Build a Bench Using an Old Headboard

How to Build a Bench Using an Old Headboard

I’ve been wanting to create a tutorial on how to build a bench using an old headboard for the back and it wasn’t until I found this cute headboard at my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore that I could finally do it! A lot of the benches I’ve seen using headboards seem to look horribly uncomfortable because the back sits straight up. I toyed with the idea of cutting the legs off of the headboard, cutting an angle in the top of the legs, then reattaching them but it really seemed like a lot of trouble. I decided I would make the seat a little longer front to back so that bolster or lumbar pillows could be added thus making the bench a lot more comfortable!

how to build a bench using an old headboard SANY2390 copy copy


I started by cutting two legs for the front at 17-1/4″ tall (a seat height is generally 18″ high). I used 2×2 pine and tapered them using a tapering jig on the table saw. I used the legs I cut to make a mark on the headboard legs for the back apron position.

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I then cut pieces of old shelving I stole acquired from the Rebel house remodel for the aprons. The shelving board measured 5-3/4″ wide so I ripped it in half on the table saw, then cut them to length. I drilled pocket holes in each end then thoroughly sanded them. I attached the front and side aprons to the legs I cut.

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I attached a board between the headboard legs to support the seat –

How to Build a Bench Using an Old Headboard 3

Then attached the entire assembly to the headboard.

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After checking for square (and luckily, it was square!), I cut three supports to connect the front and back aprons. Not only do these pieces help support the seat but they also help keep everything square!

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I have never been a huge fan of spray primer but I’m finding that there are some projects that require it and this was one of them! There are a lot of nooks, crannies, and angles in the headboard, and I really didn’t want to find thick spots or drips of primer there! I like to use Zinsser BIN primer on some furniture projects, especially when there is a previous finish. This particular primer, in my opinion, creates the perfect surface over the old one for paint!

I used Kilz 2 primer (my other favorite) on the frame but rolled it on with a sponge roller. The board I used is very old and smelled like pipe smoke when I sanded so I definitely want to block the stains and smell! (I forgot to photograph this step but I’m sure you know how to roll primer on furniture!)

In the meantime, I cut a piece of plywood (I used PureBond) for the seat 3″ shorter in length and depth than the finished measurement. This would allow me to add a 1×2 to each end so I could use the router to cut a decorative edge on the seat. I forgot to photograph this step as well but see my post on How to Salvage a Piece of Plywood Cut Too Short – it uses the same concept!

I secured the seat to the frame using glue and 1-1/4″ brad nails, then gave the entire bench a coat of Valspar paint in Pantone Emerald.

How to Build a Bench Using an Old Headboard 7

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Isn’t she gorgeous? The tutorial on how to build a bench using an old headboard is so easy that I want to make several! Of course,  I plan on making cushions for the seat and back in coordinating fabric prints… What do you think?

Sharing with:

The 36th Avenue
My Repurposed Life
Living Well Spending Less
Funky Junk Interiors
Life on Lakeshore Drive
Six Sisters’ Stuff
The Shabby Nest
Uncommon Designs
Alderberry Hill
Pink When
DIY Show Off
Give Me the Goods 18
Whimsy Wednesday
Yesterday on Tuesday
Not Just a Housewife
The Style Sisters
Ashley’s Dandelion Wishes
The Shady Porch
The Real Thing with the Coake Family

#DIY #woodworking #build

  • Ruth @ LivingWellSpendingLess

    Oh wow!! This is gorgeous!! I can’t wait to see what cushions you put on it, the color is fabulous!

    My readers would love to see this! I’d love it if you linked this up over at Living Well Spending Less for Thrifty Thursday this week!

    • CherTexter

      Thank you very much, Ruth! I’m on my way over!!

  • Donna Wilkes

    The headboard was perfect for a bench transformation – love the style , the solidity, and the shape. Thanks for the tip about edging the plywood for the seat.

    • CherTexter

      Thank you, Donna! It is one of my favorite methods for concealing the edges of plywood!

  • Ann

    Beautiful bench. Thanks for the tutorial.

    • CherTexter

      Thank you very much, Ann! I was a really fun build and I would love to build another!

  • Rachel Paxton

    Oh my, that is stunning! I love the funky emerald green with the traditional curves of that headboard. Thanks for linking up to Give Me the Goods!

    Rachel @ Maison de Pax

    • CherTexter

      Thank you, Rachel! My local HFH ReStore has another identical to it… Wouldn’t they be a great pair? Thanks again!!

  • The Style Sisters

    So very cool! Love the whole idea and the color!! Fun!! Come link up your post at my party Centerpiece Wednesday – The Style Sisters

    • CherTexter

      Thank you very much, Karin! I am on my way over now!

  • CherTexter

    Thanks so much, Ashley! I’m on my way to link up!!

  • D@TheShadyPorch

    I’ve been wanting to make one of these too! I just haven’t found the right headboard either. I am a novice at woodworking so I appreciate you running through the steps you took to get your bench…which turned out very nice! Thanks for sharing. D@TheShadyPorch

    • CherTexter

      Thank you so much! I always try to be as clear and thorough as possible. If you build it and need help, please let me know!! Thanks again!

  • Mel Mac

    Love that colour! I have the same headboard (mine is king size) on a bench in my dining room (of all places, who says headboards can’t be used in a dining room? LOL). The bench I used was one that I had made many years ago, but I just left it in the garage. Now I’m thinking that I should paint it a fun colour like you have.

    • CherTexter

      You have the king size version? That is awesome! Do you have any clue how old it is? The ReStore has another headboard exactly like it and I am considering buying it to make “twin” benches! Thank you for stopping by!

      • Mel Mac

        sorry for the delay, I don’t often log in to disqus. I think they are mid 60’s vintage, kind of like me.

  • Camila

    Awesome way to reuse a headboard. this is super creative and ecologic =D. I love to make things like that too!. Thanks so much for sharing this with me at Bewitch Me & Titi! Hope to have you back tomorrow with more awesome shares! Hope you are having a lovely day!!!

    Cami @ TitiCrafty by Camila

    • CherTexter

      Thank you so much, Camila! It was a fun project and now I just have to finish the cushions! Have a great day!!

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  • PersiaLou

    It turned out beautifully!!

    • CherTexter

      Thank you so much! I really appreciate that… Now, I have to finish the cushions!

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  • MammaNene

    You rock Cher!!! I love how you created this bench from scratch (and the color makes me dream). I bet you’re in heaven now that you can re-match the twins 😉
    MammaNene @ SergerPepper

    • CherTexter

      Thank you so much!! I love the bench and cannot wait to start on the other!

      • MammaNene

        Yes… and make cushions… maybe flowery?

        • CherTexter

          I have fabric set aside for the green bench… I just haven’t found the time to make the cushions!

          • MammaNene

            I know this feeling: I have tons of fabrics aside but only 24hrs/day… phfew!

  • fabifabu

    Its amazing how you achived this, I can wait to see it with the pillows. Thank for the tutorial.

    • CherTexter

      Thank you! I am ashamed to say that I still haven’t made the cushions!! I’m guessing I might actually get to it when it is too cold for me to work outside… Maybe! Thank you for stopping by!

  • It’s lovely! Awesome job. The color is so fitting for the piece. From Linda – Hello I Live Here.

    • CherTexter

      Thank you so much! I am finally getting around to making the cushions for it in black and white, won’t that be awesome? I’m so glad you stopped by!

  • Kara Gunza

    Very clever! It came out awesome!!

    • CherTexter

      Thanks, Kara! I am crazy about the color! I’m glad you stopped by!

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  • DB

    Thank you for posting this…everything I’ve seen involves having a foot board too, and the three headboards I have for projects were ‘lone rangers’ when I got them. The way you made the front legs/supports looks very elegant and refined…just what I want, but not what I was coming up with in my mind, given my current skill-set. I was going to pass this along to my husband to do for me, but I’m emboldened to try it myself! 😀

    • CherTexter

      Thank you so much, DB! That headboard was also a ‘lone ranger’ and I even found another identical to it which also became a bench for a charity event. You can absolutely do this yourself, and if you have any questions please ask! Have a great evening!

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