Easiest Upholstered Bench

Primary tabs

Easiest Upholstered Bench

A simple padded bench with a quick slipcover. Designed to work with Farmhouse Tables.

HANDMADE FROM THIS PLAN >>

Projects built from this plan. Thank you for submitting brag posts, it's appreciated by all!

Pages

I guess I can't blame them, but two little girls put their noses on the wall when they cut a whole in this beautiful backdrop that the Crafting Chicks gave me.

But Mom, we were trying to make pillows for our dolls, they pleaded.

They didn't say it, but I thought it.  Just like Mom does.

They have witnessed (and quite often participated) in the hacking up of curtains, drop clothes and even old clothes in the name of DIY.  But the difference?  I was quite partial to this lovely fabric as a backdrop.

So the backdrop with the pillow shaped whole in it sat in my office for months, saddening me whenever I passed it.  It was lovingly made, high quality, and stylish.  Why, why, why, would they cut a whole out of the very center?

I made a bench today, a simple one out of 2x4s and a scrap piece of junk plywood, and put a drop cloth cover on it.  And it was just kindof blah.

But I knew where to find some very beautiful fabric.

Beautiful fabric can dress up even 2x4s.  In the background, sofa made of a paint drop cloth. See the difference?

Beautiful fabric can even dress up 2x4s in a garage under florescent lighting.

The bench that I made was built around a scrap piece of plywood that I had leftover from another project.  But the plans that I'm posting here today are built around our Farmhouse Tables. Or rather for under our Farmhouse Tables.  This bench is primarily designed to work as seating (cheap and easy seating at that) for a dining table.  Of course, it would also work as a entryway bench or even a coffee table or a bench at the foot of a farmhouse bed.

Shopping List: 

2 – 2x4s, 8 feet or stud length
1 – 3/4″ Plywood or MDF or Particle Board or OSB 16″ x 55″
3″ screws
2″ screws
1 yard 56″ wide decorator fabric OR 2 yards 45″ wide fabric (upholstery weight is best)
3″ foam, 16″ wide x 55″ long
wood glue
spray adhesive
thread
stain for the legs (I used Minwax Express Color)

Tools: 
measuring tape
square
pencil
safety glasses
hearing protection
drill
circular saw
sander
level
countersink drill bit
Dimensions: 
Dimensions are shown above.
Cut List: 

4 – 2×4 @ 14 1/4″ (Legs – Cut legs longer if you are using thinner foam. For example, with 1″ thick foam, legs need to be 16 1/4″ long)
2 – 2×4 @ 13″ (End Aprons)
2 – 2×4 @ 49″ (Side Aprons)
1 – 3/4″ Plywood @ 55″ x 16″ (Seat)

Step 1: 

Ends

Start by tapering all of your legs with a straight cut on either a jigsaw or circular saw. Note that if you are using a less thick foam pad, you will need to increase the leg length. The goal is a standard 18″ high bench. Once legs are taperend, attach legs to the end aprons with screws and glue.

Step 2 Instructions: 

Side Aprons

If you have a pocket hole system, attach the side aprons to the legs. Otherwise, use scrap 2x4s to join legs and aprons together.

Step 3 Instructions: 

Top

Screw the top plywood to all legs and aprons.

Step 4 Instructions: 

Foam

Spray adhesive the foam to the top plywood. You can also spray adhesive a layer of batting to soften edges and add some cushioning to the aprons at this stage

Step 5 Instructions: 

Slipcover

Cut the fabric into a width of 55 1/2″ by at least 26″ long. From that piece, cut the following:

1 – 55 1/2″ x 16 1/2″ (top)
3 – 55 1/2 x 8″ (aprons)
From one of the apron pieces (that you cut three of above), cut into two pieces 8″ x 16 1/2″.

Start the slipcover by sewing the side aprons to the top along the top edge only. Use 1 /4″ inseams.

Then pin the side apron on the long side (wrong sides together) at the center to the short end of the top at the center. Start sewing at the pin and sew outward toward the corner, turn the corner and sew the end apron to the side apron. Repeat on all four corners. For more details on sewing corners, you can check out this post for the Parson Chair.

Fit slipcover on bench. Pin an even hem around the bottom edge and sew hem in place.

You can easily add tufting and buttons by drilling holes in the plywood at the desired button locations, and threading a needle through the whole, the foam, and slipcover, grabbing your button, and securing the thread to the underside of the plywood.

Estimated Cost: 
Skill Level: 
Style: 

Comments

Just one more note - measure the width of your table if you plan on building a bench for it. Then make this bench to fit it. That way the bench can slide nicely under the table. Good luck!

This may be my first project. I've been wanting to put a cowhide covered bench at the foot of my bed for awhile now. I can purchase cow ride rugs here locally for $148. One cowhide goes a very long way! Also have plans to cover an old large upholstered ottoman with it for my living room.

You did it again! Another great project that I have been wanting to make. Thank you. I may have to adapt this into a windo storage bench I am thinking about. I was considering your mudroom drawer base for the bench, but may have to combine the two into a window seat. You are always inspiring!

For the slipcover, you can also measure how long you want to make it on the sides, then cut a rectangle big enough to go over the top and drape down the sides as far as you want it. Notch four squares out (the measurements of the sides) in the four corners, then sew the sides of the cut-outs together to make a pocket of sorts. Then you'd just hem it all the way around and slide on. I can do a sewalong later if you need me to :)

Forgot to add, I love this! I will definitely be adding this to my project list too.

And, an example on the slipcover, if you need 8" aprons, cut approx. 8" square in the corner of the larger rectangle you made (not the one of the measurements Ana listed, it's too small), then sew the cutouts edges to each other to make 4 pockets in each corner - it'll resemble a fitted sheet :)

Wow love this one. I have a list a mile ling of your projects that I want to do. This would be awseome for the foot of the farm house bed I want for my room.

Heather, I'd love to see details on how to make this slip cover. I'd love to make this but don't sew! Ekk!

Ana, this is on my short list (once I get a borrowed sewing machine and a few hours of youtube tutorials!). Thanks again!

Also, Ana, am I correct in thinking that you did not use batting? I think I would like to, to have softer edges. Would that change my fabric measurments? (Excuse any stupidity on the sewing front) Thanks!

I just want to tell you, I think your work is awesome, and I am really thrilled that you put the plans online for others to use to build. I am going to build a table, I just have to find the right wood.... :-) oh and the time.

Libby, I love that ottoman and cushions! I would love to make something like that, but need to figure out a back support board piece to keep the cushion from sliding off...oooh, more inspiration. If only I had an endless supply of cash for the supplies.

Lynn, Libby, I've actually drawn these plans up several times, but just can't get the back cushions quite right. I even called West Elm and they said the cushions are just really really heavy at the base. Sandbags maybe? Rocks? Beans? Gotta build and test out before I can blog.

Joe, I can't spell! Someone asked me the other day if I write all my posts, and my response was, as long as you see annoying spelling errors, it's me making them. Thanks for pointing this out. I'll try to watch out for my grammar and spelling mistakes.

I love this! We are rearranging our living room and I'm going to build two of these to go in a couple of nooks that we have. This is perfect! It's my first furniture building project though, so I'm a little nervous!

After looking over the plans, I have a question. As the legs taper down, what is the dimension of the leg at the bottom? You noted the dimension at the top, where to start the taper, but I didn't see the bottom dimension.

Thanks so much!!

Hey Ana! Would it be a totally different design if you wanted to make it tufted, or could I just sew buttons completely through foam? Maybe anchor them to the plywood somehow?

I can't get over how stunning this looks for such a simple project. I may work up the nerve to try it. Someone posted your site today on the Dave Ramsey boards and I've spent a lot of time looking at your plans. Thanks for sharing what you've learned and making it accessible to us all.

My wife just had me take a closet door down by the back door that she wants to convert to a mini (super mini - it's very small) mud room with a small bench. I'll try to adapt these plans to our opening size. Thanks for this!

Happy New Year,
Chris

Ana, I just want to tell you how much I love this plan. I think it will be my first project. Also, I'm struck by your comments and how humble your responses are. I can tell you put a lot of love and planning into what you do. Keep it up! You're a wonderful example!

Thanks!

I may be a total math spaz, but I built the frame for this bench last night, and it's 56" long, not 55"! And as far as I know, that's what it would have to be, right? A 2x4 is 3.5" long, and since there's one on each end, that's 7", added to the 49" apron, that's 56"! Did I miss something? I'm cutting my foam to fit, so it's no big deal, I just don't know if I did something wrong or if there's an error in the plan...

We just built this too, and you are right about the measurements. We had to remeasure a few times to make sure it wasn't us. :) It was short an inch on the plans. Great plans though! We have a made a few of her things and always have to double check before cutting because of minor errors. I don't complain though! I think she's still awesome!!!

Thanks Ana!

I added batting around the edges to soften it up, and I made it a custom size to fit in a strange nook in my house where I used to literally sit on the floor with pillows and my laptop because the heater vent is there and there's a nice view outside.

On using batting and being a beginner at upholstery:  It looks funny when you use batting.  Ana's is WAY cuter.  I only used batting because I use my bench like a chaise lounge and I have a toddler always climbing on and off, so I don't mind the funky round corners, but go with Ana's no-batting version if just using as a bench.
Haley

Your work is amazing!  I am hoping you can help me.  I fell in love with a slipcovered counter height bench seat by Lee Furniture that I am dying to have at my kitchen island.  I cannot find anything like it anywhere else but of course it is over $1000.  Do you have any ideas on how I can make something similar?  I can have someone make the slipcover since I can't sew but I need to figure out how to make the bench seat with an upholstered back.  Any ideas would be appreciated.  Thanks!  Check out this site to see the awesome bench.  http://www.limestoneandboxwoods.com/2010/06/bench-seating-in-kitchen.html

FYI. This bench actually comes up to be 1 inch longer than stated! Make sure you check the measurements!

I want to make this bench for my son's wedding but I really wanted a 77" bench. Do you think making it longer will compromise the strength of it because there will be multiple wedding guests sitting on it.