Introduction: DIY Outdoor Wood Bench

Picture of DIY Outdoor Wood Bench

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. You can also watch the video where I show how I made the benches (you can fast forward to 3:28 min)

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:

Picture of

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

Cut list:

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: Paint or Stain the Wood

Picture of Paint or Stain the Wood

I stained the wood using 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 Frame

Picture of Build 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: Attach Top

Picture of Attach Top

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

Picture of Attach the Legs

Using clamps, secure one leg to the inside of one corner of the frame. Then drill pilot holes and screw in place (use 2" screws).

Step 6: Completed Corner Booth With DIY Wood Benches

Picture of Completed Corner Booth With DIY Wood Benches

Here is the finished project, after I added cushions and built privacy panels to complete my corner booth DIY outdoor 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.


buck2217 (author)2015-07-01

That is a great looking bench

EYSpace (author)buck22172015-07-01

Thank you!

whitney.payment made it! (author)2015-04-07

I am new to this and have to say I am very proud of myself! It turned out great and was much easier than I thought! It took me a lot longer to build the benches than some of the other people, but I had a few set backs along the way and the staining took 6 hours per coat to dry (which I am just now realizing probably didn't need so be quite that long in between). I added some support braces at the bottom and made a side table and flower pot holder. I probably used too many screws, but total I used 104. (because the 2, 50 count boxes weren't quite enough)

Tips for beginners: 1. Get a screw/drill gun! It saved me a ton of time. 2. Wear gloves when you are staining, it is very sticky 3. Get the recommended stain, it will probably save a lot of trouble and time!

EYSpace (author)whitney.payment2015-04-07

I love what you did, and the extras too (table and planter). Looks amazing! Thanks for sharing!

vanowen made it! (author)2015-02-27

This project was very easy to do, I say that because my boyfriend actually did it and I instructed and watch. The benches were finished in two hours and we made matching planters for the railings to match. Absolutely love the benches!

EYSpace (author)vanowen2015-02-27

They turned out great, thanks so much for sharing! And I love the planters you made too - great use of the railing space without risking anything falling over!

claytonjwalsh made it! (author)2014-12-13

Took me a little over an hour without the use of glue or a corner clamp, but i did use some metal brackets underneath to give some strength to the legs.

I used a solid piece for the top, instead of 4 pieces.

EYSpace (author)claytonjwalsh2014-12-13

Thanks so much for sharing! Looks good!

invisiblemonkey made it! (author)2014-06-17

I made a more compact version of this for our smaller balcony. It's a little slimmer and I wedged left-over blocks between the legs for more stability (with wood glue). Thanks for the instructable! :)

EYSpace (author)invisiblemonkey2014-12-13

Just saw your comment! Love it :)

pchervin (author)2014-04-28

built these three other weekend, great instructions. I was able to make them in just under an hour each.

EYSpace (author)pchervin2014-04-28

Your benches and balcony look amazing!! Thanks so much for sharing!

seftonypony (author)2014-02-11

I can't wait to build these! Once it warms up a bit, that is. :p Question: what kind of drill do you have? I'm wondering how much drill I'll need for some fun basic projects, and if cordless would be powerful enough, too. This will be my first project! Very excited to use the table saw I got in the fall, too.

EYSpace (author)seftonypony2014-02-11

I use a Dewalt cordless drill (DCD710) and I love it! It's light weight and has more than enough power for all the projects that I do. And the Lithium ion battery lasts a long time. Have fun with the project and I hope you'll share pics when it's done!

I_love_cookiez (author)2013-12-29

gorgeous! i need this for my balcony! btw, what do u think the weight limit on this would be? I come from a family of rather "heavy" gals... i don't want us all to fall over when I have girls night! haha :)

EYSpace (author)I_love_cookiez2013-12-31

Thanks! I'm not sure what the exact weight limit is but I've had 2 average sized adults sit on the benches without any problems. You could always add some more cross-bracing to the top of then bench and more screws to the legs to make the bench extra sturdy!

zaaid (author)2013-12-21

Lovely benches !

EYSpace (author)zaaid2013-12-21


nmoses1 (author)2013-11-18

That is amazingly simple and beautiful. In fact I am going to get supplies for it now.

EYSpace (author)nmoses12013-11-18

Thank you! Hope you'll share pics of your benches!

explosivemaker (author)2013-10-04

good job

drizzydraw (author)2013-09-29

how many screws did you use in the bench?

EYSpace (author)drizzydraw2013-10-01

I used 8 x 2" screws and 36 x 1 1/4" screws

poofrabbit (author)2013-08-31

Hey congratulations on being a finalist in the weekend projects contest!

EYSpace (author)poofrabbit2013-08-31

Thank you!!

foobear (author)2013-08-04

Its not clear how those cushions are attached to the walls. But wow, the finished product is so great.

EYSpace (author)foobear2013-08-09

I hand sewed 4 velcro straps to the back of the cushion and I simply wrapped the straps around the horizontal metal railing of the balcony to hang the cushion (there is no wood behind the cushion). Easy to put on and take off!

foobear (author)EYSpace2013-08-09


serical (author)2013-08-03

My first build on instructables. very easy build. My wife loves it and we cant decide on if its a table or bench. Oh well must make another one. Thanks

EYSpace (author)serical2013-08-04

That's great to hear! Hope you'll share some pics of your bench/table - I would love to see it!!

dwillson (author)2013-07-28

I now know what I'm going to do with my left over pallets! Thanks for sharing!!

EYSpace (author)dwillson2013-07-29

You're welcome! Hope you'll share a picture of your benches - would love to see them!

LesB (author)2013-07-23

I didn't know there was such a thing as weatherproofing stain. Does that work as well for weatherproofing as a weatherproofing clear coating? I have a park bench on a patio that gets full exposure to the sun all day, and I need good weatherproofing.

totszwai (author)LesB2013-07-24

How about spraying it with those NeverWet product from Rust-o-lium? I just saw their youtube video about it. There are other similar product out there, just that I think Rustolium made it a little more cheap and more available to public.

totszwai (author)totszwai2013-07-24

Never mind that thing is not UV proof. :(

EYSpace (author)LesB2013-07-23

It's my first time using this product so I can't say yet how well it protects the wood....My balcony faces South and gets plenty of sun all day as well so it will be a good test.

ripperman2 (author)2013-07-23

I appreciate the use of screws too. I use stainless to reduce staining from galvinized, although I hear there are others that work. I'm going to try one of these with some scraps left over from a deck project.

EYSpace (author)ripperman22013-07-23

I really like the "deck mate" screws I used - time will tell how they hold up!

thealflores (author)2013-07-23

can I use 2"x4" studs in place of the 2"x3"?

EYSpace (author)thealflores2013-07-23

Yes, of course, that would work too!

kjlpdx (author)2013-07-23

I used to basketweave the corners on the benches I built. more work, but gives a very high quality custom look.

shazni (author)2013-07-21

Looks real easy to do...and so nice too! Thanks for posting :-)

EYSpace (author)shazni2013-07-21

You're welcome :)

Macflame (author)2013-07-21

Nice job. It looks great!

EYSpace (author)Macflame2013-07-21

Thank you!

About This Instructable




Bio: Part MacGyver, part Martha, creator, host and producer of Engineer Your Space, an award winning DIY home design show dedicated to clever, affordable and stylish ... More »
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