Introduction: Behind Sofa Storage Unit Under $60
Well if your house is like mine, you always have debris all over the couch, blankets, pillows, remote controls, sweaters, and they always make the living room (in my case theater room) look messy. Wouldn't it be nice to have a place to just store this stuff quick and easy, not take up a lot of room, and even be a place where the bowl of popcorn and drinks can perch without the danger of being kicked over? Well here is the solution I came up with.
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Step 1: The BOM.
Before we get started, lets just take a before and after view, note also I took this opportunity to relocate the theater speakers to behind the couch as well (and upside down!) so all the wires were now no longer running on the floor. The BOM (bill of material) consisted of 2 purchases, 1) the necessary stuff that is visible and 2) the stuff that makes it a storage unit that I had to buy afterwards because I didn't have the right plywood sheets in my leftover pile.
I keep all the left-over pieces from old projects in a shed for use going forward. In this case I had I bunch of 1x3's that used, and I had some pieces of 1/4" plywood sheets That I hoped I could use but decided afterwards we too piecemeal to use and as the unit was coming out so nice, I didn't want to junk it up so I added a 4x8 sheet of 1/4 luan board to my BOM. Anyway here's the BOM:
1 1x10x10' pine board : cut to 6', 2', and 2' by home depot. Its actual measurements were 3/4"x9 1/4" x 10'
1 1x4x6' pine board: this is the front piece that is visible behind the couch.
3 2x2x42" ballisters pine: this was the cheapest 2x2" I could find. I will use them to secure the sides and make the legs
1 8' piece of rope design trim: while this is not required, its what makes the whole piece. don't skimp on it.
1 4x8' sheet of luan: I bought this afterwards and I'm glad I ddint' buy on the first trip. as a result I was able to take exact measurements to Lowes and had them cut it right in the store. this made it much easier to make, buy as they have that really nice saw to cut 4'x8' sheets .
other stuff I used that I didn't have to buy
3 1x3x6' pine board. - can be 1x2, 1x3, whatever.
titlebond III waterproof wood glue - greatest wood working glue on the planet.
1", 3/4", and 1 5/8" wood screws: I use the drywall (black) ones, the grey deck screws, and the 3/4" steel ones with the big heads. I keep open stock of these cause I use them all the time. see the pictures.
minwax golden oak stain: my goto stain of choices. Do not use the combination stain and sealer. It sucks.
varithane water based polyurathane: this stuff is the greatest. easy clean-up, 3 coats and your furniture never needs a coaster.
Lots of clamps, paintsticks, sandpaper, brush, rag, your usual drill, screwdrivers, hand saw (I had all the big cuts done at the store, no need for an electric saw for this project.)
I think that was everything. The thing is, I keep a pretty well stocked woodshop, so I used what I have in stock, but I bought what I knew was the "finished" portion of this project fresh. OK, so the store did most of my cutting for me, when I got back home I was really ready to start assembly. The entire project total time took probably less than 3 hours all together, with a lot of time for glue to dry inbetween steps so the entire project took the span of 4 days.
Step 2: Lets Get to Work.
This was mostly a glue project, we start by cutting 8 4" pieces from the 2x2 ballisters, we will use these as mount points to attach the outside pieces. we glue them (and screw if you like) to the sides, set back from the front and back of the sides by exactly the thickness of of the board (3/4") also make sure they align evenly with the top or bottom of the sides respectively. You really want to clamp these together, don't be sparing with the glue (rub into both surfaces that you are trying to glue) and let overnight to dry.
While that is setting and waiting to dry, you are going to glue the molding onto the 1x10x6' section that is the top of the unit. do one side (9.25" long) and then let it sit to dry, then do the other, let it dry, and then do the front. see the pictures. You might want to do that miter cut thing, But I never could get the hang of that so I just did the front over the ends of the sides, and then used my sander to round it all off and it looks pretty good (look at the finish pictures later on)
Step 3: Assembly 1
Well before we can assemble we need the 4 cross members. I bought I fresh 1x4x6' for the front, and I also used 3 1x3's I had laying around. Now as I want these cross members to be INSIDE the sides, and the top is 6', I need to SHORTEN these cross members by the width of the sides, in this case 1.5". I cut down all the 6' cross members to 70.5" (6' = 72" and subtract 2 widths (2 * 3/4 = 1.5" , 72 - 1.5 == 70.5".) This way after assembly the entire unit is exactly 72" wide, and the top will fit exactly on it. The cross members are fit tightly on top of the glued down 2x2's flush with the front (remember we set the 2x2" back?) and flush with the top. Put one 1 5/8 screw to hold those sides down. this will be wobbly, but that is ok for now as we need to square everything off before we lock it down. Oh, and don't forget that the one finished piece of wood has to be on the side you want forward and up.
After this is held together with he wood screws, lay it on its front and by measuring the diagonal corners to corners, when both diagonals are exactly the same measurement, you are perfectly square. if one diagonal is longer than the other your unit is not a rectangle but only a parallelogram and you want to straighten it out. Once done, I took a piece of 18"x 4' plywood sheet and screwed the board to the edges and cross member.this will keep it square as we work on the unit. As always, pre-drill 1/8" pilot holes in your wood when you screw to keep the wood from splitting.
I also took the time now to stain the top, sides, and front strip.
Step 4: Test Fit.
The old addage is never more true: Measure twice cut once. At this time drag the unit to where is should be and check its size, position, and most importantly, how tall you want the unit so the top comes up an inch or two above the couch. stack spare pieces of wood to get the height the way you like it. Put the top on and position it exactly how you want it to be. Then take a pencils and trace on the inside lid where the wood hits the top. You will need to add pieces to the lid so the lid clips into the bottom part.
This is a good time to get the boss's (the wife's) approval on the project. You've only spent about $35 so far, and only put in about 2 hours of work, Always make sure the boss approves.
Step 5: Assembly 2
Whoo Hoo!!! the boss loves the unit. let's wrap this up. So we start by cutting the rest of the 2x2's into 12 even pieces for the legs and glue 3 of them into an "L" shape. by careful placement of my clamps and glue, I was able to glue all 4 at one time.
While the legs are drying, I then added the back, front and bottom finish pieces. First i removed that that temporary short plywood sheet, and then put the back on, gluing all the edges and screwing it all together. the glue here will really make this unit strong and stiff, no wobble, and the screw will hold it together as it dries. As always, pre-drill 1/8" pilot holes in your wood when you screw to keep the wood from splitting.
Repeat for the other side, and then the bottom.
While you are now stuck waiting for the glue to dry its a great time to glue the pegs to the right spaces on the top. so the top "lego's" into the sides.
Step 6: Wrap It Up.
Ok, lets stick a fork in this project and get ready for movie night. My goto finish is the Varithane water based polyurathane. This stuff is great, it goes on milky white, and dries crystal clear. It takes about 30 seconds of warm water to clean the brush when the brush is still wet, and on a dry day it takes about 2 hours to dry. First put some glue on the legs, and put them in place to let them dry on the unit while you are poly urathaning. then put a block of wood to hold up the top so the polyurathnae doesn't glue the top to the bottom. Then apply the first coat pretty thinly. It will soak right into the wood. When dry, the second coat will give it a nice sheen, and then the third coat will be smooth. I take off all drips when wet by wiping it down,but I don't bother sanding between coats. After the third coat, its really done, If you want to get a glass finish, I have gone as high as 10 coats on other projects. Lastly put it where it goes, and enjoy! Oh by he way, all those blankets in the before picture, they took up less than half the storage space. I might even add a side drawer in the unit to keep the remotes.