Re-purpose old furniture in new ways

If you like browsing for secondhand bargains, here's how to turn an old coffee table into a stylish bench that can be upholstered in your choice of fabric.

You can use the method shown here to turn almost any mid-century coffee table into an upholstered bench and use to add some style to an entrance or empty hallway. 


Coffee table

Particleboard or plywood board for seat

Batting / Foam and fabric for upholstery


Drill / Driver plus assorted bits

Bosch Tacker or staple gun




1. For the first phase of this project you will want to tackle any repairs or restoration on the table itself. Before you begin decide on the finish you want for your table.

You can sand and then apply a stain or varnish, or you can paint the table. If you decide the paint, you can choose from a gloss acrylic paint, or a Rust-Oleum spray paint finish. For this project the table was sanded back to remove the old varnish and new varnish applied.

2. The upholstered seat is a simple upholstery project and all that is required is to place your foam or layers of batting on top of the particleboard or plywood base and secure with staples underneath. In the event that you may want to re-upholster in the future for a quick update, don't screw the upholstered piece onto the table, but rather screw through the underside of the table to secure the upholstered seat in place.

3. To add contrast, but not absolutely necessary, you can add a piece of glass, coloured perspex or acrylic, or even a piece of white masonite. This step is great if you need to cover up a damaged top section.



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