A bench is a great way to add extra seating at the dining table. We have an Ikea Bursta bench in our foyer that we use for extra seating. The bench lives everyday in the foyer under the Captains mirror gallery. With the addition of the brown/black mirrors, I started to feel the space looked cold and hard. I needed to soften the foyer bench. There was too much brown/black in the space.
I thought I would never love anything more than my dining chairs slipcovered with a tablecloth, until I covered the bench with the same tablecloth pattern. LOVE! This project was super easy and adds so much to the foyer.
Before creating the slipcover, I added some much needed cushion to the bench. Instead of going with super expensive high-density foam (4″ thick runs $50+/yd), I purchased a roll of 2″ thick low-density white foam. The 24 x 72″ piece was about $30, but with my 50% off coupon the foam was only $15. I also purchased a package of low-loft batting in twin size for $8.
I initially thought I wanted a 4″ cushion on the bench and planned to double up the 2″ foam I purchased, but it was too thick. When you are adding a cushion on to the top of an existing bench you have to be careful not to add too much height or your seat height will be too high. After testing both thicknesses, I chose to just use once thickness of the 2″ foam. The foam is super cushy and even with only the one piece you cannot feel the hard bench underneath.
I still wanted that thick, expensive look for the bench. With some kitchen clips I played around with how I wanted the cushion to look. Instead of just wrapping the fabric around the foam and stapling it to the underside of the seat, I opted to make a slipcover of sorts that would cover the entire apron of the bench too. This makes the cushioned part look deeper than it actually is. Plus, the slipcover can easily be removed for washing.
To cut the foam to size, I turned the bench upside down on top of the foam. I traced the bench seat onto the foam. I have heard electric knifes are great for cutting foam, but I don’t have one. For this 2″ thick foam I managed just fine with scissors. The edges are not perfectly smooth, but no one will ever know.
Based on my measurements from playing around with the full tablecloth and the kitchen clips, I knew how much fabric I needed. To create the tablecloth slipcover, I cut the tablecloth fabric 8″ larger than the foam slab on all sides
To fit the slipcover, I put just the foam slab on the bench. I laid the fabric over the foam wrong side up. I pulled the fabric tight at all corners and pinned. I stitched right along the line formed by the pins.
To finish the bench cushion, I laid the low-loft batting on the floor. It was folded in half lengthwise to provide two thickness. I laid the 2″ foam slab on top. I turned the bench upside down on top of the foam slab. I pulled the batting up around the apron of the bench and stapled it to the underside of the apron piece. The batting helps cushion the bench seat and the apron. It also adds a little extra cushion to the foam. Since I fitted the slipcover over the foam without the batting, once the batting is added the slipcover fits very snug.
Now the bench is a statement piece in the foyer. The pattern is beautiful and the softness of the bench looks so much more welcoming.
The bench can easily be pulled into the adjacent dining room for extra seating at the dining table. I think it is one of the best seats in the house!