A Better Bench

Once upon a time in a far away land, a girl had big, big dreams of building her own entryway bench that would be just right for her little home in the big city. Oh, how she dreamed of having the perfect little bench to sit on while she tied her shoes in the morning. Not too hard, not too soft, but something jussst right for guests to use as they entered the house.

And then she found out that Columbus has not one, but TWO Habitat for Humanity ReStores. BOOM. Old plan? Out the window, and a new plan was hatched almost immediately.

The new plan you ask? Well, I’ll tell you… take our very first adventure to the ReStore and pick out a cabinet that we absolutely loved to bring home and turn into our very own entryway bench that would fit just perfectly in our little entry. And after just about a week, with a little elbow grease, a little patience, and a carefully crafted dream, that’s exactly what we ended up with.

finished bench

So how did we create this little masterpiece of ours? I’ll show you! First up, select a kitchen cabinet that you love. Ours came from our local ReStore here in Columbus for $25 dollars. By itself, it measures about 18″, so it’s a shorter cabinet and was definitely used above an island or peninsula of some sort because it has doors on both sides, which I have grown to love- I think it has character- a little pizazz if you will. But other than that, it’s your typical dark brown dated cabinet.

before

First things first, I removed all the hardware from the cabinet, just to give us a clean slate for when we started it’s rehabilitation…

remove hardware

And I gave it a good rub down with some warm soapy water and vinegar and let it dry thoroughly… it didn’t really smell all that funky I just didn’t want to start painting with out having a nice clean surface.

quick clean

Next up, wood filler. This cabinet had a few holes in him from where he used to be attached to other cabinets/walls so he was a little holey. To fix this, we used Elmer’s Carpenter’s Wood Filler Max for interior and exterior use. It says to apply with a putty knife, but I actually found that it worked better when you used your fingers to spread the wood filler. Following the instructions, I waited two hours.

wood filler

Then we were ready to start the dirty fun part- SANDING! Now, we aren’t all that new to this DIY game and have yet to invest in a sander, so I did this part by hand. BY HAND. And boy was I sore the next day! For this we used these guys, which are a lot easier to handle by hand and are pretty darn durable so I think for the time being, I’ll stick with em! At first, I went with a medium grit to buff out any imperfections in the wood and finished it off with a fine grit to get it super smooth.

sanding process

This part was incredibly dusty so I did wear a face mask to cover up my nose and mouth and frequently swept up the dust with our shop vac. After hours of sanding, this what everything looked like:

all sanded

I also wiped everything off with warm water and a rag once all the sanding was done to remove any of the leftover dust and waited for it to dry before priming. I did throw in an extra step and taped the openings in the cabinet closed with craft paper just because I didn’t want any over spray in the cabinet itself.

For Primer, I used Kilz Odorless Spray Paint Primer which worked pretty well, it was just a little drippy (meaning more sanding on my end) but I stuck with it. I spray painted everything with the primer, the legs, the hardware, and the cabinet itself.

spray paint

The legs we picked up at Home Depot for a little over $5 a can and it definitely helped to speed up the process going with a spray primer as opposed to a traditional can of paint. I ended up doing two coats of primer on the cabinet, doors, and legs just so we got a nice even coverage on the whole thing.

primed

Initially I didn’t like the hardware that came with the cabinet, I thought it was too plain, and too dated looking. But, Josh liked it so we opted to keep it and see how we liked it after we ORBed it. Once all the hardware was primed and dry, we picked up a can of Rustoleum’s Oil Rubbed Bronze Spray Paint and went to town.

hardware

After the first coat of paint, I was in love. They were keepers now that they were fine specimens of ORB’s magical powers. I also did  a clear coat on all the hardware, just to seal in that wonderful ORB color.

Anyway, once everything was primed and dry, we were ready for some paint! We already had a gallon of paint that we had color matched to our kitchen cabinets last year for another project so it was the perfect choice for this piece! Not to mention, we didn’t need to buy more paint for anything. After three coats of our off-white Home Depot generic latex paint on everything, we were ready to assemble!

painted

But first, we needed a cushion for our tushies. Like any normal person, we headed over to Joann Fabrics to pick up some batting and foam and Home Depot for a slice of pizza wood to construct our cushion. Once we had all of our pieces measured and cut to size, we just stacked them on top of one another, wrapping the batting around them and stapling into place.

stapled

Then I added the fabric. It’s actually the same fabric that I used to make my custom table runner a few weeks back. It’s nice a neutral so it fits wonderfully in the space. I folded the fabric just as I did the batting over the entire cushion and stapled it to the back. I was surprised how similar it was to wrapping a present…. fitting, after all, this cushion was to be a present for my tushy… okay, lame joke. I know. Guilty.

Anyway, back to the story. Then I got Batman, I mean my husband, to drill some mounting brackets into place for the legs to attach to…

attach brackets

While he put the legs on the cabinet, I took a screwdriver to the hardware and started attaching everything back onto the cabinet. Once we pulled it all together, we were left with this beauty:

finished product

Gorgeous, right?! Let’s take a look from another angle shall we?

another angle

Josh was definitely onto something when he suggested we keep the hardware, because now I love it and can’t imagine anything else being there. ORB for the win!

So let’s break this puppy down, cost wise:

  • 1 cabinet from the Restore: $25.00
  • 4 cans of Kilz Odorless Primer (approx. $6.00 per can): $24.00
  • 1 gallon off-white paint (already owned): $0
  • 1 34″x10″ piece of wood from Home Depot: $9.00
  • 4 6″ legs (approx. $3.50 per leg): $14.00
  • 4 mounting brackets for bench legs (approx. $2.50 per bracket): $10.00
  • Batting from Joann Fabrics (on sale): $10.00
  • Foam from Joann Fabrics (also on sale, 50% off): $22.00
  • Fabric for cushion (already owned):$0.00
  • Total (after $25 gift card for Joann Fabric)= $104.00

Pretty darn good for a refurbished custom piece of furniture I’d say! It was the biggest project we’ve done to date (other than painting and dry-locking the house) so it feels pretty darn good to sit back and soak up the new bench! We both absolutely love it and I personally can’t wait to deck out that area with a gallery wall to keep our new comfy bench company! Actually, let’s take another look at our beauty….

one last shot

Gosh. I love it. What have you guys been loving on recently? Anything you built yourselves? Or, just for me, any tips on creating a gallery wall in your home? This newbie has lots to learn!

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Pssst! I was featured over at Domestic Superhero this week for my post on our fabric spring wreath… you should go check it out! Seriously… check it out!
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9 thoughts on “A Better Bench

    • Thank you! This project was proof to me that hard work really does pay off in the end! Glad I was patient enough to stick it out! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  1. Who knew Batman did DIY projects on the side? Ha ha. But seriously, Audra, this bench turned out incredibly…and I love that you were able to use more of that fantastic table runner fabric you have. It really gives you the opportunity to change up the color scheme with your pillows. Looking super snazzy. Great collaboration, you two.

    • Yeah, Batman shows up at our house every now and again! 🙂

      We absolutely love the bench, and I’m looking forward to making some fancy pillows to go on it! Yay for more DIY projects! 🙂

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