Live and Learn: Bringing Back the Bench

If you’ve been a reader for a while, you might recall how I switched out our makeshift “entry” bench (I call it makeshift because technically it’s a part of the dining room) with a small bookcase. Like so:

Old entryway


New entryway

You see, I have a problem. I am constantly (seriously, my mind does. not. shut. down.) playing out different scenarios for our home. I L-O-V-E shopping our home – my poor husband will walk in from work and see a nightstand from our bedroom as our new family room end table. Or a bench that used to be upstairs is now our coffee table. Hey, I do save us some money, so he really doesn’t complain.;)

So I thought it’d be fun to switch things up when I gave the dining room a makeover. I placed our little black bench (which happened to store the kids’ shoes in the baskets) in our office, and took this bookcase from one of our kids’ rooms (we had an extra bookcase, she could’ve cared less, don’t worry;). I thought it’d be nice to have a landing place – somewhere to place our mail and keys when we walked in the door, you know? As you can see from the pics, our front door is right there – and there’s no place in our little foyer for any kind of table/bench/entry to speak of.

Fast forward several months, and you know, I kinda missed that bench. The kids now had to walk in, down the hall, and into the office to put their shoes away. They didn’t have that nice landing spot to put them on either. And you know what? That bookcase only housed our keys and mail about oh, 30% of the time, as we STILL ended up throwing things on the dining room table, out of habit.

On a whim last week, I mixed up some paint and plaster. If you don’t know about this stuff, it’s ah-maz-ing. No sanding, no priming, nothing but a couple coats of this stuff and a layer of wax to seal the deal, and you’re done. Even on this black bench, that isn’t one of those well-made, solid wood pieces. It’s more of that laminate/fake stuff, know what I mean?

I have oodles of paint samples in our laundry room – I mean, probably a good 20+ – and they’re always good for stuff like this. I grabbed some Sherwin Williams Moody Blue that I had, and SW Sea Salt – I mixed about half of each in a small plastic container, and added probably a 1/8 cup of Plaster of Paris – the recipe is typically 3 parts paint to 1 part Plaster of Paris, but I find it’s best to start with less P of P, because it’s a lot easier to add more than try and thin it out. I wanted a soft green-y blue, to pick up the color of my family room walls. What’s so great about mixture is you can customize the color to match whatever you want to do. You can keep mixing samples, or even those little 59 cent craft paints to do the trick!

I wiped the dust off the bench and got to work.

After one coat:

After two coats:


After it dried, I took a piece of sandpaper to rough up the edges a little. It’s SO easy to distress – and looks pretty fab when you do.


Add a coat of wax when you’re done. I use Minwax. Smear some on with a cloth, buff it off. Done.


ow, I have some work to do above it – not sure exactly what will go there – perhaps a large mirror, some hooks on the itty bitty wall to the left of it for purses, and such…but I am so happy with my decision to bring it back. The kids were so pumped – it was hilarious! I had no idea that they missed having this little spot to put their shoes on! It was like breaking news when my first grader got home from school. I’m thinking I’ll get a couple cute pillows, or perhaps a cushion? Not sure. (Aren’t you loving the messed up family room with pillows all over the floor, and signs taped to our banister? Oh, and careful not to trip over that blinking Ariel wand on your way in. For those of you who might ever wonder if my house looks like it does in the blog photos all the time, here’s your answer;).

So there’s my little lesson for the day. Sometimes you switch things around, change things up, and until you live with it, you never know if it’s going to be the right decision. But you have to do what works for your family, for your home…and if it doesn’t happen to match, well, there’s always paint. 🙂

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