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Sewing Bench Repurposed into the Ultimate Side Table

Upcycled sewing bench with 3 uses: side table, serving tray, lap deskLast week my sister-in-law passed off her garbage picked sewing bench to me. Rewind and you’ll recall that a couple weeks ago I was reupholstering a sewing bench that I had garbaged picked. Since clearly I don’t need another sewing bench, why did I accept another one?

My first thought was that I’d repurpose it into a bedroom side table. As I was envisioning my project I thought on a few issues I had with repurposing a sewing bench into a side table.

  1. I couldn’t really put a cushion on the bench seat because it’s not a good surface for a lamp or a beverage that would likely go on the night stand.
  2. Okay, I couldn’t really paint it because it wasn’t a solid piece of wood. The top needed to be covered – but what if that hypothetical drink spilled?
  3. Last, the bench seat lifts off so that you can access a small, hidden space for storing things – like a diary or Fifty Shades of Grey (LOL). I needed an easy way to access the storage.

How to Repurpose a Sewing Bench 3 Ways


So to solve all my issues I upholstered the bench seat with laminated fabric. If you didn’t know, you can laminate any fabric with iron on laminate. Here is the DIY fabric laminating tutorial.

Next, I added simple handles made from leather scraps. These serve two purposes: first so you can easily lift up the bench seat and access your bedside contraband. Second so it can double as a serving tray. Who doesn’t love breakfast in bed? Just sayin’.

Third repurpose is a lap desk. I had one of these when I was a kid and loved it! So last week when my husband was working late, my kids and I created a pillow fort in the family room. They decided to do their homework in there and I was reminded of my beloved, childhood dinosaur lap desk. My eight-year-old had the idea that we could make a lap desk out of an old cutting board and a pillow, which I thought was brilliant, but might be a bit heavy. So this sewing bench has fulfilled all my needs – well, not all – let’s not give it too much credit!

To make the lap desk, I reused stuffing from an old comforter, laid over a piece of non-laminated, matching fabric and hot glued it down.

Then I wrapped the bench seat in the laminated fabric, and nailed it down. Then I covered the nail heads with ribbon.

DIY lap desk with laminated fabric and leather scrap handles

DIY lap desk with laminated fabric and leather scrap handles

How would you prefer to use this sewing bench?

Eve of Reduction: Free Seasonal E-Newsletter; Extra tips and wit on Facebook; Reduction Beauty on Pinterest ; The debut DIY lifestyle book (includes 10 upcycling tutorials); and the guide to creative streams of income ebook (only $2.99).

I’m Cristin Frank (AKA Eve). I love all things frugal and crafty. My mindset is always on upcycling, repurposing, reducing waste and saving money – and Eve of Reduction is my roadmap. You might also want to check out my book, "Living Simple, Free & Happy."

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8 Responses to Sewing Bench Repurposed into the Ultimate Side Table

  1. Jenna Pizzigati January 22, 2014 at 10:10 am #

    How unique- another fabulous eco fabulous DIY… Thanks for sharing!

    • Eve January 28, 2014 at 9:38 am #

      Thanks, Jenna!

  2. Lucy Schmidt January 22, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

    Nice upcycle. I have fond memories of lap desks, too, and still have/use one. My favorite part is the hidden compartment. I’d probably use it as an extra little sit-upon near the front or back door.

    • Eve January 28, 2014 at 9:41 am #

      I’m glad you remember lap desks. I wasn’t sure if I was dating myself. You’re right, this bench would be great for an entranceway. You could stash the dog leash or a small umbrella in there and tuck shoes underneath!

  3. femmefrugality January 27, 2014 at 8:45 pm #

    This is amazing! We garbage pick…it’s great pickings living in the city where so many people live…so many opportunities! And I’ve redone a dresser, but doubt I would have the creativity to make this bench that beautiful and multi-purpose! Well done!
    femmefrugality recently posted…The Most Wonderful Time of the Year to Buy Wedding JewelryMy Profile

    • Eve January 28, 2014 at 9:42 am #

      Thanks! Sometimes I keep a list of things I need and usually I will soon come across something I can repurpose into what I’m looking for. I’d love to see your dresser!

  4. Diane February 2, 2014 at 3:43 pm #

    Love that fabric pattern. I can never find patterned fabric that I like at my local Joann’s, for some reason. It’s mostly floral nuttiness. ; )

    • Eve February 2, 2014 at 7:06 pm #

      Thank you, Diane, I actually got this fabric at Joann’s. I have better luck in the upholstery section : )

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