How-To Projects | August 28, 2020

Hello DIY Modern Wood Chair, Goodbye Futon

We’re loving the boho home décor trend that’s flooding our social feeds. But–let’s be real–we’re on a budget and going all in on a living room décor haul was not in our 2020 plan. Enter our DIY Modern Wood Chair. It’s built completely from 2x4s and is the perfect way to incorporate some natural wood into your space (a staple of the boho aesthetic) while giving you a sturdy, made-to-last chair that you can take with you from your college dorm room to your first apartment to your first home. It can be used indoors or outdoors, but we think it’s perfect to spice up a corner of your living room. Just add a thick cushion, a few patterned throw pillows, and a plant (or five) and you’ve got an Instagram-worthy boho chic corner.

Watch how we did it and scroll down for step-by-step instructions to build it yourself!



All cuts will be made from the 2x4 boards:
  • (6) – cut to 40” for the Seat Slats
  • (4) – cut to 37” for the Backrest Slats
  • (2) – cut to 32-5/8” for the Side Top Rails
  • (2) – cut to 28” for the Side Base Rails
  • (2) – cut to 10-1/16” (LD) for the Front Rails
  • (2) – cut to 33-3/4” for the Backrest Rails
  • (2) – cut to 6” (LD) for the Stop Blocks


Step 1

Cut all material using the Lumber & Cut Sheet Layout Guide. Next, soften and sand the edges before assembling the pieces.

Step 2

Cut the 28” seat base according to the measurements in the diagram. You can also use the circular saw to trim off any excess.
We recommend wearing safety glasses while operating power tools.

Step 3

Now you’ll want to add pocket holes on the flat end of the seat board. To do that, center the 2” x 4” in the pocket hole jig and then drill (2) holes using the (A&C) guide holes.
Next, drill a mirrored set of pocket holes to create left and right sides on the (2) side top rails and the (2) side base rails. Again, use the (A&C) guide holes.

Step 4

Add (2) pocket holes on each end of the 40” and 37” slats. Use the (A&C) guide holes on the pocket hole jig.

Step 5

Take the (2) 32-5/8” top rails and drill pocket holes on (1) side. A set of (2) will be drilled in the front and (3) will be drilled in the back. Note: The front (2) will be 1-3/4” between the (A&C) guide holes.
Now for the back holes, start by drilling the center pocket hole. Align the (A) guide at 3-5/8” from the long end of the board and then drill at the (A&C) guide hole locations.
Finally, realign the (C) hole to the 3-5/8” location and then drill the new (A) location for the third pocket hole.

Step 6

Add (3) countersink holes to the stop block as shown in the diagram. FYI: Specific measurements are not necessary. Now drill a mirrored set of holes in the second stop block.

Step 7

Go ahead and attach the side base rail to the front rail using the 2-1/2” pocket screws. You’ll use these same screws throughout the assembly.

Step 8

Now attach the top rail to the front and base rails.

Step 9

Okay, now mark a line on the base rail that’s 13” from the back. Align the short side of the stop block to the mark and attach it to the assembly.
Repeat on the second mirrored side.

Step 10

Now to assemble the seat. Add (1) of the 40” seat slats to the right side of the assembly. You’ll screw the 40” slat to the top rail. Then align the face of the slat with the front edge of the top rail. Allow the point of the side assembly to extend above the top front edge of the slat. The point will be removed later in Step 15.

Step 11

Attach the rear slat 6-1/8” from the back—make sure that it’s standing on edge.

Step 12

The next slat lays perfectly flat. To get the spacing right, insert the backrest rail in-between the stop block and the rear slat with an 1/16” extra gap, then attach the slat to the side assembly. The gap allows the backrest to freely slide in and out.

Step 13

Add the remaining seat slats to the assembly, making sure the spacing of each board is equal—approximately 1-1/2” apart.

Step 14

Repeat Steps 10-13 to attach the left side.

Step 15

Grab the orbital sander to get rid of the sharp points on both sides of the top rail. Then align the edges with the front slat.

Step 16

Now let’s assemble the backrest. Attach (1) of the 37” backrests slats to the 33-3/4” backrest rail. Make sure that you align the slat, so that it matches the 75° on the rail. This will be the top of the backrest.

Step 17

Next, position the backrest assembly, so the top slat is facing inward, and the long end of the rail bottom is down. Attach the remaining 37” slats with a 3-1/2” gap in-between them.

Step 18

Repeat Step 17 and attach the opposite side.

Step 19

Finally, insert the backrest assembly through the gap in the slats in the seat base.

Step 20

Sand and finish to your desire. We recommend using a natural wood stain to preserve the grain. Simply apply the stain with a paintbrush, let it dry and your dorm chair project is complete. 


We want to see how your DIY Modern Wood Chair turns out. Take a pic and tag us on social with #DoItWithHART.
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