Reupholstered Bench Makeover

by ilene on June 3, 2014 · 3 comments

in decor, wood


So we’ve  had this lovely brown leather bench in our entryway for the last couple of years:


The bench was a wedding gift and one of the few pieces of furniture we kept when we moved from Cambridge, MA to San Francisco, CA three summers ago.   Its from Crate and Barrel and has served us well the past few years.  Not only do we sit on it to put on shoes, it also doubles as a coatrack and dumping spot for a my purses, diaper bag, groceries and whatever random things I’m carrying when I walk through the front door.  (The above photo is probably the barest its ever been.  Picture lots of junk on top and beneath it on a daily basis.)  The bench also, unfortunately, held a bag of all our recycling and one day, something sticky leaked on it, which made the bag stick to the bench and tore off a spot of leather with it:bench2

I can’t describe how maddening it was to see this little white spot taunting me every time I walked through the front door!   I thought about trying to color it in with a brown marker just to make it less glaring, but I decided to cover up the whole brown leather top with a lighter fabric instead.   We used to have a lot of brown leather in our old place, but my tastes of have changed since then and I wanted a fresh new look.  The brown leather felt really dark and heavy  in that corner.  Originally, I wanted to cover the top with a light linen fabric but when I went fabric shopping at Joann’s fabric, I fell in love with this stone-colored upholstery fabric with a circular design.  I loved the texture and color!   The fabric was nice and sturdy, too, so I knew it would hold up well over time.  Just one yard of fabric was enough to cover the top of the bench.

Luckily, the legs of the bench came off easily with a hex wrench, so all I had to do was wrap the top like it was a birthday present:


I laid the fabric front side down on the ground  and put the bench top on top of it.  Then, I wrapped the fabric around and stapled it in place:


This project definitely goes by much faster and smoother with two pairs of hands. Luckily, since this was a quick project, Jeff did not object to helping me out.  One of us would hold the fabric taut while the other one stapled.

Naively, I thought I could use a regular office stapler, but the wood was way too hard and the staples would bend instead of go through the wood:


A trip to the hardware store and I returned with my first staple gun.  (I ended up buying this staple gun. It was only $17 and said that it was great for upholstery on the front of the box.  I figured a staple gun is one of those basic tools I should have in my toolbox.)  I have to admit though, I was a little scared pulling the trigger on the gun, its pretty powerful and loud.  My hands also were a little small to handle it, so Jeff did most of the stapling while I held the fabric smooth and tight:bench7

The process went pretty quickly but the corners were a little tricky. Then I had to cut out some of the corner fabric so that I could stick the bench legs back in:


After I screwed on the legs, I flipped the bench over and this is what I had:



I had planned to glue faux nailhead trip all around the bottom perimeter of the bench, but Jeff, who became more vested in this project the more he stapled, vetoed the idea.  He said that he thinks the nailhead trim would make the bench look too old, so I left it as it is.

Pretty easy transformation, right?
The total cost was $17 for the staple gun (which I justify I can use for future projects) and $25 for the upholstery fabric. This one small little change has totally brightened up our little entry way.  If I get bored of the fabric (or another accident happens), I can easily swap out the fabric and staple on something new!

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1 Hotricia June 5, 2014 at 9:17 am

I love how you re-designed this! Also the pink flower really brightens up that corner!

2 Lin July 8, 2014 at 1:05 pm

I love it Ilene!

3 Lin July 8, 2014 at 1:06 pm

Do you plan on doing a house tour anytime soon? Would love to see your place!

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