A couch is a beautiful and useful addition to any room, may it be a den, a living room, or even your bedroom. While there are many types of couch out there, one of the most iconic, unique, and rare is the fainting couch. However, it’s hard to find one so if you want to have this piece of furniture, you need to know how to make a fainting couch.
What is a Fainting Couch?
A fainting couch, also known as a fainting bench, is a type of couch characterized by a curvy wood frame with a back that’s raised at the end. While the exact origins of the fainting couch have been lost to history, one popular myth is that it is a form of seating that was widely used by women during the Victorian area. During those times, women would wear corsets, a type of clothing that binds their midsection so tightly that it constricted their breathing. This would lead to women fainting regularly, which lead to the need for fainting couches where the women could recover. Large and wealthy homes even had “fainting rooms” so that these women could recover in privacy and quiet.
Another theory suggests that fainting couches were used by wealthy Victorian women as a sort of respite while their housekeeper would turn down their beds. It was also used for napping, reading, or simply when the owner wanted to lounge about.
Finally, the last theory suggests that fainting couches were popularized by psychiatrists, particularly by famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. The design of the fainting couch allowed Freud’s patients to sit back and be more relaxed, allowing their session to be more effective.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Fainting Couch
It’s difficult to make a fainting couch completely from scratch, so it would be best to use a mattress that you have a guide for the size of the couch. Fainting couches are typically smaller than your average couch, so this guide is going to make a fainting couch that is the perfect size for your kids to lounge on!
This guide will use a 28” by 52” mattress.
- Using 1” x 4” planks, create a frame with 9 horizontal slats going across. You will be using around 9 slats measuring 28” each. The frame will end up measuring 54” by 29.5”. Make sure to drill pocket-holes into the slats for stability.
- On the head end of the couch, place the “arm” by screwing two 1” x 4” into the inner section. These planks will serve as supports for the arms.
- Create your sides of headboard by tracing the distinctive “scroll shape” on a piece of wood and cutting it out with a hand saw. You can make additional scroll cutouts to give your headboard more stability.
- Secure them to the support by screwing them in.
- Cut out narrower slats around 1.5” wide and 29.5” long and affix them around the rounded edge of the scrolls. At this point, you should have finished the frame as well as the arm of your fainting couch.
- Using a ½” sheet of plywood, create the backboard for your fainting couch by tracing out the outline with a pencil then cutting it out with a hand saw. The traditional backboard of a fainting couch has resembles a “wave” rising up with a gentle downward curve.
- Create the foot pieces of the fainting couch. Remember to make them think to give your couch a stable and secure base. Attach each foot to each of the four corners by drilling a hole in the center of the foot and threading in a hanger bolt. Drill a corresponding hole at each of the four corners, place the leg on, and secure it with a blind nut to attach the leg tightly.
- Now that you’re done with the frame of your fainting couch, it is time to upholster it to make it soft and comfortable! Egg-crate foam pads are cheap and widely available. Cut out enough of the foam mattress to cover your arm and backboard, making sure to leave excess material that you can fold around the edges of your couch. Staple down the foam with a pneumatic stapler gun.
- Cover the foam with your choice of fabric.
- Place the mattress on your fainting couch, and you’re done!
How to Decorate a Fainting Couch
After you’ve made your fainting couch, the next step is to decorate it! Traditional fainting couches had vintage Victorian patterns, but you can decorate your couch to give it a modern look or to make it fit with the theme of the room.
A chaise lounge fainting couch, for example, would look beautiful in a room that’s decorated with earth tones. A white fainting couch, on the other hand, would make the perfect addition to a room with minimalist design.
Showcasing Your Fainting Couch
Here are two tips that you can use if you want to showcase your fainting couch:
- Use appropriate décor or themes
Even though a fainting couch is smaller and more compact compared to a traditional couch, you still need to make it fit with the overall theme and décor of the room. If you want to pay homage to its Victorian roots, a mirror, rugs, or other furniture from the same era will work well together with your couch.
- Adding the Right Lighting
Any room with a fainting couch will need the appropriate lighting to show off the unique features of the couch. After all, if you’ve spent time and effort making it from scratch, you should be proud of your work! Lights with dimmer switches or lamps with lace are great companions to your couch. If you have the space and the budget, you can even go all the way and add a chandelier to your room for that ultimate indulgent theme.
While it can be daunting to think about, learning how to make a fainting couch from scratch is easy if you have the right tools and materials. Invest in high quality wood, foam, and power tools to make your DIY project easy, fun, and exciting. At the end of it, you’ll have a fainting couch that you will be proud to show off to your visitors! Find out more about fainting couches.