As we were preparing for our move, I was in major purge mode. I was sending things to Goodwill and the dump like it was my job. My old kitchen chairs were on the “Do Not Move” list. I was determined not to let them make the cut. My husband, Matt, kept shooting this one down. Every time I’d move them to the get-rid-of-area, he’d scoot them back. I’d take them to the carport to haul away and he’d slip them into his office.
One Saturday, I started working on my new craft desk. I look over and I see Matt pulling out the kitchen chairs. My heart lept, “Ah finally he’s getting rid of these things!” Then he started tinkering. I have been asking him to make me a bench for years. When he pulled this thing together I was stunned. Not only did he repurpose our old kitchen chairs but I think he created something really special – the bench I had always wanted.
I wanted to share with you the basics of how he did it, so you can repurpose some chairs of your own!
Matt started by removing the cushions from the chairs. As with most of the projects we do, our little helpers wanted to give us a hand.
We then lined up the three chairs that were in the best shape. In order to have arm rests on the ends of the bench, we used the two arm chairs that traditionally sit at the end of the table. Matt removed one arm from each chair to “open up” the bench.
He then squared up the chairs. Our chairs have a nice square front, whereas they have a bit of a funky curve in the back. I know a lot of chairs have more rounded legs and features that could make it difficult for the chairs to sit flush together. This is where you will need to do a little problem solving and get creative. Susan from FrouFruGal created a Chair Bench with her husband. Her tutorial inspired Matt and they have some great steps on squaring up and connecting the chairs.
Using wood glue and C-Clamps Matt attached the front legs together. Once the legs were glued he then sunk a few deck screws into the legs for more support.
C-Clamp Tip: To get the most out of your C-Clamp connections you want them to be really tight. This however can create some indentations in your wood from the clamps. To avoid scuffing up your projects, use some scrap wood or even slip some thick cardboard in between your clamps and your project.
We decided this bench was going to go in the foyer at our new house. Inside the foyer you see our stair case with the black wrought iron stair spindles. Instead of going with the silver bars on the chairs we wanted them to be black to tie in with the staircase. While the glue was setting on the legs we used painters tape to wrap a portion of the chairs and spray painted the rods.
We had some Pine 1×4’s laying around from other projects that we used for the bench. Matt measured them to hang over the front edge by one inch and over the side by two inches.
He used deck screws and screwed the boards directly into the chair frame. If you want the screws to disappear from your design, make sure to sink them in a little deeper than the surface of the wood. Depending on the power of your drill and softness of the wood this may be easy. However, if you pre-drill your screw holes with a small drill bit, this helps in sinking the screws deeper.
As you can see, Matt also cut a small notch in one of the boards so that it could fit around the arm rest.
Because the front legs were square they were easy to attach and secure. As I mentioned, the backs of the chairs and the legs have some curve in their design. We knew the bench boards would provide support for the whole piece by securing the chairs together even more. Regardless, Matt wasn’t satisfied with the back having no other attached support. (Can you tell he’s a perfectionist?) He created two pieces like the one you see below to add some reinforcement in the gaps. Again, they were secured with deck screws into the frames of the chairs.
Once all the boards were attached, he went back and filled the screw holes with carpenter’s wood filler.
To help age the chairs and bring out the rustic look we love so much, we sanded around the chairs and worked to scuff up the edges.
Finally, using some of our Disney Cool Marine paint, Matt painted the bench boards to complete the project.
As I said, I was stunned with the results. These chairs were on the way out. Matt not only saved them, he earned them a spot right by the front door!
I decorated them with some of my pillows and placed three baskets underneath. This is the “Drop Spot” for the kids as they come and go from the house. It’s been incredibly helpful getting them to have a pair of tennis shoes and sandals in these baskets. Rather than wrestling them to go back upstairs and find shoes, this helps us to get out of the door faster in the mornings.
I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Thanks for stopping by!
Erin @ DIY On the Cheap says
Love this! It’s totally “you.” Great job Matt!
Thank you Erin! You know we had to add some color somewhere on it 🙂
When I see the before and after photo… I`m motivated ! Thank You for that
That is awesome!!! I love the blue and the baskets too!
Thank you co much Sally!! Those baskets have been so helpful! Especially with Reagan, who doesn’t quite get the whole “go put on your shoes” and them not be dress up shoes when it’s time to load up to go somewhere 🙂
Linda Gallagher says
You are so inspiring! Great job and I am very impressed.
Awww Thank you so much Linda!! That was so encouraging and made my night!!
frou fruGAL says
Your chair bench looks great. Thanks for the shout out on my chair bench tutorial. I’m glad it helped you out.
Martha Hodge says
love this beanch but didn’t see how he put arms on the ends would you explain but will send thanks ahead of the how answer
I’m so sorry Martha it has taken me so long to respond!!! The arms from our bench are the Captain chairs that went with our table. So, they were already attached. He just removed one arm rest so it would flow as a bench. I’m sure that was not as helpful as I wish I could be! Are you making a bench?? Let me know, if I can help anymore! XO, Erica
Diane Midkiff says
Erica and Matt, great job. I have 3 chairs that I am turning into a bench, but have a small problem. My front legs are curved(round) and back are straight. Can not get front legs to go together easy as Matt did, legs are too round. If front lines up then it becomes a curve bench. Not what I was looking for. Any help on this. Thanks, Diane
Diane, Thanks! Wow, that’s a tricky one. Is it possible to remove the front legs? Either by unscrewing them from the base of the chair or sawing them off? Maybe buy some 2×3’s that you could paint/stain and use as replacement legs? Hope that helps!
Colleen Knight says
Great idea, want a banquette, but this could work with my old chairs as well. I think we will use a solid piece for the seat though instead of single boards. I love your idea! So easy too!! Thank you for sharing 🙂
You’re welcome! Please share your finished product with us if you end up doing it. I always love seeing others creativity!
chris aka monkey says
just saw this on hometalk awesome job love it and the colors are spectacular xx
Simple Shapes Wall Designs says
What a great idea! I am sharing this to Pinterest.
Thank you so much!
This is on my list to do as we just got some antique chairs! I put this on my blog as well and linked it back to you, thank you so much for sharing! You are so crafty!
First Real says
great way to reuse older chairs and use space
going to pick my father’s old garage and will use his old chair for the idea you gave me just… It just touch my heart
I will appreciate you and your woodworking projects. this is very informative and helpful article for repairing chair. Thanks