DIY: Turn an Old Coffee Table into a Bench

I’m pretty proud of myself with this DIY project. I found a coffee table gem at an auction for a steal of $25. I loved the curved look and crackled paint on the sides. I knew instantly it would be mine and I would add it to my french country collection, but I already have a coffee table. So, I decided to turn it into a an entryway bench!

DIY Entryway Bench

Coffee Table Bench


  • Coffee table (check out thrift stores and auctions for good deals)
  • Spray Primer
  • Valspar Spray Paint in Riviera Dune ($4.98)
  • Clear Coat Sealant Spray
  • Fabric for the seat cushion (under $4 a yard at Walmart)
  • Foamology Project Foam (about $15 a roll and I bought two rolls from WalMart)
  • Plywood
  • Staple Gun ($3.99 on sale!)

STEP 1: Spray Primer on the Table

I decided that trying to sand the coffee table would be too much trouble given all the curves and grooves of it. I also didn’t want to ruin the crackle on the legs. So, I used a spray primer on the legs and sides of the table (I didn’t paint the top because it would be covered by a seat cushion).

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Priming Coffee Table


STEP 2: Paint and Seal the Coffee Table

I learned that I should have applied at least two layers of primer to the legs and sides because the paint did not stick well to the table. I painted 3 layers (4 in some spots) before I was satisfied with an even distribution. I used a clear coat sealant to protect the paint and the painting was done!

Paint Coffee Table

STEP 3: Make the Bench Cushion

This was the hardest part of me and my biggest learning opportunity. I had picked out burlap fabric with a fleur-de-lis print and planned to sew a sort of pillow case. I also bought rolls of foam and thought I would make a pillow out of it, sew it all together and be done. WRONG. The burlap didn’t sew well, I didn’t get enough fabric, and my dimensions were all off.

I started from scratch with a new fabric and a new idea. I rummaged my parents’ garage and found a piece of plywood that was literally the exact dimensions of the top of the coffee table! I took it as a sign and stole it (j.k. I asked first). I took it home, rolled out three layers of the foam to match the length and width of the plywood, and wrapped the fabric around it. I used the staple gun to staple all around the edges and I was done! Much easier and faster than sewing by hand.

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STEP 5: Put the Cushion on the Bench

Put the newly assembled seat cushion onto the bench and you’re done!

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DIY Entryway Bench

Lessons learned: Coffee tables are taller/wider than a normal bench so trying to find pre-made cushions that fit was impossible. Two sets of hands make stapling fabric to plywood significantly easier. Burlap is not a great choice for a cushion (I will probably use that fabric to make throw pillows instead). If you leave foam near your radiator it turns the foam yellow. Primer (and multiple coats) is a requirement if you’re not sanding!

DIY: Turn an Old Coffee Table into a Bench

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