DIY: How to upholster a bench.

May 4th, 2012

One of the most common questions I get is, “How do I upholster a bench?” I always practically SCREAM, “IT IS SOOOO EASY!!” I have helped dozens of people with this task. So, today I want to share the simple and easy instructions on how to do this yourself! You can even take these instructions and apply them to upholstering other items also. The same instructions work on upholstering dining room chairs too! How to upholster a benchBefore moving on to the next step, observe where the original fabric is stapled. You need to make sure you have enough fabric! Then, you will need to decide if you would like to remove the original fabric. I make this decision on a case by case basis depending on where the furniture came from and if it is in good shape or not. Don’t be shy, just start shredding it with your scissors and remove the staples with pliers. How to upholster a bench Make sure you have enough fabric to pull tight. Plus, make sure you use a fabric that is heavier than cotton. I use at least a canvas fabric when I upholster furniture. I have used cotton before and it is not strong enough when you pull hard. {Yes, I am speaking from experience when I say that your fabric can rip if you use cotton.}How to upholster a bench copy2
Once you have removed the legs and chosen a heavy enough fabric, lay out your fabric on a clean surface. DON’T try and upholster your bench out in your garage…YES, I am THAT dumb…I’ve done it before. I now prefer to upholster inside, but you can’t have little ones around since there will be sharp objects, tools, and random staples all around you by the time you get finished. How to upholster a bench Make sure that your fabric pattern is EXACTLY centered. Remember that the goal is to make it look like you BOUGHT the bench. :)How to upholster a bench copy copyThe nex step is my favorite. Maybe it is because my husband teases me about this stuff ALL THE TIME. I’m a dufus. I start projects all the time without checking if I have the right hardware or tools handy. PLUS, I never put stuff away when I get finished with a project. SOOOO, I’m constantly looking for the hammer. I’m awesome like that. {Thumbs down}. How to upholster a bench I usually use my electric staple gun. But, if the fabric I chose is super heavy duty, the air compressor is a much better option. Sometimes I get started with my electric staple gun and realize that the wood is made of STEEL {not literally, but it is too hard for the electric stapler to penetrate the surface}. So, I end up switching to the compressor in that case.
I have tried to explain this process without images and it is super hard, so I decided to draw up an illustration for you to see. I have this down to a science, so I have made a LOT of mistakes along the way. If you take my advice, and do it meticulously, I promise your bench will look amazing. No cutting corners peeps. You want your upholstery job to look profesh, NOT homemade. :)  How to upholster a bench illustration part oneHow to upholster a bench illustration part twoHow to upholster a bench illustration part threeHow to upholster a bench illustration part fourHow to upholster a bench illustration part five       How to upholster a bench You will need to cut small slits into the black fabric so that you can replace your bench legs. How to upholster a bench
P.S. I kind of need attention after pressing “publish” today since my computer was giving me fits all morning {restarting itself and crap}, and my 1 year old is sitting on my lap as I finish this post. So, do a girl a favor and comment. Ha ha. I might need to hear a little ?love and affection from my amazing readers?. How’s that for begging!?!?
Have a great weekend.

Linking up to Desi’s DIY Linky Party at the 36th Avenue.


  1. I am just getting ready to cover my piano bench! Perfect timing, and I love the info about the weed fabric. Genius!

  2. The midsection of the post went fuzzy on me, but because of the amazing tutorial with pictures (my favorite kind of reading), it made perfect sense! You broke that down so easily….thank you!!
    Lysol = good call and landscaping black mat =genius. :)

    Have a great weekend and I look forward to more posts.

  3. the whole center section is blurry? everything else is sad I wanted to read the directions.

  4. I am going to bookmark this. I am still searching for the perfect one. Thanks for making this look like we all can do this.

  5. This is awesome!! Now I just need to find a bench to recover!

    Thanks for the post!

  6. Thanks for the weed mat tip! I always wondered where you'd get that fabric.

  7. Great diagrams you did! Great explanation! Thanks for sharing and inspiring!

  8. Hi, Brook

    Great tutorial! Thanks for sharing.


  9. Just bought a bench today, perfect timing. I had recovered a couple of stools and had a hard time with the corners, I am going to use your guide to recover the stool. thanks so much

  10. Ok, this post was meant for me!!! I am currently re-covering an awesome chair that I found at a garage sale for my daughters room. This is exactly the info that I needed! Thank you!!! I am also thinking of glazing the chair too. I spray painted it peekaboo blue and think the black glaze will look cool but I'm a little nervous. I'll send you pics when it's done. I love your blog so much. Keep up the good work! You are awesome! Oh, and I'm Brieann, Pam Dana's niece! I met you last summer :)

  11. Hello 1 year old! I have a few helpers in my home also. Thank you for helping mommy publish a very helpful post. Now go and get some lovin'!

  12. Thank you thank you thank you!
    I've been thinking for a while that I could do this – now I know I can. Lovely clear tutorial.

  13. Thank you thank you thank you!
    I've been thinking for a while that I could do this – now I know I can. Lovely clear tutorial.

  14. Brooke @ says:

    I'm trying the fix the fuzziness! Of course it couldn't just post the way it should! :)

  15. Brooke @ says:

    Fuzziness is FIXED!!! :)

  16. i honestly just finished upholstering my new bench right before i came inside to relax and see how to upholster a bench on your blog!!!

  17. Classy Clutter says:

    You're amazing Brooke! Love the tutorial! I recently did this but added some tufting! I love your step by step! You're the bomb!

    xoxo, Mallory @ Classy Clutter

  18. Valerie says:

    I cannot believe how detailed & perfect this tutorial is. Best all around that I've WVER seen. For reals.

    Now I need to find an excuse to get a bench (or something like it) so I can do this!

    Thanks, Brooke!

  19. Always willing to help a girl out with a 1 yr. old on her lap!


  20. I've done this several times in the past, (by the seat of my pants) method. lol

    you gave amazing tips, some of which never occurred to me.

    thanks for giving me new insight to these projects for a more professional look. love all you do for me.

  21. My lap is free for once so I am actually able to leave you a comment :) I check your website nearly everyday-I'm so glad you have it, otherwise I'd be calling you on every project I do!

  22. I love your guts!

  23. I love the way you've formatted your excellent tutorial. I'm just getting ready to write my first one & yours is a great inspiration.

    You have clear & concise directions, excellently portrayed diagrams, & lots of extra tips to help us avoid trouble.

    Thanks for posting.

  24. This is really useful and I will be referring back to it often. The weed mat tip is brilliant!

  25. The Yoder's Four says:

    Great tutorial! I'm so glad you've done all the hard work of figuring it out for us newbies!!

  26. I am getting ready to cover my piano bench. The weed cloth is a great idea!!!!!

  27. i love the step by step.. i can't wait until all the garage sales start this summer so i can find things to re-do

  28. I've been wanting a bench at the end of my bed for YEARS! I've had the fabric for about one year. Would you believe I just made my first roadside rescue YESTERDAY! A friend spotted it on her nightly walk, and called me immediately. It's a big, long, PERFECT bench, and then your post today???? Seriously… meant to be! THANKS! Can't wait to get started.

  29. Great blog and I really love the bench!

  30. One word Awesome!!!!!!!!!!

  31. Thank you for posting such detailed instructions. I have always wanted to try to this and now have the perfect instructions to take a leap! Thanks!!!!

  32. Thanks for the detailed instructions! I am now not afraid to try this…ox mary ann

  33. WHich side do you start on for the seat of a chair that is a trapezoid shape?

  34. @Jen:

    Just pick any side and work your way around. Good luck!

  35. Found a beautiful 1940’s vanity with bench. I've never reupholstered before, so your tutorial is perfect for me! I would have never thought od weed material for the underneath side. So many good tips. Thanks so much.!

  36. is there an easy way to do buttons on a bench? What is a good material for a kids room? Thanks! Great tutorial!!

  37. Thank you for your easy to follow instructions. I am just preparing to cover the lid of my hope chest.

  38. I’ve been ‘collecting’ books, tools, websites, and saving rather than getting rid of, old furniture for reupholstering. I needed to reupholster my 1980’s era mauve piano bench after grandchildren moved in with me and left their ‘mark’ on the silk fabric. I had a remant of fabric i bought to make protective sleeves for my table leaves that was the right color for the lpiano room but surfed the web hoping to find info on new foam for padding. that’s when the DIY gods led me to your website! Your web site is one of the best I’ve seen and will give me courage to do the chairs, sofa and loveseat stored in he basement! You ladies are fun, amazing, and talented. Thanks for all your great ideas. This grandma is loving it! You can teach an old dog new tricks! Thanks to you, my piano bench turned out great!

  39. I can only find manual 1/4 inch staple guns. Do you think that would be powerful enough for this sort of project?

    • Yes that should work as long as your fabric isn’t too thick. On the corners where the fabric folds you need a longer staple but if your fabric isn’t too thick you should be fine.

  40. I LOVE THIS I’M GOING TO TRY THIS…… I never done it . Do you have any beginner tips please

  41. Thanks for the easy tips! Just finished a window seat and have the fabric to start the cover!

  42. Hi, I am a blogger as well so I appreciate you expect some sort of feedback, particularly good ones. I really like your post. Just trying to see how I can do mine as I intend to upholster a book case from ikea that i will use as bench. please do visit my website when you get a chance.

  43. Dianne Norton says:

    I’ve had my fabric for about a year and after reading your simple basic instructions, I think I can do it. It will be done before nighttime. Thanks for your easy instructions.

  44. Yay! I’m so excited to try this. I have an oval bench in my bathroom… not having corners should make folding the fabric interesting. I’ll take a pic of how the original fabric is done, and try to emulate that. But I feel like I can do it after reading your post. Thank you!

  45. Thanks for the great tuitorial on how to cover the bench. I’ve been looking for a sturdy bench or coffee table that I could repaint, make a pad/cover for my husband to sit on to put on his clothes and shoes. He sits on the edge of the bed to do this and is not good with balance due to spinal stenois surgery, plus his spine is riddled with arthritis.. I am so afraid he will slip off the bed and fall and break a hip or arm or hit his head on a piece of furniture. I’m thinking a piano bench may not be sturdy enough but a maple or oak coffee table might be sturdier. I could buy a piece of foam from Joanne’s to cover with material of my choice. Even an old cedar chest would be sturdy and a perfect height. Regardless what I find to convert to a bench for him, your tuitorial has given me confidence and inspiration that I can do this myself!

  46. Great tutorial, I enjoy doing my own projects! it is relaxing for the mind ! and the finished product is rewarding! I am just beginning to DIY, and this site has been very helpful, thanks a lot and keep posting!

  47. hi, this has given me the boost to do a job that’s been waiting several years! it’s the second set of tips i’ve read, and is simpler. i am going to adapt though as don’t have a good enough stapler – am hoping tiny sharp tacks will also work!


  1. […] Step 6: Using the staple gun, staple the fabric to the bench. We started in the middle of each side and worked our way outwards. We did all four sides and left the corners until the very end. For some helpful tips on stapling, check out this blog. […]

  2. […] two people and four hands! However, I followed Brooke’s tutorial over at All Things Thrifty here. All I can say is that this step was really, really […]

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