How to recover a wood bench with a rug (and no sewing machine)!
I’ve reupholstered a bench using a rug instead of regular decorative fabric a few times over the years. This option will hold up to wear and tear and is often less expensive than thick upholstery fabric.
I shared the start of a mini makeover in our bedroom recently…I’m trying to do as many small projects as I can without spending any money. This little bench makeover turned out so well!
We’ve had a long upholstered bench that I love for years. I like the length and the pretty stained legs, but the burlap-type fabric had discolored over time.
Lately we’ve had the bench in our basement:
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It came from HomeGoods year ago but there’s no brand name on it. Sorry I can’t source it for you!
My plan was to exchange it out for this faux leather bench we’ve had at the end of our bed:
I love that one too, but all the metal legs were a bit busy in here. I wanted to tone that down with something simpler, plus have room underneath to easily throw our decorative bed pillows. 🙂
The burlap on the bench had discolored over the years and the fabric wasn’t the most comfortable anyway:
I’ve had it in my head to redo this bench for a long time, so I searched for a thick upholstery fabric forever. I never found anything with the look I wanted.
We needed the fabric to hold up to both use from us, but also the animals as well. Since I’ve used rugs to cover bench tops before, I kept those in mind as possible fabric options.
About a year ago I found a thin $15 rug at Ikea that was perfect!:
I put the rug away in our storage room and thought about this project every time I touched that scratchy burlap fabric…until I finally got to this easy DIY recently. 🙂
My Dad got me that little tool years ago and it’s one of my favorites. I use it everywhere!
If the bar doesn’t get under the nails, use a hammer to tap it underneath. Once I got a few of the decorative nail heads out, the rest pulled up fairly easily:
You can also use pliers to remove these types of nails, but you need to be careful that they don’t get damaged.
When the old fabric was off, I vacuumed the foam quickly to clean it up, then started attaching the new fabric on top of the bench.
Since the rug was already hemmed on all sides, I started with one finished edge on top and reattached it with the nail heads:
I didn’t use nearly as many as were there before, I like the simpler look. I kept all of the nails in case I need to use more.
Instead of upholstering it exactly like it was before (with only a section on the top covered), I realized I liked the look of having the fabric wrap around the front and back of the bench.
I’d like to get an electric staple gun one day, but this one is cheap and does the job!
There were support boards running underneath the bench, so I used my fabric scissors to snip the rug just a bit so I could attach it around those:
Is the underside of the bench pretty? Not exactly:
Will anyone ever lay down on my floor and see it? NOPE. 😂
I love having the fabric wrapped around the long sides of the bench! For the unhemmed side, I simply folded the fabric up and then pounded the nailheads in:
Reupholstery tip: When working with a striped pattern like this, be sure to watch your lines as you pull your fabric to the opposite side so it doesn’t get wavy.
Don’t pull the fabric too tight as you attach it around the bench!
The rug cover has held up beautifully — it’s durable enough for the animals and their nails, and is still soft and comfortable for us to sit on:
SO much better than that scratchy fabric from before!
And I have plenty of fabric leftover to make pillows. 🙂
We like the softer, simpler look so much better…and since I bought the rug so long ago, I consider this to be another free update!:
We absolutely LOVE it! This room has “calmed” so much with just these small changes…but I have a few more in mind:
I love moving things around in the house to make spaces feel like new! And these simple DIY makeovers have been an easy way to update this room.
Have you tried out one of these bench reupholstery ideas? It’s great beginner redo if you’re starting out with do-it-yourself projects!