DIY Upholstered Bench (from a Coffee Table!)

My latest Domino story is on page 52 of the summer issue and HERE online! Thanks for all your kind comments about the spread and for your support. I thought I would show you a little more background on the project today. We ended up shooting the story twice so I made two different versions…

My latest Domino story is on page 52 of the summer issue and HERE online! Thanks for all your kind comments about the spread and for your support. I thought I would show you a little more background on the project today. We ended up shooting the story twice so I made two different versions of the tops. I’ll show you the photos that Domino didn’t run.

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I found this coffee table at the Meeker Ave Flea Market in Brooklyn. It was stamped Dorothy Draper and I got it for only $10 because it was missing a top. Total score! The color of the stain was not my favorite so we stripped it using varnish remover first and a little bit of stripper.

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This product worked pretty well to loosen up the stain and gel stripper helped to take the rest off.
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The magic maker was using this Wood Bleach next. It does exactly what it sounds like it would do. It comes in a powder that you make a solution with water and use it to sort of clean the wood. The color lightens pretty quickly.
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You’ll definitely want to wear gloves for this part of the show. And working in a well-ventilated place is a good idea.
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After the wood dried out, we waxed the finish and I LOVE the new color. It’s still a little splotchy and dark in some places, but I like it.
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I had some plywood cut to fit the top of the coffee table exactly at Home Depot and bought some high-density foam at Joann’s with a coupon, along with some batting cut a few inches bigger than the plywood.
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For the second try on the IKEA rug-binding, I did a tight whip stitch instead of the X’s, which I think is a cleaner look. I used a large darning needle and some neon nylon thread from the hardware store.
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Once the rug (which I had cut into three pieces and stitched in two rows) was finished, I lined everything up and layered the plywood, foam and batting under the rug and pulled everything back as tightly as I could while I stapled.
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I stapled down the batting while I went too.
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When everything was stapled down, I screwed the base to the upholstered top so there would be as small of a gap between the two as possible.
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I love how the bench turned out! It was a cheap project and I love how I can use the bench in pretty much any space in the house. I layered it in front of a credenza for the spread and I’ve used it in our bedroom too.  We have been keeping it in the studio lately and I love the little pop of color from the thread. It fits perfectly under this DIY console table that I’ll share later this week. :)
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A BIG thanks to Michelle Herrick for the pretty photos in this post!
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35 thoughts on “DIY Upholstered Bench (from a Coffee Table!)

  1. Dear Jenny! LOVE this project, and love your blog! I read you every day, and as I make design decisions in my own house, I always ask myself, 'What would Jenny Komenda do…?' I'm wondering if you might remember the name of the color that you painted your credenza (between the two orange chairs in the last photo of your Domino shoot)? I'm looking to repaint a very similar piece in my own house and that color is exactly what I've been searching for. Thank you!!! Anna

  2. I love this idea, the finished product is beautiful. I'm just wondering why you cut the rug in thirds and then stitched it instead of just doing the decorative stitching? Wondering if cutting it would compromise the strength of the fabric making it more prone to separating during the upholstery process. Love your posts and ideas, you are an inspiration!

  3. I didn't know there was such a thing as wood bleach! And you are just genius to do the whipstitch in the bright color. Love this bench!

  4. I'm so glad you wrote up this tutorial. I have a coffee table that I've wanted to lighten so I will follow these instructions! I love how your bench turned out. Every project you make is beautiful.

  5. This was such a fun spread in Domino and I loved seeing more details here. The neon thread was a genius addition. It looks so good with the ikea rug. Great job!! xx

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    The Meeting in the Box

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  7. This project is right up my alley! It's pretty neat how some of the best results are from pieces of furniture that looked like they had seen their best days. Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. I have a nearly identical coffee table (it hada a marble top) that I've been wanting to turn into a bench. Thanks for the inspiration although I might go for a glossy paint job instead of bleaching.

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