Furniture Rehab 201

by Kimba on July 6, 2008

in Furniture Rehab

It’s time for the second tutorial in our Furniture Rehab tutorial. If you would like to read last week’s post, Furniture Rehab 101, click here.

Today I’m going to show you the rehab process I used on a piano bench with a fabric seat. I had been looking for a seat of some sort for the end of my older son’s bed. I found this one at a flea market for $8 and I thought it would be the perfect place for him to sit and put on his shoes take a flying leap onto his bed. Just being real.

Before I go too far, here’s the disclaimer again. Anyone who does furniture refinishing or restoring would be horrified by what I do. I just find bits of this and that and turn them into something pretty and useful.

Please don’t be intimidated by the length of this tutorial. There are a ton of pictures and I promise that it took me WAY longer to write this post than it took to actually rehab the stool.

Today is a lesson in making do with what you have. You’ll see why as we go. Here’s the bench when I bought it.

The first step is to remove the seat so that it can be recovered and so that the frame can be painted. Turn it upside down and look for the screws that are holding the seat in place.

Remove those screws.

Once those screws are removed, the seat should lift off very easily.

Then sand any rough spots or drips and wipe the entire piece down with a tack cloth or wet rag. This stool didn’t need any sanding so I just wiped it down.

Let’s start with the painting of the wooden frame. I used a combination of methods because of the supplies I had on hand.

First I primed with some grey spray primer. I started with it upside down to make it easier to get the legs and support bars. Two coats waiting about 5 minutes between each coat. Then let it dry for a few hours before the paint.

I waited longer for the primer to dry since I wasn’t using spray paint for the actual color. WHAT? No spray paint? Nope. I had a gallon can of blue paint that I used for this project. I had planned to use my spray gun for both of these projects but it’s not working properly so I had to go old-school and use a brush. I like the foam brush because they don’t leave brush marks.

Here’s the first coat.

Then two more coats and it looked like this.

Now let’s recover the seat. Here’s the fabric I’m using. Joanne Fabrics. A half-yard of fabric at $7.99 a yard on sale for 1/2 off. It’s about $2 of fabric.

There was already a fabric covering on the seat and I put this right on top of what was already there. It was in fine shape so I didn’t feel the need to remove it and start over. If it was really gross, I would have taken off the old fabric and then added the new.

I started by laying the seat upside down on the fabric so I could see how large to cut my fabric. Make sure you look to see that the fabric is laying in the direction you want the pattern to go.

Then I cut around the seat leaving several inches around all 4 sides so that I could wrap it around the bottom of the seat.

Now comes the fun part. Get your staple gun and let’s get to work!

I like to start with the long side of the seat. Fold the fabric over the bottom of the seat and staple it in place. Start in the middle and then work your way to each end making sure to keep the fabric straight.

Here is the entire side.

Next I like to do the other long side so that I can pull the fabric across the seat nice and tight and straight.

Now the corners.

There are several ways to do the corners. You could fold the fabric like you were wrapping a present. I prefer to make little pleats. It’s not complicated. Just get your fingers in there and fold the fabric over a couple of times so that it wraps the corner of the seat.

Then secure it in place with a staple or two.

I like to do all the corners and then finish the short edges of the seat.

Here’s the bottom of the seat after it’s finished.

A little tip…If the staple doesn’t go all the way into the seat, grab a hammer or a rubber mallet and give them a couple of whacks. Problem solved.

Here’s the top side all finished.

Now it’s time to put the whole thing back together. Turn the painted fame upside down on the recovered seat. Line it up and grab your screwdriver.

Put the screws back in. I used new screws when I reattached the seat because the old ones were stripped.

And here’s the finished product!

Not including drying time, I’d say this project took about 2 hours total.

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1 Dana D July 6, 2008 at 9:58 pm

What a great idea! It turned out wonderfully! And I love that you included so many photos! It really helps out a ‘visual’ learner like me!

2 Joy July 6, 2008 at 11:00 pm

Great job on the tutorial. You could apply to be on design star!

3 Holly July 7, 2008 at 3:56 am

great job! Very cute for your sons room!

4 Tricia Anne July 7, 2008 at 4:55 am

The bench is precious! Thank you for all of the pictures as you explained the process. I am a visual learner and this post is just perfect!

5 Mrs. Trixi July 7, 2008 at 4:58 am

Kimba, it looks great, as usual. I love the colors you chose. My son will be so jealous, he doesn’t have a flying leap stand!!LOL

6 Z's Mom July 7, 2008 at 5:04 am

Looks great!

7 Debbie July 7, 2008 at 5:08 am

Yet again…another fantastic tutorial and project from you. Love it!

8 Kitty Scraps July 7, 2008 at 5:23 am

Looks great and another great job on the tutorial. I love your furniture rehab posts so much, keep them coming! lol

9 Jen r. July 7, 2008 at 5:39 am

Kimba, Great tutorial! I have an award for you at my blog.. stop on over and pick it up! Jen R

10 Heather July 7, 2008 at 5:51 am

I wish we lived closer. We’d be big thrifting buddies, you and I.

11 Dawn@Embracing the Ordinary Life July 7, 2008 at 6:06 am

You may have just rekindled my desire to go back to garage saleing…

12 Sidney July 7, 2008 at 6:14 am

I love doing this sort of thing…the hunt, the rehab, and the finished product! I recover my chair seats exactly the same way you do with the little pleaty, foldy corner thingys (like my technical jargon??). I’m going to be working today on recovering my dining room chair seats…wish me luck!

Fantastic tutorial, by the way!

13 Marie July 7, 2008 at 6:26 am

Cute! I like the fabric you used. I’ve been looking for a bench for the end of my bed for months. I may have to have my husband make one!

14 Shelia July 7, 2008 at 6:51 am

Mornin’ Kimba! Wow, what a transformation on that old stool. It really looks great and your tutorial was great. I always have trouble when covering seats with those nasty little corners. This helped. Come by and see me sometimes.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia 😉

15 Nicole July 7, 2008 at 6:52 am

It looks awesome Kimba. You’ve got me wanting to go to my local thrift store to find something to rehab. It looks so cute at the end of your sons bed, what a great idea!

16 Empty Nest Full Life July 7, 2008 at 6:56 am

Ok, I wish I could find the number of piano seats that you do. I am headed out to the goodwill and other thrift store to see what might be there today. Your instructions are great and such good ideas. My daughter has and old sewing machine cabinet, and I may make it into a side table. By the way, the ottoman cover is coming along slowly. I have learned that I do not want to be a professional uphosterer. Have a great day!

17 Susie Harris July 7, 2008 at 7:08 am

Lookin’ good miss Kimba.. like always… I love those colors~ Susie H

18 Songbirdtiff July 7, 2008 at 7:15 am

The stool looks great! Thanks for taking the time to share all the details.

19 Scooterblu's Whimsy July 7, 2008 at 7:24 am

Too cute! Love the color and the fabric! Great job!

~Rhonda 🙂

20 Kris July 7, 2008 at 7:33 am

What a great tutorial. Now I’m just waiting for a perfect piece of furniture to jump out at me at a yard sale!

That turned out really nice!

21 Darlene July 7, 2008 at 7:39 am

That turned out great!!! I love all the photos in the tutorial, I even think I could do that. You better believe I will be on the hunt now. It is so perfect in your son’s room. Thank you so much!!

22 Amy July 7, 2008 at 8:03 am

That is awesome, it came out great! You have really inspired me (from reading a few of your posts) to get started on some projects just like this one.

23 Angie July 7, 2008 at 8:07 am

Ok, I’m officially inspired. You made that look too easy. Where do you find a lot of your “ready to rehab” purchases?

24 HeathahLee July 7, 2008 at 8:25 am

You, once again, have inspired me to recover my dining chairs. Now just to find fabric for $3.50 a yard…

25 Liz July 7, 2008 at 8:54 am

I may have mentioned this before, but I’m so envious of your painting spot in the garage! 🙂 I’m constantly pinning down plastic tarps in the backyard, not very convenient!

The bench looks fab, as usual!

26 Jo July 7, 2008 at 10:06 am

What a cute little bench! I love the fabric and the colour. I totally agree about using a foam brush for painting. That’s what I used for my piano bench project. So much easier than a bristle brush. Thanks for posting your tutorials.

27 Mabry's gamma July 7, 2008 at 10:18 am

You are my hero! I love the ideas you come up with and the BARGAINS that you find.

I have been googling to try to find some flea markets and such in my area but to no avail, I will keep hunting though. Know of any in the northeast Georgia area?

28 Mrs4444 July 7, 2008 at 11:32 am

This is Crazy-Easy! Thanks for the reminder and inspiration.

29 Kim July 7, 2008 at 11:37 am

Hi, I just found out about your blog and I LOVE it! I love the bench you just re-did, you make it look so easy that I actually think I might be able to it!
Thanks for the inspiration!

30 Heather July 7, 2008 at 12:30 pm

This is so cute! I love how it turned out! The stripe fabric is great up against that blue paint. I had to laugh when you said “Take a flying leap” onto his bed. So true!!!
Thanks for the tutorial!
Have a great day!
-Heather 🙂

31 Lacy July 7, 2008 at 12:54 pm

My son needs a leaping bench for the end of his bed!!!!! I love the tutorial, look the detail and love lots of pictures! I am now going to hunt for a leaping bench for my bedrooms. Maybe Ill get one for me! Who doesnt like to jump on beds?????

32 Lacy July 7, 2008 at 12:56 pm

Ment to say love the pictures…..I was so excited I couldnt type! Plus I wanted to give you one more comment!!!

33 Stacey July 7, 2008 at 3:07 pm

Man you are good! 🙂

34 Nancy Hood July 7, 2008 at 3:51 pm

I have always thought changing seat patterns had to be the easiest design change ever!! Thanks for the pics and letting everyone know it IS possible!

35 Gina July 7, 2008 at 4:36 pm

You go girl!!
I love all the tips you’re sharing. Makes me want to SPRAY PAINT SUM’PIN!!!

36 Monkey Giggles July 7, 2008 at 5:22 pm

Very Nice. It would go good with my porch love seat I just re-did.

37 Handmade Housewife... July 7, 2008 at 6:40 pm

Hi Kimba,
Just found your blog over at the Nester’s place. Love the bench. I did a similar treatment to some chairs. I horrify people too with the way I paint, recover, etc… Yours looks great! I’m sure your son appreciates his new launching pad 🙂


38 Carrie July 7, 2008 at 8:18 pm

This is great!

39 alexandra July 7, 2008 at 8:20 pm

That bench turned out soooo cute! I love the fabric you chose. What a simple project…thanks for the step by step. I think a tall, square basket would fit under there perfectly to store shoes or toys.

40 V & Co. July 7, 2008 at 8:56 pm

3 of my favorite things old furniture to make into something else, fabric and paint!!! it turned out FAB-U-LOUS!!!

41 asnipofgoodness July 8, 2008 at 7:13 am

Looks terrific!!!

42 Marvelous Mom...just Managing:) July 8, 2008 at 9:04 am

Ok, I had to laugh at the last guy’s comment about making it extra comfy.As a mom of five, that “extra comfy” equates to enabling our sons to get a better launch or should I say “free fall” time, right? hee hee
This tutorial couldn’t come at a better time since my sil just complained about her nasty piano bench. YEA!

43 Aubrey July 8, 2008 at 1:00 pm

I love this because I have to be told specifically what to do, in what order, and for how long. Plus, I never realized how visual a person I am until recently–so seeing pictures? I’m in visualizing heaven. You’re awesome.
Plus, I like these posts because they kind of remind me of watching Trading Spaces while nursing my first (now five-year-old) baby. Your tutorials are way better, by the way.

44 Billy & Ann July 8, 2008 at 1:16 pm

The stool looks great and I enjoyed the tutorial. You mentioned a paint sprayer, can you tell me what kind it is? I’m just getting into the rehab fun and cans of spray paint can get expensive.

45 Caren July 8, 2008 at 6:33 pm

Great tutorial! That looks really gorgeous! I have to finish my two week stint as a camp counselor before I get to work on The Chair but your tutorials help me get through that LONG two weeks. 😉

46 Gina July 9, 2008 at 2:15 pm

Oh, I have one JUST like this! I’ve recovered the seat twice in the years I’ve had it but I am now missing one of the support bars below. I really hate to paint natural wood but this looks great and since replacing the support will make it a different wood anyway, this is probably my best alternative!
🙂 Gina

47 T Lyn July 9, 2008 at 7:21 pm

Looks great. I used that same fabric on the back of a cabinet. I soaked the fabric in starch and put it on the back.

48 Ches September 9, 2008 at 10:25 am

This is great. I stumbled across your site a few days ago and I am soooo addicted. I even went out to Walmart and gathered a lot of spray paint for some items to paint.

49 heidikins May 14, 2009 at 9:53 am

Hi, not sure how I clickity-click-clicked to your site…but I just finished this EXACT. SAME. BENCH!! I found it for $2 at a thrift store and finished recovering the seat last night. Yay for staple guns!


50 JANITA September 1, 2009 at 2:09 am

Thanks for the foam brush tip. Have never painted wood with spray paint, is it really a good choise? Cause if it is, I will start using that 🙂

51 Jessica October 14, 2009 at 7:26 am

Like Heidikins, I also redid the same bench (without the bars on the bottom)! Took me two tries, because I didn't read the directions on the stain (and I call myself a furniture refinisher – ha!)

Here's my post about it:

52 Stacey Myers February 6, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Fantastic site! Just stumbled across it and will be checking it daily. I’ve used cans of spray paint but never a sprayer – mind telling me what kind you got? I like the option of painting furniture any paint color I want and not just being pigeon-holed by the colors of the spray cans. Thanks!

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