DIY Room Decor: How To Make a 3-in-1 Upholstered Tray Bench

Apartment Therapy Reader Project Tutorial

Small spaces require items that do double- or even triple-duty. Cristin repurposed this sewing bench to act as bedside storage, a serving tray, and a lap desk (not to mention extra seating in a pinch!), all in one useful piece of furniture.

Skill Level: Easy
Time Required: 1-2 hours
Project Cost: Less than $50

What You Need


  • Upholstery fabric
  • Quilt batting or 3" foam
  • Grosgrain ribbon
  • Decorative fabric tacks
  • Leather scraps
  • Fabric tacks or small wire nails
  • Iron-on laminate


  • Hot glue gun
  • Hammer
  • Scissors


1. Cut your upholstery fabric so there is enough material to wrap around the wood to the underside.

2. Laminate the upholstery fabric (If you've never done this, Cristin shows you how in this tutorial).

3. To make the lap desk, fill the recess in the underside of the bench seat with quilt batting or 3" foam. Next, lay a piece of non-laminated, matching fabric over the foam area and hot glue it down.

4. Wrap the top of bench seat in the laminated fabric, and nail it down. It should overlap the edges of the fabric on the underside.

5. Cover the nail heads with ribbon using hot glue.

6. Add simple handles made from leather scraps, nailed down with decorative tacks.

Now you're ready to use your bench, or desk, or serving tray!

Thanks, Cristin!

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(Image credits: Cristin Frank)