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DIY: Upholstered bench with nailhead trim

I want to start off this post, the first one of this new year, by saying 'Thank You!' to my amazing readers!

I don't post as much as I want to these days (something I'm going to try really hard to work on this year) but when I do, y'all just warm my heart with your comments, questions and support.

And the most exciting thing for me is when you send me pics of your own DIY projects inspired by something you saw here. So, how about in this upcoming year we both keep 'em coming!

Deal? Deal!

This post was supposed to go up 3 weeks ago but then Blogger decided to randomly delete days worth of work:(

{so I responded by pouting like a toddler and giving it the cold shoulder until I finally forgave it and here we are...water under the bridge, sorta. i might still have a bit of a grudge.}

Anyways, let's talk about this bench:

My grandfather passed away a year ago and among the few things we inherited from him was this bench. It was dark and masculine, with shiny faux leather but all I saw was a blank canvas (awesome hidden storage!) and an opportunity to give this bench a second life. I know my grandfather would be delighted to know that this bench has become so dear to us and is a constant reminder of him in our lives.

{the before bedding...scary, I know!}

But first, some pinspiration:

I absolutely adore the dainty, modern shape of this bench's base but, when you have #champagnetastebeerbudget, free is as good as it gets! Plus, the perfect design could never outweigh the sentimental value.

So, with this pic in mind, I started my fabric search and decided on this one from and to lighten up the heavy, dark wood base I chose this spray paint in 'champagne mist'.

{Image source: love this line of metallics}

Now to begin the disassembly! I unscrewed the upholstered part from the base, cleaned the base and prepped the surface with this spray primer.

{Image source:}

{time to lighten up this dark wood!}

I prime EVERYTHING! It gives spray paint better adhesion and allows for better paint coverage. Also spray primer is cheaper than the spray paint colors so spending a few dollars on a can of primer can save you from buying more cans of spray paint. And especially if the item is glossy or is going to be used outside, primer is a must!

Now to remove the staples from the previous upholstery. There were so. freakin. many hundreds... {my thumbs are starting to hurt just thinking about it again. seriously, I had to bandage my raw, bleeding thumbs a *few* times moral of the story: I now understand why professional upholsterers charge so much!}

{those two big holes are where the base connects to the bottom of the upholstered section}

I wish I could say that this part was super easy... and it wasn't *that* difficult, it was just incredibly time consuming. {Don't all of my projects seem to be?! I always tell myself I'm gonna start out with something simple this time... the best laid plans, right? So, plug in your headphones, grab a comfy seat and get me, you're gonna be there a while!} I originally started the staple removal process with the wire cutters pictured above (mostly because it's what I use to remove staples at work in most situations), but about halfway through my sweet friend, J, loaned me her heavy duty staple remover and that thing totally saved my life! {well, maybe not my life, but DEFINITELY my thumbs!}

{best. thing. ever.}

{As an's amazing to have a bestie/neighbor as into DIY projects as I am! We troubleshoot, encourage one another and basically have an open-garage-door policy for tool sharing! Love you, J!}

Whenever I take apart furniture I *always* take pictures of the hardware before I remove anything. {i've dealt with the incredibly frustrating hardware puzzle that is left over when you don't remember where everything's about as fun as it sounds. take pics!}

I removed the black upholstery underpinning, hinges and faux leather from both the top and bottom bench pieces. The underpinning I got rid of, but the actual upholstery fabric I kept and used the measurements to cut both my white upholstery lining and the new fabric.

The foam on both pieces of the bench was in great condition so that saved me time not having to replace padding.

Being that this was my first real re-upholstery attempt, after measuring the old upholstery fabric I added 2" to all of the new fabric measurements to give myself some room to work with. Now, to begin the re-upholstery!

{I use this staple gun. it's awesome, but admittedly a bit too big for my small hands. I make it work though...they don't really sell staple guns for grown-ups with toddler hands anyways!}

For the white lining I positioned the top of the bench, foam side down, on top of the lining. Starting with the short sides first, I pulled the fabric taught over the plywood and began my stapling in the middle. Alternating left and right of the center staple, I continued to pull the fabric really tight and then staple just up to the corner, leaving the corner unfinished. This is where the system breaks down and I forgot to take pics along the way :( Make sure you are pulling the fabric really tight before each staple. That will keep the fabric from puckering as you go along. I did all four sides first and then came back to the corners. For the corners, I used this tutorial and was really happy with how they came out. I repeated the same stapling process for the decorative fabric - sides first and then corners. Here's where I need to confess something to y'all: "Hi, I'm Ally, and I love nailhead trim" Seriously, though...I *love* nailhead! Chairs, sofas, benches, ottomans, name it, if it has nailhead I love it even more. Our bed frame has nailhead on the sides and it was the final touch that convinced me it was *the one*. So, as soon as I inherited this bench, I knew that whatever I chose to do with it would involve nailhead. Being a novice, and after reading a bunch of tutorials, I chose this nailhead trim by the yard.

Using the trim by the yard (as opposed to hammering in individual nailheads) is helpful for beginners {like me!}. Having the trim all connected makes it easy to keep it straight and hammering in 1 out of every 5 nails means much less hammering. Speaking of hammering the nailhead, you will need to use something other than a regular hammer. A regular hammer will dent the nailhead, so use a hammer with a softer metal like brass or copper to protect them as you hammer them in place.

My dad {the original DIYer in my family} found this awesome hammer for me! The interchangable heads are super cool.

{all finished with the base! also, the last 'in progress' picture I remembered to take!}

Even though I had planned on using the nailhead from the beginning, it came in really handy to hide some of the corner imperfections. Most of my corners came out pretty well considering this was my first real attempt at upholstery, but in a few places I trimmed the fabric too much {oops!} trying to get it to lay nicely and it definitely would've been visible if it were not for the nailhead! {now it's practical and decorative!} All that's left to do was the quick reassembly of all the large parts (wood base, bottom storage and top seat) and I'm finished! So, like every project I attempt, it took much longer than I thought *and* I had to find ways to fix my 'oops moments' along the way...but I learned so much from this project and now every time I walk into my room and see my bench it's a constant reminder of my hard work! I also love that it's a one-of-a-kind piece and the sentimental value makes it even more special.

{the after bedding! such a huge improvement}

Our pup seriously thinks she owns this bed!

The next thing for our room will definitely be new nightstands!

{The height of our bed makes our newlywed, apartment living ikea nightstands look like 'fisher price: our first nightstands'}

Have any of y'all done any upholstery projects lately? Upcycled something you inherited? Going to finally attempt that piece you have just begging for a facelift? Send me a pic - I always love to see what my readers are working on! ~Ally

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