DIY Shabby Chic Painted and Distressed Table Bench

Introduction: DIY Shabby Chic Painted and Distressed Table Bench

DIY Shabby Chic Bench Table

My customer had this beat up reproduction bench/ table. I believe the style is called a “telephone seat” but not sure. Anyway, she wanted to clean it up, paint it and give it a shabby chic distressed look. The piece has a lot of detail carving that she wanted to accent and did not want a heavily sanded look.

Materials Needed

Blue tape

Drop cloth



Paint brushes and small roller

Sand paper


Rustoleum clear satin finish


Antique White Paint

Step 1: Step 1

Step 1

This piece had some upholstered areas. She liked the fabric so we had to mask those areas off. This is the stage to fill any imperfections with spackling or wood putty. Once any filled spots are dry, all the wood sections get sanded so the paint will adhere better. I went over everything with a dust cloth.

Step 2: Step 2

Step 2

Prime all the wood parts. I like water based products because of the quick drying time. Primer is quick and you can usually follow up with paint in about an hour. I gave it one more coat after that and then let it cure over night.

Step 3: Step 3

Step 3

This piece had a delicate look with some intricate carving. I like to use a file for removing paint. It is not as harsh as sanding and you have a bit more control over delicate areas. I would still go over the areas with fine sandpaper I used the file on to soften any sharp spots or burrs. Once again go over the piece with a dust cloth.

Step 4: Step 4

Step 4

It is important to top coat the paint with a clear finish. It will help it wear longer and give you a washable surface that won't smudge. The clear coat also brings out the color of the exposed wood. I like two coats at this stage and any top flat surfaces a third. Rustoleum clear finish has become my favorite. It dries quick, levels well and clean up is with soap and water. I've tried other brands but this one works really well for most indoor projects. Once everything is dry remove the blue tape and touch up any spots you missed.

Painting and distressing a piece of furniture is really easy. I hope you have enjoyed this Instructable. Please send me any questions or comments and again thank you for reading my Instructable!

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    6 years ago

    Cool it looks like a antic


    6 years ago on Introduction

    This is a really great project. You should enter the Bedroom Contest!


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I would put one in my bedroom ;)


    More popularly known as a "Gossip Bench", this piece was essential to most homes of the '50's and '60's which usually only had one phone. Mom, sis, junior, and dad- in that order of priority, had to time share their use of it. Hard to appreciate just how important this communications center was in this day of personal devices, but the drawer would hold a phone book or two, notepads, pens, pencils, eye glasses, etc.- all the instruments of messaging done the good old fashioned way.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the info! I don't remember anyone in my family having one. The gossip part sounds correct! lol I can remember back in the 60s my great aunt had a "party" line she shared with the neighbors and half the time you picked up the receiver their was a stranger chatting on it. How things have changed.