DIYdiy projects

diy project: genevieve’s platform sofa

by Kate Pruitt

Furniture DIYs are not something we get very often, but I love it when we do. It’s great to see people tackle larger projects with great results, and then find out how they did it! This platform sofa was created by Genevieve Dellinger as a chic, inexpensive alternative to the sofas on the market. Using a platform bed base and some foam, Genevieve whipped up this comfortable couch in almost no time at all.

The platform that Genevieve used here — the Tolga base by Ikea — is sadly no longer produced. However, there are similar styles available, and you never know what you may find on Craigslist. The sewing skills required are all fairly basic, and the rest is quite simple. If I ever snag myself a guest room or a den, this project is at the top of my to-do list. Thanks for sharing, Genevieve! — Kate

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!


  • a base (I used the Tolga single-bed base from Ikea, which sadly was recently discontinued. A good alternate solution might be to choose one of the other bed bases from Ikea that fits your room and style.)
  • 3 70” x 30” pieces of camping foam
  • 3 large-sized down pillows
  • 8 yards of upholstery-weight fabric
  • 24 heavy-duty snaps for the front of the base cushion and the front of the pillows
  • upholstery-weight thread
  • snap attaching tool
  • sewing machine
  • scissors
  • pins
  • chalk
  • measuring tape or yardstick
  • iron
  • sewing needle
  • large serrated knife
  • Sharpie pen


For the Seat

1. Start by assembling your chosen base.

2. Stack two of your foam pieces together — these will be your platform seating. Take measurements; if you are using 70” x 30” pieces like I did, you will have a cushion that is 70” x 30” x 6”.

3. With your yardstick, chalk out on your fabric two pieces that measure 71” x 31” (you are adding a .5” for seam allowance on each side). These will be your top and bottom pieces. Cut your pieces out and lay them aside.

4. Next, trace and cut for your short sides two pieces that measure 31” x 7”. Cut your pieces and lay them aside.

5. For your long sides, you will be cutting three pieces. You will mark and cut three pieces measuring 71” x 7”. One piece will be the back of the cushion, and the two pieces will overlap to allow the foam to be inserted inside. This side is where your snaps will go, and it will be the front focal side of your seating element, so cut carefully!

6. Finish your two overlapping pieces by folding one piece under .5”. Press with the iron, and secure with a simple seam. The other piece will be finished a little sturdier by folding under .25”, and then folding again .25”. Press and seam. You may want to run another row of stitching parallel to the first seam for added stability and prettiness.

7. Now you will make a box with your sides. Sew your short sides together with your long sides, with a .5” seam allowance.

8. Now attach your top and bottom pieces. Match your corners carefully, and pin well! You may need to clip the seams a tiny bit to ease your fabric around the corners. Sew slowly over areas with excessive bulk, especially where your front flaps overlap.

9. Measuring carefully, mark where your snaps will go across the flaps. Mark 3.25” in from each side, with 8.5” between each mark. Use your snap attaching tool to secure your snaps to both sides of the flaps.

10. You now have a giant “pillowcase” into which your foam can be inserted. Hooray! You have the seating, now on to the bolsters!

For the Bolsters

1. My back bolster measures 8” x 70”. You can easily adjust the height for your space. Mark on your foam with a Sharpie the size you want your foam to be on BOTH sides of the foam. Hold your knife completely perpendicular to the foam and draw the knife through with broad strokes, checking on both sides as you cut that your cut is straight.

2. For the bolsters, you will follow the same marking and cutting as outlined above. Once you have completed your case for the back bolster, rather than adding the snaps, use your hand needle to sew the foam inside. (If you wish to make your covers removable for washing, you can insert a zipper or add more snaps.)

3. My couch also has a side bolster that goes between the sitter and the wall. This can also be adjusted to your space; it works well for me because my couch sits in the corner and the wall holds up the side. It also helps fill out the platform space, as you will find that your seat cushion may be shorter than the base, like mine. My side cushion measures 38” x 13” x 6”. Follow the steps above for covering your side cushion.

For the Pillows

1. I used three down pillows that measured 30” x 30”, but you can make adjustments to fit your style and space. For each pillow, cut one piece measuring 31” x 31” and two pieces measuring 31” x 20”.

2. On one of your 31” x 20”, fold over .25” and press. Fold fabric again, making a 3” decorative and sturdy edge. Sew the free edge down with a double seam for strength and good looks. Seam the second piece with a simple .5” fold.

3. Lay the back piece flat and place the two shorter pieces over it, ensuring that the front piece overlaps in the front.

4. Sew together all four sides, sewing slowly over thicker fabric.

5. Measure and mark for your snaps. My snaps were placed 3.5” from each side and 7” apart across the front.


Suggested For You


  • Reminds me of a duvet my grandma had in her kitchen, back in the old country. It was the best place to fall asleep while the grown ups talked and fire was cracking in the huge fireplace.

  • This is great! Thank you for sharing. I have an awkwardly shaped living room – this is a great solution for filling up open space and adding seating. I like Angie’s idea of making an outdoor version, too!

  • Looks beautiful, but practicality? If you didn’t want it pushed into a corner you couldn’t exactly lean on the back cushions?

  • That’s is nice… clever

    The KNOCK- you needto have corner walls to shove it in to. No suport for the back or sides :((

  • I LOVE IT! Im so bummed to hear that this ikea platform is no longer made! I was just looking online for it yesterday! It would be SO perfect for a simple modern guest bed!

  • I have an existing window seat that needs the cushion about these dimensions, I’ve been a bit daunted by the foam cutting – you made it look less scary! Have you tried an electric knife? I heard that works well and they’re cheap..

  • looks amazing… my kids would jump on it and it would fall apart… what was the total cost?

  • we did the something similar at our house with the same ikea bed!

    the beds are surprisingly sturdy–we have a 7 year old boy and a dog, and the bed has stood up well to their antics.

    great job!

  • Whenever I find a really gorgeous upholstery fabric I want to make a BIG thing with it! Now that thing could be a sofa. Great tutorial!

  • Thanks so much for the post and all the awesome comments! Jaclyn, I found the camping foam at our Oregon-tastic store called Fred Meyer, which kind of has everything. I bet you could find similar foam at an outdoor store, military surplus or sporting goods store. Good luck!

  • Thank you! I’ve been scouring Craigslist for a while in search of a platform bed. However, for now I guess I have to make do with my lame Ikea Lillberg loveseat. Any suggestions on how to change it up a little bit to make it more comfy or more modern looking?

  • I’m trying to make a DIY couch to fit into a smaller space. A smaller sectional would fit, but I can’t find one in any stores that is under $600. Any ideas for how to make a smaller couch…I would need a different kind of base but I can’t think of what to use. Thanks!

  • OMG, best inspiration. I am trying to redo my tiny office into a guest room. I ordered a small desk to replace my giant one and was getting ready to post the old one on Craig’s List when I saw this. INSPIRED IDEA: cut the legs of the old desk down and use it as a platform day bed! Genius!! Will try to post before and after picks when done :)

  • Might just be MY display but I couldn’t see any of the print between pictures (maybe because of the background color of the website?). It appeared as a faded red on a grey background and wasn’t legible at all. I do quite love this project though and the pictures were pretty much self explanatory. THANKS for sharing.

  • ooo i love!! Also not sure if anyone said it yet or not but i bet you could do this with a few wooden pallets and then use the open space of the pallets as under bed shelving.