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How To Make a Sofa with mattresses

a cat sitting on a mattress on the floor

As we were renovating the bedrooms, we were temporarily storing one of the kids mattresses in our bedroom. With the mattress sitting on the floor (and being used as the world's largest cat bed) I had the idea to build a frame for the mattress and turn it into a sofa. This was another one of my overly ambitious projects and I had no idea how it would turn out before we started.

We wound up having two twin mattresses that were not being used from old bunk beds that our kids grew out of, but based on the space, we wound up purchasing one more from Ikea to make a U-shaped built in with a mattress for each of our 3 kids when they sneak in our room to sleep.

a hand-drawn sketch of a layout for a sofa made from mattresses with built in shelves

Instructions for how to make a sofa with mattresses:

Starting with the layout, we measured the space and built the frame accordingly. We had the perfect amount of space to do a shelving unit on each side and add in some storage (more on that detail later).


  • 2x4's

  • Plywood

  • Paint

  • Fabric

  • Upholstery Foam

  • Upholstery needles & thread

  • Staple Gun

  • Tufting buttons (optional)

the interior of built in shelf behind a sofa

My husband built the frame from 2x4's and topped with plywood for the base and gave the entire thing a fresh coat of white paint.

Once the frame was completed, we laid the mattresses on top. The backs of the sofa are made from 4" upholstery foam that I cut to size.

metal tufting buttons being covered with fabric

I wanted a tufted back, so I bought tufting buttons that I covered with the same fabric I was using to upholster the couch. This was by far the hardest part of the entire project, and I'm not sure I ever want to make a covered button again.

upholstered foam with tufting buttons

I used a staple gun to attach the fabric to the wood base underneath the mattresses and wrapped the fabric around and stapled underneath. To upholster the foam backs, I wrapped the fabric around and sewed together on the back side.

I used upholstery needles and thread to attach the buttons to the front and pull through and secure to the back. It helps to have a second person to push down on the button while you tie a knot to secure it on the other side to ensure it stays as tight as possible and the button is deep in the foam to create the tufted look.

Drumroll please........

u-shaped sofa made from three mattresses with built-in storage

built-in storage unit behind a sofa

Remember the storage I mentioned? It's the perfect spot to store those extra pillows and cozy blankets for when the kids come in our room to sleep.

pillows and blankets stacked inside of a built in storage unit

throw pillows with matching curtains

I wound up having to hem my curtains, so I used the extra fabric to make these adorable coordinating throw pillows.

When the curtains were originally made, I had used the leftover fabric to reupholster my headboard, so now I'm extra coordinated as you can see. But after 10 years, my master bedroom finally looks complete!

a cat sleeping on a bed in a master bedroom

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