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Outdoor Chaise Lounge Chair with Adjustable Back

You’ll love relaxing on the patio with these easy to build chaise lounge chairs.

With summer right around the corner, it is time for another outdoor build project! A couple years ago I build these comfy outdoor lounge chairs, but I still needed something to lay out on too…

So I partnered with Kreg Tools to build matching chaise lounge chairs. They may look complicated, but the chairs are easy to build, even with the moving parts, thanks to the Kreg Pocket Hole Jig.

These patio lounge chairs are perfect for the yard, poolside, or in my case, lakeside. The back easily adjusts between 3 different angles or lays flat for the perfect tan.

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Girl and dog relaxing on a wooden chaise lounge chair with navy cushion in front of a lake.

Adjustable back lounge chair

My favorite part of a chaise lounge chair is the adjustable back. Leave it upright for reading and watching the kids play. Then lay it back for relaxing or lay it totally flat so you can lay on your stomach.

So I knew these DIY chaise loungers needed to have the same adjustable back as the ones you can buy!

It took some figuring, and I had to remove and remake the pieces on the first lounge chair a couple times until I got it right. But I didn’t give up!

I persisted so I could share the perfect lounge chair build plans with you. This chair has 3 different back angles and a fully flat option.

Four pictures showing the 3 different angles the chaise lounge chair can adjust to and the fully flat option.

To make the back of the loungers adjustable, you may be thinking it is now a complicated DIY… but it is not.

There are two pivot points on the chair that are made moveable by a simple little shoulder screws. This screw allows you to pivot around a hole drilled in the wood. If you can drill a straight hole, you can make this chair.

And if you cannot drill a straight hole, don’t worry. Kreg has released a new, super-simple, little drilling guide that will help anyone make straight holes.

Side view of the DIY chaise lounge chairs on the grass with the back in an upright position.

To hold the back of your chaise lounge chair in the desired angle, you will be creating notches that the back rest support slide into. And these notches are easy to make too!

Again, they require you to drill a 1″ hole in the wood. Then trim around the outside to make it pretty and create a channel to slide the moveable back into.

But the best part is, I break it all down below in the tutorial so you too can make amazing adjustable chaise loungers.

Back of the outdoor lounge chair showing the way you adjust the back angle.

Wood Patio Lounge Chair

These chaise lounge chairs are made from wood. You can use any wood, I kept it inexpensive by using basic construction lumber (Douglas fir 2x boards).

This inexpensive wood can be great for building outdoor furniture on a budget. Just make sure to protect it so your outdoor projects stay nice for years.

Use an outdoor sealer to seal the wood. Sealers that absorb into the wood and do not create a film on top will need to be applied regularly. Sealers that create a film will need to be reapplied when the film starts wearing off.

Wood chaise lounge chair with navy cushion on a lawn in front of a lake.

Keep the sealer from wearing off too fast by covering your lounge chairs when not in use. This will also protect any cushions you put on them from sun and weather damage.

You could also paint the chairs if you prefer a solid color or white chaise lounge chairs. Just make sure to use an outdoor paint and cover then when not in use to protect your paint so it lasts for years.

Other woods that are great for outdoor furniture are cedar, redwood and teak. These woods are more expensive, but resist rot and shrinking, plus look amazing.

Two pool lounge chairs with thin cushions on the lawn by a lake.

To make the lounge chairs super comfy (in case you plan to spend all day outside like I do), I designed them to fit a standard lounge chair cushion.

You can use any 26″ wide and 80″ long chair cushion that will match your decor. I found these thinner cushions that can quickly roll up when not in use.

My husband was shocked at how comfortable the thin cushion made these beautiful loungers. We are prepared for many sunburns to be had while relaxing (and maybe napping) outside!

Two lounge chairs with thin, roll-up cushions, sitting in the grass by a lake.

Printable PDF Woodworking Plans

Prefer to print the instructions?

You can get the PDF woodworking plans for these chaise lounge chairs for only $8.99. The plans include:

  • List of required tools
  • Detailed supply list
  • Easy to read cut list
  • Step-by-step instructions
  • Easy to follow 3D drawings of each step

Click the link below for everything you need to build your own chaise loungers and so you can get outside and relax!

Printable PDF for the chaise lounge chair build plans

How to Build a Chaise Lounge Chair

Tools needed:

3D Sketchup drawing of the wood chaise lounge chair.

Supplies:

Youtube thumbnail for the DIY chaise lounge chairs video

Build the legs

From the 2×4, cut two 18 1/2″ long pieces for the center legs, two 40″ pieces for the arms, two 12″ pieces for the front legs, and one 23 1/2″ piece for the front brace.

From the 2×6 board, cut two 23 5/16″ pieces at a 37 1/2 degree angle for the back legs. The angles should be parallel to each other.

Cutting a 2x6 on a miter saw at an angle

Drill pocket holes set for 1 1/2″ thick material in one end of each of the center leg pieces and both ends of the front brace.

Drill pocket holes in one end of each of the angled back leg pieces. The legs will need to be mirrored, so make sure the pockets holes are in opposite sides of the boards.

Drilling pocket holes in the angled boards for the chaise lounge legs.

Measure 3″ in from the front and back of the arm pieces and draw a line. Attach the center legs to the front of the arms at this 3″ mark. Secure with wood glue and 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws.

Attach the back legs to the back of the arm rest so the leg angles toward to the back at the 3″ mark. Secure with 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws and wood glue.

Make sure both boards are flush with the inside of the arm. Also, remember to mirror the legs so they are opposite, not identical.

Attaching leg pieces to the arm piece.

Attach the front brace between the front legs so they are flush at the top. Set the front brace back 1/4″ and secure with wood glue and 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws.

Building the front of the chaise lounge

Attach rails to create frame

Cut two 69″ long 1×4 boards for the side rails.

Drill pocket holes set for 3/4″ thick material in one end of each board.

Drilling pocket holes on the Kreg 720 into 1x4 material

Measure up 8 1/2″ from the bottom of the back leg and center leg boards. On the angled back legs, it can be helpful to use a flat board to measure from so the mark is 8 1/2″ from the floor, not the angle.

Attach the side rail to the inside of each leg assembly so there is 30 1/2″ sticking out the front of the center leg (the front is the side with the pocket holes drilled in them).

Secure with 1 1/4″ long blue-kote screws. Use the Kreg quick-flip to counter-sink the screws into the boards.

Make sure the screws are attached so they are 1″ up from the bottom of the rail (to make sure they are not in the way in future steps).

Attaching the 1x4 rails to the leg pieces.

Cut a 26″ piece from the 2×2 board for the back support.

Drill pocket holes set for 1 1/2″ thick material in both end of the back support piece.

Attach it to the back legs so it is set 1 1/2″ down from the top of the rails and up against the back of the rails. Secure with wood glue and 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws.

Attaching the two sides of the chaise lounge chair together with a 2x2 at the back of the rails.

Attach the side rails to the front leg assembly with the pocket holes already drilled in the side rails. Use wood glue and 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws.

Set the side rails 1/4″ in from the legs and make sure they are flush at the top.

Attaching the front legs to the rails to create the chaise lounger frame.

Attach seat slats

Cut two 43″ pieces from the 1×2 boards for the slat supports. Attach these to the inside of the side rails so they are 3/4″ down from the top.

Use wood glue and tack them in place with 1 1/4″ long finish nails (no necessary, but they will help hold in place for the next step). The secure with 1 1/4″ blue-kote screws using the Quick-flip.

Attaching a 1x2 board to the rails for the seat slats to rest on top of.

Measure and cut 10 seat slats to fit inside your chaise lounge frame (they should be 24 1/2″ long, but may be slightly different depending on your boards and how much your set the rails in).

Notch out the front corners of one seat slat so there is only a 1″ gap between the front brace and the first slat.

Measuring and notching out the first seat slat to fit around the front legs.

Drill pocket holes set for 3/4″ thick material in both ends of all the seat slat boards.

Space the seat slats onto the support boards so they are 1″ apart. Secure with wood glue and 1 finish nail right in the center of the board into the support. Make sure it does not get in the way of your pocket holes on the back.

Then flip the lounger on it’s side to secure the seat slats to the side rails with 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws.

Securing the seat slats to the lounger with a nail gun then pocket hole screws.

Create the adjustable back rest board

Cut two 12 1/2″ pieces from the 1×4 board for the adjustable back rest board. Then rip the board to 2: thick.

If you cannot rip the board down, you can use a 1×2 board instead, but it might not be as sturdy.

Measure and mark from one edge 1/2″, 1 1/2″, 4″, 5″, 7 1/2″, and 8 1/2″.

At the 1 1/2″, 5″, and 8 1/2″ marks, draw a line and mark 1/2″ down. This will be the center mark for you to drill your 1″ holes. I used a forstner bit to drill clean holes all the way through.

Make sure to mirror the markings and holes on the two pieces.

Drilling 1" holes in 2" wide pieces of wood with a drill press.

From the other marks, draw a line to the side of the drilled hole. Mimic that angle to draw a line from the other side of the hole to clean it up too.

Drawing lines around the drilled holes to trim out the board.

Cut along these lines with your bandsaw or jigsaw to create notches for the seat back dowel to sit into.

Trimming the boards on lines on a bandsaw.

Attach the adjustable seat back rest board to the back of the side rails. The top should be set down 1 1/2″ from the top of the side rails.

Tack in place with finish nails, then secure with blue-kote screws using the Quick-flip.

Add your screws 1/2″ up from the bottom and 1/2″ down from the top so it does not hit the screws used to attach the side rails previously.

When attaching over the 2×6 leg boards, use 2 1/2″ long screws. This will attach the piece all the way into the back leg for extra support. When attaching to just the rails, use 1 1/4″ longs screws.

Attaching the trimmed out piece to the back of the rails.

Build back rest

From the 2×4 boards, cut two 25″ long pieces for the back center, two 17″ long pieces for the back top/bottom, and two 32″ long pieces for the back sides.

In the back side pieces, attach one of the threaded inserts 3/4″ up from the bottom and centered on the sides of boards.

Use the drill guide to keep your drill straight while drilling. Even if the size of hole needed is slightly smaller than the drill guide, it will still help you keep it fairly straight.

Adding threaded inserts to the 2x4s for the sides of the back rest.

Drill pocket holes set for 1 1/2″ thick material in both ends of the back center and back top/bottom boards.

Build the back by attaching the back center pieces to the back top/bottom pieces so they are 4 1/4″ in from the sides. Use face clamps to ensure the boards stay flush and flat.

Secure with 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws and wood glue.

Then attach the side pieces to the sides in the same manner. Make sure the threaded inserts are on the bottom, outside of the assembled back.

Building the back rest of the chaise lounge chair from 2x4 boards with pocket holes.

From the 1×2 boards, cut two at 15″ long for the back pivot pieces and two at 12″ long for the dowel holder pieces.

For the dowel holder pieces, curve both ends of the boards. Measure and mark 3/4″ in from the edge and draw a 1 1/2″ wide arc across the entire end.

For the pivot pieces, draw a 1 1/2″ arc so one side of the board is flat and the other is curved. I found it easiest to do this by clamping the two boards together, marking 1 1/2″ in from the ends, and using the compass to draw a 3″ arc across both boards.

Then unclamp the boards to reveal a half-curve.

Drawing curves on 1x2 boards with a compass.

Cut or sand the curve into the boards.

Sanding the curves on a disk sander.

In the dowel holder boards, drill a 3/4″ hole centered in one end of each piece. Then drill a hole the same diameter as the shoulder on your shoulder screw centered in the other end of each piece.

For the pivot boards, drill a hole and attach a threaded insert in the side of each board.

Drilling holes with a forstner bit into the curved 1x2 boards.

Stand these pivot boards up on their sides on the back of the back of your chaise lounge. Align the board so it is 3 1/2″ up from the bottom of the back and 1 1/2″ in from the side. Make sure the threaded insert is facing the outside of the back.

Attach them with wood glue and 2 1/2″ screws with the Quick-flip making sure not to add a screw in the center where the threaded insert.

Attaching curved 1x2 boards to the back of the assembled backrest.

Cut a 24 1/4″ piece from the dowel.

Measure from the outside of the attached pivot piece to the outside of the other attached piece.

Center the dowel between the dowel holder pieces so the amount measured above is the amount of dowel between the pieces. Glue the dowel into place and lay flat to dry.

Glueing a dowel into the holes on the curved boards.

Attach back rest

Measure and mark 48 3/4″ in from the front of the lounger on the side rails. Then mark 3/4″ down at that point. Drill a hole through the rail here the width of the shoulder on your 1″ shoulder screws.

Use the Kreg drill guide to keep your holes straight.

Lay the assembled back rest on top of the chair frame. It should sit right on top of the adjustable back piece and be flush with the top of the rails.

Press the 1″ shoulder screws through the hole and thread them into the threaded inserts in the side of the back piece. Repeat on the other side.

Drilling a hole in the side rails of the lounge chair for the back rest to pivot on.

Now you can pivot the chair back at this point.

Once the glue on the dowel is dry, place the 3/4″ shoulder screws in the holes on the top of the dowel holder pieces and screw them into the threaded inserts on the pivot boards on the back of the back piece.

Securing the seat back support with a shoulder screw using an allen wrench.

Now you can drop the dowel into one of the notches in the adjustable back board and it will hold your chaise lounge chair at that angle. Lift the back and move the dowel to a different notch to raise or lower the back.

You can disassemble the three pieces to stain or paint your new chaise lounge chairs. Then easily reattach them with the shoulder screws and you are ready to relax!

Add your cushions and sit back, you’ve earned it!

Two wood pool chaise lounge chairs on the grass next to a lake.

Happy building!

-Kati with picture of blog author Kati

Thank you to Kreg Tools for sponsoring this post. I only recommend products that I use and love and all opinions are 100% my own. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

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