Have you ever seen a piece of furniture that you thought was so ugly and so damaged that it was a lost cause? That’s how I felt about this huge 1970’s coffee table. It was full of spider webs, had water damage and was flat out ugly. It sat in our garage for a couple of months before any kind of inspiration hit me. Then one day, I had it! With a little paint, some new legs and a new top… this might make a good entry bench!
The great new is, YOU can do this with any type of old furniture… a stool, end table or coffee table.
Clean it up & repair damaged parts
The bottom of this piece had a lot of water damage and since it was not real wood, it had swollen and was completely distorted.
So what you see here is the coffee table upside down and I had used a hammer and knocked off the bottom edge that it sat on. I also sanded down some water blister bumps. It took the finish off, but I was painting this anyway so it didn’t matter.
Clean it very well and remove any doors and/or hardware. I typically just use Clorox wipes
When painting a piece like this, you’ll want to use chalk paint. You don’t have to sand before (I only did to get the water blisters off) and the coverage is amazing! Chalk paint dries very fast and ends up with a matte finish. I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint for this piece.
Create the top
For the top, I picked up a 3/4 inch sheet of plywood and used my jig saw to cut it down to the width and length of the inside ledge on the top of the coffee table.
Then I had to account for the edges.
Once I cut those off, I placed it back on the coffee table to make sure that no adjustments needed to be made.
Please don’t get too hung up on if your cut piece of plywood is not completely straight or if you cut it a little too short. We’re going to upholster it, so that hides everything!
I picked up this foam, batting and fabric at Jo-Ann Fabrics. The foam is EXPENSIVE! So wait until they have one of their 50% off coupons.
I cut the foam with my jigsaw which wasn’t long enough, so then I had to make a 2nd pass. The girl at Jo-Ann cut it with one of those electric turkey carvers… and it went through it like butter! If I was going to be doing this on a regular basis, I’d totally invest in one of those.
I cut my material and my batting long enough that they would wrap around the foam and I’d still have plenty to staple on the back of the plywood. You lay your material upside down, then lay your batting, then the foam, and finally the plywood.
This part is very important, you are going to pull the fabric and batting up over the foam and staple to the plywood. But be sure you pull it very tight so that your batting will push down and round out the corners of the foam and by pulling tight you make sure that there are no wrinkles in your fabric.
Fold and tuck the corners like you are gift wrapping a present and staple, staple, staple. You can cut off any excess if you need to.
Sorry for the blurry picture. I didn’t realize how blurry it was, but you can see how the corners are stapled and tucked.
Then flip it over and check it out. Make any adjustments you need to now, for instance, if your corners aren’t folded just right or if you need to tighten areas up.
The last step is to assemble everything together. I chose 3/4 inch plywood for the top, because I wanted something heavy and something that I could screw through the underside of the top of the coffee table. All I had to do now was set this on the top and secure it to the base of the new bench.
My last step was adding some new legs to raise this new bench up so that it was sitting height. I picked up some legs at Lowes… honestly, I’m not too sure that I like these. I think I need something that is more block-ish instead of curvy, but they’ll do for now… honestly, you don’t even really notice.
And here it is!
It’s amazing to me how something that someone took to Goodwill and no longer wanted, can become such an unbelievably unique statement piece! I’ve gotten so many awesome complements on this!
Here’s a related post where I used the same material to create an upholstered window cornice for our first flip house.
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