Sweet Dorm Furniture




Introduction: Sweet Dorm Furniture

About: I grew up with Legos so I became a natural builder. I like working with my hands and building stuff. I hope that would take me somewhere because that is what I really enjoy.

a month before school started I thought it would be neat to have some old car seats as my dorm furniture instead of the crappy futons that everyone else has. after a week of planning, I started searching for seats and found some for a decent price of $25 a seat, so I bought 2 bucket seats and a bench seat out of a wrecked Grand Prix.  and here are my results. I learned a lot from this project and went into it with knowing little of how to build furniture. I think anyone who is tired of plain old furniture, has some extra cash and likes to impress there friends should try this. I some how did this project for under $100.  BUT I could see it running up to $300..

Here's my materials I used
Car seats - $75
angle aluminum - Free
Wood - Free
Drawer slides - $10
Welding - Free (knew someone)
Misc. hardware - Free-$5

That cost me around $80

Now if you choose to build something as cool as this you can use any materials you feel comfortable using, I chose aluminum because we had extra laying around,  it is sturdy when all welded together and it was free. 

Step 1: Make a Plan

here are some sketches I drew to get the idea out of my head and plan what I want my furniture to look like in the end. NOW my final project did not end up exactly like this, but it was pretty close to what I wanted. I changed it a bit

after finding the seats that satisfy you, start measuring so you know what you need to build below it. 

I got my seats out of a totaled 2007 Grand Prix. You can get what ever you like. older seats are generally cheap and new ones of course are more pricey, but it all depends who you get them from. Fortunately the place I got them from charged me $25 a seat = $75 

Step 2: Finding Pieces for Frame

I decided to make my from out of aluminum because I had dozens of extra pieces from bleacher seating you could use wood but I did not have a lot, plus I that would add a lot more weight to it.

after you measured the dimensions for the seats start cutting and welding

here's how mine turned out. a simple rectangular frame. 

Step 3: Mounting the Backrest

Now you need something to mount the back rest onto. there are several ways to do this but I figured this would be the best. the piece I have, happened to be lying around and i figured this would work the best since it has pre-drilled holes in it.
I cut off each side to give it a 25 degree angle so it would put the back rest at a 65/125 degree angle.

 after pieces are welded onto both sides. I clamped a long angle aluminum piece so I could drill holes correctly. after that I bolted them on because I want the back rest to be removable for storage. these will be for the back rest

Step 4: Mounting Bottom Seat

next you'll need something to support the bottom cushion. My solution was to attach some 1x4's across the length of the frame with some rope weaving through to act as springs. I ran a bent nail to act as a needle while I threaded the rope through the almost tight holes. 

DONT let your dog get a hold of the rope!

Step 5: Mounting the Backrest

looks like its done but it's not. 
I am not really sure how to describe this step I was hoping my pictures would it explain it better but I will do my best. I set the back rest on the vertical angled aluminum pieces. I set a car jack underneath to support it and so I know how high I need to bolt it, also so it rests properly on the bottom seat. 

I know I did not explain it well but I hope the last picture explains. there are 4 holes when you fold the seat down. I cut the vertical pieces down to the right height the welded a horizontal piece across and bolted the back seat to the horizontal piece. 

Step 6: Building Room for Storage

this step is optional. I thought it would be neat to install a big sliding drawer underneath to put what-have-you's in there. My drawer measures 4ft long and 20in wide.for the bottom I just put some Masonite on the slots and stapled it on to secure it.  For my first time building a drawer I thought it turned out great.  

Step 7: Attaching Drawers

this steps kinda hard to explain. 
Basically all I did was weld some pieces on the bottom to support the rails for the drawers. I attached the rails to the drawer first, then clamped that to an angle aluminum piece and welded everything down so I would have the exact spacing and wouldn't have to measure anything. the drawer fit perfectly but slides a little rough because its so wide, I would probably suggest putting a slide in the middle. but have not done so

Step 8: All Done! But Not Really..

I ran out of time before school started and could not finish it off by putting some exterior plates to cover the holes and ugliness and to also hide the drawer. I was also going to put on some arm rests but have not figured out how I am going to do that. But since I have it tucked under my bed in a corner you can barely tell. 

Step 9: The Other Seats

Your probably wondering what happened to the bucket seats I had also bought. Like I said I ran out of time and did not have anytime to even do anything to the other ones. I have a plan tho what I am going to do. as for now it will sit on my floor. 

I like having it on the ground, they are nice and comfortable gaming seats. But what if I want a nice desk chair. I wanted best of both worlds. I have not seen anyone really do anything like this, but I think If I took a car jack and mounted that on the bottom with some wheels it could be both a low floor gaming chair or a high desk chair. look at the drawings to get a picture of what I am talking about



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    18 Discussions

    I have been wanting to try this for ages as there are plenty of car seats out there. But I think I will go with a wood frame as I don't know anyone who can weld it for me. thanks for the tips

    In 1982 I did just exactly this type of assembly. You know, way back before everyone even knew what a cellphone is and CDs were new age technology! It cost a little more than cheap because I had a buddy who ran a reclamation yard and he made me a deal on the front seat from a 1970 Cadillac. White Leather and oh so comfortable! Great Instructable, way to go 'Green!' Recycle, re-purpose, re-claim, reuse! This phrase will help with grammar 'Boo boo's!' THEY'RE going to put THEIR packages over THERE! No big deal and I hate to sound like a 'picky ninny!' It just looks better to those of use who are a little Anal, and proud of it!

    1 reply

    Thank you for sharing your experience with this type of project! 70's Cadillac seats look pretty nice, I wish I could have gotten a hold of some vintage seats, but they probably would not be in the best condition or not fit the budget! I can't really say I was going green, BUT I definitely like up-cycling. I am really surprised that THERE aren't that many people who have done something like this, or at least have not shared THEIR story. lol

    Very nice (and cheap) idea. May also be a darn sight more confortable that a cheap futon too!!!

    1 reply

    Thanks! It was cheap for me at least (I don't know about the next person who tries this.) I also believe a lot of furniture is more comfortable than a cheap futon! lol.

    Really liking the car jack chair idea! Though for the bench, I can't help but to think that you could have made the frame out of wood and saved yourself alot of time/work. (Though aluminum looks nicer) :)

    1 reply

    Thanks for the comment! And yes I could have made it out of wood. I don't know if it really would have save me time and work. These were a few of my issues. I am neither a master at metal nor wood. The only thing in abundance I had on hand was aluminum, and wood was pretty sparse. It would have taken far more wood to offer the same amount of support that the aluminum had. I am not very good with wood either. some of my pieces were shorter than the others or a bit crooked. plus I don't trust my structures when screwed together. with metal I did not have to worry about slightly off pieces because the welds make up for it. It is also easier to ask a welder to make some quick welds rather than asking a carpenter to assemble an entire furniture piece. Also most tools I had were geared more for metal.
    Though the only problem I think I will have with the metal is that I can't upholster it properly, but that is for another day. Thanks again!

    it wasn't hard at all! I stood there while someone else did it. lol. But watching the process I don't believe it's any harder than welding steel, just a different method. The guy who I had do mine has a couple years under his belt and he did an amazing job

    Welding aluminum LOOKS easy, but it requires a lot more precision than steel. Used to work in a welding shop. I was told that it is very easy to burn through aluminum.

    Love the bench design, I hadn't considered that yet! For the buckets, get an old office chair and fabricate the mounts to fit the car seat mounts. It'll swivel, adjust in height, and roll around.

    1 reply

    Thanks for the comment! I have considered that many times and have saw many others doing the same thing. but with my car jack design/idea, I can go low to floor like it is currently or I can go as high as a desk chair. a little bit more difficult to accomplish, but when/if I do it, I think it will turn out great!

    Cool idea and not overly complicated with room for improvements.

    Nice! Your bunk looks exactly like the one I have in my my dorm haha

    I like it, great idea.