When we left off in Part 1, I completed and installed the bench frame and added batting to the front edge of the frame. I gave you a sneak peek at the foam on the bench. So, let’s pick up there.

First let’s talk money.  The wood for the frame and furniture legs was about $50 total.  Add in the cost of foam, batting, and fabric and I built this giant upholstered built-in bench for under $300!  It is about 10 linear feet of banquette goodness!

DIY Brass Pendant Light


When I made all the pillows for the bench, I casually mentioned my shock at foam prices. Several of you lovely readers jumped in to offer advice. Many suggested online retailers, but I was inpatient and preferred to check out the foam in person. One reader mentioned using foam mattresses from Ikea. I was intrigued and checked them out online, before heading to the store.  The next day I met my mom at the store to check out the foam, I mean mattresses, in person.

Compared to the hundreds of dollars it would have cost me at the fabric store, I spent just $129 at Ikea for the Florvag full size mattress.  It was a 74″ x 53″ x 4″ sheet of foam.  One full size mattress was enough foam for my entire bench.  The mattresses come rolled up, so we were able to fit it across the backseat of my car, with car seats still installed…that is a DIY mama’s dream!

The next day my mom came over to help me butcher, I mean cut up the mattress.  The cover has one giant zipper all the way around and comes off in two pieces.  Inside is a nearly 4″ thick slab of foam (it is actually a thick and thin piece glued together).  My mom brought her electrical knife to make carving the foam easy.

Ikea Mattress Foam

We put the wood pieces directly on the foam and traced around them with marker.

Ikea Mattress Foam

We cut them out with the electrical knife.  I was over-excited about this step.  I heard it was the easiest way, but never knew how gratifying it would be to cut through a huge slab of foam like butter.


We cut the two side bench pieces first, then we pieced together the leftovers for the corner cushion.  We had about a 5″ strip of foam leftover.


To soften the wood boards for the bottom of the cushions, I stapled some extra batting around the edges that would be on the front of the bench.  I used four layers, just like I used on the 2×4 frame.



With the foam ready to go I was telling mom I needed to go get more batting to wrap the cushions with. Then it struck us that the Ikea mattress cover was fabric and a waterproof layer with batting stitched in between. Perfect! I cut up the mattress cover to use as batting.


I used a piece from each side to cover my two straight benches and then had to piece some smaller strips together to cover the corner piece. I laid my batting right side down, put the foam on top and then the board. I pulled the batting tightly around and stapled it to the wood all the way around. I wrapped the corners as neatly as possible.




While I was at Ikea, I decided to check out their fabric options. I love how their fabric section is right next to the curtain panels. I have been known to upholster with curtain panels before. Since they don’t carry upholstery weight fabrics (darn, wish they did), I wandered right into the curtain panels. I was like a moth to a flame when I saw the Sanela velvet panels. They came in an amazing turquoise, which would have been way too much with my turquoise table. They also came in a dark gray. Sold! I bought a pair of 98″ panels for 49.99. For just under 6 yards of fabric, I think it was a good deal.

Before starting on the cushion upholstery, I covered the front edge of the banquette frame.  I cut long strips of fabric from the curtain panels to cover the batting I already stapled around the frame.  I tucked the ends of the strips in between the sections of the frame.  At the ends by the wall I folded the end of the fabric under to get a finished edge.  I stapled the fabric all along the inside of the frame.



Ana White did a little sewing to give her upholstered banquette a more tailored finish. I opted to go the no-sew route.

I covered the two side benches first. I laid my fabric out right side down and then put the cushion on top with wood facing up. I pulled the fabric tight and stapled all the way around. I always start with the middle of each side, then work out to the corners. For 3 of the 4 corners, I just wrapped as neatly as I could and stapled. I knew three of the corners would be hidden at the back of the bench or next to the corner cushion.



For the one completely exposed corner, I made a rounded corner with the fabric. The key to making them look as nice as possible, is to cut out any excess batting on the bottom of the board. You want everything on the bottom of the bench to be as smooth as possible.


First, I pulled up the fabric corner and stapled it in place. Doing this pulls the foam into a slight curve at the corner.

no-sew upholstered cushion corner

Then I pulled up the side fabric, carefully tucking in the excess fabric and creating fold. I repeated the same on the other side.

no-sew upholstered cushion corner

no-sew upholstered cushion corner

no-sew upholstered cushion corner

The resulting look is a bit more casual and not tailored at all. It makes the corners rounded and a little puffy. If I ever want a tailored look, I can remove this fabric and sew a seam into the corner.

no-sew upholstered cushion corner

I found out the hard way, that the fabric direction is super important when working with velvet. The fabric looks silvery in one direction and dark gray in the other. I had to un-staple, flip the fabric, and re-staple one of my cushions, when I realized I had the fabric going the wrong way. Make sure to cover each piece with the fabric in the same direction.

I probably should have bought the 118″ curtain panels, because once I finished both side benches, I barely had 24″ of fabric left from each curtain panel. I had to seam the two pieces to make a piece large enough to cover the large corner cushion. I used my serger to overlock the two pieces together and make the seam extra strong. Once the cushion was covered the seam is hardly noticeable. The seam is toward the back of the cushion. Once it is loaded up with pillows the seam disappears :)


DIY upholstered banquette

Speaking of pillows…oh, how I couldn’t wait for this part! As soon as I tossed them all on it took every bit of my willpower not to just dive in and nap the rest of the day. The two turquoise pillows in the back corner are Sanela pillow covers from Ikea in the turquoise color I love. I made most of the pillows with my easy envelope pillow cover tutorial. The Love pillow was an Etsy find. The one yellow chevron pillow is a cover I made years ago that has been floating around the house. I think this is a good home for it.

DIY upholstered banquette

Adding my DIY brass pendant light was the icing on the cake.  It feels amazing to have this space done. It really is a dream come true. Who doesn’t want a giant window seat overlooking the backyard with an inviting, colorful game table?!

DIY upholstered banquette

From a mood board inspired by the turquoise pedestal table to the almost completed space, I am really happy with our casual comfy game room area.


DIY Brass Pendant Light

The only thing left is a couple of chairs. Remember all the chairs I considered? I am still torn. I tried the teal ones from World Market, but the color was too green. I also thought they stole the show from the table. I worry the yellow ones I am pondering might do the same. Now that you see the space in real life, what kind of chairs do you think I should use? I am leaning toward understated white or wood chairs.

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40 Responses to DIY Built-in Upholstered Bench {Part 2}

  1. LAURA says:

    Beautiful! Maybe you could consider purchasing 4 white wood folding chairs? That way you could have 2 extra if you ever needed to move the table to a different location. I could see little ones sleeping on the bench at a sleepover.

    • Jackie says:


      What a fabulous idea. I never thought of getting a couple spare chairs. Great if there are extra spectators for game night, too.

  2. This is turning out SO good! You have my head spinning with ideas. And my vote goes to the yellow tolix chairs :) xo

    • Jackie says:

      Thanks Jessie. I do love those yellow chairs. Maybe a seat cushion or faux sheepskin will warm them up in the winter.

  3. CohoesMom5 says:

    I think white chairs with yellow cushions. And definitely get extra chairs. I could easily see 6 kids around the table playing a game.

  4. Jennifer says:

    Wow, it turned out amazing! I’m the one who mentioned Ikea mattresses might work :)
    Speaking of chairs world market has the yellow tolix look alike chairs for 99.00. Ikea also has some folding chairs ironically in teal (same color as your table) or dark gray for around 39.99 http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/90217793/#/40217795
    You could spray paint them yellow for that pop of color.
    Love it so inspired!!!
    Taking notes and getting really excited as we are searching for a new home and I am really looking forward to personalizing it. Love your style.

    • Jackie says:

      Yes, Jennifer. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the genius idea. The mattresses make for a super comfy bench! After another reader’s comment I checked out the yellow chairs at WM, but the seat sort of popped in when I sat down…maybe I am self-concious, but nobody needs to feel like they dented the chair when they sit on it. It popped back up when I stood up. If I go with the yellow Marais A chairs I think I will go higher-end. Those Ikea folding chairs did catch my eye when I was at Ikea…love them.

      Good luck on the home search. How exciting!!!

      • Jennifer says:

        Funny you should mention that because those chairs were on my radar right when they came out i sat in them and I had the same experience. But I was in WM last week, scored a 5×7 chevron tan and red rug for 59.00 (can I get a woot, woot!) anyhow I saw the chairs again all set up with summer patio cuteness. This time I sat in all of them every single color and none of them popped. I mentioned it to one of the salespeople but she didn’t really have an explanation. It has me reconsidering them for a patio space. I may pick up one to try as a desk chair. If I do I’ll let you know how it works out!
        If you have any great ideas on where to get a porch bed swing I am dreaming this up as my ultimate wish list over the top fun idea along with my house search. Do you think it is possible to build one to save on price, have you ever seen them???

  5. Lisa says:

    Wow. You did such a great job on that bench. I am loving the velvet. I’m wondering if you might need a bigger table since the bench is so big to make it look more balanced. I like the idea of using wood chairs since you’ve used wood in other parts of your house.

    • Jackie says:

      Thanks, Lisa. I have mentioned before that we definitely could have fit a larger table in this space, but since it will primarily for playing games we did not want a larger table. This table is 42″ diameter, which is great for 4-6 playing a game. Larger 60″ tables would be too large for playing board games. I decided to still max out the size of the bench, so if we have a party we have loads of seating.

      Thanks for the vote for wood chairs. I saw some bistro style ones a while back at the thrift store and I am kicking myself for not grabbing them.

  6. Tiffany says:

    Love what you’ve done thus far. What about ghost chairs? They would really let your table shine! Here’s one: http://www.overstock.com/Home-Garden/ETHAN-HOME-Canali-Crystal-Clear-Sleek-Modern-Accent-Chair-Set-of-2/6002785/product.html

    Good luck. I thing white would also be a good fit, but wanted to throw this out there.

  7. Gracie says:

    I personally like the yellow bend dining room chairs that you listed before. I think the yellow would compliment the whole banquet and with them being so open in the back, I think they would be “light” enough to not take away from the table.

    • Jackie says:

      Thanks, Gracie. I need to head over to West Elm and try them out in person. I agree they would look great, just want to make sure they would be comfortable enough for long family game nights:)

  8. I would be interested to see what metal mid century modern style chairs would look like with your new set up:

  9. Your talents always amaze me. Can’t wait to see what’s next!

  10. suburbsmama says:

    I love your upholstered bench, that light is so pretty! The pillows are gorgeous, well, you get it, I love it all :)
    I say chose the yellow chairs. If you get a chance, please link this up to my linky party: http://suburbsmama.blogspot.com/2013/05/sunday-linky-party-9.html

  11. Absolutely beautiful! I can’t wait to see what chairs you choose. I was thinking that wood chairs would add some warmth and texture. I’m sure whatever you choose will look great.

  12. Laura says:

    I personally love the West Elm chairs too – I think they would be perfect, as long as they were comfortable enough. I think the yellow would brighten up the space and I’m a serious West Elm lover, lol.

  13. Wow! I love it!! Great tutorial, and the finished bench and pillows are gorgeous. I absolutely love that colour combination and all the prints you chose!

  14. Jessie says:

    I don’t have a meat cutter. I have heard/read that those are the BEST for cutting foam. I don’t have one but wonder of a reciprocating saw would do the trick.

  15. SarahN says:

    I love Sanela curtains too – I have them in the (old, out of date) red in my loft bedroom, probably best seen in my house tour (http://livetolist.wordpress.com/house-tour/). Amazing win with the mattress too, I’m thinking of buying one of there’s to replace the family heirloom (read: ratty old) mattress I currently have.

  16. Petra says:

    Oh, I’m following you! Found you at It’s Overflowing! You have an interesting style, I would call it arty modern!! I am so impressed with your bench seat – thanks so much for showing how you did it – it now inspires me to do my own! :-)

    • Jackie says:

      Petra, Welcome. You should definitely make your own banquette. We just did our first game night a few weeks ago and it was great to have comfortable seating for everyone!

  17. frank fricano says:

    I don’t know if you already answered this question but where did you find the table legs for the bench? Did you cut them down to size?

    • Jackie says:

      Frank, I used legs available at my local home improvement store. To get the overall height right with the bench cushion, the legs were mounted inside the corners of the frame. Click over to the first part of this post to see.

  18. Diane says:

    Love it! What are the dimensions of the three pieces of the bench? how deep, how long and how high off the floor. thanks

    • Jackie says:

      Thanks Diana. Each of the side benches is 2ft x 4ft. The corner is 3 x 3 ft. The overall height of the seat is about !8 inches.

  19. Christin says:

    I absolutely love this idea. I have been looking to a way to make open benches for my kitchen and this is it! How much fabric did you end up using (not including the pillows)? Thanks!

  20. Megan says:

    We used your plans to build a bench of our own over the long weekend. I’m so happy with how it turned out! Thank you so much for the inspiration. :)

  21. Lana says:

    Hi there, your bench is gorgeous and I see why you’re so thrilled with it. I’m wondering if you could tell me how the Sanela curtains as upholstery fabric have held up over time. I’m considering taking on a giant project of reupholstering our sofa using Sanela curtains, but I don’t want to without knowing if the fabric will show wear or fading quickly. What are your thoughts? Would you recommend it?
    Thanks so much!

    • Jackie says:

      Lana, The Sanela fabric has held up really well on these benches. I am pleased with the thickness of the velvet material. I used velvet curtain panels from World Market to upholster some slipper chairs in my living room, and the velvet was a thinner and faded more in the sunlight. I recommend the Ikea Sanela. Target also carries good quality velvet panels, too (that we’ve actually been using as curtains in both my son’s rooms).

  22. Pam says:

    I LOVE this bench!! You did such a great job. What size furniture legs did you use? I saw some at my local home improvement store but they had several different sizes to choose from.


  23. Pam says:

    Thanks so much! That’s what I picked up today. I’m going for it!!

  24. chris says:

    Love this idea… where can I find Part 1 of the project?

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