How to Re-upholster an Indoor Bench


One day my very sweet  mother-in law decided to do some light cleaning in her upstairs bedroom.  When I saw that this traditional bench was included in her Goodwill pile I just  had to rescue it and welcome it into our home.   This bench originally belonged to my husband’s grandmother who passed it on to my mother in law when she was down sizing her place.  I think it was purchased from a local furniture store here in Saint Louis.  I love how this piece feels light but solid, and the tufted seat makes it so inviting.  My style is typically more on the contemporary/modern side but this bench was too beautiful to pass up.  Now that it’s all mine I’ve decided to change it up a bit!

After a couple friends asked me on Facebook how I re-upholstered this piece I’ve decided to do a quick DIY blog tutorial on it.  Please pardon the photos, I used my cell phone and when I get really busy I tend to zone out and completely forgot to take some photos in between the process but I think what I have will do the job.

The tools.  Don’t forget hot glue gun and glue sticks.  I purchased a yard and half of my fabric (printed burlap) at Hancock Fabrics when it was 50% off, SCORE!


1. Measure how much fabric you’ll need by laying the fabric over the bench.  I just eye-balled it and made sure I had enough fabric to cover all around and enough to go a couple of inches underneath the bench.  Cut excess off as you will need it to cover the cording and buttons.

2. Start by turning the bench over and removing the felt-like material covering.  I used a butter knife to lift each staples then used the needle nose pliers to remove the staples.

3. Next you will see more staples all around the frame.  In my case, the bench had cording so I removed it from all around the frame using the same method and tools mentioned above.  Once the cording is removed I stripped the old fabric off the cording by cutting it with the scissors. I measured the length of the cording and about 2″ wide and cut that much off from the excess fabric.  I wrapped the fabric on to the cording and sewed it by hand, I just did a simple stitch so it was fast!  First pic below is the cording on top of the new fabric, the second is the finished cording covered with new fabric. 🙂





4. Continue removing the staples around the frame to release the old fabric using a butter knife and needle nose pliers.  Next, you will see that there will be some batting stapled onto the frame of the bench.  I got lazy and used the scissors to cut it loose from the frame instead of pulling each staples off.  Once that is removed the cushion should be completely free from the frame of the bench.

5.  Lift the cushion and turn it over.  With this bench I saw that the buttons on the seat were anchored with buttons that had two metal tabs spread out tightly underneath.  I removed the buttons all 19 of them.  With my bench there were plastic washers under each buttons, set them all aside.  I then cut a 1.5″ x 1.5″ square from the excess fabric and used a hot glue gun to wrap the buttons with the new fabric.



6.  Once the buttons are all covered, grab your new fabric and lay it on top of your cushion and bench frame.  Basically I just located the center of the bench where the first button would go and punctured the fabric through with the button.  This is the part where I think the hard work begins, so you will need some elbow grease for this part.  My fingers and thumbs became pretty raw so I started to use the tip of the needle nose pliers to secure the buttons tightly on top while I work under with my other hand to pull the tabs tightly and spread them apart.  This part was definitely the longest and most difficult part of the process for me.

7.  After the buttons are installed, place the cushion upside down along with the bench frame on top.  I started with one of the short side of the bench and began wrapping the fabric onto the frame and using a staple gun to keep it in place.  I pulled the fabric over tightly all around the bench frame and stapled it down about every inch of the way.  When you reach a corner I just cut the excess fabric off and folded the fabric neatly around the leg — I used one staple to secure it just in case but I don’t think it’s necessary because it’s pulled tightly.



8. Next more staples!  Grab your cording and staple that on to the frame.  I started at one of the short side end of the bench at the center.



9. When you reach a corner cut out a chunk of the excess fabric on the cording and pull tight so it fits snugly when you wrap it around the legs.



10. Once you’ve reached the beginning of your cording, I just overlapped the end of the cording on top of the other and stapled it together.  Replace the felt-like material to cover the bottom of your bench.


11.  Finally, turn the bench over, admire it, sit on it, and enjoy your hard labor of work!  I love love looove my new bench!  It took a weekend to do this project! 🙂



2 thoughts on “How to Re-upholster an Indoor Bench

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