How I built simple outdoor sun loungers with changeable back rests for our deck. Way, way, WAAAAY back I was a little girl who spent the majority of every summer outside. I pretended I was Pocahontas! Now I am well away from those days lol I look more like Snow White these days but I remember my child hood in the sun very fondly and am always the last person to complain about any kind of summer heat. So, as you might imagine, I have had my heart set on an outdoor sun lounger project for our deck for a long time!
Last year I converted four goose hunting chairs into fun sun loungers out of table cloths and a little spray paint and they remain one of the most popular posts on this blog! I love them (I really do) but their “feet” would scratch up our deck something fierce and I really wanted something on our deck that could also double as benches for seating.
First thing was first, I needed materials so when Joe and I ran out to pick up green treated deck boards for my outdoor bench project I bought plenty extra with this project in mind as well. First I built the base which was just a rectangle with a leg in each corner. Simple.
Step 1: Building Your Head to Slant or Lay Flat
The rectangle ended up 24 inches wide by 73 1/2 inches long, the odd length was the exact center point of my 12 foot 1×6 deck boards, no need to waste an inch so I just cut them in half. From there I covered 2/3rds of my rectangle with deck boards, spacing them out with small gaps between them. Then I tackled the “head” of the outdoor sun lounger. I wanted to be able to have it up for a supportive slant or laid flat so the whole lounger could also be a bench if we needed the extra seating.
I made the “head” by screwing down the exact same deck boards I had already cut to lay across the entire sun lounger to a support board I cut to the length of the head laid down vertically under the boards. You can see I put two screws in each board into the support board behind. Note here: I cut the support board short so it would not hit the rectangle frame when I laid it down, instead what would be sitting on the frame would be the main boards so, when the “head” is laid down, it won’t look different from rest of the lounger at all.
With the head built I then needed to figure out how to hold it up at a slant. I did this by creating a channel on the back of the head (near the top) and a “shelf” at the bottom top of the sun lounger base using scrap 2x4s. And then I got to lay on it several times trying to figure out the perfect “slant” for the support rest. It ended up 17 inches tall. Perfect!
Step 2: Completion
Of course I made two of them Pushed together we have a four foot wide day bed. Of course my next project needed to be a table to set drinks on… seriously what would a sun lounger be without a place to put a drink!? I may add hinges to the head rests in the future, it would make it easier to lift them and keep them centered. They are not necessary though and I’m going to see how they work before I go to the added expense.