Upholstery is an affordable and simple way to give new life to any piece of furniture. Reupholstering costs a fraction of buying a whole new piece and it is the best way to ensure that your furniture perfectly coordinates with your design motif. Benches are excellent pieces for first-time upholsters to use as a test project. The only challenging part of upholstering a bench is covering the corners, but even that is simple with a bit of practice.
Remove the existing fabric from the cushion of the bench. Turn the bench upside down to see how the cushion is attached. If it is a drop seat, unscrew the cushion from the frame to remove the fabric. Pull staples holding the fabric in place away from the cushion and discard them.
Reserve the fabric to use as a pattern for new fabric. If you are starting from scratch with this project, create a pattern for your fabric from a sheet of muslin cloth. Drape the cloth over the bench and trace out how much material you will need. Add 5 cm (2 inches) around all sides before cutting out your shape.
Replace the foam and batting as needed. If your cushion is looking lumpy or thin, add a new layer of 5 cm (2 inch) upholstery foam and cut to size with a utility knife. Wrap with a layer of cotton batting and staple to the underside of the bench cushion.
Spray the batting with adhesive. Position the new fabric over the batting and smooth in place. Pull the fabric taut to the underside of the bench and staple in the centre of each side. Move along each side out from the centre and toward the corners, pulling taut and stapling in place as you go. Staple approximately once every 2.5 cm (1 inch), or more as needed. Staple the sides of the bench in place before working on the corners.
Start with one corner of the bench and pull the fabric taut. Staple the middle of the corner fabric to the underside of the cushion. Repeat in each corner. Form the remaining material into pleats. Gather the material in 1.2 to 2.5 cm (1/2 to 1 inch) folds from the centre. If excess material on the corners refuses to gather evenly, cut away the excess for a smooth fold. Sometimes cutting slits in the fabric will help the corner fabric to fold over more evenly into pleats.
Cut away excess material or cover with ribbon or interfacing. Reattach your cushion to the bench frame if needed.