Back in college, I was really into designing furniture and sketching out all the details, but I never really tried to make my own. That may have something to do with the fact that I lived in an apartment with no power tools. Ha! But at least the desire to make my own furniture was there. Cut to 14 years later and I am finally finding the time to create a few furniture pieces for my home! Yay! This DIY color blocked velvet bench wasn’t a college design, but one I came up with after seeing an amazing We Work space in Paris with built in benches in colorful jewel tones. While I couldn’t buy the benches (I am pretty sure they were custom built for the space), it seemed like a DIY I could handle. Plus, I have always wanted a bench for my home, so I figured I would give it a shot and make my own.
I am beyond thrilled with how the bench turned out! It took one weekend to make and that was with taking breaks and extra trips to the hardware store. So I would say if you had all the supplies, you could probably get it done in one day.
-1 piece of 4′ long 12″ by 1″ wood board (you can get this cut to size at the hardware store)
-1 piece of 4′ long 20″ by 1″ wood board (this may be a pieced piece or a piece of thick MDF and will be your base for the bench)
-1 piece of 2″ thick 4.75′ by 2′ foam padding (from the craft or fabric store)
-3 yards of batting
-4 yards velvet (2 yards in each of 2 colors – I used orchid and teal)
-industrial staple gun and staples
-3 8″ L brackets
–4 18″ tall hair pin legs
-gold spray paint (optional for gold legs)
-27 1″ wood screws and washers
-pen or pencil for marking
Step 1: Begin by laying your wood pieces on the foam and tracing with your pen or pencil. Then use a serated knife or scissors to cut the foam to size. For the back piece, you will need it to be 48″ by 12″ to cover the entire piece of wood. For the base of the bench, you will want to cut the foam to cover only 48″ by 17″ of the wood so that there is a gap on one side for the back of the bench to fit into.
Step 2: Lay out your batting and then place the foam and then the wood piece on top of the batting, leaving enough space on all sides to pull the batting up and around the wood. Pull the batting around the sides of the foam and wood and secure it to the wood with the staple gun. Move all around the wood, pulling and stapling the batting until it is adhered on all sides. For the corners, simply tuck the extra batting to one side and pull the remaining batting tight and staple to the wood.
Step 3: For the base of the bench, repeat the batting stapling step, but staple the batting to the top of the wood where the foam ends on one side as seen above.
Step 4: Next, you will want to lay the batting covered boards onto the center back side of your velvet fabric. Pull the velvet around the sides and staple to the wood on the underside of each piece. Repeat all the way around the boards. For the corners, fold in the excess fabric to one side and fold up the flap and staple as shown below.
Step 6: Now it is time to attach the back to the base of the bench. To do this, set the base of the bench onto the three L brackets and then place the back of the bench into the foamless grove of the base. Use your screws to attach the L brackets to the back of the bench, then flip over and attach them to the base of the bench.
Step 7: Spray paint the legs gold, let dry for 2-3 hours and then screw them onto the corners of the base of the bench.
I wanted my bench to sit against a wall, so I didn’t finish the back of the bench. But if you want your bench in the middle of the room or where the back will be seen, you will want to create a covered piece of 1/2″ plywood that measures 48″ by 12″. Just cover the plywood with batting and then velvet fabric and staple into place on the back. Then use finishing nails and wood glue to attach the panel to the back of the bench to give your bench a finished look.
I can not even begin to tell you how much I love my new bench! It was definitely worth the time spent on it. While I love the color combo of the two different velvets, you can easily make this bench in a printed upholstery fabric or just a solid textured fabric too. Just make sure to use a thick fabric so that it stands up to use! xo. Kara
Credits // Author and Photography: Kara Whitten. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.