How to Upholster a Bench

Chatfield Court's Kristi shows you how she DIY-ed an upholstered bench for her entryway.

Updated on August 03, 2017 10:08 am

Kristi of www.chatfieldcourt.com

How to upholster old or worn furnitures at home

Have you ever had to reupholster furniture on your own? For our entryway, I had to change the look of a white wooden bench I’d bought.

How to upholster old or worn furnitures at home

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At first, all I wanted to do was change the color, so I painted it black using oil-based paint.

a painted black bench waiting to be upholstered

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I was experimenting with a different paint and a different sheen, that’s why the top of the bench looks extra shiny. I didn’t like the sheen at all so I decided to do a quick upholstering project instead to cover it up.

tools ad supplies needed for upholstering furnitures

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My supplies used for this project were:

  • a 4″ piece of dense foam
  • a serrated knife for cutting the foam to size
  • 1/4″ quilt batting
  • pneumatic stapler
  • bronze upholstery tacks
  • needle-nose pliers
  • small hammer

Here’s are the steps I took to doing this project:

1. I had already had the foam cut to the right length at the store, but had to cut a few inches more for the width. I simply measured the foam against the top of the bench, and using the serrated knife, I cut the foam to the exact size of the top of the bench.

measuring and cutting dense foam to prepare for upholstering the bench

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2. I laid the batting on the table (I doubled it just to be safe), then laid the foam in the middle of the batting. The bench then goes on top of the foam. I trimmed some of the batting but made sure to leave enough to go around the foam to the bottom of the bench seat.

upholstery process, preparing and trimming the batting to make sure it covers the bench seat

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3. Now I’m ready to staple using my pneumatic stapler (a staple gun will also work wonders for this). Next, starting with the long side, and making sure that the batting was perfectly flat with no wrinkles, I pulled the batting taut and stapled to the bottom of the bench seat—first in the center, and then moving to each end.

upholster process - using a pneumatic stapler or a staple gun to place batting taut on the bench

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You want to make sure you are always checking it and pulling the batting taut but not too tight. I stapled the rest of the side, leaving the corners until the end, and moved onto the opposite side then to each end.

4. After all four sides were done I trimmed off all of the excess batting and it was time to do the corners. I don’t do anything fancy, I just pull in all the batting so it’s taut and laying neatly and then I staple it.

upholstering process - batting is taut and neat on the bench

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Just make a quick check of your bench to be sure there aren’t any bumps or creases in the batting.

5. Next, I covered up the batting with fabric I already had from a previous chair makeover (more of that in a future post!). I actually just followed the same steps as the batting. Again, make sure your fabric is straight and has no wrinkles. If you have stripes or a pattern, you want to make sure you don’t skip this step, and check as well what direction you want the print or pattern to go or face.

upholstering process - cover the fabric of choice over the stapled batting and secured dense foam

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I pulled the fabric taut and began stapling the long side, starting in the middle again. I worked my way around the bench checking for wrinkles occasionally and leaving the corners undone. Next I trimmed all the excess fabric.

6. To do the corners, I folded the corners over in a sort of 45-degree angle, making sure everything was laying flat, and then I stapled. This is how it looked: Like the corner of a gift-wrapped box. I made sure the angles were on the short-side ends of the bench and not on the long sides.

how to wrap corners of fabric neatly on the upholstered bench

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7. Lastly, I started tacking bronze upholstery tacks as a finishing touch. I used five tacks on each corner for a total of 40 tacks.

using bronze tacks as a finishing touch for the upholstering

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how to use bronze tacks to further secure and style the upholstered bench

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That’s it! It’s done and I am glad that I stuck with it and finished it right. I’m happy with the way it looks! What do you think?

home improvement DIY upholstered bench

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Watch for my next DIY project here on Cromly, or check out all my other blog posts on www.chatfieldcourt.com. Till next time!


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Cover photo courtesy of Chatfield Court

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