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Simple Upholstered Bench

benchfin1Don’t you just love those front window benches in houses with all the matching pillows? I always loved the look of those cozy little nooks. I guess I just like the idea of having another place to sit in the sun and read a book.

I really wanted to create a window bench, but I didn’t want it actually built into the wall. I wanted a bench that could be moved around and used as extra seating at the table for instance. To take these desires into consideration, I decided to create an upholstered bench that would sit at normal chair height, but be very deep so it would have that desired window bench feel.

These were my materials for creating the bench:

  • 1 – 4 ft x 8 ft piece of OSB plywood 1/2″ thick
  • 2 – 2 x 2 boards 8 ft long
  • Four 6″ legs
  • Four sets of leg mounting hardware
  • Nails or screws
  • Wood glue

Fortunately, I had some left over plywood paneling from our basement remodeling project. If you wanted to make this from scratch though, just use the 1/2″ OSB plywood I listed.

To get started, I cut the plywood to the desired length and width. I’ve included my measurements so you can see how it all went together:bench3

Top and Bottom – 20″ x 48″
Front and Back – 11″ x 48″
Sides – 21″ x 12″

Then I cut the 2 x 2 boards into 48″ lengths (your basically cutting the 8 ft boards in half to make four corner supports).

I then took the top and bottom boards and nailed the 2 by 2s to each long side. You can use wood glue to get a better hold, but I forgot that step until halfway through so try to remember it at the beginning! I fastened the front and back in place next by nailing into those 2 by 2 boards I just fastened to the top and bottom. The plywood should overlap at the corners. At this point my bench just looked like a rectangular box. You can see what the side view of the box would look like in the diagram below.bench11

I nailed both sides in last into the place where the boards overlap and I double checked that the box was sturdy and could support a couple peoples weight. It wouldn’t be fun to get the job done and then it all fall apart!

I fastened the hardware to the box corners and screwed in the legs. I spaced mine about 1 1/2″ from the edge so that it would take a good deal of the weight and also give me room to upholster without having to take the legs back off.

It was now ready to upholster! To do this part I collected:

2 – twin size pieces of 1″ foam

1 – Full to Queen sized polyester batting (the bigger the loft the more cushy your seat, but also the more difficult to staple)

4 yards thick muslin

Heavy duty Staple gun and Staplesbench2

I cut my pieces of foam so that they would overlap nicely:

Front and Back – 11″ x 48″
Sides – 11″ – 22″
Top – 22″ x 50″

I didn’t cut a piece for the bottom as it didn’t need to be upholstered. I started with the front and back and laid the foam in place and then stapled it in place. I tried using quilting basting spray to glue it in place, but that didn’t work too well so I just stuck with the staples. I then did the sides and finished with the top. You can see how it looks in this picture. To capture the size of my bench I threw a paperback book on top.

Now it was ready for batting. I laid the batting out like wrapping paper and basically wrapped the bench in it. I wanted it nice and smooth across the top and sides so I took a good bit of time smoothing and stretching the batting into place. I folded the ends in just like a gift and then stapled it all into place on the bottom. I didn’t put any staples on the top or sides over the batting because they might come through the fabric later on (besides it’s not too comfortable to sit on staples!)

At this point I could have upholstered the bench with any fabric. I decided to go with cheap, durable muslin and then use slip covers to give the bench a different look. I cut my fabric to the following dimensions:

Front and Back – 15″ x 51″
Sides – 15″ – 23″
Top – 23″ x 51″

I was calculating a 1/2″ seam allowance and then sewed the cover together using a poly/cotton blend thread. I sewed each seam twice so they would be very strong. I made the sides and front and back so long so that the fabric could stretch down underneath the box and be stapled underneath.

So I slipped on the cover, stretched it into place and then stapled away. When I’m ready to change the look I’ll just create slipcovers using the same dimensions I used for the main cover. Overall I think the project was very fun and really worth the time and energy it takes to create. It took me about three hours to put together my bench and upholster it. Now you could save time by getting the cut wood for you. Most home improvement stores will charge after the second cut, so this is a good way to save time and cost, especially if you didn’t have the proper tools. The bench really turned out great and has made a wonderful window seat for my house.


2 Responses

  1. Good detailed description. Pictures would really help a lot. Lots of pictures.

  2. Yep! New photos added!

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