headboard-benchThe concept of turning an old head-board into a bench has always been intriguing to me. I have seen many different variations of the head-board bench, and had the opportunity just the other day to try my hand at one!

So I would like to share my experience with you, and show you step by step how I did it.

This was a project for my sister, so I don’t have a photo of the head-board and foot-board before she painted them in this beautiful maroon color. It was white, and was covered in crayon and pencil markings from a child’s imaginative mind.

This project will be much easier if you have basic woodworking skills and a few tools. I used a DeWalt drill, a 1/8 inch drill bit, a table-saw, and a circular saw. Of course you will need a pencil and a tape measure as well. Also paint or stain of your choice, and enough screws for the project. A framing square is nice as well!

Step 1 ~

Headboard DIY benchFind a head-board and foot-board set.

Find a headboard set that you would like to use. You can often pick them up at yard sales or FB sale groups for little to nothing! It doesn’t matter if it looks like it’s been to Hades and back. With a little paint and some TLC, you can have it looking like a million bucks!

In this case my sister painted the head-board and foot-board ahead of time, but I would recommend to wait until step 4 to paint your frame.


Step 2 ~

foot-board cut in halfCut the foot-board in half.

Also keep in mind that half the width of the foot-board may still be wider than you want the seat to be after it is cut in two. I ended up cutting an extra 2 inches or so off of each half so that the seat of the bench ends up being about 18 inches deep instead of 20.



Step 3 ~

framing up headboard Attach the foot-board pieces to the head-board.

If you have a counter sink bit, it works well to countersink screws in from the top of the foot-board into the post of the headboard. You can also drill holes from the back of the posts and attach them that way, if your screws are long enough. This step can be tricky because the wood can split easily, and you certainly don’t want that to happen.

Be sure that your headboard is square with the foot-board pieces when attaching them together. This will ensure that the bench is square and symmetrical before you add the seat frame. You certainly don’t want the base to be cattywampus and everything end up crooked because of it!


Step 4 ~

frame in bench Build the seat frame.

Simply figure out the measurements that you need to build a frame that fits between the legs of the bed frame. You could use 2x4s or 1xs of some sort. I used 5/4 decking boards and ripped them in half for this part of the frame.

Simply attach the seat frame on each corner with good screws to make sure it is strong enough to hold sufficient weight. I recommend these torx head screws from amazon. They work amazing!

If you want to have the seat painted or stained a contrasting color, here is where I would recommend that you paint the entire frame and seat frame. That way you can paint or stain the contrasting color on the seat planks and install them after they are dry.


Step 5 ~

Seat decking headboard benchFit the seat planks to the proper length, and notch out any spots that will allow the planks to fit better. I used full width 5/4 x 6 treated deck boards for the seat. I also pre-drilled the screw holes in each plank to prevent the boards from splitting.

I laid out the seat planks and made sure that they fit properly before staining them.

I was able to build this entire seat out of 2 – 5/4 x 6 x 8 ft long treated deck boards.


Step 6 ~

finished re-purposed headboard, foot-board bench.Stain and install seat planks.

I applied a dark stain and wiped it down with a drop-cloth. That method really seems to make the wood grain “pop”.

After the seat planks are completely dry, you can install them. After installation I put a good layer of polyurethane over the stain to protect the wood even more.

I was very pleased with the outcome! An otherwise almost worthless piece or two of bed-frame, turned into an amazing bench to accent a front porch, back deck, or back yard!

Why not build one for yourself today?

~ Joe

Completed head-board bench.

The completed head-board bench!