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DIY Modular Outdoor Seating

Hey there! Living in Texas, Fall is the BEST time for us to spend outdoors! One of the big reasons we picked the house plans that we did, when we built our house, was the balcony! I dreamed of a giant comfy sectional – the kind I see in expensive magazines – and of course my goal has been to build it! I finished it just in time – the weather has finally cooled off and this space is becoming my FAVORITE place to spend time!

DIY-Outdoor-Wood-Sectional

Not every space is built the same so I wanted to come up with a seating solution that could fit all spaces! I came up with this modular sectional that is SO easy to build.  Every piece is basically a box and you can add a backrest or leave it off and there is a corner piece to create a sectional!

Today, I’m sharing the basic box seat with the optional backrest and of course, I have the step-by-step tutorial for you to follow as well as FREE Printable Plans!  You can click HERE or the image below for the free plans!

click-for-free-plans

*You can find the plans and tutorial for the corner piece HERE!

Now, let’s get to it! I built this for outside so I chose cedar boards.

Ryobi-18v-miter-saw

To start, I used my Ryobi 18V miter saw to cut every piece. This is a great saw that runs off of the same batteries as all of our favorite Ryobi 18V tools. It’s small enough to move around with you and doesn’t take up very much space. Whitney and I actually used it on a hotel balcony when we had to cut pieces for a class (shhhhhh πŸ˜‰ )

seat-cuts

I made the 2×3 cuts for all of the boxes that I wanted to build.

drill-pocket-holes

Then, I used my Kreg Jig K5 to drill pocket holes (you can find the Kreg Jig HERE on Amazon). You can refer to the plans for the pocket hole location and you can see them in the cuts picture above.

assemble-seat-frame
seat-frame
add-center-support

I attached the frame of the seat first,then added the center support piece.

attach-legs-to-seat-frame

To finish the seat frame, I just attached the legs.

add-legs

Frame = DONE πŸ™‚ Easy enough!! Now for the slats!

attaching-slide-slats

I began attached the side slats first.  To make spacing easy, I used scrap 1/4″ pieces as spacers.  Start at the top of the seat making the top slat flush with the 2×3 frame.  I attached them with Gorilla Wood Glue and my Ryobi 18 gauge Airstrike Nailer (1 1/4″ nails for this).

side-slats-attached

Work your way to the bottom and you will have about a 1/2″ gap between the last slat and the end ground.

attach-front-slats

The front and back slats are easy.  No spacers needed, just line the slats up with the side slats, glue and nail in to place.

attach-end-top-slats

The top slats are last! I attached the front and back slats first, making them flush with the front and back slats (you will cover the slats so that you only see the top slats).

attach-top-slats

I used my 3/4″ cedar scraps to space the rest of the slats out and attached them with wood glue and my nailer. Nail these into the center support, as well.

seats-without-backs

Here are the assembled boxes! (The corner box is a different size that I will share plans to next week). At this point, you can leave it as-is or add backrests!

I opted for backrests πŸ˜‰

back-posts

I cut the posts first

attach-back-posts

Then attached them to the back of each box with 2 1/2″ spax screws. The screws will go into the 2×3 legs inside the box.

attach-slats-to-back-posts

Then, I added my slats.  Begin at the top of the backrest and attache with wood glue and 1/4″ nails. I used 3/4″ spacers and attached 5 slats.

back-rest-attached

That’s it!!!! I wanted to keep the natural cedar look so I just applied 2 coats of Varathane Spar Varnish all over and called it a day πŸ™‚

how-to-build-an-outdoor-sectional

I found a great deal on deep seat cushions at target.com.  I used my Red Card so I saved 5% after the sale price and got free shipping. I did design the seats based on the cushion measurements but they are pretty standard measurements and should fit a variety of cushions.  Just make sure to check dimensions if you choose different cushions and modify the plans accordingly. You can see the cushions that I purchased HERE.

diy-outdoor-sectional

I have mine set up to have two boxes create a coffee table that can double as ottomans

DIY-Outdoor-Modular-Seating

or they can be arranged to create a chaise lounge end

DIY-Outdoor-Seating

or this set up πŸ™‚

DIY-Outdoor-Couch

or this!

DIY-Outdoor-Chaise-Lounge

You could even create an individual chaise lounge, or two, for a small space!

more-modular-seating-options

There are so many possibilities, even without the corner piece!

how-to-build-an-outdoor-sectional

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this space now! And, if I get bored with it I can always rearrange things;) This seating works great with our without cushions and another cool thing about this type of seating is that you can build a little to start and add to it as your budget allows! I’ll be back next week to share the corner piece plans!

Happy Building!

82 Comments

  1. Sarah on June 14, 2021 at 1:54 pm

    What are the finished dimensions of each box without backs?

  2. Tracy on May 23, 2021 at 12:50 pm

    Hello, Thank you for this great design. I’m pretty sure I’m going to try it but I don’t see the dimensions for each box. I may have missed it but I want to measure my space and I’m thinking each is 2’x3′?? Can you direct me to the overall measurements, not just the cut of each piece of wood please? Thank you!

  3. Brandon York on June 5, 2020 at 10:02 am

    What are the sizes of the cushions for this as target does not sell them anymore

  4. Holly on March 22, 2020 at 4:21 pm

    Hello! We are looking at making this– I was wondering how many of the modular boxes the quantity of materials listed in the plans make– was that just for 1 box?

  5. Anthony on July 31, 2019 at 7:51 pm

    Your page is so filled with ads these days its almost unbearable. I mean I understand you get revenue from this but there is a point where people stop coming to your site because of all the ads.Hopefully you are getting paid nice for all these. intrusive ads

  6. Jacky on February 15, 2019 at 6:28 pm

    I need this in my life! Do you know how much weight one seat can hold?

  7. Molly Tester on December 4, 2018 at 12:08 pm

    How much was this project?

  8. Cleo on July 17, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    This is really nice but I’m wondering……do the cushions slide around. I don’t see anything that holds them in place or am I missing something?

  9. Abbie Stanley on April 27, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    I can’t find a weather treated 2×3 around me, my husband says I need weather treated, what a about 2×4??

  10. Katie on April 13, 2018 at 9:39 am

    HI, I am very interested in building this. Seeing as it is 5 years after the post, I am unable to get the dimensions of the cushions to purchase from target. The links don’t work and neither does the item number. Could you possibly let me know the cushion dimensions? I would really appreciate it!

  11. Abbie Stanley on March 25, 2018 at 10:37 am

    I can not find treated 2×3 wood anywhere ? can I use a 2×4? How much will it throw off the dimensions or how much will the wood weather outdoors if I don’t use treated wood for the 2x3s

  12. Shonda on March 21, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    you girls rock! thank you!! keep doing you!

  13. Gordon Graham on October 11, 2016 at 11:16 am

    I’m getting ready to start this project… I see a lot of comments requesting the cushion size but no answer… The link on target is no longer available but I’m sure I can find cushions if i have the proper dimensions. Is the finished cube 24×24?

  14. Jon Garvin on July 9, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    I wish I would have looked for cushions before building this. Target no longer sells the ones listed above and I have had no luck locating any. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

    • Shanty2Chic on July 9, 2016 at 2:50 pm

      I’m showing that there are other colors available. Scroll down on the target page and it will show you other options. Looks like there is a pale green color available. It’s the Hearthstone cushion.

  15. MelissaB on April 30, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    Hi –

    Is this project doable for someone without a lot of experience? I am a beginner and my husband and I want to try building this together. Where can I find the instructions for the corner piece?

    Thanks!, Melissa

  16. Cindy Dabney on April 30, 2016 at 8:13 am

    Hi. I have been dreaming of making this since last year but too many other projects got in the way. So I finally got to it. Made one piece (out of white board per the cut list) as a sample to make sure I liked the design and comfort due to the comments about the straight backrest. I found it to be very comfortable with the cushions. I was ready to build the entire project and in re- reading you instructions saw that you used cedar instead of whiteboard for outdoor use. I loaded up the lumber I bought and back to the home improvement store I went to exchange the lumber for cedar and found that they do not carry 2 x 3 lumber in cedar, nor do they have 1 x 4 s in cedar. How did you and others that stated they used cedar find lumber in those measurements? I know I can rip it down but that seems like too much work and waste. PLEASE help….I am so motivated to get this done and re do my outside area before it’s too hot here in Cali to enjoy it. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Treated lumber isn’t an option for me due to the chemicals. I thought of continuing the project with the whiteboard and then using a good outdoor sealer such as Thompsons but not sure if that will hold up. It is a lot of work to make something that isn’t going to last. The are I will be putting this is covered but outside.

    • Shanty2Chic on April 30, 2016 at 8:37 am

      You can easily use 2×4 cedar if they have it. It shouldn’t change the measurements of the frame cuts by too much. You can also swap 1×4 for 1×6 if they have it! It will change the spacing of the boards but not by much. Hope this helps!

      • Cindy Dabney on April 30, 2016 at 11:48 am

        Thank you for the quick response. I will go see what they have in those measurements.

    • Janilee Parks on July 25, 2017 at 4:16 pm

      Try cedar fence slats. You have to cut the end off but it will get the job done.

  17. Manuel Perez on April 29, 2016 at 11:32 am

    Very cool! Looks pretty easy to make. Thanks for the post.

  18. Christina on March 29, 2016 at 2:23 am

    To save a little money on wood, is it necessary to put the boards around the sides? Is it for stability or esthetics?

  19. Steven Smiddy on March 1, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    Built over the course of two days, was about $600+ for all 6 boxes. Live in California so everything is a little more expensive. Waiting on cushions which are about $300…

  20. Steven Smiddy on March 1, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    Built over the course of two days, was about $600+ for all 6 boxes. Live in California so everything is a little more expensive. Waiting on cushions which are about $300.

  21. Alex on February 14, 2016 at 1:22 am

    I built these this week although I altered the dimensions slightly to accommodate different cushions. I also built “double” benches instead of individual units. I used Redwood for the frame and Cedar boards. The plans were very easy to follow for a complete novice like myself, thank you! Now I’m looking for another project!

    • Michael Bowen on March 27, 2016 at 6:21 pm

      Can you tell me what your dimensions are for the different size cushions? Thanks!

  22. Alex on February 14, 2016 at 1:19 am

    I built these this week although I altered the dimensions slightly to accommodate different cushions. I also built “double” benches instead of individual units. I used Redwood for the frame and Cedar boards. The plans were very easy to follow for a complete novice like myself, thank you!

  23. bubbasayswhat on September 16, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    I added wheels to the Ottomans, so I can push them around. I also rounded all the edges with a belt sander.

  24. Melanie Fell on July 11, 2015 at 6:56 am

    Hi Shanty2Chic can you tell me what it cost for you to do this?

  25. Mark on June 23, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    Got started on this yesterday.

    • ❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀
      ??
      I built my own using the plans at www. WoodworkPlans.info – highly recommended you check those out too. They are detailed and super easy to read and understand unlike several others I found online. The amount of plans there is mind-boggling… there’s like 16,000 plans or something like that for tons of different projects. Definitely enough to keep me busy with projects for many more years to come haha
      ????????
      www. WoodworkPlans.info

      ✌✌✌✌✌✌✌✌✌✌✌

  26. swaya on May 23, 2015 at 8:29 am

    im confussd by the 1x4x8′ measurement surely each seat is not 8ft square??

    • Shanty2Chic on May 23, 2015 at 8:32 am

      1x4x8′ is a 1×4 board that is 8 ft long. A 1×4 is 3/4″ thick and 3.5″ wide.

    • Shirley on May 24, 2015 at 8:41 am

      Also Swaya the 8 foot part of your 1x4x8 gets cut down to more than one piece

  27. BShow on May 13, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing these plans! My husband made these for me for mother’s day. He even made an umbrella table for me so I could have some shade.

  28. [email protected] on April 25, 2015 at 8:33 am

    What type of saw blade (#) would you recommend? My husband and I are buying a chop saw for this project and a few others. Thanks so much!

    • Shanty2Chic on April 25, 2015 at 8:39 am

      Just a standard blade for wood. Hope this helps!

    • dannyomo on July 20, 2015 at 10:39 am

      Get something like a 40-tooth blade. 24-tooth blades (which are likely the default) have too much tear-out–especially for soft woods like Cedar. Don’t go higher than 60, since 80 is for specialty uses. A nice 40-tooth Diablo blade is my default.

  29. Aimee Martinez on April 21, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    Hi, is each section attached to the section next to it? If not, do they tend to push apart from each other?

    • Justin on April 23, 2015 at 9:05 am

      They are all separate pieces so you can form the sectional how you want to. They stay together perfectly.

      • Aimee Martinez on April 23, 2015 at 10:20 am

        Thanks Justin!

  30. Justin on April 16, 2015 at 9:07 am

    I found the correct cushions if anyone is still looking for them. Go to the Target website and type the item # 16343170 I am almost done with the build. I have to finish staining the wood. Went with an Acorn Brown…

    • Andrea Beirne on April 22, 2015 at 11:53 am

      Did you build your set with 1 x 4 cedar or 1 x 4 construction lumber? I am trying to figure out if either changes the plan as 1 x 4 cedar is 1 x4 but construction lumber is 3.5. thanks! looks Great!!

      • Justin on April 23, 2015 at 9:06 am

        I used premium pine from home depot.

  31. Justin on April 15, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    Looks like they do not have the size needed on targets website. Any recommendations? Thank you!!

  32. Christopher Batey on April 3, 2015 at 10:23 am

    For people wanting slants cut some 6 inch two by fours diagonally and attach them to the back and use those to attach the backs which (if calculations are correct and assuming imperfect cuts) would give a 12.5-13.0 degree slope, nice and comfy

  33. Christopher Batey on April 3, 2015 at 10:14 am

    I like this idea except I would add hinged tops to make these into extra storage as well.

  34. Henrietta on March 30, 2015 at 10:48 pm

    Love this idea, just a couple of questions. What wood do you suggest for using inside? And what are the measurements for the cushions, like the other comments, the item is no longer available. Thank you.

  35. Jenna on March 23, 2015 at 10:15 am

    I am looking on Target’s website for the cushions. The link is no longer active. Are the cushions you used the cushions that have the seat and back sewn together? Or are they the individual cushions? Thanks!

  36. Jamie Cormier on March 13, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    what are the dimensions of the cushions, because they are no longer on your site. Looking for both bottom and back cushions. Please help Target has standard size, but they don’t look like they would fit your dimensions. Thanks

  37. Samantha on March 9, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    About how much in the end did all the supplies cost you?

  38. salman sheikh on February 22, 2015 at 7:22 am

    Nice project aside from plugs for ryobi (I like Bosch tools better) and what if you don’t own a K5 from kreg.. Do able?

    • Shanty2Chic on February 22, 2015 at 4:59 pm

      You could use 3″ screws instead. Hope this helps πŸ™‚

  39. TW on January 27, 2015 at 12:04 am

    Yes I have the same question. Is this a little uncomfortable without a slanted backrest? It doesn’t look like it slants. I really like the beauty of this. I’ve been searching for a while to find this “look” . Another question, can you hinge the seats so you can use them to store the cushions. If you have some thoughts on how to do this I would love to hear them. Also I was thinking of making the tops of the seat with the slats tight against each other so it would add some protection for the cushions when I store them under the seats.
    BTW where did you find those cushions they look really comfy and thick!

    • Shanty2Chic on January 27, 2015 at 4:44 am

      Hi,
      The backs are not slanted. It doesn’t seem uncomfortable to me because the cushions allow you to lean back a bit but if you are looking for a comfortable that you can sit back in (like a big comfy chair) then you may not be pleased with it. Adding a hinge is a great idea, I would attach boards under the seat slats running the opposite direction. If this is outdoor, you really need to have the 1/2″ gaps between the slats to allow for expansion and to allow water to run through and not sit on top of the seats. Hope this helps! We would love to see your modifications!

  40. James Woo on January 25, 2015 at 10:14 pm

    Looks great & I’m sure they will last a long time. Just a quick question. Are the backrest cushion slanted to make it more comfy

    • Shanty2Chic on January 27, 2015 at 4:47 am

      Thank you! They do not slant. I don’t think the seats are uncomfortable, especially with the thick cushions but it’s not comfortable like a big chair that you can sit back in. I hope this helps!

      • James Woo on January 27, 2015 at 9:09 am

        Thanks for your reply and the building plan. May get round to do it.

  41. Brandi Johnson on November 7, 2014 at 6:36 am

    I am so building this!! After 2 years I have just finished my 16′ x13′ foot porch and I have been looking at sectionals to fit it. Thanks off the plans I just hope the cushions will hang around until I can get them piece by piece πŸ™‚ I love ya’ll!!

    • Shanty2Chic on November 7, 2014 at 8:34 am

      Awesome! So happy to help and please send us the pictures when you finish πŸ™‚

  42. Jennifer on November 1, 2014 at 8:10 am

    I’ve noticed this for a long time and just haven’t said anything, but why do you guys use so many exclamation points? It’s like you’re yelling at your readers.

    • Shanty2Chic on November 1, 2014 at 8:12 am

      I guess we just get really excited about DIY;)

      • Jennifer on November 1, 2014 at 8:24 am

        Of course you do. It’s exhausting as a reader to read something in a constant yelling voice.

        • Shanty2Chic on November 1, 2014 at 8:30 am

          Thanks for your feedback Jennifer. Have a great day!

          • Jennifer on November 1, 2014 at 8:53 am

            Telling people to just not read something is the latest fad in blogs it seems. I would think the owners of the blog would appreciate all feedback from their readers, not just the cheerleading. If they don’t get both sides of the coin, they don’t know when something is wrong and would just lose readers. No, I did not get up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, but thanks for your concern.



          • Shanty2Chic on November 1, 2014 at 9:09 am

            When asked why we use so many (!) we responded that we were excited about DIY. You wrote back a rude comment to which we responded “thank you for your feedback”. If it is so exhausting for you to read our tutorials, by all means, don’t read them. You are more than welcome to print out our FREE printable plans without a reading the tutorial.
            Maybe you notice this “fad” in blogging because there are a lot of people that feel the need to post rude comments and call them “feedback”. The way you followed up to our response gives the idea that you are looking for a fight.
            While we do acknowledge and appreciate your feedback, we do LOVE what we do and have a passion for DIY and if our expression of that through (!) is offensive and exhausting to you then again, please don’t feel that you have to read. We will not change the way we write and express our excitement so this is probably not the site for you to read. Hope you have a better and more relaxing day!



          • Jennifer on November 1, 2014 at 9:21 am

            Insinuating my day is bad and not relaxing is quite the assumption. I wasn’t being rude or looking for a fight. I was direct without filling it with positive affirmation first. There’s a big difference. My last follow up wasn’t directed at you , but rather the other 2 commenters who actually were rude. Seems you only want the cheerleaders, so congratulations on losing a reader. It amazes me when a blog owner can’t take criticism, but would rather just want the feel good comments. Which by the way, if you have read any of my other comments on your blog, which you have because you’ve commented back to me, you’d see they were positive. This definitely isn’t the site for me if you can’t take one criticism. Enjoy your cheerleaders. I guess I shouldn’t hold my tongue any longer and go ahead and comment on how it seems desperate how every single post is asking for follows on IG and Pinterest. It used to be at the bottom of the posts, but now it right up top. Every post is overkill. Have a nice day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



          • Shanty2Chic on November 1, 2014 at 9:23 am

            Thanks for your feedback Jennifer! Have a great day;)



          • Shanty2Chic on November 1, 2014 at 9:09 am

            When asked why we use so many (!) we responded that we were excited about DIY. You wrote back a rude comment to which we responded “thank you for your feedback”. If it is so exhausting for you to read our tutorials, by all means, don’t read them. You are more than welcome to print out our FREE printable plans without a reading the tutorial.
            Maybe you notice this “fad” in blogging because there are a lot of people that feel the need to post rude comments and call them “feedback”. The way you followed up to our response gives the idea that you are looking for a fight.
            While we do acknowledge and appreciate your feedback, we do LOVE what we do and have a passion for DIY and if our expression of that through (!) is offensive and exhausting to you then again, please don’t feel that you have to read. We will not change the way we write and express our excitement so this is probably not the site for you to read. Hope you have a better and more relaxing day!



          • Loretta Fernotti on November 1, 2014 at 9:22 am

            Latest “fad?” I am not a blogger. Just because you are a reader doesnt give you the right to be rude. How arrogant of you to think that they need to change because of “you!” You are one reader. I’m sure you didn’t complain when you printed off your plans to build your latest piece of furniture. Constructive feedback would be about the plans/furniture. Not attacking the blogger’s personality. If you cant say something nice, don’t say anything at all.



        • Loretta Fernotti on November 1, 2014 at 8:31 am

          Then don’t read???? Pretty simple.

  43. Abbey Ofs on October 31, 2014 at 7:04 am

    You guys are incredible! love this! πŸ™‚ -Abbey

  44. Melissa on October 30, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    i absolutely love this. great job!

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