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DIY Upholstered Bench

I wish every bedroom had a bench. A small space near the bed for pillows or a handbag or a suitcase for guests that is small enough NOT to attract piles of dirty clothes but big enough to add some additional function and decor to the room is perfect. For the vacation rental that we are building, I tried to squeeze a bench in every bedroom! (Check out our latest construction update post

In an estate sale several weeks ago, I purchased 2 large panels of Kuba cloth, a decorative fabric from the Congo in Africa. The original owner was a world traveler and collector. When I was walking through his dining room, I noticed that the chairs were upholstered in Kuba cloth. The cloth is pretty expensive so it seemed like a luxury to put such amazing fabric on chairs for people to sit on. I originally planned to frame both of my Kuba panels as artwork. But when I decided to make a bench for one of the vacation rental bedrooms, I thought that I'd indulge and give the Kuba cloth a try as my upholstery fabric. It was more difficult to work with than regular fabric, but I'm thrilled with the results!

If you'd like to make your own DIY upholstered hairpin bench (Kuba cloth is optional!), follow the instructions below.


Scissors or large Exacto knife

Spray adhesive

Wood (I used 12 x 30)

Upholstery Foam (I used 3 inch thick foam)


Black felt

Hairpin legs (I used black 16")


Heavy duty staples

Heavy duty staple gun

Step 1

Use the scissors or a large exacto knife to cut the upholstery foam to the size of your wood

Step 2

Glue the foam to the wood using spray adhesive. Do this outdoors and away from anything that you don't want covered in glue!

Step 3

Cut your fabric so that you have at least 4 inches of overhang on the back of the wood after covering the upholstery foam

Step 4

Staple the fabric into the wood (over the foam and the wood) with extra heavy duty or upholstery staples. Start from the middle of each side and work outwards. Fold the corners at a 45 degree angle so that the end fold is a perfect line from the top to the bottom of the bench. This was almost impossible with my fabric because it was very thick and textured.

Step 5

For a more polished look use a black felt to cover the underside of the bench so that the wood is not exposed. Secure with staples. I chose not to do this step.

Step 6

Attach the hairpin legs to each end of the underside of the bench. (I know that there aren't any photos of this...Sorry! My handy hubby was kind enough to take them outside to the shop to attach while I went to bed. No photos, but I can't complain! I was exhausted - long day and long story)

Two quick tips!

Bench size - My bench was limited by the size of my fabric. Yours doesn't have to be! I suggest that you go online and find a bench that you like for sale and copy it's dimensions.

Cost - Why does everyone think that DIY = inexpensive?! Not true for a lot of projects! The materials for this project cost about $200 not including the tools. Upholstery foam is really expensive so wait for a coupon or a sale. I got my foam at 60% off from Joann's fabric with a coupon, No, I couldn't purchase another Kuba cloth bench for $200 but I could certainly purchase another bench for half the cost. But, my bench is special to me so I'm ok with the cost.

Here are photos of the process.

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