The Pinterest Challenge: Winter Edition

I was so excited to see the Pinterest Challenge Winter Edition up that I’m going to break my timeline here and jump ahead to what I’ve been working on in the dining room! Woot, woot!

For those of you not in the know, TPC Winter Edition is being held by Katie over at Bower Power, Sherry at Young House Love, Erin from The Great Indoors and Cassie of Hi Sugarplum! All lovely ladies with wonderful ideas. I decided I’d join in. :)

So you know we’ll be in the dining room but let me show you some inspiration I’ve been working with from Pinterest:



My jaw hit the floor when I saw that first photo. I couldn’t pull my eyes away from the bench to ceiling back. Jerry didn’t really get it and gravitated more towards the smaller back shown in the second picture but came over to the dark side when I let him know I would be doing this solo (mostly).

Here’s a reminder of what my dining room is looking like and what I’m working with:

After a few really quick updates I was working with a room slightly more similar to that first inspiration photo:

Wow, look at all of that wood (that’s what she said). I was already considering this a win since the rug that was in there had been driving me a bit insane and the 4 chairs around the table were either in the way or scattered a bit too far from the table for my liking. The Jer, you should know, is still not sold on the new less chair, no carpet look. I told him he needs to wait until I’m done before he can decide how he definitely feels.

For those of you that are new here, Jerry, aka the hubs, built us the lovely bench back in July.

The next step to me was to get that bench backer! I’ve been wanting to do it for awhile and just never got on it. Since finish the dining room is on my March to-do list, I quickly decided this was getting done. Today. As in I started it today and finished it today. Awesomesauce.

I spent 2 hours at JoAnn’s contemplating fabric. I had it narrowed down to 6 before Jerry met up with me (I begged him to come help b/c I could. not. decide). After showing him the options, my hand landed on a 7th not yet considered fabric that was half the price of the others. I wanted something non-floral with a large pattern. What I got was a non-floral with a not very large pattern. But we’ll get to that.

Before that even, I had to figure out how big this thing was going to be:

Frog tape. Ooooh yeah. :) Clearly the photo came after the shopping spree. We decided 4′ tall was going to be the easiest route since I’d be using left of paneling from our bathroom as a base (and it happens to be 4′ wide) and I knew I wanted to match the width of the bench so our dimensions came out to be 68″ x 48″.

Then I gathered my supplies:

  • 6 1x2s (for the frame) – .75 each but free with a gift card, holler!
  • Paneling (plywood or pegboard would work, too) – free in my garage.
  • 2″ Foam – $58.11 using a 50% off coupon
  • 72×90 Batting – $6.59 on sale
  • 2.25 yards of Fabric (I realized when I was done you could probably use a king sized sheet and save a bunch of greenbacks) – $31.48
  • Screws
  • Drill and bits
  • Miter Saw (I didn’t “gather” this so much as plug it in)

Under $100 to make this thing?! Heck, yeah! My grand total was 96.17! I did opt for a less expensive fabric (if you can believe that) even though Jer and I both preferred something else. :\ Hopefully we’re not regretting that decision in a month. Yikes.

Construction began as soon as I got home! I was ready to chop down a 4×8 piece of paneling but as luck would have it, I had to pieces that added together to near perfection! They were only an inch larger than my original measurements.

I cut my two end pieces of wood down to 4′ and attached them using a pilot hole before drilling them in. Then I measured inside of my two edge pieces for the length of my next 5 cuts of wood.

I decided to put 5 pieces across the middle to add more support behind whoever is sitting since the paneling is pretty flimsy. Plus, it would help connect my two pieces of paneling more securely together.

How to attach the 3 middle pieces was a bit mind boggling at first. I called Jerry while he was at work but he was busy (duh). It didn’t take me long to figure out I could just drill a longer screw through the side of my frame to secure them in place and give me a guide as to where I could screw down the paneling from the top.

I had to hold the entire piece up with my knees and feet while doing this. Not so fun BUT I did get a pretty good ab workout. Two birds, one stone.

Once the 3 extra middle pieces were in, I wanted to make sure the whole thing stayed put so I added a bunch more screws for safety.

And then it was the fun part! Right?!

Wrong. I had a mental breakdown during the stapling part…but we’re not there yet.

I laid out the foam and centered it the best I could. It actually ended up being about an inch taller than I needed it and the pieces were off slightly so the bottom one is a bit wider than the top one. Looking back, I should have spent the 5 minutes hour trying to cut it down but it’s not so noticeable that I really care now. I just know about it. And that bugs me more than being able to see it…is that weird? Let’s move on.

The batting I bought was by Quilt-Lite. I was able to leave it doubled up since it was so large and a little stretchy. No lie, it’s so thin I’m not sure it’s doing anything for back cushiness but…it’s there. And it was inexpensive so it stayed.

Stapling the batting was pretty easy. It had quite a bit of stretch and was simple enough to get down. I may have gone a little crazy with the staples. This is my first time, though, so take it easy on me. ;)

It was really looking like a bed to me at this point and I wanted in…but I had to iron the fabric.

The fabric!!! I’m almost done!!!

Or so I thought.

The tricky thing about this whole project – that I was anticipating – was that the whole bench back is 4′ tall and fabric at the store is running 54″ max so I was really going to have to stretch and pull to make sure it covered over every edge of foam and batting.

No. Big. Deal.

Are you only reading now b/c you want to know about my mental breakdown? B/c this is when it happened, friends. The ease of stapling the batting made me think I was about to breeze through stapling the fabric. Ha!

I guess I need to clarify, when the staple gun was working, stapling was a breeze. The 50x the staple gun broke? Not so much. The 100x too many staples came out at once or came out sideways? Not so much.

In my defense, I held it together until the Jer came home from work. He simply said, “Hi,” and I unloaded on him. I also may or may not have thrown the staple gun at the bench back while unloading. Might have.

Good thing you’re home, hunny, b/c I quit!

Actually, my stud had to find some studs so I stepped aside and as I wiped the tear stains from my face, Jer Bear found those studs and attached leftover 1x2s in place.

I have to say, we were most baffled by how to actually install this thing in the wall. We did a bunch of research online and couldn’t really come up with any good answers. So we made our own. After Jerry installed the 1x2s, we lifted the bench back into place and he nailed them down.

The bottom 1x2s made it so we had to sort of snap the bench back on. It’s mighty snug but we still plan on adding some other sort of nail from the bottom up. I shook it. I’m pretty sure it’s not going anywhere. Only pretty, though. I’ll let you know if it crushes any of our future guests.

Once I had a minute to put everything back in place, we now have this:

Not too shabby! But not quite done yet, either. *sigh* Never fret, my pets! I have half of the month to go! :)

I almost forgot! If I was ever to do this again I would a) Go with a large print for such a large scale upholstery item! b) Use 1 inch foam and way more batting. It’d be more plush and comfy – the 2 inch is a bit stiff and not much better than having your back against the wall! Whomp, whoooomp!

UPDATE: I wanted to show you what the dining room looks like in the day time.

I also wanted to take a poll (if anyone wants to come out of hiding and comment ;) ). The wood built-ins. Do I paint them white to match all of the crisp trim or leave the wood? I’d like to paint the chairs but I’m not sure JB will get behind that idea. I’ll have to butter him up before I ask. But what do you think about the built ins?!

About Miss Em

I'm Emily, he's Jerry. Newly wed but long together, homeowners since 2006, one child in cat form.
This entry was posted in Around the House, Goalies, Pinterest and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to The Pinterest Challenge: Winter Edition

  1. Katie says:

    Found this from Young House Love… I’m so glad you posted your attempt!! I’ve been thinking about doing it (was inspired from that first picture you liked, too) and feel much more confident now that I’ve seen yours turn out well!. So thank you.
    (And my vote is to paint them white. I think it will make the area look extra clean and crisp)

    • Miss Em says:

      Yes! I’m glad you stopped by, Katie! I’m also super pumped that someone might actually take something away from this project! :) Thanks for your input on the built ins – I feel the same way. I think I hear the paint can calling me!

      Thanks again!

  2. Tamsyn says:

    I’ve been thinking about doing something like this in my dining room too. I really like how yours is coming along. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Leah says:

    Stopping over from Bower Power – I’m entry #328. Great work! It’s a goal to eventually try to upholster something – your idea is awesome and it looks so good.

  4. This looks great, whether or not the staple gun cooperated! I’ve had so many of the same scenarios… the mister finds me bawling over some power tool/project and has to swoop in and save the day. Good thing they’re around! :-)

    Wonderful job, and thanks for linking up with the Winter Pinterest Challenge!


  5. Cate says:

    This looks great Em! Next thing you need is a nice comfy cushion to put on the bench.

    I am a HUGE fan of wood, and you did just uncover your beautiful wood floors, so it’s hard to jump in and say to paint the built-ins white. However, I have to agree that white would bring a bright, crisp and clean look to the dining room. And painting chairs is a chore. They will chip over time and have to be repainted.

    I know this response is a little late, so did you actually decide what to do about this yet?

What are you thinking? I would love to hear from you!

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