This Upholstered Bench is something I’ve had on my to-do list for a while. I had never planned to change the fabric for sentimental reasons, but it became necessary, as you’ll read below. I’m really happy with how our upholstered bench turned out, particularly the gray and yellow color combo!
A story before we begin: Once upon a time, there was a boy and a girl. They got married and a few years later, they would be awaiting the arrival of not one but two babies. One day (specifically, 33 weeks and one day), they went to a store and the girl had to rest her tired feet, which were bearing the load of aforementioned two babies in her tummy. She looked down at her seat and saw the words “Floor Sample Sale” and realized that she had perched on a nice leather bench. It would be perfect for the boy and girl’s new living room, which was a bit narrow but they needed more seating, particularly since they were expecting lots of visitors in the coming months. The two babies did come, exactly two days later, at 33 weeks and three days. After a 3 week stay in the NICU, the babies went home, and the visitors came, and lots of cuddling happened on that bench (and everywhere else in the house, oftentimes standing up and rocking back and forth). When the happy family moved to a new home a few years later, the bench took its place at the end of the mama and dada’s bed, and it would now serve as a place for the two babies to climb into said bed at all hours of the night (if they make it onto the bed, that is).
After seven years of owning the bench, the mama and dada noticed that the poor bench was starting to peel. And thank goodness the peeling was noticed on that day, because just a few days later, a new kitty would join the family (who would have been falsely accused if the peeling wasn’t noticed prior to her arrival!).
So the bench peeled and peeled and peeled for another year and a half, as the babies and the kitty climbed up and down on the bench some more, and as the mama and dada tried to agree on fabric to replace the leather (this one was close, but not quite).
Finally, mama found a curtain and some pretty yellow fabric at the thrift store, and they both loved the combination.
And a few weeks after that, because both the mama and dada were working on a different DIY together, the mama was finally able to reupholster the bench!
DIY Upholstered Bench
Supplies (some are affiliate links)
- Something to remove upholstery staples: I use a tack puller similar to this one (or use a flathead screwdriver) and pliers
- Measuring tape
- Home decor weight fabric (two colors if you’re using piping and covered buttons) – I used a curtain for the main fabric.
- 3/16″ thick piping
- Wonder clips or pins
- Binding/bias tape ruler or quilting ruler with 45 degree angle markings
- Rotary cutter and self-healing mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Piping trimming tool (optional)
- Sewing machine and thread
- 1.5-inch covered button kit
- Washable fabric pen
- Upholstery thread
- Upholstery needle
- Staple gun (if you can recommend a good one, let me know in the comments!)
Note: Please refer to my DIY upholstered footstool tutorial for more details.
First, remove the legs and save the bolts. Start checking out what’s underneath. Each piece of furniture is different, of course. This bench was supported by some nylon webbing underneath, with a wood frame all around, plus a layer of foam and a layer of batting. Remove all the staples to remove the leather. You can use the original fabric as well as the bench to measure how much fabric you will need for the top and sides, plus piping if you want.
Visit this DIY Upholstered Footstool post to see how to make your own piping. This time, however, I had a nifty piping trimming tool to help trim the piping fabric before I sewed it on. I was able to very easily and quickly trim my piping down to a 1/2 inch seam allowance with this tool!
Another thing that was a little bit different was my corners are sharper with this bench compared to my footstool, which were more curved on the corners. So I still clipped the corners, but I had to make a super sharp turn with my piping. Follow the upholstered footstool post to see how I sewed the piping onto the top piece.
I like to “fit” my pieces to make sure everything fits correctly before I move on to the next step. Looks good so far.
I sewed the side piece to the piping/top piece (see the footstool tutorial again) and now I’m fitting this onto the bench. Oh no! It doesn’t fit!!!
Oh, that’s why.
After making sure it fits, staple the fabric onto the bench’s wood frame. Make sure all kitties are removed from underneath the fabric first, though. Next, get ready to add the three covered buttons. I used button and carpet thread and an upholstery needle whose eye would fit through the shank of the button (this one was the longest I had that would fit…there may be more available that are longer).
Mark where you’d like the buttons. I centered the three along the center and used a washable fabric pen. Then, start sewing. Even though the needle tip seemed dull, I was able to go through the fabric, batting, foam, and layers of webbing underneath. And that would be the order in which I started my stitching, so the knot is up top. By the way, tie a bulky knot, so it doesn’t get pulled through the fabric.
Go back through in the opposite order so the needle is back up top. Thread the button through the needle, and go back through starting with the fabric down to the back. Repeat at least one more time. Finish with the needle through the back. Cut off the needle so you have the two strands of thread. Pull on the thread so the button causes some tufting. The amount of tufting is up to you. Tie a knot to secure the button. It helps to have someone push on the button on the other side to maintain the tufting while you are tying the knot.
Add the legs back on. All done with the upholstered bench!
The happy family is happy with how the upholstered bench turned out. Though one of the happy family members probably thinks is a brand new fancy scratching post, just for her.