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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

On the Bench

Although our design sensibilities have certainly evolved since our college days, one thing hasn't changed here at MoS, and that is our willingness to hit up the Goodwill store to score some bargains. Whereas our college idea of "DIY" might have been to snap up a used sofa, throw on a lovely Tar-zay slipcover, and call it a day, nowadays we're willing to expend a little more effort to turn that Goodwill bargain into a fabulous piece of decor (and, thankfully, used sofas are a thing of the past!).
I've been on the lookout for a small "occasional" bench that could have various uses around my apartment. Here in Washington, space is at a premium, so there just isn't room for an extra full sized chair or a large bench. When dropping off some old clothes and books at Goodwill in Arlington, VA a few weeks ago (http://www.dcgoodwill.org/), I spotted this bench. I loved its small size, its clean lines, and the fact that it could be easily transformed into something much more glamorous. And for $20, it was mine.


I started out by removing the cushion and sanding the body of the bench all over. This cushion just lifted off, but often you just need to flip over the bench or chair and undo a few screws to remove the cushion. After sanding, I wiped down the bench with a damp cloth to remove the dust and residue.


Next came a few coats of spraypaint- Krylon Gloss in an off-white color. We find that gloss is much easier to work with than lacquer. I snapped up some neutral, ikat-inspired fabric that I saw at Calico Corners (Adras Pecan; $54.99/yard, http://www.calicocorners.com/). Since this cushion is relatively small, I was able to simply purchase one of their "large swatches" (about 18" x 27") for the bargain price of $13.75 . It's a great resource for if you need just a small piece of fabric for a project, and plus you get a more usable piece of fabric than if you purchased a quarter yard.

While the bench was drying, I recovered the cushion. While such a task seems tricky, it really couldn't be easier, especially since the existing cushion didn't have any piping or trim. I made sure to remove the existing velvet/gingham type upholstry (let's just say it defies description) because it had certainly seen better days! The staples holding it in place easily popped out when pried with a pair of scissors. A few years ago, I purchased an inexpensive staple gun from the hardware store- it was maybe $11. And I'm so glad I did. It certainly comes in handy around the house, and it makes recovering cushions a total cinch!

And finally, I put the cushion back on the bench to reveal the finished product:


Before & After!
Bench: $20
Fabric: $13 Spray paint: $4 Grand total: $37 Part of the reason we love fixing up old furniture is not only because we love customizing things, but because the furniture itself is of much better quality than what you'd get from a "big box" store for the same price. This bench is very sturdy and made of solid wood, whereas today's mass produced items are usually laminate and show every nick or scratch. And frankly, we don't think you could find an upholstered bench for less than $37 at Target or Ikea, let alone your favorite furniture store.
Project complete! Now we are on the lookout for our next great DIY project! Stay tuned...

6 comments:

Nina said...

That turned out great, and I love the fabric! I really enjoy projects like that – picking out fabric is so much fun and being able to reupholster with just a staple gun is so quick and easy. And you even get a bit of storage space with a piece like that…I have fixed up an old piano bench and sewing chair similar to your bench and use them to store back issues of my favorite decorating magazines.

goheels83 said...

That look fantastic! Great re-do for $37. I would love to see more re-dos, I love posts like this! You are so right - you can't get ANYTHING close to this price + quality at Target/Ikea. I'd bet a similiar bench made out of pressed wood product would be $100 or more. Love the blog!

Paloma {La Dolce Vita} said...

It looks so great! I love seeing your projects. I need to take a trip to Goodwill soon!

Anonymous said...

Wow! How clever and how easy! Thank you for showing us how to make something boring very chic!!

Anonymous said...

The bench is adorable. I just did the same thing with a few chairs, but mine aren't quite a clever as yours. I will try to find the spray paint that you used as I used a paint brush with oil base paint-quite a mess!
Aunt Donna

Nadiah said...

Very smart use of ikat. The bench looks a lot more than just $37.

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