Thrift Store Bench Facelift


I really like custom pieces of furniture, but can’t really afford the price tags they carry.  I also wanted a small something to fit in our stairway landing area–just to spruce it up.  I hunted for something for about two weeks and found this bench at a thrift store nearby.  It was $13.

I could tell that the wood wasn’t fabulous and the bench might even have been homemade.  I didn’t really care that much because I planned on painting whatever I purchased white.  I wanted to do something with a high gloss white finish.  The hardware was just your basic metal hinges, but were kind of rusted and funky looking.  The bench was dusty and a little dirty, so before I got to work on it, I cleaned it off with a wet towel.  The wood was already rough, so I skipped sanding it and just jumped right in to painting it.  I chose to use spray paint because I wanted to do this project quickly and avoid visible brush strokes. I hate brush strokes.

I completed the bench in 2 steps, so I’ll give you my supply lists broken up.

Part 1 Supplies:

  • 3 cans of Rustoleum semi-gloss white spray paint

First remove the hinges and seat piece and set aside.  Spray paint the body and seat.  This photo is showing just 1 coat.  I think I did 3 or 4 coats total.  Some of the wood grain showed through, but I was ok with that. I kind of liked the shabby chic look going on there.

Once it has dried completely, you move on to the second stage.  I call this the personalization stage.  This part actually came as an afterthought.  I’ve seen all the monogram stuff in Pottery Barn year after year, and I thought it would be fun to try, and would add a nice touch to our entry.

Part 2 Supplies:

  • acrylic craft paint
  • wood chip letter (I chose G for our last name)
  • wood glue
  • masking tape
  • new hinges (I went with antique brass finish)
  • foam brushes
  • 1 can Rustoleum clear gloss spray
  • level
  • screwdriver

Paint the letter.  This photo only shows 1 coat.  I’d suggest at least 3 so that the wood is completely covered.

Next, you attach the letter to the bench.  I first measured the length of the back of the bench, then divided it by 2 to find the middle.

Apply glue to the back of the letter and stick it on.

To be sure it was straight and even, I used a level.

The wood glue I used was pretty great and set very quickly.  Hold on to it tightly and tape down the letter using masking or blue painter’s tape.  Let the glue set according to instructions on label.

Remove the tape and there you have it.  Before you install the hinges, coat the entire bench (including letter) with 2 coats of the clear gloss.  I used the spray on kind again, but you could paint in on with a brush if you like.  My finger was pretty raw after all this spraying!

Once it dries completely, it’s ready for the hardware again.

Finished bench!

I have to admit that I was feeling a little guilty about all the chemicals I was putting into the air as I was painting this.  But the spraying was sooo fast.  I wish it were made with a better quality wood, but overall I am pretty happy with my creation.  Ella sat down on it as soon as I brought it in.  I knew it was a keeper.


Happy thrifting makeovers!  I’d love to see pics of any projects you’re doing.

~Marisa

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One response to “Thrift Store Bench Facelift

  1. Pingback: {fancy schmancy} kid’s name sign « Sticky Fingers·

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