DIY Outdoor furniture without going bankrupt

I know this has nothing to do with food, but I was too excited about this not to blog about it. We’ve been looking for some nice outdoor furniture for a friend’s house, but here in Singapore, everything is ridiculously expensive. I assume because most people who can afford to own a space for outdoor furniture can probably afford expensive furnishings to tow. Well, we can’t. So we found a neat little alternative  — still not uber cheap, but much cheaper than a $12,000 set from a retail store. Just follow the next few steps to create your very own outdoor boudoir.

Step 1: Find some shipping palettes

Go to some dockside area. We went to Jurong shipyard. Look for wooden palettes lying around unused (they are everywhere). We drove around a bit and found a rice factory owned by a nice Chinese lady who agreed to give us her spare crates for no cost at all.

Cost: $0

Step 2: Sand and paint your crates (optional)

We didn’t like the look of our crates, so we decided to sand them down a bit smoother, and splash on some paint. You don’t have to do this, but it does mean the crates are less likely to scratch you or ruin the cushions you put on them.

Cost of outdoor paint: $40
Cost of hiring someone to do the sanding and painting: $150 (again, you could do this yourself if you have the tools)

The end result:Step 3: Buy 2 single foam mattresses from IKEA.

Cost: $200 for bothStep 4: Buy some outdoor waterproof material to cover your mattress with.

You don’t want your new awesome DIY creation to get soggy and rot in the rain. We went with Sunbrella — which you can get here in Singapore. (

Cost for material, untailored: $250

Step 5: Find a tailor

Take the mattress cover off your IKEA mattress, and along with the new Sunbrella material, go find a tailor. Tell the tailor to cut and sew the Sunbrella exactly according to the IKEA mattress cover.

Cost of Tailoring: $150

Step 6: Chop the mattress to ensure it fits perfectly.

Once you’ve brought the newly tailored material home, put it on the IKEA mattress. Now, don’t forget, you’ve just bought 2 mattresses, but if you did what we did, you’ll find that one of the mattresses is going to be too long for one side of your new crate sofa. What you have to do is viciously chop your second mattress in half. Fairly easy with a pair of big scissors. Measure it accurately and chop it straight off!Step 7:  Buy some cheap Thai cushions from Giant.

Cost: $30 eachStep 8: Buy some glass and stainless steel caps and attach to the crates for a side table.

Cost of glass: $150
Cost of caps: $5

And voila! You have a new outdoor seating area!Total Cost: $1005

Satisfaction from creating your own furniture set: Priceless

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3 Responses to DIY Outdoor furniture without going bankrupt

  1. Carli says:

    they look pretty sweet actually 🙂

  2. This is AWESOME. Thanks for the idea babe!

    It’s like how I suspect the previous tenant (before us) picked up some glass display tables from the rubbish dump and hauled it back home (sitting in our apartment now). You know, those sort of glass tables you see displaying shoes/bags in Robinsons….. *feigns ignorance*

  3. Juls says:

    Gorgeous!! Mum wants to know why you couldn’t come up with this idea before she ordered the living room furniture.

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