How To: Thrifted Table to a Modern Upholstered Bench

This low slung modern coffee table from Goodwill was stacked up in my garage for over a year — the fake wood laminate top kept throwing me for a loop. To upholster the laminate top by wrapping fabric around the solid wood edges seemed like a waste of the natural surface. Then I remembered I had a remnant of a yellow leather hide in my studio. The mellow yellow did absolutely nothing for the wood tones, but when I flipped it over to the suede side, it had the zingy contrast, texture and modern dash I was looking for.

Project: Modern Leather Bench/Table Combo
Time: 4-5 Hours
Cost: Thrifted table $29.00
1/4" double strength glass $12.00
Leather hide remnant or modern fabric
Black spray paint $3.99
Loc-Tite construction glue $7.50

Tools and Resources

  • bench style coffee table with a laminate top
  • remnant of a leather hide (or other mod fabric)
  • large piece of 2" foam (Joann Fabrics carries foam)
  • piece of 1/2" plywood or MDF cut to fit 2/3 of the table (Lowes will cut wood to your specifications)
  • piece of 1/4" double strength glass cut to fit 1/3 of the table top (hardware stores will cut glass)
  • spray adhesive (Elmer's spray adhesive works very well)
  • black spray paint, satin finish
  • Loc-Tite construction adhesive
  • drill and small drill bit
  • 1 1/2" wood screws
  • electric knife to cut foam
  • staple gun and staples
  • straight edge and a marker

Step by Step Instructions:

  1. Get wood and glass cut to fit the table top
  2. Place glass on a clean flat surface and spray paint one side black
  3. Place wood on top of foam and trace around the wood, adding 1/2" all around
  4. Place the electric knife perpendicular to the foam and cut around the traced line
  5. Spray adhesive on one side of the foam and one side of the wood, center the foam on the wood and press together
  6. Center the leather (suede side up) on top of the foam
  7. Begin stapling the leather in the center of one long side on the bottom of the wood, stopping 5 inches short of the corner
  8. On the opposite side, repeat the above step, but use your hand to smooth and pull the leather firmly, not tight, and staple that side in place
  9. Repeat this method for the two short sides
  10. To make a crisp corner, pull the leather on the long side of the seat down and under the corner about 1/2" beyond the corner point and staple on the bottom of the wood
  11. Now, on the short side of the seat, fold the leather over like you're doing hospital corners with a sheet and secure the corner under the wood. Repeat for all corners
  12. Flip the table over and drill 6 pilot holes on the 2/3 section where the seat will be attached
  13. Center the upholstered seat under the table and attach the seat to the table using 1 1/2" wood screws
  14. Flip the table right side up. Squirt construction adhesive on the end of the table where the glass will be. Be careful NOT to get adhesive too close to the edges of the table and don't get it on the suede!
  15. Carefully place the painted glass, paint side down on top of the glued area, press evenly and firmly to make sure the glass covers the remaining 1/3 of the table top
  16. Now place your vintage modern upholstered bench/table combo somewhere where everyone will see what clever DIY skills you possess.

ANOTHER LAMINATE + UPHOLSTERY PROJECT HOW TO:
How To: Upholster a Laminate Tabletop

Images: Shelly Leer