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reupholster benchJen Jafarzadeh L'Italien

Whenever I can't find the right furniture (at the right price), I always try my luck on Craigslist. Sometimes you can find a real gem with a cheap price tag because the owners are moving and want to to get rid of a piece fast. That's how I found this bench.

In its original state, the bench was pretty shabby, minus the chic. The velvety fabric looked dirty (was it once white?), the tufted buttons felt too fancy for the bench's simple frame, and the seat cushion was sunken with wear. I could see this bench's potential; it just needed a makeover.

Upon closer inspection, I realized this settee-style bench had a screw-in seat. All I would need to do is pop out the seat, replace the foam, and recover the seat with fresh fabric. Easy! Here's how I transformed this wood bench from fuddy-duddy to cool kitchen perch

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DIY Warrior: Reupholster a Bench

A worn-out piece of furniture with good bones. The perfect candidate for a DIY makeover!

DIY Warrior: Reupholster a Bench

Turn the bench upside down and you'll find screws going up into the seat. Unscrew the seat cushion from the frame. Keep the screws for later on.

DIY Warrior: Reupholster a Bench

This was actually the toughest part of the project, because you're also removing the staples that keep the fabric in place. Use pliers and a flathead screwdriver to pry out the staples and pull off the old upholstery fabric.

DIY Warrior: Reupholster a Bench

Check the foam and decide if you're going to keep or replace it. Most likely you'll want to replace the foam if it's a secondhand piece as the foam has likely started to decompose. You can tell if the foam is decomposing because you'll see flecks and bits of foam where it's started to break down.

DIY Warrior: Reupholster a Bench

If you're going to replace the foam, you'll need to separate it from the wood seat frame. Simply remove the staples and the entire foam piece will lift up.

DIY Warrior: Reupholster a Bench

Measure the wood seat frame that you popped out from the bench and buy new foam cut to fit. I bought my foam from a local place called Economy Foam. For a small extra cost, they glued the batting over the foam for me (so I wouldn't have to buy the special upholstery glue and do it myself.) You can choose a custom thickness and firmness for your foam, too. My total cost for foam and batting came to $60.

Attach the foam to your wood frame seat using a staple gun. Pinch a part of the foam with the staple gun, and with a sturdy hand, press the staple gun over the foam and pull the handle to pop out a staple (be extra careful when using a staple gun!). Use medium staples (if the staple's too short, it won't be long enough to pass through the foam into the wood.) Continue around the edge of the frame, adding a staple every few inches.

DIY Warrior: Reupholster a Bench

Once you've gone all the way around, your foam will be attached to your wood seat frame.

DIY Warrior: Reupholster a Bench

Make sure you have enough fabric to go all the way around the foam seat to underneath the seat bottom. Give yourself an extra couple inches when you measure. Remember to iron your fabric before attaching it to the bench.

DIY Warrior: Reupholster a Bench

Place your fabric over the foam seat. Starting with one side, pull the fabric taut and staple the fabric into the wood on the underside of the seat frame, using your staple gun. Then move to the opposite side of the frame and staple the fabric on the other side. Continue in this pattern going all the way around. The key to getting a polished look is to pull the fabric as taut as you can, using an even amount of pressure the entire time. You don't want to pull one section tighter than the next. For the corners of the foam, you'll want to create a clean fold. Using a sturdy upholstery needle and thread, you can stitch together the folds for a polished look.

DIY Warrior: Reupholster a Bench

Using the screws that the bench came with, screw in the seat to the frame of the bench. Instant bench makeover!

DIY Warrior: Reupholster a Bench





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