Damaged Vintage Headboard Bench Makeover

That's what Grandma gets for goofing off!

Friends, if this bench looks familiar, that's because a few years ago I published a post on how we built this Headboard Bench for our dining room. So why would I be giving it another makeover you wonder? Well, Grandma (that would be moi) was goofing around with her 4-year-old grandson one day and took a giant leap onto the bench. When I landed smack dab beside him...ahem...we all heard a loud crack.

The bench was still structurally sound (says my pride) but the faceplate on the front of the seat took a dive forward - hence the need for a damaged vintage headboard bench makeover.

Damaged Dining Headboard Bench

Damaged Vintage Headboard Bench Makeover

I figured since we had to take the bench apart anyway, I would take the opportunity to finally get rid of the stencil on the back that I've never been 100% satisfied with. Plus the bench is my grandson's favorite spot to eat when he visits Grandma & Grandpa and his less than refined motor skills are evident on the stained fabric.

Vintage Headboard Bench Decor Transfer

Today is one of my favorite days of the month because it is Furniture Fixer Upper Day. Six talented furniture painting friends come together on the fourth Thursday every month to breath new life into furniture. I figured this was the motivation I needed to finally get at those bench repairs plus, I missed our comfortable dining bench.

I've included links to my friend's furniture makeovers at the bottom of this post. Last month, I gave our repurposed dining hutch now DIY Built-In Pantry an unexpected makeover.

While I loved the French patisserie stencil, I didn't like how it was much too small for the scale of the bench. For this makeover, I switched it up with a much larger French graphic but this time instead of a stencil I used a Prima decor transfer.

Vintage Headboard Bench French Transfer

Because the bench is going right back into our dining room, I made an ever so slight change to the paint color. Instead of my usual distressing the paint with sandpaper, I used a wet distress technique this time.

White Distressed Vintage Headboard Bench

I surprised myself and went with neutral stripes for the new seat fabric and will be reupholstering all our dining chairs to match soon.

Vintage Headboard Bench Rosedale Striped Upholstery

While there isn't a dramatic change to the bench after the makeover, I think it looks so much better now.

Just to recap, here is the bench before the makeover...

Vintage Headboard Bench Damaged Before

...and here it is after.

DIY Vintage Headboard Bench After Makeover

The farmhouse above the headboard is one of my Mom's paintings. I cherish it so since her passing. I thought it fitting to stage with the bench considering the French Bénisse Cette Maison transfer means Bless This House.

White Headboard Bench With French Graphic

I couldn't be happier with our headboard dining bench now. It seats three people comfortably at our dining table. With our growing family, what's not to love about that!

Farmhouse Style Headboard Bench

Here's the scoop on the headboard bench makeover

This post contains affiliate links so you can see what products I used or recommend for this project. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.

Repairs and fresh paint

The repairs were fairly minor. The faceplate on the seat was reattached with screws, rather than brad nails like before, from the front of the bench and into the frame of the seat. The screw holes were filled and sanded smooth and ready for a fresh coat of paint.

But first I needed to conceal the old stencil with four coats of my go-to white primer.

Vintage Headboard Bench Makeover Primed

Like I mentioned earlier, I made an ever so slight change to the paint color but rather than chalk paint, this time I used Dixie Belle Chalk Mineral Paint in the color Drop Cloth, a warmer white. For a brushstroke free finish, I used my favorite angled sash paintbrush.

Chalk paint requires a protective finish like either wax or a clear topcoat. Mineral-based paint cures rock hard within 30 days and doesn't require a topcoat. One less step makes this girl a happy camper!

Vintage Headboard Bench Makeover Painted Warm White

Wet distress technique

Because I only brushed one coat of fresh paint, I could still see the areas where the bench was distressed in the first makeover. To keep it simple I used the wet distress technique by simply rubbing over those areas with a damp cloth before the paint dried. Easy peasy!

French Prima decor transfer

You know how much I love me some Prima decor furniture transfers. I used them on the French Console Table Makeover,  Duncan Phyfe Coffee Table MakeoverFrench Country Place Holders, and the French Terracotta Saucer Coasters. If you want an instant wow factor on furniture and home decor, these transfers are amazing.

For my bench, I used the 34" x 9" Prima Bénisse transfer, a perfect size for the long back. They are easy to work with but the paint must cure for at least 48 hours before applying them.

Vintage Headboard Bench Makeover Image Transfer Alignment

I find it is much easier to lay the furniture on it's back when working with transfers. With the back paper still behind the transfer, line it up on the furniture and use painters tape to hold the transfer in place along the top.

The instructions say to keep the back paper behind the transfer as you work and slowly pull it down a few inches at a time. On a previous project, I forgot I had part of the back paper still behind the transfer and accidentally rubbed the transfer onto the paper instead of the furniture.

Vowing never to do that again, now what I do is after I have the transfer lined up and taped in place, I carefully remove the back paper sheet. Holding the transfer nice and straight and taut, I gently rest the transfer on the surface (like pictured above).

Starting at the top, rub the transfer paper with the stick provided and you'll know when the transfer lifted from the paper when it turns from a dark charcoal color to a light gray. Carefully lift the transfer paper as you work to check before moving onto the next section.

Vintage Headboard Bench Makeover Image Transfer Process

I did apply a top coat on the back of the bench ONLY. Not necessarily to protect the paint but to protect the transfer. I used what I had on hand which was two coats of Dixie Belle Gator Hide. If I had some flat or satin Dixie Belle Clear Coat, I would have used it instead.

New fabric on the seat

Because the bench was built not long ago, the foam and batting didn't need to be replaced. If the new fabric is heavy enough, you can upholster right over the old fabric but I'm in the habit of removing the old fabric first, especially if it's nasty. Removing the old staples is a pain but the job is much easier with this handy upholstery staple removal tool.

I always have my upholstery bible, The Complete Guide To Upholstery by my side. It has clear instructions with photos on how to get those corners just right.

Vintage Headboard Bench Makeover Upholstery

I'll be so glad to have our vintage headboard bench back in the dining room just in time for Canadian Thanksgiving on October 14th.

French Country Vintage Headboard Bench Makeover

But first, before the headboard goes back in the dining room we will be spraying the new fabric with Scotchgard to protect it from our little cookie monster.

Vintage Headboard Bench Makeover With Farmhouse Charm

Vintage Headboard Bench Makeover With French Country Charm

Here are some other DIY headboard bench ideas that you may like.

If you have any questions about this makeover, please leave them in the comment section below or press the Contact Me button at the top of the blog to drop me an email. I love hearing from you!

Please join me by pressing the links below to see how my talented friend's transformed these furniture pieces.
Furniture Fixer Upper Group Makeovers Before
  1. Girl In The Garage
  2. Petticoat Junktion
  3. Confessions Of A Serial DIYer
  4. Just The Woods
  5. Salvaged Inspirations
  6. Interior Frugalista (that's me)

I share my projects at these inspiring link parties.



  1. So nice to rescue a piece you already love! The new transfer and fabric look great, Marie.

    1. Thank you so much, Marcie 😊 I'm much happier with our bench now and can't wait to use it for Canadian Thanksgiving coming soon.

  2. Beautiful save! I just love the stripes and the new design. It will be awesome for many more years to come.

    1. Thank you so much! Yes, we definitely hope to enjoy this bench in our dining room for many years, provided Grandma stops taking flying leaps on it. LOL

  3. It's so funny we were both fixing damaged pieces this month! I love the new look for your bench Marie. The stencil was a little small before but the bigger transfer + new fabric are beautiful together!

    1. Thank you so much Jen! The Benise furniture transfer couldn't have been a more perfect size for this bench and I love the sentiment too.

  4. It was the cold that broke the bench Marie. I like the first version alot, but I do like the larger transfer on the new update. Besides if we have to go through the work of fixing something, it may as well get a makeover. The bench itself is perfect for the dining room

    1. LOL, we have our furnace on and its going steady, as I'm sure you probably do too. Wish I could blame the crack on the cold. What can I say, that cutie pie brings out the kid in me. 😜 🤣 🤡 I love the bench so much now and can't wait to bring it up to our dining room tonight.

  5. I love the bench so much more now but the highlight of your post was the "cool kid"!

    1. LOL Kathy, that cool kid has grandma wrapped around his finger. Now we're singing 🎶 no more grandma's jumping on the bench 🎵

  6. OMG I need to apologize - I actually giggled when you said you leap on the bench and broke it. I love this makeover so much more than before, so it was probably meant to be :)

    1. No need to apologize Kandice, my grandson and I laughed our heads off when it happened. Yup, I think it was a blessing in disguise because I love the new look so much more too.

  7. Love it Marie! Really classy--such a great "save."

    1. Thank you very much, Diana! It looks great in our dining room - much better than before so the accident was a blessing in disguise.

  8. I love it! Perfectly redone, and lovely! :) Thanks for the tutorial - so many great tips! Happy Upcoming Thanksgiving!

    1. Hi Barbara, I'm glad you like the bench makeover and tips in the tutorial! Thank you for the Thanksgiving wishes and stopping by for a visit 😊

  9. Hi Marie!
    Isn't it funny how silly we can act when it comes to grandkids? Oh, but it's so much fun to play with them - carefree and with wild abandon. I love the new look you gave your bench. The larger stencil looks great along with the new pillow. Thanks for sharing at Homestyle Gathering!
    >>> Kim

    1. Kim, those grandkids just bring out the kid in me. LOL I'm glad you like the bench makeover. I can't get enough of those wonderful decor transfers!

  10. This truly is such a stunning piece of furniture Marie! It doesn't even LOOK repurposed! Now that's art.

    I've featured you in this weekend's Party Junk. Thanks for linking it beauty up!

    1. Hi Donna, thank you so much for your sweet comment and the feature! xo

  11. Thanks for the pin and share, Marilyn. Have a lovely week backatcha!

  12. Your bench makeover is perfect, Marie! Love the fall decor on it, too~!

    1. Thank you, Julie! I'm thrilled with the new look. This bench gets a lot of use and I'm so glad to have it back in our dining room again.

  13. This bench is beautiful, Marie! What a lovely piece! Fabulous transformation!

    1. Thank you so much, Kristi, I'm so much happier with the new look!

  14. Love this makeover Marie and that you were able to save such a beautiful piece that you already love! What a difference a fresh coat of paint and changing out the material for the cushion can make!

    1. Thanks Sam, I love how the new fabric and the furniture transfer made a huge difference too. We love our dining bench!


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