How to Build a Lazy Lounger (With a Drawer!)

Build it in a weekend, 
enjoy it for years

Next Project


Searching for patio furniture, I encountered endless chairs and benches. But I wasn’t looking for just a place to sit: I wanted a comfortable spot where I could curl up with the dog and recline with a book. 
 When I finally found the right sofa, it was crazy-expensive (more than $1,600!). So, I chose to build one and vowed to make it even better than the one at the store. I made it larger and more comfortable, customized it to complement the space, and even added a drawer. Best of all, this weekend project is built to last, and it’s dead simple, too. If you can cut wood and drive screws, you can build it!

Tools Required

  1. Brad nailer (optional)
  2. Caulking gun
  3. Drill driver
  4. Miter saw
  5. Orbital sander or sanding block
  6. Spring clamps
  7. Table saw with combination blade
  8. Tape measure

Materials Required

  1. 1-1/4" exterior screws
  2. 1-1/4” brad nails
  3. 1x12 x 6' cedar boards (4)
  4. 1x2 x 8' cedar boards (8)
  5. 1x4 x 8' cedar board (1)
  6. 1x6 x 36" solid oak boards (2)
  7. 2" exterior screws
  8. 2x4 x 8' cedar studs (3)
  9. 4' x 8' x 3/4" AC plywood (1)
  10. Exterior caulk wax
  11. Paint or wood finish
  12. Quart of exterior urethane
  13. Quart of stain

Figure AFamily Handyman Figure BFamily HandymanFigure CFamily Handyman

Project step-by-step (12)

Step 1

Prepare the Pieces

  • Cut the back and sides of the box frame (E and F).
  • Because the back, the internal support rails and the braces (M and N) are exactly the same length, cut them all at the same time.
  • Don’t cut the front (H) to length quite yet.
    • Time-Saving Tip: Before you cut the drawer slide parts on the table saw, seal the oak board with a coat of urethane.

The Family Handyman
Step 2

Assemble the 
Box Frame

  • Screw the sides to the back, then attach the bottom braces (M).
  • Once these parts have been assembled, measure the width of the box frame.
  • Cut the front (H) to that length and assemble.

Tina Sargeant for Family Handyman

Step 3

Cut Drawer Slides

  • Each drawer slide consists of three parts, all cut from the same board.
  • Set the blade on the table saw to 
10 degrees and the fence to 1-1/2 in. and make the first cut. Label this part P.
  • Set the blade back to zero, the fence to 2-1/2 in. and make the second cut. This gives you parts Q and R.

Tina Sargeant for Family Handyman

Step 4

Lubricate the Slides

  • Sand the edges of the drawer slides with 320-grit sandpaper and clean off the dust.
  • Rub wax along the beveled edges of the drawer slides; really work it into the surface of the wood.
  • Rub off any excess with a cotton cloth.
    • I prefer to use beeswax, but paraffin or any candle will work well too.

Tina Sargeant for Family Handyman

Step 5

Install the 
Drawer Slides

  • Start with part P, snugging it tight to the bottom braces.
  • Be sure the bevel is angled into the side of the box frame.
  • Pre-drill and screw it down.
  • Place part Q snugly against part P and place a 1/8-in. spacer (Figure C) on top of it (about 10 playing cards works perfectly for this).
  • Place part R against the spacer and screw it to the box frame.
  • When you remove the spacer, part Q should easily slide out the front.
  • Repeat this process on the opposite side.

Install the drawer slidesTina Sargeant for Family Handyman

Step 6

Measure for the Drawer

  • From one of the 4 x 4-ft. pieces of plywood, rip three strips at 4-1/2 in.
  • Cut the drawer box sides (D) to length.
  • Measure the distance between the left- and the right-side drawer slides and subtract 1/4 in. Write this number down: it’s the absolute width of the drawer box.
  • Further subtract 1-1/2 in. and note that number. This confirms the dimensions of the front and back pieces (B) of the drawer box.
  • Cut the pieces to length.

Measure for the drawerTina Sargeant for Family Handyman

Step 7

Assemble the Drawer Box

  • Assemble the drawer box by screwing the sides to the front and back.
  • Measure to confirm the exact dimensions and cut the drawer bottom to that size.
  • Attach it with glue and screws.

Assemble the drawer boxTina Sargeant for Family Handyman

Step 8

Add the Drawer Box Slide

  • Set the box frame on its side.
  • Insert part Q in the box frame, making it snug to part P.
  • Now set the drawer box in the opening, ensuring there’s enough space above and below, and mark where the top of part Q meets the drawer box. Transfer that line all the way down both sides of the drawer box.
  • Place part Q to the line, front edge flush with the front of the drawer box, and screw it down.

Add the drawer box slideTina Sargeant for Family Handyman

Step 9

Attach the 
Drawer Face

  • Drive two 1-1/4-in. screws through the front of the drawer box so the tips of the screws protrude just shy of 1/4 in.
  • Position the drawer face (G) and tap it with your fist.
  • The screws will dig in, holding the drawer face in place.
  • Using a spring clamp or two to help keep the drawer face from moving around, drive those screws home.
  • Add three more screws.

Attach the drawer faceTina Sargeant for Family Handyman

Step 10

Add the Top Supports

  • Spacing the 2x4 top supports (N) evenly, attach them with 2-in. screws.
  • Mark their locations to help position the screws for the top.

Add the top supportsTina Sargeant for Family Handyman

Step 11

Install and Seal the Top

  • Double-check the internal measurements of the box frame and cut the top (A) from the plywood.
  • Test-fit the top, and then screw it down to the 2x4 top supports.
    • The sofa I built is intended for outdoor use, so I also sealed the plywood with urethane and caulked around the perimeter to help keep out moisture.

Install and seal the topTina Sargeant for Family Handyman

Step 12

Add the Cladding

  • I used 1x2 cedar strips for the cladding detail.
  • Fasten them with exterior wood glue and brads, starting at the top and working down.
  • Space the cladding with a scrap of 1x2 cedar.
  • Next, double-check the measurement for the side cladding (K), cut and attach.
  • Finally, double-check the total width, cut the front cladding (J) and attach.

Add the claddingTina Sargeant for Family Handyman