The perfect bench can be hard to come by, but that doesn't mean it has to be hard to make! Using a coffee table (yes, coffee table) and a few thrifted furniture pieces, you can fashion a bench that matches your home perfectly. Even better? Your bench will be truly one-of-a-kind... and truly inexpensive!
Things You Will Need
- Simple coffee table
- Twin size headboard and footboard
- 1/8-inch drill bit
- Sample size paints in desired colors, (2)
- Polyurethane or shellac
- Paint brush
- Paint roller
- 1 1/2-inch wood screws, (8)
- Measuring tape
- Petroleum jelly
- Paper towels
This bench required no real building, just attaching and painting, and since the old coffee table used here had a shelf, there's now a place perfect for shoes to rest rather than being strewn throughout an entryway or mud room.
Twin size bed pieces will be closest to the correct size and plain coffee tables like this can be found at stores like Walmart and Ikea for around $20.
Prepare and Paint Your Pieces
The sides of the bench are completely optional so if you can't find a headboard and footboard set, just do the back pieces. However, the sides give it a little more of a comfy, bench look so they're nice to have. To make the pieces for it, find the middle of the footboard and use a saw to cut it in half.
Now paint all of your pieces in your base color. Give each piece a couple coats of base paint.
Used here is Behr Marquee in the Ultra Pure White base with a flat/matte finish. Because we used a high coverage paint with primer in it and are giving this piece a clear coating, sanding isn't necessary. However, the paint will be more resistant if you go over each piece with 220 grit sandpaper first, so do this if you're worried about your bench getting scuffed or heavily used.
Attach the Sides
Hold your cut-in-half footboard pieces up to the sides of your coffee table. Use a level to make sure you'll have an even arm on your bench.
Pre-drill holes (at least three) in various places where the footboard meets the coffee table and then attach using 1 1/2-inch screws.
Attach the Back and Fill in the Gaps
Our coffee table was just the right size where the headboard fit over the two side pieces. Yours may vary but just bring the headboard up to the sides and make sure the coffee table is centered under it. Drill and screw the headboard into place, attaching it to both the sides and the coffee table if possible.
The bed frame attaches to these pieces via long slits in each post. Use spackling to fill these in along with any other holes or blemishes you may have. Because the paint job will be rustic and not smooth, these don't need to be perfectly flat, so no sanding will be required. Just fill and scrape fairly evenly.
Give It a Rustic Paint Job (Without Sanding!)
This clever little trick removes the need for any pesky sanding and uses a supply you probably already have in your home: petroleum jelly!
Place small amounts of petroleum jelly on your finger tips and rub this all around the edges of your bench or anywhere you don't want the top color of paint to stick. Smear it on thick but not in big globs. Just enough to cover the surface without being big enough to spread around with your brush. This step should go by quickly as it doesn't need to be uniform or even at all.
Using a paintbrush, spread your top color all over your bench without trying to give it too thick of coverage. We're going for a rustic/weathered look so spaces and unevenness is desired! The color used here is Benjamin Moore Covington Blue in the flat/matte Behr Ultra base.
Do about half of your bench at a time so that the paint doesn't get too dry. We do want it fairly dry though, so after going over a big portion, go back with a paper towel before it's completely dry and wipe all around the edges and areas where you had left a petroleum jelly coating. This will remove any paint that is on top of the jelly, leaving completely white areas. So much easier than sanding all those edges! Just wipe clean!
Now go back over your bench with a mostly dry brush, only dipping it lightly in the paint. Spread your brush around in various motions as you go, rubbing and smearing in all directions to accent the weathered look. Lightly dab over edges that have too much white left until you're happy with the look and it has a natural weather to it.
After your bench is all dry, give it a nice coating of polyurethane or shellac. This will add a uniformity as well as protect your paint (and shellac will make the surface non-toxic!)
Look at that gorgeous finish we got with absolutely no sand paper whatsoever! Can you believe it? Dread weathered finishes no longer!
That's it! Just four steps to a brand new, functional and custom bench perfect for your entryway, mudroom or even your porch!