, drill bits and a speed square (clamps optional):

Bench dimensions: 52″ long x 24 ¾”” wide x 16 3/4″ high

Materials needed:

Frame:  

1”x 4” x 2 x 51”

1” x 4” x 2 x 19 ¼”

Top:

1”x 2” x 2 x 52”

1”x5” x 4 x 52”

Legs and bracing: 2”x3”

Legs: 4 x 16”

Bracing: 2 x 19 ¼”, 1 x 45 ½”

Weatherproofing stain or paint

Exterior or decking screws (1 1/4″, 2″)

Step 1: Cut the pine boards and stud to size (I had mine cut at the hardware store):

Step 2: I recommend staining all the wood prior to assembling it but you can also stain is after, like I did. It’s just a bit challenging to get in between the boards when it’s all assembled. I used a semi-transparent weatherproofing stain from BEHR (coffee color) and applied 2 coats.

Step-1-staining-wood

Step 3: Build the frame:

You can use corner clamps to hold the pieces together (adding wood glue before doing this will make the joints stronger but skipping the glue will allow you to easily disassemble the bench later). Or you can go free hand – if going with that method, I recommend using a speed square to make sure that the boards are square.

DIY-outdoor-bench-step-1

Drill pilot holes and put in screws (use 1 1/4″ screws). After the four sides are put together, add the 2 middle piece for extra support. Again, using a speed square is helpful to make sure the pieces are square.

DIY-outdoor-bench-Step-2-a

DIY-outdoor-bench-step-2b

Step 4: Place one of the top 1″ x 4″ on top of the frame so that it extends 1/2″ past the edge of the frame at the ends and on the sides. Drill pilot holes and screw in place.

DIY-outdoor-bench-Step-3

Screw in place the remaining pine boards, using a scrap piece of 1″ x 4″ as a spacer.

DIY-outdoor-bench-step-4

DIY-outdoor-bench-step-4s

Step 5: Attach the legs:

You can simply hold the leg in place or you can use clamps to help the leg to the inside of one corner of the frame:

DIY-outdoor-bench-Step-5

Drill pilot holes and screw in place (use 2″ screws).

Step 6: Attach the Bracing

I like to mark where the bracing pieces join before attaching them.

DIY-OUtdoor-bench-step-6a

Start with the bracing in between the legs, lining them up in the middle and using a scrap piece of 2”x3” to hold them up. Drill pilot holes and screw them in place with 2” screws.

DIY-outdoor-bench-Step-6

Once both sides are done, attach the middle bracing, centered.

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And that’s it, your bench is done!

Finished-DIY-outdoor-bench-top-and-front-view-unstained

For seat cushions, I used 2 HALO outdoor seat cushions from IKEA ($25 each) which are 24”x24”. Since the bench has a wall for a back, I was able to use outdoor pillows for the back. It was the perfect seating option for this balcony and you can watch the entire balcony makeover in this video. Enjoy!

 

 

 

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10 Comments

  1. Jordan

    Isabelle,

    I didn’t see it mentioned in there regarding how much time it took to create the bench? The pictures and explanations were great and very helpful. Also, did Leo enjoy it? :)

    • Isabelle LaRue

      It really didn’t take long – maybe a couple of hours? Having the wood cut at the hardware store helps speed up the process! Yes, Leo enjoyed it so much he even gave it a high five!

  2. Darlene

    Very nice job making the best use of the space and making it beautiful!

  3. Jenessa

    Hello, I did not see in your video or in details, can you please tell me where you purchased your trellis? Thank You

  4. AJ

    Beautiful transformation, you actually gave life to this little lounge area. Would love to know how to made this side hanging table. could you please share any details on for the table.

    Much Appreciated,
    AJ

    • Isabelle LaRue

      Thank you AJ! I’m still working on the details for the table but I’ll share as soon as I’m able.

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