This week’s bench makeover project for the $100 Room Challenge is all about making storage pretty and functional, one of my favorite DIY subjects. Last week’s Farmhouse Table project was tough, so I was ready for an easier challenge this week.
We all need storage. And we all want a pretty house. So when the two come together, it’s the perfect match! This week I gave my IKEA Kallax bookshelf benches a little makeover. (Did you know the Kallax, or Expedit, shelves can lie on their sides and turn into benches?) They are the perfect piece to add function, storage, and now color, to this eat-in breakfast area.
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Breakfast Nook Bench Makeover
The hardest thing about this bench makeover was picking the fabric! (If you weighed in on Instagram, I’m so grateful.) I finally decided to go with my gut and use the dark teal ikat curtains that were my first choice. I was worried they’d be be too dark for the space, but I think they bring lots of color and just enough balance to all the white and gray in this room. Plus they match the teal wall in my living room, which is one of my favorite features of the house! I’ll be sharing an actual tutorial soon for the cushion covers, so for now I’ll just give you a glimpse into the finished effect.
When I first stopped into the fabric store to pick out fabric and upholstery foam to make the bench cushions, I just about had a heart attack at the price of the foam. Let’s just say that the foam would have cost more than the entire $100 budget for this challenge! But then my husband, ever the practical one, reminded me, “Don’t you have some foam like that from the bed topper we used to have?” He was right. We had tried a memory foam cover for our bed a couple of years ago but didn’t like it, so it’s been taking up space in a corner of my closet until I could figure out what to do with it. (I’ve since found better resources for foam, which I’m sharing with you below.)
With the foam problem solved, the next challenge was finding the right fabric. I looked all over the fabric stores, but couldn’t find exactly what I wanted. Then I remembered this camper makeover I did a few years ago, and how I used shower curtains to cover the seat cushions. So I quit looking at fabric and started looking at curtains, and of course found exactly what I wanted at Tuesday Morning. They were even on clearance for $18! (If you have a Tuesday Morning near you, always look there first for curtains.)
Then I second-guessed myself for about a week and brought home 5 more sets of curtains and shower curtains. Finally I went back to my first love, the teal ikat. Curtains are great for this project because you usually can’t find fabric this cheap, and you can make good use of strategically placed hems. (More on that in the tutorial, coming soon.) Just make sure you get washable fabric, especially if yours are going in an eat-in breakfast area like mine, that gets a lot of wear and tear.
Once I finished covering the cushions for the benches, I just needed to corral all the stuff from the bench cubbies into decorative boxes and baskets. That took a little time to organize because I wanted to put some thought into what went where. As nice as all this storage is, it’s not easy to get to the cubbies nearest the corner, so those got the seasonal linens and items I don’t need access to very often. The outside cubbies got my cookbooks and everyday table linens. (In my house, table linens is the fancy term for paper napkins.)
With a little storage and a lot of color, these benches mimic the look of built-in benches but for a tiny fraction of the cost.
IKEA Storage Bench Makeover Resources
- IKEA Kallax Bookshelf – Did you know you can get certain IKEA items on Amazon? You’ll pay a little more, but if you don’t have an IKEA near you, it’s so worth it!
- Upholstery Foam
- Curtains – I found mine on clearance at Tuesday Morning, but this link is to a similar set.
- Wire Storage Baskets
- Fabric Storage Baskets
We’re closing in on the last week of this month’s $100 Room Challenge, and everyone’s been working so hard. Be sure to check out the other rooms in progress!