padded bench

How to Make a Padded Bench

It is so easy to make and upholster a custom sized padded bench for any space in your home.

I originally built this padded bench to go with our rustic wood kitchen table.

My kitchen area wasn’t very large, so instead of using chairs on the one side of my table, I made and upholstered a bench.

This bench was built with scrap wood from other projects and easily supports 3 people, so it is rock solid!

how to make a padded bench and upholster a bench
Don’t mind the yogurt smudge on the bench from my toddler 🙂

How to Make a Padded Bench

For this project used a Kreg Jig, wood glue, and screws.

For the padding on top, I used a mattress topper, and we found some fabric we liked at a local store.

to upholster a bench, you can use fabric, curtains, blankets, sheets, and more.

I found a thicker fabric on sale at hobby lobby, so I went with that for my padded bench.

Even a curtain or a blanket could work for this bench as long as the material is thick and durable.

The top was a 2×12, and the legs were 2×10’s. The side skirt and supports were made from 2×4’s.

padded bench
This bench works in any space in your home!

Wood Shopping List/Cut List:

  • 1 – 2×12 @ 6 feet long (Cut to 46 inches)
  • 1 – 2×10 @ 6 feet long (2 pieces cut to 18 inches)
  • 1 – 2×4 @ 8 feet long (2 pieces cut to 34 inches)

Adding the Legs to the Bench

The 2×10’s determine the height of the bench, so if you want it shorter, just cut those pieces down to the size you need.

You will have some waste with the size of these pieces, but at my local home depot, I couldn’t find any shorter boards.

Lastly, you will need some of the “waste” from the 2x4s for additional support, which I’ll explain later.

how to make a padded bench

I drilled 3 pocket holes in the end of each 2×10, spaced out evenly.

It doesn’t matter which end. If you don’t know what a Kreg Jig, or pocket holes are, check out this post!

To build the bench I laid the 2×12, flat side down, on the floor.

I positioned the 2x10s (standing up with the pocket hole side facing in) 4 inches from each end and centered on the width.

Before screwing them in, I made sure that the 2×4’s would contact each board.

I essentially just laid out the pieces of wood to make sure they all fit together before permanently adhering anything.

I used wood glue and the pocket screws, that work with the Kreg Jig, to screw in the 2×10’s.

Adding the Support for the Bench

Then I added the 2×4’s as support on each side of the 2×10’s.

Although you could also use the Kreg Jig and pocket screws here, I just used wood glue wherever it contacted the 2×10 legs and 2×12.

how to upholster a bench

I used 5 wood screws, screwed in from the top, to attach these pieces.

Lastly, for additional support, I cut 4 small 2×4 pieces on a 45 degree angle on each end to add to the 2×10 legs, as seen in the picture. I used wood glue and screws to attach these.

How to Sand a DIY Wood Bench

I started with a course sandpaper in 60 grit to smooth deeper scratches in the wood then transitioned to a higher grit sandpaper.

After sanding with 60 grit, I used 150 grit sandpaper then 220 grit sandpaper to smooth these areas that were deeply sanded.

For all other areas that just needed a light sanding, I used a fine 220 grit sandpaper to smooth the surface, so the stain and paint would really stick.

How to Stain a Wood Bench

The stain has a strong odor because the stain is oil based, so make sure windows at least a few windows are open while staining and you wear an N95 mask and gloves. 

Next take a rag and wipe down the table to make sure all the sanding table has been removed.

Now that the bench has been wiped clean, you can begin staining.

Grab an old t-shirt or a brush then apply a thin coat of stain in the same direction of the grain of the wood.

Let the stain sit for a few seconds then lightly wipe the stain with a t-shirt or rag.

Apply as many coats of stain as you need to achieve the color you prefer, but wait at least an hour in between coats, so the stain applies evenly.

The Varathane Stain and Poly already had a clear coat built into the stain, so no need to apply a clear topcoat.

the best wood stain
Staining

How to Upholster a Bench

To add padding to the bench, I used a mattress top and a staple gun.

I added the the mattress topper after the bench was completely built, but this might have been easier to do before the top was attached.

Simply flip the bench over, so the top is facing down on top of the mattress top.

If you have a lot of excess mattress topper then cut the topper to the correct size, so you have a couple inches of overhang to adhere the topper to the bench.

Once you have your padding cut to size, you can start wrapping the padding around the sides of the bench.

Use a staple gun to staple the topper or padding in place. I used several staples to attach the topper because I didn’t want it to come lose.

Before you upholster a bench, I would sit on it to make sure you are satisified with the comfort of the bench.

If the bench does not feel like it has enough padded, add another layer of padding or mattress topper.

how to upholster a bench
This padded bench works great in any space! Btw I made those shelves and coat rack from scrap wood too!

Adding the Fabric to the Padded Bench

Now that you have a padded bench, you can start adding fabric to the top of the bench.

I found a nice thick fabric at a craft store, so I went with that for my padded bench.

Even a curtain or a blanket could work for this bench as long as the material is thick and durable.

To upholster a bench to your padded bench, flip the bench with the top facing down just like you did to add padding to the bench.

Then place the bench in the middle of the fabric and pull the fabric over the side of the bench.

Pulling the fabric tight, but not too tight so that it doesn’t leave “wrinkles” in the padding.

To adhere the fabric to the padded bench, I used a staple gun and a lot of staples.

When stapling the fabric to the bench top, I only stapled it on the bottom of the bench so that the staples couldn’t be seen.

Work your way around the bench pulling the fabric tight as your staple the fabric in place.

For the corners, I simply folded the fabric under the bench until it looked nice and smooth on the top.

Then I used several staples to hold the corner down and did the same thing for the other corners.

Finally now that the fabric has been screeched over your new padded bench, you can being cutting off excess fabric.

Natural Gray by Behr Paint in Eggshell Finish
Natural Gray by Behr Paint in Eggshell Finish

How Our Bench is Holding Up

We made this upholstered bench almost 3 years ago and this bench is holding up great!

Our bench has been able to support the weight of two adults without any problems.

This a versatile bench and can be used as a table bench, accent bench, or entry way bench. You should be able to easily customize this to suite your needs!

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