When I moved into my house about a year ago, I was in desperate need of extra seating. Having people over and having them awkwardly stand in the middle of the living room didn’t really feel too hostess with the mostess.
At the same time, I was looking for a good sized piece of furniture to fill my entryway so it was inviting to those awkwardly standing guests we were having over.
Enter…the Craigslist coffee table turned entry bench.
In a previous life, it was a rod iron coffee table with a glass top. The glass top was long gone and its owner was selling the base. Looking back, that’s a very strange thing to sell, but it’s also a very strange thing to buy, so I’ll just move on.
For a whopping $10, I had myself the makings of a great entry bench.
I was inspired by benches/daybeds like this one from Horchow. However, with the $2,000 plus price tag, this could only ever be inspiration. ($2,000? Really?)
Here is what I started with:
It was super heavy and super ugly. I got to work fixing the ugly.
First, I primed with Kilz primer, so none of the gunmetal gray of the iron would show through.
Then, I sprayed the entire thing with two coats of black spray paint. If you’re spray painting, be sure to do this step outside, and be patient. Avoid the temptation to spray close to the furniture or you’ll get a drippy mess. Swing your arm as you spray so you don’t over-spray any spots.
I had a piece of heavy wood cut at Home Depot to lay on the table base and bought several chair cushion foam inserts from Michael’s to give the bench a cushy – but not overstuffed – feel.
Once home, I began laying the foam inserts out on the wood like puzzle pieces. I used a craft knife to cut a few of them to fit and then used my glue gun to make sure they stuck to each other and to the wood. (Since I knew the fabric would hold the cushions tight to the wood, the glue gun worked fine. For other wood gluing projects, I would recommend Gorilla Glue or something specially made for wood.)
The fabric was a metallic silk I had left over from curtains I made for my bedroom. (Stay tuned for an easy, no-sew curtain tutorial.)
In one of those DIY miracles, I had just enough left over for the bench.
I laid the fabric out and flipped the cushioned wood base over so that the inserts were on the fabric. Then, I pulled the fabric tightly and used a staple gun to secure the fabric to the wood.
Since this involves some Twister-like action to hold the base, pull the fabric and staple, it might be a good idea to have two people for this step. I managed to do it by myself, though. Thanks, yoga.
The trick to upholstering like this is to do a few staples on each side and flip your base over to make sure the fabric is tight enough. That way, if it’s not, you only have to pull out a few staples and not every last one.
Once the fabric was good and tight, I began stapling the fabric on each side, jumping each time. (Yes, I’m kind of scared of my staple gun.)
I left the corners to last. When it was their turn, I folded each one in like wrapping a present. There’s no rule for how to do it, but just make sure your fabric doesn’t bunch. If you’re unsure, there are several great tutorials on YouTube you can check out.
Then, the fun part! I flipped my cushy piece of wood over and laid it on top of the former coffee table. Luckily, it fit right into the grooves, so no permanent adhering necessary.
Not bad for a poor little topless coffee table. (Scandalous.)
The whole project cost under $30. I consider the fabric and spray paint free since I already had them.
Extra seating? Check. Entry way prettiness? Check. Another reason to scour Craigslist for way too long? Check.
What have you DIYed lately? Are you also oddly afraid of your staple gun?
UPDATE: This project was featured on the always-inspiring One Pretty Thing blog and the Thrifty Decor Chick Before and After Party!