Beat up an IKEA narrow bench for amazing vintage vibes

narrow bench diy aged and distressed
Photo Credit: Claire Douglas Styling

Antique benches, with their charming dents, scratches, and all, can cost a pretty penny. But Claire wanted one for her home and decided to upcycle an old IKEA SKOGSTA bench into a vintage narrow bench.

In an impressive display of creativity and resourcefulness, Claire took a saw, drill, and hammer to the wooden bench to age it and give it the desired look. With a few well-placed blows, she created “a long and colorful past” for a new acacia bench that came off the flatpack assembly line not long ago.

Start distressing the wood

To start, her weapon of choice was the hammer. She used a hammer to add dents to the surface, obliterating the SKOGSTA‘s mass-produced look. Then, she switched to a drill with a small drill bit to create clusters of pinholes resembling woodworm holes. These holes should not be uniform in size or shape. Aim for organic shapes, like how they would be in nature.

In addition to using a drill for holes, Claire also used it to scrape and mark the IKEA bench’s surface. This added a textured and aged effect to the wood. A saw was also used to round off the edges and ends to provide well-worn, smooth corners. After she was satisfied with her distressed bench, she sanded down rough edges and removed splinters to ensure the bench was still safe to use.

Tip: Don’t be afraid to experiment and try different techniques. Just go for it! After each round of distressing, stand back and look at the bench to see which spots you may have missed. Then, go in again until the bench is uniformly aged and has the desired vintage look. Take your time and be patient with the process.

Stain to weather the wood

The next part of this aging process was to stain the wood bench with a VOC-free water-based wood dye in a rich dark walnut finish. This deepened the color and added a warm, rustic charm to the piece. Claire used a sponge to wipe the stain all over the narrow bench, reapplying where necessary to get the shade she wanted.

Seal with wax

Lastly, to ensure the vintage narrow bench maintained its good looks, Claire sealed the bench with furniture wax. This final step adds to the bench’s antique charm and protects it from daily wear and tear.

In the end, Claire’s upcycled DIY narrow bench turned out to be a stunning piece that adds character and warmth to her home. By following her simple yet effective techniques, you can create a unique and beautiful piece of furniture that reflects your style and creativity.

Claire took to Instagram to share how she made the antique bench.

Claire’s followers couldn’t get enough of it after she shared her upcycled vintage narrow bench on social media. Many called the process “therapeutic,” and some even expressed their desire to try it themselves. One follower commented, “Looks amazing! I have that bench, and I’m very tempted to beat it up now!”

How to use a narrow bench

narrow bench as coffee table and dining table seating
Photo Credit: Claire Douglas Styling

Claire is using the narrow bench along with her old dining table. After the distressing process, the bench fits beautifully with the vintage table. It also works as a coffee table in front of the sofa, making it the perfect solution for long, narrow living rooms.

The bench is versatile and can be used in many ways. It would be lovely at the foot of the bed or as a narrow bench for the entryway, providing a place to put on your shoes and drop your bag and keys.

To maximize the functionality of the entryway bench, you can also add storage beneath the bench seat. Incorporate a few storage baskets to keep items organized, such as shoes, pillows, and blankets. The narrow bench now serves as a shoe bench and entryway storage bench, providing seating, storage, and a stylish entryway solution. Place a hallway runner rug underneath the bench to create a cozy and inviting entryway.

With its unique character and charm, this upcycled vintage narrow bench is a beautiful and functional addition to any home.