DIY GLAM SETTEE – How to build a unique bench seat

Header, DIY Glam Settee
Madame F and her DIY Glam Settee

We all know it: Vintage antique sofas don’t only come with a lot of glamour – they also come with some problems. Either they are super expensive or in a very bad state – and subsequently it’s very expensive to have them restored. Well, here’s my proper solution: A DIY glam settee tutorial showing you how to build a glamorous retro style bench seat yourself! It cost me 5 hours and about 70 Euros altogether – a decent price for such a glamourous interior piece, right?

What you NEED

DIY Glam Settee - what you need
  • BED HEAD REST – I was lucky to cross the path of this beautiful vintage head and foot rest of an old bed and thought: That will make two wonderfully glam settees! So the first thing you need to do is find matching pieces on flea markets or antique stores (Alternatively you can cut the back part of our future glam settee out of a wood plate).
  • CLAMPING PLATE (measurements corresponding to the bed head rest)
  • FOAM (I used two foams in order to have 7cm of thickness for maximum comfort and support)
  • FLEECE (covering the foam in order to have smoother angles)
  • UPHOLSTERY FABRIC (you’ll need approximately 1,5 times the width of your bench) & neutral covering fabric for the backside
  • WOODEN STICKS used as legs (2 broad ones corresponding to the thickness of the bed head rest legs and two slimmer ones)
  • WOOD VARNISH (corresponding to the color of the head rest) & transparent varnish
  • Large and smaller IRON ANGLES (for adjusting the legs)
  • SCREWS for the iron angles & a DRILLING MACHINE

The CHRONOLOGY of your DIY Glam Settee Tutorial

  1. First, you’ll paint the wooden legs (the best is to do this a day prior to building to bench in order to let them dry properly)
  2. Afterwards you’ll upholster the middle part of the head rest.
  3. Then you’ll do the same with the clamping plate.
  4. In the end you’ll take care of the bench construction.

PAINTING the wooden legs

Cut the wooden sticks so they have the desired height (mine are long). Apply the brown varnish and add another layer if necessary once they are dry. Add the transparent varnish for fixing the paint. Let dry for at least 8 hours – depending on the selected varnish drying may even take up to 24 hours.

COVERING the bed head rest

Take the backrest out of the wooden frame (in my case this went super easily – if was only put in place and stays there without any nails or glue) and clean it properly so it won’t leave any stains on your fabric later. Cut a piece of fabric and cover the upholstered part – fix the fabric by stapling. Cut the textile closely to the edges – but do leave a margin of about 2-3 cm. Put the upholstered part back into place. Cover the backside with another fabric by stapling to the wooden frame.

UPHOLSTERING the seating area

If your textile is striped as mine you’ll need to check the position of your fabric before starting the upholstering process! Place the plate on the bed head rest and mark a point around the middle in order to have a reference point (I had at this point already added the iron angles to the bed head rest, which you can do but don’t have to do. You could easily just lay it all down on the floor and mark it).

In order to start upholstering you’ll start by piling up the different layers of your seating plate: First the fabric (check the position of the pattern!), then the fleece, then the foams, then the clamping plate. As soon as you have placed it all properly you can start stapling the fabric. Start in the middle of all sides and work to the angles. Pull properly – you don’t want the fabric to be too loose. Make sure you fold the fabric to the sides and try to make beautiful corners with the fabric’s pattern if possible.

BUILDING the Vintage glam settee

As soon as you have upholstered the seating table you can – leaving it laid down upside down – screw the outer legs on the table with the help of the iron angles. Once you’ve finished, add the other two legs. These supplementary legs of course are only necessary if you have a certain width of the bench (mine is and so I thought it to be better to have more support).

DIY Glam Settee - what you need


Now screw the iron angles on the bed head rest. Finish by linking the seating table with the bed head rest. If you have the impression, that the legs lack stability add more angles making sure they stay in place and don’t move to one side or the other.

DIY Glam Settee - detail
Et voilà: Here is your Vintage glam settee! I hope you find building it as easy as I have – actually I was pretty surprised how quickly everything was put into place in the end!
Madame F

Lust for more DIY tutorials? Here you are.

Want to dive in into the world of glamorous retro style interior? Take a stroll through my Pinterest board here.

Madame F and her DIY Glam Settee

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