Sitting on the bench

Updated: Apr 23

I (with a friend) have an estate sale business. We don't get every sale we provide a proposal. Most people don't think they will make enough to cover our fees. I love it when we prove them wrong on that! One estate decided to run their own sale. On the last day, they still had a lot of things so they called us to see if we wanted anything—they said they were willing to deal so we were on our way.


This little bench had been tucked away on the back porch. It had a bunch of stuff piled on it. I would guess that is why it had not sold. They only had ten dollars on it. I got a heck of a deal by paying only $3! I knew it would be easy to reupholster.

I started by removing the upholstered top. It was an old red vinyl. It was dusty and dirty and had to go!

I had a fabric selected and I thought it would go really well with a wood tone rather than painting this bench. Besides, the wood was so beautiful. It needed a little bit of help, but it had a ton of potential!

The old finish easily sanded off, except in the grooves of the legs. I had to use a varnish stripper to remove it. It was messy, which is why I don't have any photos of the process.

After using the stripper, I used a single piece of sandpaper to get the last little bit out of the grooves.

You can tell what the wood will look like with poly when you dampen a cloth and go over the wood. It looked great so I didn't use a stain, just Varathane Ultimate Polyurethane in Crystal Clear Satin.

This shows how the wood looks raw and with a coat of the polyurethane.

Look at how the wood just transforms and deepens. It is just gorgeous.

While the bench was drying, I turned my attention to upholstering the seat.

If you have dust allergies, make sure you have taken your allergy meds, ripping off old upholstery always kicks up a little dust. I pried all of the old staples out of the wood.

I typically get rid of all the old batting, cushion and fabric. It is usually pretty nasty, just like this was. It went straight into the trash.

I added new foam and a new layer of cotton batting. I tacked it in place on each side to make it easier to add the fabric.

I mentioned earlier that I already had fabric for this project. Well that changed when I found this at a garage sale last week. A woman had a garage full, yes, FULL of fabric. They only had one small pile of upholstery fabric, but it was this little gem. I really liked it and for $3, how could I turn it down?

The great thing about this fabric—it is reversible. I really liked the back side of this. I will be honest, if I had this fabric from the start, that bench would probably been painted white.

I cut a piece of fabric with ample room to pull it around to the under side of the bench. I started in the middle of each side, tacking down the middle with my stapler and moving around the bench, ensuring the fabric is straight and being stretched appropriately.

You just continually move to the outside as you turn the bench.

Once the top was reupholstered, I simply screwed the top back to the base.

I didn't bring it in to stage it for a photo. I need to put it right in the car to take to one of my booths. I love the richness of the wood and the simple elegance of the fabric. It is a great bench to have at the end of your bed or near your entryway so you sit down and put on your shoes.


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Whether my junk is from a garage sale, estate or farm auction, flea market or the side of the road, I love to find it, fix it, clean it, sell it or keep it. So come along the backroads of Indiana with Junk is My Life (me), let's find something vintage and do something cool with it! Formerly Junk Journal.