With summer underway, I set out to transform my small 5 ft x 9 ft balcony into an intimate al fresco dining area able to seat 4 to 5 people. Having that many chairs on such a small balcony would have been cumbersome, so instead I decided to build simple wood benches to make a corner booth. I didn’t want anything too complicated to build so I came up with a very simple design that only takes a couple of hours to make using basic tools and materials:
I’ll walk you through how to make one of them and then you’ll be able to customize the design to work with your outdoor space.
Bench dimensions: 56″ long x 16 1/4″ wide x 17 3/4″ high
Materials needed: 6 x 1″ x 4″ x 6 ft pine boards (~ $4.50 each), 1 x 2″x 3″x 6 ft stud (~$2.00), weather proofing stain or paint, decking screws (1 1/4″, 2″)
Step 1: Cut the pine boards and stud to size (I had mine cut at the hardware store):
Frame (1″x4″): 2 x 55″, 3 x 13 3/4″
Top (1″x4″): 4 x 56″
Legs (2″x3″): 4 x 17″
Step 2: Weatherproof all the wood – I used a semi-transparent weather proofing stain from BEHR (coffee color) and applied 2 coats. For a small project like this, an 8 oz sample is more than enough.
Step 3: Build the frame:
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).
Drill two pilot holes and put in screws (use 1 1/4″ screws). After the four sides are put together, add the middle piece for extra support.
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.
Screw in place the remaining pine boards, using a scrap piece of 1″ x 4″ as a spacer.
Step 5: Attach the legs:
Using clamps, secure one leg to the inside of one corner of the frame:
Drill pilot holes and screw in place (use 2″ screws).
For my project, I made two benches, added cushions and built privacy panels to complete my corner booth DIY dining area – you can see how I built the privacy panels in this video:
I love how my DIY al fresco dining area turned out and it’s been a wonderful place to enjoy warm summer evenings with friends and family.