Bench with Nailhead Trim
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How to Make a Custom Bench

I am now at the point where I know what pieces can live on forever and what will be past it’s prime (and useless) by the time the fabric wears out (or is outdated). ¬†So over the years I have been able to save loads of money by purchasing what I think I’ll be able to upcycle or recycle when the time comes.

One such forever piece is the ottoman. ¬†Let’s think about this… an ottoman is really just a wooden box that has been upholstered. ¬† When the upholstery has seen better days, the wooden box is still solid as… wood. ¬†In other words, it’s still sturdy and usable, it just needs some love – perhaps LOTS of love.

In my case I had 3 ottomans that came with chairs that I purchased 10 years ago. ¬†Normally I wouldn’t have gotten¬†them because I don’t do sets, but the chairs came with them so there was no choice in the matter. ¬†Didn’t much matter anyway; these were for my then pre-teen son and his friends to use for gaming and such. ¬†I just needed something durable and wipeable.

Fast forward 10 years and add a few more kids to the mix, and these things have had it! ¬†They have been through it all and can’t take it anymore. ¬†I was going to just recover them individually when it dawned on me that I could make them so much more functional. ¬†I could make them into something that can be used all over the house, depending on what I need and when. ¬†Sooooo I made 2 of the ottomans into 1 bench! ¬†Wanna see?

How to Make a Custom Bench Out of 2 Ottomans

Ottoman Bench

Disassembly & Reassembly:

Ready for fabric:

Tufting!  YAY!:

Finishing Touches:

About the legs…. actually¬†those were spray painted as soon as I got them. ¬†The sooner the better so you don’t have to think about it until it’s time to screw them back on. ¬†If the legs of the original ottomans were the style I wanted, I could have just reused them. ¬†it’s nice to have choices.

Final Bench


Well we now have a multifunctional piece for next to nothing. ¬†I know what you’re thinking – you’re thinking with all the materials and time spent, I could have just bought a new bench. ¬†Well I could have, but not at the cost of this. ¬†This is what I consider priceless… why? ¬†Because…

  1. All total, I spent maybe $40 max on a bench that I chose EVERYthing for¬†(i.e. custom)¬†– the fabric, button tufts, and legs. ¬†Being a decorator has it’s perks! ¬†ūüėČ
  2. I know just how well put together it is (i.e. no anger in a year when it gives way and I find out the “wood” isn’t wood at all, AND¬†whatever it is was held together with glue)!
  3. I’m still living The Green Life¬†– I kept this out of the landfill and saved a tree or 2 by NOT buying new. ¬†Okay, truth – I wouldn’t have thrown the originals out anyway, I would have donated them. ¬†But still…. it’s a good thing.

So far, I have tested¬†this at the dining room table as a bench and in the “entertainment room” as a little coffee table AND as a double ottoman. ¬†It currently lives in the entryway – the “Direct¬†Energy girl” got a little too comfy on it when she was trying to switch our service. ¬†I still really want to give it a go in the bathroom or bedroom… looks like I may need to make another one day soon. ¬†Ohhh, maybe with really fun bright fabric and turned legs! ¬†Getting excited!

* Decorator’s Note: ¬†I was perusing the web when I ran across this bench from West Elm (one of my fave online retailers offering sustainable products) for $349 with¬†custom fabric choice, after the fact of course. ¬†Truly I had no idea I was crafting a “knock off”, but it’s pretty decent if I do say so myself. ¬†If I were in the market for a piece like this (and could not have otherwise built it myself), I would definitely buy this one.

Final-Bench close West Elm Essex Bench - $349


¬†Update: ¬†Added nailhead trim… I just had to do it! ¬†I was unsure of the pattern, but I love nailhead ANYthing so it’s all good!
Bench with Nailhead Trim

Here’s the full transformation again.¬† If you like it, please share it!

Would you ever try your hand at a project like this? ¬†Have you completed an upholstery project like this? ¬†Please share, I’d love to see it!

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