How to Build My Restoration Hardware Sectional.

Build a Restoration Hardware sofa like mine! Here’s how the wholeeeee thing is constructed.

DIY outdoor wooden Restoration Hardware sectional sofa with cushions in front of lit backyard fire pit with large tree and wooden fence covered in greenery in background.

 

I think I’ve mentioned before that I don’t use plans when I build something. I just start nailing, cutting and cursing.   Partly because I don’t really know how to read plans and partly because I’m usually making something for a very specific space so I want it to be the size that I want; not what some plans want.

Which is exactly how I ended up building my outdoor “Restoration Hardware” furniture.  I bought some wood, I started cutting and let Snarklefart and Habbityass dance off my tongue.  What I ended up with was some backyard furniture that turned out way better than I thought it would and a succession of never-ending emails over the next 2 years about how it was all put together.

As I built the sectional and chair I put up posts about how I aged it with a home made vinegar and steel wool stain, how I constructed the arms and how I hacked up the wood to give it some character and chamfered the edges. What I didn’t show you was exactly how I put it all together.

Overhead view of DIY outdoor wooden Restoration Hardware sectional sofa with cushions in place beside unlit outdoor fire pit. Potted ferns sitting on table behind sofa.

 

What seemed to cause the most confusion (for myself and you) was how I created the corner of the sectional. If the sectional weren’t tilted back on a bit of an angle (to make it more comfortable), doing the corner would have been easy and pretty straight forward.

Instead it was a nightmare.  The thought bubble over my head while trying to figure this out would have just been a bunch of squiggles and the letters K, C, F and U.  Not necessarily in that order.

After a couple of days  I finally came up with a solution.  It wasn’t a terribly elegant solution but it works.

DIY outdoor wooden Restoration Hardware sectional sofa without cushions in front of unlit outdoor fire pit and pizza oven. Wooden fence and large tree in background.

In the spring when I was cleaning up my backyard I took the opportunity to take photos of the sectional while it was naked and with nothing hiding the view. 

Behold my naked backyard and sectional. The next series of photos will show you exactly how it’s put together.

DIY outdoor wooden Restoration Hardware sectional sofa without cushions showing L brackets used for corner joinery.

  • Most things are joined with L brackets.  After building it I decided I’d like a bit more of an angle on the seat and back so I added wood.  A 2×2 to the seat to tip the front of it up a bit. And a 2×4 to the bottom of the back.  These work together to create even more of a V for sitting.  Once the cushions are on you don’t notice them at all.

Building the corner of an outdoor sectional using L brackets.

  • Again you can see I’ve used L Brackets to join the two sections at the corner on the seat.

DIY outdoor wooden Restoration Hardware sectional sofa without cushions in front of unlit outdoor fire pit and pizza oven. Outdoor lantern sits beside pizza oven with large tree to the right.

  • Extra pieces of 6×6 (the same as the arms) are under the seats as well for extra support and strength.

Now that slightly inelegant corner …

Close-up of sofa's outdoor sectional's corner joinery.

Just ignore the little triangular notch in the top of the corner – it just split and a piece of wood fell out. It has nothing to do with the building of the corner.

Had I been thinking in advance, or had plans, or had one rice grain of sanity left in me after the construction of this thing, I would have notched out the corner so it ran even with the backs of the sofa.  But I had none of those things.

Close-up of both sides of the back of Restoration Hardware Aspen collection sofa hack.

  • The corner is just another piece of 6×6 like the arms are made out of with both sides of the back L bracketed to it on an angle.

Corner section of The Art of Doing Stuff's Restoration Hardware outdoor sectional featuring L brackets to join seat.

  • The seats are also L bracketed to the corner from both the sides…

The seats of a Restoration Hardware outdoor sectional are L-bracketed to the corner from underneath.

and underneath.

DIY outdoor wooden Restoration Hardware sectional sofa without cushions in front of greenery and large tree on interlocking stone tiles.

Other than the arms, which are made of 6×6 ash that I got from a private sawmill, the rest of the wood used to make the sectional is scrounged;  old pieces of barn board and lumber I already had.

The cushions I had custom made and they’re what cost a lot. Around $1000 if I remember correctly. I might not be remembering correctly because mostly when things cost a lot more than I want to pay I just throw that number of out of my brain for good.  

DIY outdoor wooden Restoration Hardware sectional sofa by The Art of Doing Stuff with cushions in position in front of lit outdoor fire pit. Tree and wooden fence covered with greenery in background.

 

Of course the sectional can be made to any length you want. I built it to fit  my space.

DIY outdoor wooden Restoration Hardware chair with stacked arms in front of horizontal running wood fence.

I also built it to fit me. So the chairs aren’t as deep as the Restoration Hardware ones.

 
If you’re still a bit unsure of it all, here’s a video walking you around the entire sectional from front to back (without the cushions on it)


 

DIY outdoor wooden Restoration Hardware sectional sofa with cushions in place beside potted ferns on table behind sofa.

I hope that answers all of the questions you’ve had about the construction of the Restoration Hardware outdoor sectional.

If not – at this very moment I’m in the middle of collaborating with someone to have plans for this furniture made so you can actually buy them.

You know – if you’re the kind of person who uses plans.  So a smart person!  Yes. You are a smart person.  Just not as smart as someone who makes so much money they can drop $20,000 on the original Restoration Hardware set. 

A front to back look at the Restoration Hardware sectional I hacked. How to build it and put it together. RH version = $20,000. DIY version = $2,000 (including custom outdoor cushions)

21 Comments

  1. Wendy Jourdain says:

    Where did you get your sectional cushions from?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Wendy. I had them made at a local place. I have no idea where you are, but if you’re around Hamilton, Ontario, the cushions were custom made at Foamland on Ottawa Street. ~ karen!

  2. Marie Hudgeons says:

    How did you screw the 6 x 6 together please … I love this so much.

  3. Marna says:

    Wow, so cool!

  4. Jennifer Toliver says:

    We had the foam backs cut at an angle.

    • Pat says:

      That’s a good idea Jennifer. Can you show us what the end result is? Sounds like you’ve diy’d some sort of furniture.

  5. Mary W says:

    Got to share this with my granddaughter’s boyfriend. He does similar work with whatever he can get his hands on. I know he would love to make this for their redone backyard. Thanks for all the work getting this post and especially for making plans available later. You’re da best!

  6. Jen says:

    What’s the story with that sweet fire table thingy in the center? Did you make that too?

  7. Ron says:

    I can relate to your approach to design and building despite having spent 35+ years working as a consulting engineer on large engineering projects around the globe. These projects were designed and built by hundreds, if not thousands of engineers, contractors and tradespeople from many thousands of drawings. So you would think that I would appreciate the need for proper drawings and I do.

    However when it comes to personal projects without the necessity to co-operate and communicate with others I, like yourself, just pick up my tools and get at it as the ideas unfold in my head. To make matters worse I insist on only using lumber and other scrap materials left over from my previous projects before resorting to the purchase of any new material.

    Of course the downside is that inevitably my projects involve a Version 1 followed by a Version 2 and so on to fix all the unforseen errors and missed details that would have become obvious had proper drawings been made beforehand. Needless to say my friends and children think I’m nuts but that’s the way it is.

    • Jan in Waterdown says:

      Friends and children are highly overrated these days…. 😁

    • Karen says:

      Yep. Most of the things I’ve built would be better with a version 2, lol. But they’re usually good enough to not necessitate a version 2 thankfully. ~ karen!

  8. Barb says:

    I love it! Plans? Too many rules. But I do have a burning question before I get out my tools… how are your cushions holding up? They look great! I assume you don’t rush outside to bring them in from the rain. The thing that keeps me from buying or making outdoor furniture with cushions is the idea that I am too lazy to bring them in and out every time I want to sit on them. I prefer once in the spring, and again in the fall, y’know? So is the secret in the fabric, or the foam, or what? Thanks, Karen!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Barb. You actually can’t bring these cushions in. They’re too big. Well, I guess you could be seriously they’re huge and really heavy. I keep my huge 10′ by 10′ umbrella up most of the time to protect the cushions from light rains and if it’s going to pour like it did the other day, I cover the entire sectional with all the other cushions piled on top of it with an outdoor furniture cover. My biggest fear with the cushions actually is that mice will get into them in the winter. So far so good. They’re holding up great. No damage, no fading. ~ karen!

  9. whitequeen96 says:

    This is BRILLIANT! This is what I call “emergency engineering,” meaning figuring out what will work when you have no design to follow. You did a great job! Am I right in assuming that the 6″x6″ vertical piece at the corner is also acting as a leg to your console table that you put behind the couch? And did you even plan to build that table or were you forced to by this extra corner piece? I have to say that this is a marvelous bit of serendipity that led to gorgeous results!

    You’d have been an asset on Apollo 13 when they had to make something up so they could return to earth.

  10. Nicole Toussaint says:

    Simply Awesome!!

  11. Mimi says:

    Gasp, no you didn’t! Wow! I was at the mall with a gf recently and she was feeling kind of down. I said, ‘c’mon let’s go up to Restoration Hardware and laugh at the prices. That’ll cheer you up!’ Amazing job!

  12. suzanne says:

    This is awesome and the reason (how I discovered your blog) I started following you. I could figure out how to make a seat and back connection but it was those huge stacked arms that befuddled me. Thanks for all you do to make our little corner of the world brighter.

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