Operation Makeover: From Plain IKEA Bench to Cute Accent Seating

Find out how to turn a boring wood bench into a bold blue show-stopper!
credit: Carrie Waller

This cool, colorful bench has become a frontrunner as one of our new favorite IKEA hacks. All you need is some chalk decorative paint, rope, and IKEA's $40 Skogsta bench. Before and after photos, as well as all the DIY details are below. Make one for your entryway, bedroom, or office. It's just that adorably chic.

Before and after proof of the transformation!
credit: Carrie Waller

Step 1

Assemble your IKEA Skogsta bench according to the package instructions.

Assemble the bench.
credit: Carrie Waller

Step 2

Mask off the underside of the bench seat using painter's tape. Press the tape firmly down with your fingertips.

Tape off the underside of the bench seat.
credit: Carrie Waller

Step 3

Paint the base and legs of the bench using chalk decorative paint and a brush. Layer on as many coats of paint as you need to completely cover the wood beneath (we did two coats total), waiting about 30 minutes between each coat.

Paint the base and legs of the bench using chalk decorative paint.
credit: Carrie Waller

Step 4

Wait at least two hours for the final coat of paint to dry, then cover it with one coat of clear interior chalk decorative paint wax using a clean brush. Remove and discard the painter's tape immediately before the wax has a chance to fully dry.

Leave the bench to cure overnight, and then wipe the painted areas down with a microfiber cleaning cloth to remove any built-up waxy residue that may have collected. This will even out the finish.

Brush a wax coating over the chalk decorative paint.
credit: Carrie Waller

Step 5

Use a cordless screwdriver to remove the center screw on both long sides of the bench—front and back. These screws would otherwise get in the way of your DIY rope detail to come. Rest assured that removing these screws won't affect the stability of your bench, as there are plenty of others holding the piece together.

Remove the center screw on both long sides of the bench.
credit: Carrie Waller

Step 6

Use a tape measure to find the center of both the front and back long sides of the base, and then make a mark just below the seat edge using a marker. Then continue using the tape measure and marker to put even, level dots on the bench base every 1/2 inch from the center point. You'll need 13 marks in total, six on either side of your center mark. Repeat on the opposite long side of the bench base.

Mark holes for the rope to run through.
credit: Carrie Waller

Step 7

Drill through all 26 marked holes using your cordless screwdriver outfitted with a 5/16-inch drill bit.

Drill through the marked holes.
credit: Carrie Waller

Step 8

Tie a thick double knot on one end of your 10-yard length of 1/4-inch white cotton rope. Push the other end of the rope through the hole on the back portion of the bench so that the knot ends up on the inside of the bench, hidden from view.

Run the rope around and through the bench seat in whatever pattern you like to give it a cool linear focal point. We alternated our own rope up and over the bench seat and through the center gap, repeating until we got the end. Once you're finished with your chosen wrapped design, knot the rope from underneath the seat so it's invisible from the outside. Note that it doesn't need to be perfect—feel free to get creative!

Run the rope around and through the bench seat to give it a cool linear focal point.
credit: Carrie Waller

Step 9

Push the rope strands toward the center from above the seat and below it to create the angular look of the example pictured here. Staple the angled rope strands in place from below the seat using an electric staple gun. This will ensure that your design will stay in place.

Push the rope strands to the center and staple in place.
credit: Carrie Waller

Step 10

Flip the bench upright, and you're done! You can style this bench practically anywhere in your home. We set up our own made-over bench in the entry, decorating around it with boho textures in a neutral color palette to let the blue bench shine.

We decorated around our made-over bench using boho textures in a neutral color palette.
credit: Carrie Waller
Style this bench anywhere in your home—the entryway, a bathroom, your bedroom!
credit: Carrie Waller

Carrie Waller

Carrie Waller

Carrie Waller is the writer, stylist and photographer behind the lifestyle and crafting blog, Dream Green DIY, which was founded in March 2011. Her work has been featured by Domino, Better Homes and Gardens, Design*Sponge, HGTV Magazine, Country Living, Rue Daily, Glitter Guide, and Apartment Therapy. Carrie lives in Waynesboro, Virginia, with her husband and their four pets.