Chunky 70s Coffee Table Repurposed Into An Upholstered Bench

Remember the chunky tables that were so popular in the 70s? Who knew they'd be in popular demand again forty years later but with a twist. Hide the ugly dark plastic wood with a fresh and bright color like teal, turquoise, coral and those ornate details pop. But did you know you can repurpose chunky 70s coffee tables into an upholstered bench? It's a budget-friendly DIY furniture project that isn't difficult to do and I'll show you how.

Chunky 70s Coffee Table Upholstered Bench


Chunky 70s Coffee Table Upholstered Bench

When my son and his wife purchased their first home they were looking for a bench for their front entry. With the placement being adjacent to the sidelight windows on their front door, the bench would be visible from outside. Their home is decorated with a mix of mid-century modern and industrial styles with teal being the accent color on their main floor. So when we found a beat-up 70s coffee table at a local online auction, I knew it had the potential of being a gorgeous upholstered coffee table bench for their home.

This is the groovy vintage coffee table before the makeover.

70s Coffee Table Bench Before Makeover

You can see it had seen it's better days but the bones were perfect to support the weight of an entry bench. Plus it had handy storage potential underneath for things like dog leashes, gloves, hats, umbrellas, etc. I knew the chunky bronze pulls would look great painted a contrasting color so they popped.

Chunky Wood Coffee Table Bench

I found the pretty fabric at Fabricland, a Canadian fabric retailer, and is a perfect match to the teal paint color. It's an outdoor fabric that is suitable for an entry bench because of its weather and fade-resistant qualities as well as durability.

Repurposed 70s Furniture

The shape of the corners on the top is a nice detail on this upholstered bench too.

Upholstered Bench Coffee Table

The interior of the storage cubby was also painted teal.

Coffee Table Bench With Storage

It's the perfect statement piece when you walk in their front door with the bright cheery color and they receive a lot of compliments from guests and passersby.

Repurposed Vintage Coffee Table

How To Turn A 70s Coffee Table Into An Upholstered Bench

Let's get into the nitty-gritty of this furniture makeover and how to repurpose a coffee table into a bench.

Chunky Coffee Table Makeover

Raise the height with feet

This step is optional, but to add height to the bench we attached short wooden feet found at Home Depot to the bottom of the bench. They also make it easier to vacuum around the bench.

Chunky Vintage Coffee Table Bench

Prep the coffee table for paint

THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP. Some chalky style paint brands state you can paint right over the original finish. I prefer to err on the side of caution and either rough up the shiny finish with 150 grit sandpaper first to give the paint some bite OR give it a coat of primer. On this table, I lightly sanded the table first.

Paint the vintage coffee table

I painted the entire table, except the top, with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in the color Duck Egg Blue but it wasn't quite the look my son and daughter-in-law were going for. Then I painted one of the doors in the color Provence, which is more teal and got the thumbs up.

Both the exterior and interior were painted with two coats of paint. The nice thing about this paint is that it dries very fast so I was able to start the second coat within an hour.

Repurposed 70s Furniture Makeover

Once the second coat of paint was dry I sprayed two coats of exterior diamond polyurethane over the entire table for added durability, considering it would be used as a bench in a high traffic zone.

Clean and paint the original hardware

I gave the original pulls a hot vinegar bath and some scrubbing to remove the years of grime off of the original pulls. I found this video on how to clean old hardware that you might find helpful. Once they were cleaned I spray painted them with two coats of Heirloom White spray paint and lightly distressed the edges with 220 grit sandpaper.

DIY Upholstered Coffee Table

How To Upholster A Coffee Table Bench

Flip the coffee table upside down onto a piece of 1/2-inch plywood and trace the profile of the top of the table with a pencil. Use a jigsaw to cut the new top for the upholstery.

Set the cut piece of plywood on top of a piece of 2-inch high-density foam and trace the outline with a marker. Cut the foam with a serrated bread knife or electric knife and attach it to the plywood with upholstery spray adhesive. Once the glue is dry we're ready to upholster the bench.

  1. Lay the fabric, good side down, on a clean work surface.
  2. Lay the new batting over top of the fabric. 
  3. Flip the plywood upside down (foam side on the fabric) and line up the pattern on the fabric so it's nice and straight.
  4. Wrap the fabric and batting over to the underside of the plywood. 
  5. Tack a staple in the middle of one of the long sides. 
  6. Pull the fabric taut but not too tight that it distorts the pattern, and tack a staple into the center.
  7. Repeat on all four sides. 
  8. Working from the center and towards the corners, staple the fabric and stop about 2-3 inches from each corner. 
  9. Fold the corner fabric over the corner and staple in place and repeat on each corner.
  10. Trim the excess fabric and batting.

How To Attach Upholstered Seat To Coffee Table

Now we're ready to attach the newly upholstered seat to the freshly painted coffee table.

Set the upholstered seat onto the coffee table and line it up nice and straight. From the underside of the coffee table attach it with wood screws into the plywood. Make sure the screws are not too long that they go through the plywood and into the foam.

That's it, we're done!

This furniture makeover doesn't take a lot of time, especially when you use quick-drying waterbased chalky type paint. You can have your new upholstered bench finished in a day. Here's another repurposed coffee table bench idea where I turned a claw foot coffee table to an upholstered bench for a music room.

After my son and daughter-in-law saw their new bench, they asked me to give their retro coffee table and tiered end table a makeover in the same teal color too. But I did something unique on their Mid-Century Modern Arborite Tables With Faux Tin Tops.

If you have any questions about this repurposed coffee table bench, please leave them in the comment section below or the Contact Me tab at the top. I love hearing from you!

If you enjoyed this repurposed 70s Chunky Coffee Table Bench idea, I'd be so thankful if you shared it with a friend and pinned it to your Repurposed Furniture or Bench Ideas board on Pinterest.


Vintage Coffee Table Upholstered Bench

Repurposed Chunky 70s Coffee Table Bench


I share my projects at these inspiring link parties.

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Comments

  1. I love this coffee table turned into a bench. I want to do the same thing . I found a heavy duty table on FB Marketplace. Can you give me the steps you went thru to do this project? Thanks a million.

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    1. Hi Daria, thank you for your visit and comment! It served as a reminder that I needed to update the instructional steps. I hope you find the revised tutorial helpful 🙂

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  2. Your coffee table bench looks amazing! I love the colour choice, very creative. Have a great weekend!

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    1. Thank you so much, Emily! My son and DIL get a lot of compliments which makes this Mama very happy 😉 Hope you have a great weekend too!

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  3. I love this! I have an old coffee table that would be a perfect bench. Where do you get the foam in big enough pieces?

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    1. How exciting that you have an old coffee table to repurpose into a bench. I found the foam at a local fabric store (Fabricland here in Canada) where they sell it by the bolt. You may be able to find it at a foam supplier. Have fun with your coffee table transformation, Robin!

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  4. What a great upcycle! I love the color and you did a fabulous job on the upholstered pillow. What a winner!

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    1. Thank you very much, Barb! It was a fun project to work on and I'm so happy my son and DIL love their bench.

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  5. It's hard to believe those tables were once considered fashionable. But it looks so great now. The paint really covers up the ugly and the fabric you chose matches perfectly. Great job!!!

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    1. Thank you very much, Cynthia! Back in the day I had a coffee table very similar to this one with matching end tables and I thought they were so fancy schmancy. LOL I love how they've come back in style painted bright colors.

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  6. I love this and the color. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thank you so much, Rebecca, for the visit and your sweet comment 😊

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  7. This little bench has been catching my eye at every party this week! That blue and white together are so perfect for a beautiful, bright piece. Excellent find. Wish I had space for something like this in my home.

    Alexandra
    EyeLoveKnots.com

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  8. So glad to hear my little coffee table bench has been catching your eye at the parties this week, Alexandra. LOL I wish I had space for one like it in my home too! It looks great in my son and DIL's front entry which pleases this Mama.

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  9. ********************************************************
    Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn
    ********************************************************

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  10. Marie,
    I love how you updated that coffee table. Wo, it looks amazing. Congratulations, You are being featured on Thursday Favorite Things. I hope you hope by.
    https://www.eclecticredbarn.com/2020/06/thursday-favorite-things_11.html
    Hugs,
    Bev

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    1. Thank you so much, Bev, both for your kind comments and for the feature. I was thrilled when I visited the party yesterday and saw it as your feature. xo

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  11. This looks amazing I am absolutely in love. I have an old table that was my grandmothers that looks almost exactly like the before picture that I want to repurpose into a bench.

    I wanted to clarify - when you’re attaching the foam is it stuck to the ply wood and then tou screw the ply wood into the table from the bottom? I was a bit confused with that part!

    Otherwise it’s amazing quality I love it

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    Replies
    1. Glad you like the coffee table upcycle, Seserie! Yes, the foam is attached to the plywood with spray adhesive. We flipped the coffee table upside down and attached the plywood to the coffee table with wood screws from the bottom side. I hope this helps!

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