I have wanted a cushioned bench to put in the living room for the longest time. Mostly because I really love the look of benches but also because we really need the extra seating for when we have friends over – our house is lovely but it hasn’t exactly been swimming in the seating department, in fact, the last time we had people over for a movie night (which now that I think of it was when the last season of Game of Thrones ended…oh how I miss that show!), people had to sit on kitchen chairs and cushions on the floor.
What I don’t love about cushioned benches is the price. Holey moley the price places are charging for them is crazy – like this one from World Market. So I shelved the idea of a bench for a few months until I got the idea from pinterest to use an IKEA expedit bookcase as a bench. The pin even shared details of making a cushion for the bench. Great huh!
So I headed off to IKEA and picked up the bookcase in black/brown and several baskets and was rearing to get started on the cushion. Except that when I read the pinterest tutorials for the cushions I realised that they were just upholstering a piece of mdf using foam, fabric and staples as a cover…..mhhhh non-removable fabric and a mucky little cocker spaniel puppy together were most certainly not an option, more like a recipe for disaster. So I put my thinking cap on and figured out how to make a fully removable cushion cover complete with a zipper. So if you’re like me and love this IKEA hack but have messy pets/kids here’s a little tutorial for a removable cover.
2 ¼ yards of 2” thick foam – This stuff is pretty expensive I bought it in Joanns when they were offering a great coupon and it still cost about $30 (wait for a coupon!)
2 ½ yards of fabric – I got a basic cream coloured fabric at 60% off in Joanns which cost about $10 total
Note: Below are the measurements I used for the standard ikea expedit shelving unit – to be safe measure yourself and check twice before making and cuts – better safe than sorry!
Starting with the foam, I measured, marked and cut the foam into a 73”x18” inch piece. I probably spend the longest time of the whole project just on this step alone – if I messed up any other part it would be easy to fix except for this bit. So to be really careful I used pins and a measuring tape to mark out where the cutting lines should go then I used a ruler to make sure the pins were all even and drew a cutting line using a marker. Scissors wouldn’t cut through the foam so I cut it using a kitchen knife but I’d recommend a craft knife – and be super careful!
Making the cushion cover itself was so simple and quick – I marked and cut out the fabric as follows:
A and B – 74”x19”
C and D – 74”x 2 ½”
E – 2 ½ “ x 20”
F – 3” x 20”
- Pin the long edge of A and C together (right sides (RS) of fabric facing each other) and sew a ¼” seam along the long edge. Press the seam flat.
- Pin the long edge of B to the other long edge of C (RS together) and sew a ¼” seam along the long edge. Press the seam flat.
- Pin the long edge of D to the other long edge of B (RS together) and sew a ¼” seam along the long edge. Press the seam flat.
- Now pin the other long edge of D back onto the other edge of A making sure to keep RS of fabric together, and sew a ¼” seam along the long edge thus creating a tube. Press the seam flat.
- Keep the tube inside out and pin E on one end – only pinning and sewing the long (A and B) edges. To create a sharp corner, position the fabric so that E is facing up, then find the point where A and C meet on one side and C and D meet on the other and sew a straight line between the 2 points, resulting in E and C being attached together. Then do the same for the other side. When it’s turned back the right way around the edges are very crisp.
I wanted to have the zipper in the middle of the end piece rather than at the bottom where it might scratch the wood so I cut piece F in half-length ways and then sewed the zipper into the middle of the two pieces. I then cut the fabric down to create a 2 ½ “ x 20” and sewed it onto the remaining open end of the tube just as before. Remember to leave the zipper open at least halfway otherwise it won’t eb possible to turn the cover back around the correct way.
Then after a bit of pushing, pulling and twisting I managed to get the cover onto the foam, placed it on to the bookcase and the bookcase became a bench.
I’m in love! I delighted with how it turned out and I’ve been getting heaps of compliments from visitors (most of whom have no idea that it’s really a bookcase!). Now the living room is really coming together, and just in time for the holidays too.
PS: anyone else completely addicted to pinterest? I know for sure I am!