Fashionable Decor: Chairs and Banquette DIY

As a former interior designer, my home is where I get to showcase my (and my husband’s, kind of) style with a bit more permanence than daily outfits.  My interior style has evolved over the years along with my personal style, into a quirky mix of vintage and new, featuring a lot of books and pieces that hold sentimental value for us, as well as more practical storage pieces.  We currently live in a little one bedroom basement suite while I finish school, which comes with obvious space issues.  Still, the suite is very comfortable and well laid-out, and since my parents own it they let us expand the kitchen which was wonderful.  A part of this expansion was an L-Shaped banquette made from Ikea wall cabinets, perfect for extra storage as well as dinner seating.  Jeff built the cabinetry and I made the seats.  We also have a chair with the table which I just finished painting.  Here’s the project step-by step.

*Disclaimer: I am by no means an expert, or really any kind of upholsterer.  I’m just a gal with her own taste on a budget.  The following steps worked great for me, but I can’t say how they’ll work for anyone else.

Tools: To upholster, I used a can of spray glue, a heavy-duty staple gun, and scissors.  The wood pieces were cut at Home Depot, and the foam cut at the foam shop.

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Step one: We got boards cut to the size of the cabinets (see above).  This solved two problems: it made the cabinets strong enough to sit on, and meant I didn’t have to pay to get seat cushions made, cuz that would have been pricey!

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Step two: I got the thickest foam I could, because I wanted the seats to be nice.  It turns out I created a problem doing this, but I’ll get to that later.  I sprayed the wood with glue and put on the foam, carefully.

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See that?  All lined up!

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Step three: I bought batting along with the foam at the foam shop, and the guy there told me not to make the batting too long: it should look just like this, barely going over the foam.  This way, you get crisp lines at the bottom.  Smart, right?  I spray glued the batting onto the foam, after I had cut it to size.

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Step 4: This is the last and hardest step, because you have to make sure you lay the pattern evenly.  It probably would have been easier if I had chosen a pattern without lines, but this one jumped out at me at the store, so I dealt with it.  I lined up the squiggles with the board, placed it soft-side down, then started stapling from the middle, pulling it tight.

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I did the middle of the long sides first, then worked my way out to the corners, stapling about every inch or so.  Next came the ends, which I folded in so they wouldn’t show, like a present at Christmas.  Then I cut away the excess fabric, made sure there were no lumps or bumps, and voila!  A banquette that beckons me to sit and sip some tea every day!  I don’t, but I sure want to 😉

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The back was done the same way, but without foam.  Lots and lots of batting, though.  The big cushions are European pillows and shams, the outside shams (grey-blue) are from Goodwill in Edmonton and the middle one (taupe) is from Homesense. The actual pillows are fro Homesense as well.  The turquoise cushion is from the Bellingham (WA) antique mall.

Now here was the problem: We have cabinets, then wood pieces, then 3 inch foam and that made the seats very high.  Too high for the table, in fact.  If we left it like this, we would have put our backs out leaning down to eat!  So my clever husband decided to put wheels on the table legs, which you can see in the very last picture.  This had two benefits: it made the table the correct height for eating, and it made the cabinetry underneath a lot more accessible.  My sewing machine, slow cooker, and extra water is down there among other things, so we need to access the cabinets fairly often.  The wheels can be locked as well when we don’t want the table moving.  Now we have an adorable and functional space!

Next, I got a chair for $5.00 at a local thrift store and thought it was kinda blah, so I painted it a pepto-bismol pink.  I love how it turned out, and it accents the dining area well.

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Floral Cushion was found at a thrift store, naturally.  I love gaudy vintage florals, and I love cushions, so when I found any I usually buy them.  Jeff complains that we have too many cushions, but I think he’s silly because that’s not even possible.

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Lunch time at the pretty little table!  See you next time!

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