How to Make a Bench from a Headboard and Footboard

Who doesn’t love these little upcycled benches made out of old vintage beds?

Here is How to Make a Bench from a Headboard and Footboard.

Get more furniture makeover ideas here!

They are perfect as a porch bench, or as an entryway bench. This one, in particular, was made into the perfect red porch bench.

DIY Twin headboard bench

I had been looking for the perfect twin headboard and footboard to upcycle into an adorable bench and we finally found the perfect set!

I spotted them at a fun little vintage market for only $10! They were missing the side rails, so I didn’t feel one bit guilty about my plans to transform them into a DIY headboard bench.

Thrifted $10 Headboard to make an upcycled bench

How to Make a Bench from a Headboard and Footboard

I’ve made a few headboard benches, and every single time they are a little bit different. But the overall build is very similar with all of them.

  • First, you need to make sure that the headboard and footboard have a place to attach a seat to. The seat needs to be about 18″ from the ground.
  • Then the footboard needs to be cut in half to become the armrests and front legs. The footboards then need to be connected to the headboard.
  • Finally, the support for the seat of the bench needs to be made, and the top of the seat put together.

It was quite the labor of love, but the finished product was totally worth it!

Supplies for the Upcycled Headboard Bench

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Adding Height to the Footboard

First, we cut the finials from the headboard (with a chop saw) to add to the legs of the footboard.

We needed to add height to the footboard so the seat wouldn’t be right in the middle of the side spindles.

We cut the legs off the bottom of the footboard too, and cut the finials from the headboard in half.

building the DIY twin headboard bench - adding legs
The footboard legs are on the left, the finials (cut in half) are on the right.
building the DIY twin headboard bench - adding legs
We added part of the finials to the legs, and left the rest of the finals to go back on as finials.

We used glue and hanger bolts to attach part of the finials with the legs.

Then we attached the new legs onto the footboard with more hanger bolts and wood glue.

The leftovers of the finals were put back onto the headboard to be finials again. (We sanded them down to round them out a bit too.)

Learn what the Best Sander for Furniture is here.

Attaching the Footboard to the Headboard

We cut the footboard in half with the chop saw and then removed the top part of the footboard from the spindles.

We attached the sides of the bench (the footboards) with pocket screws and glue.

make a bench from a headboard
bench made from headboard and footboard - putting the arm rests on

We cut out new armrests, drilled holes to connect with the spindles, and then attached the arms to the headboard and footboard with the nail gun.

Build the Bench Seat

building the seat support for a bench made from an old bed
how to upcycle a headboard and footboard into a bench

We built the support for the bench seat out of 1″x3″ boards and 1″x2″ boards.

We attached them together and to the frame of the bench with Kreg Jig pocket holes and screws.

And then we used more 1″ boards to make the bench seat.

We attached the boards to the supports with more brad nails.

headboard made into a bench

Filling in the Holes

There were large holes and slots from when the headboard and footboard were hooked to bed rails. I filled the holes with Bondo Filler.

Bondo dries hard and is easy to paint, so it was a no-brainer to use!

Click here to learn more about Best Wood Filler for Furniture and How to Repair Damaged Furniture.

finished bench from an old bed

Painting the Red Porch Bench

Our client asked for this bench to be painted for outdoor use.

So we painted it in red chalk paint that she picked out and then sealed the chalk paint with an exterior-rated topcoat.

The seat was stained in dark walnut.

Read all about the best Topcoats for Painting Furniture here!

rustic red bench made from headboard and footboard

How to Chalk Paint Outdoor Furniture

You can use chalk paint outdoors! The secret is to topcoat it with an exterior-rated top coat instead of the regular interior-rated top coat.

We used a custom paint color from the local hardware store and mixed it into chalk paint with this homemade chalk paint recipe.

Then I sprayed the finish on for a brush-free finish.

Learn more about how to paint furniture here!

And learn about the Best Wagner Paint Sprayers for Furniture (they are budget-friendly!)

Then I sprayed multiple coats of General Finishes Exterior 450 topcoat in Satin.

It is a water-based topcoat that is rated for exterior use, and General Finishes creates high-quality products that I trust.

*Do not use this topcoat over light colors as yellowing may occur.

Learn more about General Finishes 450 here.

I absolutely love that we were able to bring this old bed back to life and give it a new purpose!

red porch bench painted for outside

How to Make a Bench from a Headboard and Footboard

red porch bench made from old bed

Upcycle your old vintage bed into a new piece. Here's how to make a bench from a headboard and footboard.



  1. Add height to the footboard by cutting the finials from the headboard.
  2. Cut the footboard in half to make the sides of the bench.
  3. Build the support for the bench and the bench seat with wood boards.
  4. Fill in holes with wood filler.
  5. Paint the bench and seal with topcoat.

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twin headboard bench painted rustic red for a porch bench

More Before And After Makeovers

Click any of these “before” photos below to view the “after” of that makeover.

twin headboard bench painted rustic red for a porch bench

Happy building!!

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how to make a bench from a headboard and footboard
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  1. Dorie Attoe says:

    Thanks for the clear instructions. We recently brought home a bed from my husband’s parent’s house. It’s been quite used up as a bed, but I think it will make a lovely bench.

  2. I should have. This was way back when I didn’t know what I know now.

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