I’ve been perusing craigslist lately in hopes of finding an inexpensive bench that I could upgrade into a sweet and function piece for our home. Finally, I found the perfect thing… a piano bench that someone gave up stripping part way through. Because it was so unfinished, it was incredibly cheap. BUT, it wasn’t pretty…
However, I love its charm and I knew I could work with it. And here’s what I upgraded it to:
Now, it’s a cushioned bench that still opens for a little extra storage space. It’s far from perfect, but it really only took a few hours total, and I love it!! Want to do something similar? Here’s what I did.
A bench (obviously)
Primer + paint
Roller brush and detail brush
For the cushion:
Foam Padding (I used 2″ thick)
Fabric of your choice
First things first. Whip out your screwdrivers (sorry I didn’t include that on your equipment list) and undo the hardware on the top of the bench. It’s so much easier to work with when you’ve removed the lid.
Painting time. I thought about experimenting with chalk paint and whatever other stylish paints are out there, but at the end of the day, it’s just simplest to sand, prime, paint. Trust me, it’s tried and true. So unless you’re just messing around for fun, stick with what you know. I did a quick sanding job, but thankfully my bench was pretty much already stripped to its bones. I used a spray paint primer in a gray color, since my final color was a gray-blue. After letting this dry, I moved my project inside due to weather, where I laid down my tarp and got painting.
I recommend a roller brush simply because you can cover a lot of ground more smoothly than with a bristle brush (is there a technical name for traditional brushes?). Then take your touch up brush and get into all the crevices and hard to reach places. Give your bench a solid two coats until you are 100% happy with how it looks. I also painted the inside of the lid.
For the cushion top. I am a homegrown DIY girl, and most things I just figure out as I go (truth). I’m sure I could have made a very fancy cushion somehow, but that’s not how I role. Instead, measure out your padding and cut it down to size (you can use an exacto knife, or even a scissors). I used two 2″ thick pieces of foam.
Next, lay your fabric face down, and center your padding on it.
Then lay your bench top on it, so the “inside” of the bench top is facing up. Now, go steal your husband’s staple gun. It is just so, so much easier than any other cushion-making method I can think of. Wrap your bench top like a present, securing with staples along the way. Make sure you don’t cover up the holes for your hardware, which you will need to put back on next. Make sure you know which pieces of hardware go where! This is important, obviously.
Time to put it all together. This is the best part! Attach the bench top back to your bench, being sure to put the right hardware in the right places. Voila! Are you thrilled?? I’m thrilled. You did a great job.