I’ve been longing for a comfortable and cushy upholstered bench in my bedroom for quite a while now. It’s always nice to have a place to sit down in the bedroom besides the bed. Unfortunately I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted in any furniture store in my area and ordering a bench or divan online would have been prohibitive, considering the shipping cost as well as customs taxes. So, once more….I had to come up with a way to make it myself. My inspiration piece was an adorable little upholstered bench that I had seen online on Barjis Design’s website. I had drooled over it for months and of course I’d saved the pic in my files.
First of all, I needed a frame to work with. I’d never be able to make that myself. Luckily my next door neighbor Elmer is a carpenter. So after explaining to him what I wanted he made me a very sturdy frame out of thick plywood. I honestly can’t remember the thickness he used, but it was thick. He reinforced it underneath with 1 x 4’s and proudly informed me that it was so sturdy that even an elephant could stand on it. That’s very reassuring. I guess. I suppose you just never know when elephants might be lurking.
I then took the bench out to the backyard to paint the “feet” because this was the only part of the frame that would show. I wasn’t about to spend time with a paintbrush or paint thinner so I just bought a can of brown spray paint and sprayed away. Good thing it was sunny and the paint dried quite quickly.
Once the feet were dry, it was time to begin the upholstery work. Armed with a staple gun and some sheets of sponge, I set out to cover the whole thing with the sponge. I actually used two different thicknesses to get a soft and cushy effect. I used one inch thick sponge as well as a two inch thick one. First I covered the whole frame with the one inch sponge. I cut a separate piece for the top, two pieces for each of the ends and two pieces for the long sides. I then stapled each one of these on individually.
After I had stapled all the pieces of one inch sponge to the plywood frame, I realized that the staple marks were going to show through the upholstery fabric. They were quite visible in the sponge. So I decided to staple on the two inch sponge on top of that in a different manner. I wish I had gotten a picture of this but I was so engrossed in the work that I forgot to photograph this step. What I did was to wrap a very large piece of sponge over the whole bench, first stapling it underneath on one of the long sides and then pulling it taut and stapling it underneath on the other side as well. This effectively covered all the staple marks of the first sponge and it made the bench extra cushy as well. I then cut two pieces for each end of the bench and stapled them to the frame.
Now it was time to staple on the top fabric. I had already chosen the fabrics even before painting the feet. I settled on some soft and pretty velvety fabrics in rust tones that matched the color of my bedroom floor.
First I pinned all the fabric pieces together and then I went ahead and machine stitched them.
Once all the pieces were sewn together, I stapled the fabric to the bench on top of the sponge, stapling it first on one side underneath and then extending it over the bench to the other side, pulling it taut and stapling it underneath on that side as well. I used two separate panels of fabric for the two small ends and stapled them on, folding the raw edges under. To finish it off, I added a 2.5 inch fuchsia trim to the bottom edge of the bench, quickly hand stitching it on. You’d think fuchsia would clash terribly with rust. But it really didn’t, surprisingly. I also made two large beaded tassels and attatched one to each end.
The only place where the staples showed was on the two ends of the bench where I had stapled the fabric to the wood. I solved this problem by covering them with some thin braided trim.