Introduction: DIY Modern Furniture Asian Themed

When I first came home from the military (serving in Viet
Nam) I used anything to furnish my bachelor pad. A wire spool coffee table a box frame with an old mattress as my bed, and a brick and board stereo shelf. I had yet to purchase any tools so I was limited as to what I could make. Now after 40 plus years I have found a simple way to fill up a 23x16 living room with modern storage furniture and Oriental panels.

If you have a skill saw, a hand drill as well as basic woodworking skills , you to can have an awesome living room for under 800.00.

I have a large collection of oriental weapons I used to keep on the walls, now they are stored in racks build into the base of the couch. Out of sight but easily removed. I also teachclasses in Filipino Martial arts, so having the couches on rollers allows to clear the room for training or just vacuuming and cleaning.

All the furniture in my house has been made using scrap wood from jobsites and gathered hardware.I will show you how to make a stereo cabinet, Shoji panels, a storage coffee table stacking shelves, and a modular lego style couch that is multifaceted.

The couch is a modular style based on 2x2, 2x4, and 2x6 bases made out of 1x2 pine and 10mm/1/4 inch plywood. I could not find reasonable furniture in the Philippines when I moved there so I made my furniture using a crosscut saw, wood glue and short nails. It was strong enough to withstand me jumping up and down on it.


Skill saw

staple gun


1/4 inch plywood

1/2 plywood foam sheet

upholstery material

2 1/2inch casters

piano hinges

1/8inch locking clips ( I had these made at metal shop for 27.00)

Step 1:

The bases are made like flooring trusses are made utilizing the stability of plywood when loaded.

The 2x6 bases are made using 1/4x8x24 and 1/48x72 panels with a 1/2 seating lid.

The 1/4 inch plywood is braced by 1x2 pine board glued an brad nailed to form a sort of truss. I left a 1/2 overhang from the sides to hide a 1/2 base platform on some of the bases. The seating lids are also 11/2 plywood that sit on 1x1 ledges nailed around the top of the box bases

The lids are hinged by piano hinge.I am still figuring out how to use the editor and I will post every step I used to get a nice finished project- have patience. I am retired now and have time on my hands. If you need some help or have questions- ask


Step 2:

This was the model for what I wanted for my apartment.


Shoji Panels

The side rails are made of oak poplar or #1 pine

Determine the spacing and use a 3/8 inch forsner bit to start the cross rails and chisel the eccess wood for the cross rails. I made my panels 2 foot by 84 inch. The cross rails were 22 ½ with 3/8 inch stubs to inset into the side rails. . The side rails were run through the table saw to make1/2 deep channels for the plastic shade in. See drawing. I am using a plastic panel sold at home depot and lowes. It allows a little light to pass through it and definitely adds oriental flare to the space. Each panel can be made separately and then joined together by hinges for room dividers or use bi fold door hardware to mount to a track that allows the panels to be folded away when not needed.I also use the panels for corner lighting by taking a floor lamp and put behind a panel situated in a corner.

I used satin black lacquer to finish the frames and kept the natural oak rails with minwax satin clear finish to keep a strong contrast. In my office I painted the whole wall satin black and used the same color as the room walls for the bottom insert. Makes a nice room divider. The picture of the office divider is missing the white plastic inserts ( I was short on money. They are easily slid into the grooves cut in the frame and finished off. You cut the plastic with sissors to a size that will just fit into the grooves cut in your frame.Make sure the cross rails sit down into the drilled cups by rounding the stubs with a razor knife.