diy projects: How to Upholster a Bench

This project has been on my to-do list for awhile now. Back in July, I attended a warehouse sale at a local design store I love (Alice Lane Home), and I scored a bunch of great stuff on the cheap. One of the items I came home with was a bench frame. I’m not sure if the deconstructed top was an intentional design element or if it was just missing the top upholstered section, but I knew I wanted to upholster it. The frame has gorgeous lines and was begging for some pretty fabric. I figured while I was reupholstering this piece, I should go ahead and document the process. Hopefully it will be helpful if any of you have similar upholstery projects on your to-do list! Click through to see the before, process, and finished result. Remember the last upholstery project I shared? If you’re interested in learning how to upholster the seat of a chair- check out this post. Otherwise, continue on…

Above, you’ll see what the bench looked like upon bringing it home. A little weird. I wasn’t into the deconstructed look, and wasn’t even sure if it was intuitional. Here’s what you’ll need for this upholstery project…


Step 1 // Source and paint wood. Did you know your local hardware store, like Lowe’s, will cut wood to size for free? I had my local store cut this plywood to size, in an effort to save myself a step. I brought it home and sprayed one side black with spray paint. This is the bottom side of the bench and this step is totally optional. You won’t see the bottom unless you’re on the floor looking up.

Once you have the plywood finished, place it paint side down on the bench to double check the size.

Step 2 // Cut the foam to size. Next, cut the upholstery foam to size. I cut my foam about 1/4″ larger than the plywood around the perimeter, knowing that I’ll pull the fabric tight and smash it down a bit during the upholstering process.

Step 3 // Wrap the foam in batting. Once you’ve confirmed the plywood and foam sizes, flip the pair over onto the batting, face down.

Step 4 // Cut and staple the batting. Next, cut the batting to size around the perimeter of the bench seat, folding it up to make sure you have 1/2″+ excess.

Using the air stapler, begin to staple the batting to the plywood, pulling it tight as you move around the seat.

Step 5 // Repeat the previous step with the fabric. Just like Step 4, flip the bench seat over face down onto the fabric. Cut around the perimeter and begin securing it to the plywood with staples.

Continue all the way around the seat, securing the fabric with a staple every couple inches or so.

Step 6 // Complete the corners and secure the seat to the frame. Lastly, tuck the corners in to create a box fold, then once that’s finished- you’re ready to secure the frame! Use a power drill or screw driver to secure the plywood to the underside of the bench.

That’s it! This entire project took me less than 20 minutes. It was a quick and inexpensive project that made this bench look a thousand times better.

I’m not sure which bedroom I’ll style the bench in quite yet, but one thing is certain- it definitely belongs at the foot of a bed. Have you ever tackled an upholstery project before? Let me know if you have any questions in the comment section below. Have a great week!


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