You know that feeling you get when you finally finish something you've been putting off for a long time? I've been basking in that feeling all day :) Actually, I haven't even been working on it THAT long, it just feels that way. Think back to when I went out of town about 2.5 weeks ago. I mentioned that I had stopped at IKEA in Houston on my way back home. What I didn't mention was that I had an idea brewing for some new living room seating and had purposely stopped there to pick up the pieces I needed to build it.
It all started when I was looking around my living room about 2 months back, thinking I wanted more seating and storage. I had a glider in the corner that was driving me bananas. No one sat in it except Sarge. Whenever someone did sit in it and rock, it was apparently hitting the wall because I noticed bald spots where it had scraped off paint...not cool. So it was time to change things up. Initially I wanted a settee...something similar to these:
Ummmm, yeah, they're beautiful but I would never pay that much for a mini couch. No way Jose!
If I couldn't have something for that corner, then I thought the next best thing would be a window bench. Only one problem...I don't have a table saw or the type of skills necessary to build something like that.
Here's where Pinterest came in and changed everything.
I found that a lot of people were hacking IKEA Expedit bookcases and turning them into benches by simply adding mdf, foam, and fabric. It sounded simple and affordable. Seeing as how everybody and their momma has jumped on the expedit bandwagon, I thought I would go ahead and do the same. Here are some of the photos from Pinterest that inspired me:
Aren't they all just lovely? That very first one from a nursery just made my heart skip a beat. There are so many more I could show you, but that would take forever. I think you get the point, it's a very popular idea and I've also seen it done with the Ikea Lack bookcase.
I knew I didn't want to take the time to sew a cushion for it because I'm in the middle of sewing a ton of pillow covers and altering some curtain panels as well as my Halloween costume. I also didn't want to leave it bare because it wouldn't be very comfortable, so I went the upholstery route. Before buying anything, I went online to check the dimensions and I measured the area under my window just to be sure it would all work.
Once we were at Ikea, Eva and I took our time shopping around. We found some great items, including the lanterns I used for my front porch, among many other things. You'll see stuff popping up in the next couple blog posts. Here we are looking at basket options for the expedit:
We went with the one in the middle, called the Knipsa.
I can't tell you just how excited I was to get home and work on it.
So excited that after driving to San Antonio from Houston, I opened the box and got right to it.
It's so simple to put together. You line up dowels for the sides and screw in the endcaps.
Here it is once I was done putting it together:
My brain wasn't functioning because I bought 4 baskets instead of 5, doi! Since the nearest Ikea is about 1.5 hrs away, I decided to just decorate the middle cube and pretend like it was done intentionally.
The next day it was time to buy the MDF and foam for the seat. I called a few places to price out foam because it's actually pretty pricey. Hobby Lobby had some foam squares but that wouldn't work. Joann's had 2" foam by the yard, but it was something like $32/yd. I don't think so, homey don't play that, lol! That would have been really expensive since you need a little over two yards for one bench. My next call was to Hancock Fabrics, and wouldn't you know it, they had 2" foam on sale for $18/yd. I was like, score! Even if you can't get it on sale, the original price there is $26/yd, which is still cheaper than Joann's.
Next stop was Home Depot for MDF. Unfortunately I was told you can't have them cut down a large piece and only pay for what you need. You have to buy it by the sheet. The good thing is you will have extra wood to use on other projects. I think I paid $28 for a sheet, then the nice guy in their wood department cut it down to my dimensions. In case you're interested in building one yourself, the dimensions I used are 72 9/16" x 15 5/16."
He cut it just perfectly because it was exact. Yes, I secretly took a pic while pretending to text on my phone, teeheehee!
Here's my car loaded down with the foam, fabric, and MDF, as well as other goodies for different projects:
I guess I should have called this blog chaos in my casa & car!
When I got home I laid it all out:
and that's how it stayed for 2 weeks while I worked on other projects, including sewing pillow covers for the bench, again using the envelope pillow method:
(good way to use old pillows)
I know, I know, two weeks with it like that! Why? I think part of me was afraid to mess it up, since I had invested about $200 total in the expedit ($60), mdf ($28), foam ($38), baskets ($64), and fabric ($22).
I was also keeping busy with other projects. Then yesterday I got tired of looking at the mess. It was time to get busy. First thing I did was lay it out the way it would go together, expedit topped by mdf, then the foam:
Next, I used my electric knife to cut the foam. I have a cheap $10 knife from Walmart.
The employee at Hancock Fabrics had cut it to 72 9/16" for me, so it was the right length, but the width wasn't cut, so I started cutting out the excess in chunks.
I'm straight line challenged so I don't know why I tried free handing it. I couldn't get it perfectly straight, so I took my sharpie and used it to draw out a straight line for me to follow:
Don't worry if you accidentally cut a little too much. You can always use hot glue to put the piece back...yes I'm speaking from experience, lol.
Once the foam was cut, I pre-drilled holes through the mdf and straight down into the expedit. I did this because I wanted to screw the cushion to the expedit. I didn't want it sliding and falling on someone's foot, that would be painful, and yes, I'm once again speaking from experience. I dropped it on my big toe and ouchy it hurt! Now stop laughing.
Here are the marks I made before drilling:
Then I drilled straight through:
2 on each end:
I had already cut and ironed my fabric. I chose Waverly's Pom Pom Play in the Spa color. It was on sale for $10/yd at Joann's. I laid the ironed fabric face down, topped it with the MDF and foam, making sure to keep the pattern straight:
Then I stapled the fabric to the MDF, pulling it tightly and folding it as I went along:
Then I turned it over, straightened it out, and screwed it down using some 3" screws I had in my tool box:
Then I just tossed on the pillows I had sewn for it, and hooray, it was complete!
(blue lantern is Ikea $4, in case you're wondering)
The 2" foam and mdf put it at the perfect height to fit under the window ledge:
I'm in love with it:
It was so much cheaper than the settee's I'd been eyeing and it can seat about 3 people, plus it provides tons of storage! What an added bonus!
I had planned on moving our dvd's over from the ottoman, but decided to use it for more toy storage. Yes, you read that correctly, toy storage. I normally don't allow toys in the living room because Eva has a toy section in the dining room, but she keeps bringing them over anyway. I figure instead of dragging all the toys back to the dining room every night, I can just stick them in these boxes.
I wasn't even finished taking pictures before Eva and her toys took over the space:
Do you think she likes it?
I think so!
There you have it, a semi-DIY window bench from an IKEA expedit. It feels good to build something my daughter truly enjoys. While I like having pretty furnishings, the most important thing to me is that we have items we actually use. I foresee us spending a lot of time reading books and playing on this bench (It's very sturdy, in case you're wondering. Eva and I have sat on it together along with our two dogs).
If you all have seen this project before and have been undecided about it, I hope you find my tutorial helpful! Thanks for reading!