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Home Improvement: Custom Couch (or Arm Chair) Legs

When we left Georgia (remember, we were there for 2 years for grad school?) in 2011, we sold almost all of our stuff.  However, most of our stuff was purchased from craigslist items and a few hand-me-downs.  We moved to Colorado with a few Uhaul boxes, stuffed with things we didn’t want to have to re-purchase.  (Oh my word, I just went back and read when that pesky cockroach snuck into our car before our whirlwind departure from GA…….oh ick, re-reading that story gave me the heeby-jeebies all over again.  That sucker was huge.  And I think Steve will never forget the feeling of having that stowaway crawl up his leg while driving through Kansas.  Ugggh!)


Anyway, after Steve finished a few rotations (while we lived in my parents basement), Steve graduated, got his first job……and then we moved into a rental home.  But we didn’t have a single piece of furniture, well, besides a few kid beds and a crib.  So…….we headed to the super affordable Ikea and purchased many items that were necessary.  Like, you know, a couch.  The couch we purchased (this one) is a very stream-line, modern looking couch……and to be honest, I never LOVED it.  The itty bitty legs didn’t help either because I always felt like the poor couch was so close to the ground.  Once we purchased our new (to us) home and moved our stuff over from our rental, I realized that I hated the height of the couch even more because the room that it now sits in, has a vaulted ceiling.  So, the short couch looked odd.


I figured, we’d just live with it and then buy one that fit the space better, once we won the lottery saved up money in a few years.


However, that’s when it hit me that the height is what I hate most about the couch.  So…….why not lift that sucker up off the ground a bit?!?!  And add some curvier legs while we’re at it, to detract from the modern lines a bit?  Hmmmmm……okay!


 And you know what?  I kinda LOVE it now.  And we didn’t even have to win the lottery wait to save some cash.






Yeah, the couch still has modern lines……but those chunkier legs give the couch a nice mixed vibe.  And guess what those legs are made from?  Yep, they are the ends of some wooden columns (the same ones that I used for our Counter Overhang Columns).





The old legs were a little over an inch tall and were pretty boring.  The new legs are 6 inches tall and get that couch up off the floor.  Yes!!  (However, even if you don’t need taller legs…….maybe a new leg style is what your couch/chair needs.)





Here’s a better view of the room……but now I have to lift the shelves and mirror up a few inches, so they’re not crowding one another.  And maybe put actual pictures in those frames….ha!  Oh yeah, and maybe we should actually install the rest of those baseboards (that white line was where the old baseboards were).  And I am working on a nice tufted fabric ottoman to sit in front of that couch too.  Oh, just you wait…..! :)





But now, I’m in no hurry to replace the couch.  Whew!


Sunday afternoon, the kiddos noticed the new legs were done and said, “wow, the couch is so much taller mommy!  Can we sit on it?!” 

Uhhhh….yes, you can!  The two of them jumped right up and Elli began reading to Connor.  And then, you guessed it………my heart melted.






After a while, Steve joined the kiddos for a few minutes, before heading to a meeting.  I’d say I’m in love with that little couch, especially since my family feels right at home atop its cushions.

**You would think that my husband’s favorite part about the new couch legs is that they help lift the couch almost 5 inches higher off the ground…….which is pretty significant for someone who is 6’5″.  But, if we have to speak honestly, his favorite part about them is that the legs have scratched my itch to purchase a new couch for this room. Ha!



Now, just think about the furniture around your house.  Are any of the leg styles/heights making you cranky?  Well……let’s fix that right up!





Here’s how I fixed mine:


Now, there are actual legs that are unfinished wood that you can paint/stain (I checked my local Home Depot and they had plenty to choose from) but none of the legs available were tall enough.  The couch we have is a squatty couch and I just wanted to lift it to more of a normal height and the pre-cut legs weren’t quite tall enough.


So, like I mentioned above, I actually purchased 2 columns (the same ones for our counter overhang columns).



We cut the ends off both……..



……and used one end for a front leg and the other end for a back leg.



Once we determined how tall we wanted the legs to be (in our case, 6 inches tall), we cut the excess wood off the top section, leaving as much of the curves as possible at the bottom ends.



Then, we turned the couch off and peeked underneath (actually we did this first……so we could see what we were dealing with).  The old legs just fit right into that center hole.  That’s it. 



Our couch happened to have room for us to slide another piece of plywood underneath, and staple it in place… the legs extra support to be screwed into.  However, your couch may be sturdy enough already.  If you’re not sure, you could always nail a piece of plywood to the bottom of the couch, even if it shows, and then just paint it the same color as the legs.  No biggee.



Now, time to paint.  I just used acrylic paint… know, the cheap kind in the little plastic bottles, for like $1 each?  I mixed black with a bit of white and some brown……to soften up the black a little.  it ended being a nice deep charcoal color.  And worked great.  I only painted one layer and then let dry completely.  (However, if you’re NOT going to be roughing up the paint and want a nice solid and clean color…….I would paint 2 layers.)



Then, I sanded the edges, for a more distressed look.



Then, I wiped all of the dust from the surface.



And then coated all 4 legs with a coat of acrylic sealer.  (I sprayed outside and let dry completely.)



Now, the holes.  We (meaning Steve) drilled 4 holes into each legs, about 1 inch from the upper edge of the leg, one on each of the 4 sides.  He drilled them in, just like when we attached the columns to the counter overhang.





This time, however, we used deck screws….because the heads are smaller and easier to bury into the drilled holes.



Then, we centered each of the legs and screwed them right in place to the bottom of the couch.



Now, the pesky holes.  No biggee, just fill them with some wood filler.



Allow the filler to dry completely and then sand each of the surfaces.



Then paint over the filler and any unwanted sections that were sanded.  Let dry.



Your finish will be a little off, so grab a few pieces of paper and use it to protect the couch as you spray the newly painted sections on each sides of the legs.



And that is it!  Your new little legs are ready to serve you well! :)



Let me know how it works for you!






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Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  1. Amber says:

    Do you know if this method would work to raise the height of a sleeper sofa? Or would it make the sleeper portion slant when pulled out and just make the couch itself higher? Thanks!

    1. Ashley says:

      If I’m understanding correctly, this would make the base of the couch too high and the sleeper portion slant down. Unless you placed boards down under the bed legs when it was pulled out, that were the same height as the legs.

      Hope that helps!

  2. Lammis says:

    What color covers are those on your IKEA couch. I’m thinking of changing the color/covers of mine into a darker color and that dark gray maybe the one I seen on the IKEA site. Thanks.
    Btw, the legs make such a huge difference. Great job!

  3. Ksuha says:

    Thank you for awesome details, I’m adding legs to ikea toddler bed (cut off old ugly one) and needed an idea how to attach (surprise, surprise) spindles, just like you did, now I can continue on with my project!

  4. Gail says:

    What a fantastic idea! I’ve been trawling the internet for months looking for a DIY solution to store-bought sofa legs! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

  5. Amanda says:

    Love the legs! An easier way to attach, that would also be removable, would be to countersink some bolts from the bottom of the leg. If you make a deep enough hole from the bottom of the leg you can put a bolt in there and then attach it from the top with a wing nut on the opposite side of that plywood support. This would also eliminate the need to patch the pocket holes you drilled.

  6. Danielle says:

    Details on gallery shelves? I have been scouring stores for some!

  7. Chelsea says:

    I’ve been thinking about foot stools. I think I’m going to try something similar for a foot stool.

  8. mommy of 4 says:

    Love it!! we just got a new couch today and the feet are all…dumb!! good idea.

    i have to say that my favorite thing about this post…is the picture you have of with your kids and hubby on the couch at the same time. i laughed out loud.
    our husbands could almost pose as body doubles… since this is how my husband often sits on our couch.
    arm up.
    leg is “man crossed”
    and phone in hand.
    busy daddys!!
    thanks for the idea you handy woman. :)

  9. Kristina Noall says:

    Love how you guys are so handy. And I see a chair peeking over from the side of a pic that looks really cute. :)

  10. Kathy says:

    Good thinking! I have to replace the legs of a loveseat that I just reupholstered. Great finishing touch – thanks!

  11. Gretchen says:

    Brilliant! We have the sleeper version of this sofa (currently in storage). Love the sleeper, don’t love the overall height of the sofa though. Which is really funny for me to say since I’m only 5’2″ on a good day. But … maybe I’ll store this idea away, one day purchase just the sofa version from IKEA and add my own legs to make it taller. I was especially pleased to see the modification didn’t impact the slipcover and it can still be swapped out for a differ color version if desired.

  12. Mary says:

    Hi Brilliant idea. Any instructions on making cushion covers similar to yours

  13. gigi la chti says:

    très beau travail je suis incapable d’en faire autant
    bisous de France

  14. LiLi says:

    I love the rich gray of the couch. I’d do whatever I could to keep it. I love how you make things work.

  15. Rita says:

    Well that’s funny—we too lived in Georgia for awhile and then we moved to….. Colorado! What a coinky dinky! The sofa leg idea is a good one. Love it!

  16. sarah says:

    Very, very smart idea. I would have never thought of that!

  17. Brooke says:

    Where did you purchase those end tables? I like the color of them a lot.

    1. Ashley says:

      I bought them at World Market. Maybe about a year ago. But I just bought a coffee table there a few months ago that’s a different style but still the same washed out color. :)

  18. Diane W says:

    That is the coolest idea!! I’ll stash that in my head and look around the house to see if anything needs them!!! Our son is finishing up his bachelors degree and will be applying for medical school for this fall. It’s been an interesting 4 years so far. He is married and has 2 little ones. We’re all helping him as much as we can. Will be curious as to where he’ll be going. So, i find your blog VERY interesting….i’m a total crafter, re-maker, sewer, knitter, quilter, canner, etc etc….so I enjoy your blog immensely. Last fall i painted my cabinets, so enjoyed your kitchen story.

    1. Ashley says:

      Oh, the stress of getting into grad school. We had 2 little ones when my husband Steve was applying all over the country to get into grad school. When he was being interviewed, the fact that he had a family, set him apart and was actually an advantage…..because he added diversity to his class. It’s hard with little ones…..but he can totally do it! Give his wife a high 5 from me! :)

      And thanks for reading this crazy blog Diane! I sure have a lot of fun with it… I’m happy to know I’m in good company! :)

  19. Jeremy says:

    +1 on KatieP’s comment. I LOVE those end tables and lamps!

    1. Ashley says:

      Sure, the tables are from World Market. I bought them about a year ago. But I just bought a coffee table there a few months ago that’s a different style but still the same washed out color. And the lamps I found at Home Goods. Hope that helps! :) -Ashley

  20. Robert Johnston says:

    You two are awesome!

    1. Ashley says:

      Haha….thanks Rob! Steve is pretty handy. It must be in his genes or something! :)

  21. Charity says:

    We had the same issue when we were building our bed frame, all the premade furniture feet just weren’t quite right, plus they cost way more than I thought the should. We ended up using fancy fence post caps at $4 a piece and they already had a screw in the middle so it was super easy to attach!

    1. Ashley says:

      See? That’s genius too! Glad you found a solution as well!

  22. Kelly says:

    What a great way to update the feel of your couch! Thanks for the step by step!

  23. Loretta M says:

    Would be great for somebody with arthritis who has a hard time getting up from store bought furniture.

    1. Ashley says:

      Yes, very true…..I didn’t think of that. My mom has a bit of arthritis, so maybe she has always hated that couch too! Now with the taller legs, she should have a much easier time! :)

  24. Kiran says:

    I’ve always wanted to do this with our Ikea couches. Now maybe the hubby will get on board!

    1. Ashley says:

      Yes!! Those darn couches…..I don’t know why they’re all so short. Now you can fix yours right up too! :)

  25. KatieP says:

    Love this idea. Thanks for the step by step. Can you give some details on the side tables! I love the finish and they are exactly what I have been looking for! Thanks!

    1. Ashley says:

      Yes, they are from World Market! Maybe about a year ago. But I just bought a coffee table there a few months ago that’s a different style but still the same washed out color. :) Good luck!

  26. Robyn marchant says:

    Brilliant! Way to use your noggin and get creative. They look great!

    1. Ashley says:

      Haha…..thanks Robyn!

  27. Allison says:

    We are tall here, too. So high couches are a must. I’ve always thought IKEA couches would never work, because they’re too small. Glad to see you made it work. Looks great!

    1. Ashley says:

      Yeah, we were hesitant to buy them…because we’re both so tall. But we finally caved and that couch has always bugged me. However, not any more!!

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Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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