3 Ways to Makeover that Old Bench

3 Ways to Makeover that Old Bench

Looking for ways to spruce up an old bench? Look no further than our 3 ideas.

Whether you’re starting with an old, worn-out bench you already have sitting around or want to find something with a little character at a thrift store or upcoming yard sale, here are three great ways to transform a drab bench into a bold design statement.

Look One: Prep and Paint
If you’re just looking to spruce up that bench a bit, the first step is to clean and smooth rough spots with fine or medium-grade sanding blocks or a wire brush. Then apply a coat of primer. When painting, experiment with one color, use a variety on different sections, add stripes or simply stain it to bring out its natural character. The type of paint and technique you’ll need depend on your bench’s surface and desired finish.

Tip: For a quick, easy alternative to regular paint, purchase outdoor-ready spray paint made for materials like wood, plastic and metal. Some versions have built-in primer, plus color variations to add texture.

Look Two: Sweet Touches

When it comes to refreshing an old piece of furniture, paint isn’t the only option. Try adding your own unique style with these techniques:


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  • Wallpaper: Cover the bench’s back with wallpaper to give it a touch of brightness.
  • Fabric: Have a bench that sits on a covered or screened-in porch? Upholster sections with fabric swatches to add a wonderful textural element.
  • Decoupage: Use old newspaper or magazine clippings to create a vintage canvas on your bench with decoupage.
  • Stencils: Create stencils of phrases or seasonal accents, then use them to add a personalized, meaningful touch to your bench.

Tip: To protect some of these non-weatherproof additions from the sun and common elements, spray them with a protective sealant made specifically for the desired surface. Consider also purchasing a bench cover at your local hardware store.

Look Three: Cushy Comfort

You’ve painted, you’ve embellished, now it’s time to decorate with pillows. You can decorate the pillowcases yourself using stencils or fabric dye and batik wax. Or if you’re looking to buy a few, be sure to select the right fabric and colors for your bench’s pillows.

Tip: If you plan to keep the pillows outdoors on your bench, consider using weather-ready fabric, or spray them with fabric-safe waterproofing. This will also make the pillows easier to wipe clean.

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