This DIY tufted bench is my favorite furniture make-over project, to date! What began as an ugly upholstered bench marked down in a Scottsdale thrift store, has become my (and my dog, Belle’s) favorite piece in the house.

Tufted Bench Makeover Before and After

I’ve been looking for a bench that would be just the right fit in my bedroom- a perfect spot for all my decorative pillows at night. I wanted it to be cozy and neutral, with a touch of glam. Most importantly, my bench had to have storage for extra blankets, just an arm’s reach away on a chilly night.

When I first saw this ugly maroon bench for just $63, I knew it had potential. Then when I found 7 yards of the tan slub- textured upholstery fabric at the same thrift store for only $5, I decided it was fate.  In about 1 week, I was able to completely make-over the bench into a piece I am proud to showcase in my home.

DIY Tufting Tools

To do it, I used mostly tools I already had around the house. Other materials and tools used include:

  • Cover Button Kit (the kind with the teeth are best for thick upholstery fabrics
  • camera (we’ll get to that in a minute)
  • needle nose pliers
  • putty knife
  • staple gun
  • upholstery needle
  • embroidery needle
  • nylon thread
  • metal buttons (one for every tuft)
As you can see from the photo at the thrift shop, the original bench was not tufted. So, my first step was tufting the seat bench. Here’s how I did it:

STEP 1: Create a Tufted Seat

DIY Tufted Seat Pattern


DIY Tufts and Buttons

Step 2: Remove Previous Upholstery

DIY Tufted Upholstery Bench

This was the most daunting part of this project, even more so than the tufted seat. I used a combination of a putty knife and pliers to pull out each of the upholstery staples and disassemble the bench. MOST IMPORTANT: I took lots of pictures of how the bench was put together, then referred back to them when re-upholstering later.

Step 3: Cut New Upholstery Pieces

DIY Tufted Upholstery Bench

DIY Tufted Upholstery Bench pins

Using the old upholstery pieces as a pattern, I then pinned them to my new fabric and cut them out.  I also re-created the same piping in the original bench, using some welting cord and my sewing machine. Once again, the original upholstery pieces were used as a guide.

Step 4: Reverse Engineer the New Upholstery to the Bench

DIY Tufted Upholstery Bench

DIY Tufted Upholstery Bench

This is where all those pictures I took while disassembling the bench came in really handy. Using a heavy duty staple gun, I pieced together the bench frame and the new upholstery, like a puzzle. The hubs had to help with the rolled arms, so ensure a snug, smooth fit. The final step was to reattach the tufted seat and legs, which I stained a slightly darker walnut.

DIY Tufted Seat

When the tufted bench was finished, I quickly learned that my dog Belle had plans of her own for it. My pillows would have to find a new home because this glamorous bench, she decided, was her new bed. Since Belle is the boss, we obliged. 🙂  I was, however, allowed to store my blankets inside, so the bench does offer some substantial utility, after all.

Tufted Bench Cavalier King Charles

Tufted Bench King Charles Cavalier Spaniel


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10 Responses to {DIY} A Tufted Bench Make-Over

  1. Dottie Ohe says:

    I am proud of both you and Belle!

  2. Kristen Forgione says:

    L<3VE!! Great, great job! I too am obsessed with vintage to youthful in furniture!! Xo!

  3. I could never do this myself but it looks fabulous! Love tufted pieces.

  4. Hi, your bench turned out so pretty!! I’m upholstering and tufting a bench today, so your tutorial was very helpful- thanks! 🙂

  5. […] for stopping by!  Stay tuned for my next tufting DIY project or visit the DIY Decor section for more […]

  6. Kelly says:

    How did you get the side pieces on (beneath the arms), it seems everybody skips this step in tutorials.

  7. This is so funny – I just bought the EXACT same bench from CL for $20 and am in the middle of reupholstering (I hated the upholstery as well) and this was the first blog I came across! Yours looks great! Hopefully mine comes out just as good 🙂

  8. Aloha and Thank you so much this was just the thing I needed to reupholster mine. Great site. Mahalo

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