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Thrift Store Bench Makeover

I love a good makeover – especially if it’s easy and cheap.  Therefore, this little thrift store bench makeover that I just did has my heart.  

It’s the first Sunday of the month, which means that I am teaming up with some blogger friends to bring you all sorts of inspiration.  This month, the theme was Thrift Store Finds.  At the end of this post, you will find everything from how to style your thrift store finds to how to makeover those diamonds in the rough.  Be sure to check them out!

My parents both love to shop garage sales and estate sales.  They often text me pictures of things that they have found that they think I may like, and I have scored some pretty sweet pieces this way. 😉 

When they sent me a picture of this bench they found at an auction a few months ago and asked if I was interested, I said, “Yes!”  And they got it for $10!  

This thrift store bench makeover was both cheap and easy. Here's a step-by-step for how I turned an ugly duckling into a swan.

I thought it would be nice to have at the end of our bed, and I knew it would be a pretty simple makeover.  Fortunately, I was right on both counts.

Thrift Store Bench Makeover

(This post contains affiliate links.  To see my full disclosure, go here.)

Step 1 – Sand

I decided to use chalk paint for this project, as I wanted to distress it a bit, and chalk paint is incredibly easy to distress.  

Chalk paint claims to be “no prep,” as in, you shouldn’t need to do anything to the surface before painting.  However, I find that it’s better to be safe than sorry, especially if you don’t have a lot of extra time.  So, I chose to lightly sand the surface of my bench to begin with.

This thrift store bench makeover was both cheap and easy. Here's a step-by-step for how I turned an ugly duckling into a swan.

(I usually prep for painting by using Klean Strip deglosser, which I love.  It’s a liquid sander that is so easy to use.  But I discovered as I was getting ready to start that we were out of it.  So, a regular old sanding block it was.)

After sanding, I wiped it down well to remove all the dust.

Step 2 – Paint

As I said, I used chalk paint for this project.  You can find it at most any hardware store.

This thrift store bench makeover was both cheap and easy. Here's a step-by-step for how I turned an ugly duckling into a swan.

I used my favorite Purdy paint brush and got to work.  

This thrift store bench makeover was both cheap and easy. Here's a step-by-step for how I turned an ugly duckling into a swan.

Two coats was all it needed.

This thrift store bench makeover was both cheap and easy. Here's a step-by-step for how I turned an ugly duckling into a swan.

Step 3 – Distress

Once the paint was dry, I distressed it a bit.  Distressing painted furniture is really easy.  Just take some sandpaper – moderate grit – and start sanding the paint off.  Focus on the edges and the corners, which is where a piece of furniture would naturally become distressed. 

This thrift store bench makeover was both cheap and easy. Here's a step-by-step for how I turned an ugly duckling into a swan.

The great thing about distressing furniture is that it doesn’t have to be perfect, and you can do as much or as little as you would like.

I distressed most of the edges and lightly sanded the flat surfaces a bit.

This thrift store bench makeover was both cheap and easy. Here's a step-by-step for how I turned an ugly duckling into a swan.

Step 4 – Seal

When I was finished distressing, I wiped it down again to prepare for the sealant.  I used Minwax Polycrylic protective finish, semi-gloss.  

This thrift store bench makeover was both cheap and easy. Here's a step-by-step for how I turned an ugly duckling into a swan.

A lot of people suggest using wax to finish off chalk paint, but I prefer polycrylic, as it is much more durable.  

(I used the exact process outlined above to redo a small cabinet a few years ago that we have used as a toy cabinet for the kids ever since.  It has held up amazingly well, despite the daily abuse it incurs from the kids.  So, if you are looking for longevity and durability, I highly recommend polycrylic.)

Following the directions outlined on the can, I gave the bench two coats, and it was done!

Such a simple process with a big impact.  

I think it looks great at the foot of our bed, and if you look closely, you can see one of my many “helpers” – always close by.

 

If you enjoyed this thrift store bench makeover, be sure to pin it to Pinterest, and follow me there for more inspiration.

 

Also, don’t forget to check out all of the posts that my talented friends have shared!

Thrift Store Basket Makeover for Mother’s Day from Grandma’s House DIY

 

How to Paint with Chalk Paint from Chas Crazy Creations

 

How to Show Off Your Garden Flowers Using Thrift Store Finds from Shiplap and Shells

 

Candlesticks to Lamps from Life at Bella Terra

 

Mixing Vintage Finds with Modern Decor from Design Morsels

 

DIY Thrift Store Farmhouse Sign Makeover from The House on Silverado

 

How to Sew a Garden Apron from Kippi at Home

 

Farmhouse Bread Basket from a Thrift Store Find from Darling and Dapper Life

 

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14 Comments

  1. The bench turned out great. I’ve never tried using poly over chalk paint, but I’m interested to learn it’s more durable. It does seem like the wax takes a long time to cure. I’m getting ready to try that on a table. It was great hopping with you today.

    1. Thanks, Andrea! Poly dries harder than wax making it more durable in the long run. It’s typically scratch resistant, which is great. It goes over chalk paint well!

  2. I love your bench find and that color is beautiful. I have been wanting to do something like this in my room too… now to find a bench. Looks fantastic and thank you so much for sharing. Wonderful hopping with you.

    1. Thanks so much, Chas! And you should definitely find yourself a bench. I’m loving mine in the bedroom!

  3. Wow, you got a deal on that bench for 10 bucks! How sweet of your parents to be “on the lookout” for you! 🙂 It works perfectly at the foot of the bed like you have it, too.

    Niky @ The House on Silverado

    1. I know! I thought it was a steal, too. And yes, my parents are always on the lookout for me, which is amazing. 🙂 Thanks so much!

  4. I learned something new today about poly being so durable. I really love your bench makeover, Amy. You’ve inspired me to makeover a couple of mine lying around the house. Happy to be hopping with you!

    1. Yes, poly is great, especially for pieces that get a lot of use. It’s such an easy makeover. I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with yourself. 🙂

  5. Your bench was a bargain for only $10. You transformed it into a gorgeous end of the bed bench that will last for years.
    Great project, thanks for sharing it.
    Hugs,
    Kippi

  6. Just stunning! I love how the bench turned out and your tutorial is super helpful. I too prefer poly acrylic to seal my chalk paint projects. I have two kids under 4 at home, so durability is an absolute necessity 😂. Such a pleasure getting to know you and hop with you! 🤗

    1. Thank you so much! And yes, durability is priority with little ones running around (literally 😀 ).

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