How to Redo a Thrifted Bench - Farmhouse Style

How to Redo a Thrifted Bench Farmhouse Style | The Little Homeplace

This last weekend was full of projects here at the Clifton home. Most weekends are like that actually, during this time of the year. The weather is perfect for working outside in the yard, and I always get an itch to start preparing our home and pantry for the winter months ahead.

Since we are owners of a fixer upper farmhouse, our project list is never ending. However, like I mentioned a few posts back, we have completed the projects that have been necessary for us to live here a little more comfortably, so now it's on to all the fun things like decorating and changing out light fixtures. Yipee!

So, this last weekend I was finally able to get to a project I've been waiting to start for months now: Redoing a little thrifted bench for our entryway!

Part of the reason I had been putting it off is because I thought it was going to be quite an undertaking - possibly even eating up an entire day of my time, which I didn't have to spare. Gracious, was I ever wrong!

This pretty little thing took me about three hours from start to finish. I even recovered our piano bench while I had everything out because it was THAT easy.

farmhouse entryway.jpg
farmhouse entry bench.jpg

And because adding such a fun DIY farmhouse piece to our entryway was so easy, I wanted to share a little tutorial with you! I mean, what kind of friend would I be if I didn't?!

So, without further ado, here is how you can make a pretty farmhouse bench of your very own.

What you'll need:
a cute, thrifted bench
sturdy fabric
fabric scissors
measuring tape
pencil or fabric chalk
spray paint or paint of your choice
flathead screwdriver
hammer
needle-nose pliers
small container for staples and nails
heavy duty hand stapler

Optional:
sandpaper if you want to distress the paint
new foam for the cushion

Step One: Find a bench.

I found mine at a local thrift store for $12. It might take a bit of hunting around, especially if you have something very particular in mind, but don't give up! Just keep your eyes peeled and eventually you will find one that's just right. Focus on the bones of the piece and don't let any hideous fabric or clashing colors keep you from seeing its' potential.

Here is a photo of the bench I found before I revamped it. It definitely wasn't the worst piece I've brought home with me, but it wasn't my style at all.

thrifted bench before photo.jpg

In fact, our entire entryway wasn't my style and desperately needed some love!

farmhouse entryway before photo.jpg

Step Two: Take your bench apart, separating the cushion from the base.

This might involve some nails or screws, or maybe your bench cushion will simply lift off like mine did.

prepping a bench for paint.jpg

Step Three: Enlist a helper.

Stanley helping recover the bench.jpg

Just kidding. Stanley was not much of a helper as you can see, but he did look all kinds of cute and photogenic against that fabric. Also, he doesn't mind being paid in belly rubs and chin scratches so that's a plus.

OK, the real step three is: Paint the bench base.

Rustoleum black spray paint in satin finish.jpg

I just wiped down the wood with a damp rag and used a can of this black Rustoleum spray paint that I got at Lowe's. It took less than five minutes to apply and it didn't even use the entire can. (Hmm... What else can I spray paint?)

If you want to go for a more durable paint, you can use chalk paint or any old paint you have lying around, as long as it's not gross and chunky. Trust me on that one. Unless lots of weird texture is your thing. In which case, you do you, girl.

I will warn you that applying paint with a paint brush is a bit time consuming, but, depending on the look you're going for, it might be worth it to you. I was going for quick and easy, and I like it when things show a little wear and tear, so spray paint it was.

While you're waiting for the paint to dry, move on to...

Step Four: Remove the old upholstery from your bench cushion.

For this part you will need the tools I listed above. I used the hammer and flathead screwdriver to pry up the nails and staples, and a pair of needle-nose pliers to pull any stubborn ones out of the wood. You'll also want a small container to put all those lovely pieces of sharp metal in so you don't accidentally step on one.

tools to remove nails and staples.jpg
remove nails and staples from upholstery.jpg

Removing the old fabric is a little weird, a little satisfying, and a little gross all at the same time. You really never know what you're going to find. Maybe you'll get lucky and only have to remove one slightly worn layer of fabric. Or maybe you won't get lucky and you'll have to remove three layers that have been applied with copious amounts of old tacks and rusty staples and progressively smell more and more like a public bathroom. YUCK.

No thank you, bench. I do not want to know what you were in your past lives. I only want to make you pretty and give you a new life.

removing old upholstery.jpg

Step Five: Rejoice! The hard part is over and you're almost done!

Now you will be down to just wood and foam on your bench cushion. If you want to, or if the foam is damaged, you can remove the old foam and replace it with a nice piece of new, squishy foam. I chose not to do that, partially because I had forgotten to get foam, and partially because the old foam on my bench was still in fairly good condition. Anyway, this part is completely up to you.

ready to reupholster.jpg

Step Six: Measure, mark, and cut your fabric to fit the cushion.

You'll want to give yourself 5-9 inches extra so you can secure it underneath.

Lay the cushion upside down on the backside of the fabric and make sure any pattern on your fabric is centered.

reupholstering with a heavy duty hand stapler.jpg

Step Seven: Staple the fabric to the wood, like so.

staple fabric to the bench.jpg

Begin by applying a staple to the center of each side of the cushion so the fabric is a little more secure, and then add a staple every few inches, leaving space around the corners. You'll want to pull the fabric taut as you go, but not so tight that it warps the pattern.

reupholstering a thrifted bench.jpg

Once you have secured your fabric with a staple every inch or two, move on to the corners.

On one side, add a staple very close to the corner, but do not staple over the other side of the fabric, like so.

reupholstering a corner.jpg

Do the same thing on the other side while folding the fabric as pictured below. Again, do not staple over the other layer of fabric. That will make the corners a little bulky and we don't want that.

reupholstering with farmhouse fabric.jpg

Next, fold the corner of the fabric in as smoothly as you can and staple around the edges.

Feel free to apply staples anywhere else that won't stay flat.

Use this method for the other three corners.

how to reupholster a corner.jpg

Now, take a step back and admire your work! You're almost done!

recovered bench seat.jpg
admiring your reupholstery work.jpg

Step Eight (optional): Distress the paint.

By now the paint on your bench base should be done drying so you can distress it with a piece of sandpaper if you want to.

When you've finished, wipe it down with a damp rag to remove the dust.

sanding and distressing a farmhouse bench.jpg
distressed black bench.jpg

Step Nine: Reassemble your bench and dress it up!

Our entryway is definitely feeling the love now.

farmhouse entryway with repurposed bench.jpg
recovered farmhouse style bench.jpg

I absolutely LOVE creating pretty, cozy spaces in our home with old, repurposed, broken-in things, don't you?

Have you tried this DIY farmhouse bench tutorial? Comment below to tell me how yours turned out, or tag me in a photo of your gussied up bench on Instagram and I'll share my favorites!

homeRachel Clifton2 Comments