Love And Pride For My DIY Bench – First Solo Project!

The love and pride I feel for my FIRST DIY bench are immense! I’ve been more than happy and content to create the designs for our DIY projects. Now, I understand the satisfaction you feel when you use your own hands to bring a design to life! What a labor of love this has been! As my most requested blog post, I hope I can provide the details you’ll need to tackle this DIY bench for yourself!

This post contains affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you make a purchase using any of the included links. As always, your support is greatly appreciated!

My favorite part of this project was the fact that it was a zero dollar update! The pine boards I used were all leftovers from previous projects. You can build this bench to any size, but I chose to use the full length of my pine board to minimize waste.

DIY bench with brown stain and black slat pieces.
DIY bench with brown stain and black slat pieces.

Bench Build

Underneath the bench seat, I attached a piece of pine board that I later screwed my slat pieces into. Aesthetically, this additional piece also hid other smaller pine boards used to secure the bench legs.

I used a miter saw for all my cuts
Bench seat: 49″ length x 9.25″ width

I found it easier to start with the right bench leg. I used a small piece of pine board to secure the right leg to the bench seat, on the underside. This allowed me to create a more seamless look by hiding the screw holes. I then applied that same technique to the backside of the left bench leg.

Right bench leg of DIY bench
Right bench leg: 18″ height x 9.25″ width
Pine board connecting the right leg to the bench seat: 7.75″ length x 1.5″ width

Backside of the left bench leg: 18″ height x 9.25″ width
Pine board connecting the backside of the left bench leg to the bench seat: 9.25″ length x 1.5″ width

With the 5 slat pieces, it was super helpful to first secure them to the base of the left bench leg. Then I secured that constructed portion to the left side of the bench seat, completing the left leg. I actually eyeballed the spacing between the slats. At this point, the constructed bench looked quite disproportionate and I’d begun to doubt my design. Little did I realize how much better it was about to become!

Left leg base: 9.25″ length x 9.25′ width
Measurements for DIY bench
Click on image for a larger view

Stain and Paint

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, I’m OBSESSED with Sherwin Williams Iron Ore! When it comes to dark paint colors, this one is a winner in my book. It’s not black and it’s not gray, but rather a hybrid of the two with just the right amount of warmth! For the stain, I used my personal concoction of Natural and Early American. It’s definitely a trial and error sort of mix. I simply tested the stain on a piece of pine board until I was satisfied with the resulting color.

Stain – mix of Natural + Early American
Paint – Sherwin Williams Iron Ore

If you’d like to see how else I’ve used this paint and stain combo, then be sure to check out our stairs nook update and our West Elm inspired shelves! I glued the slat pieces on the top to maintain the seamless look.

Style

There are so many great details on this bench that I plan to keep the styling minimal. I want the attention to remain on the bench as much as possible. Although it fits perfectly against our slat wall, I do find the bench design to be too matching. Not sure where its permanent home will be but I’m envisioning either an oversized mirror or artwork above it.

Recommendations and Improvements

  • Feel free to use your choice of wood on this build. I used pine boards because I didn’t need to sand them prior to staining and painting. I only sanded the areas where I applied spackling paste. Also, pine boards stain really well!
  • I used the countersink drill bit because it allowed me to drive the screws further into the pine boards. I was then able to easily fill the holes with spackling paste, lightly sand and paint.
  • The 90-degree corner clamp allowed me to hold the bench leg and bench seat together so I could screw them in place. The quick grip clamps are great for solo DIY projects because they provide that extra set of hands you often need!

I’m still beaming with love and pride over my DIY bench! I’m so grateful for the overwhelming love and support I received on this bench! While this was my very first DIY project, it likely won’t be my last. I hope you decide to tackle this bench design and if you do, be sure to tag me on Instagram! The best compliment you can give us is to recreate one of our projects! If you have any questions, leave me a comment. Until next time friends!

Aminah Chung

Framed Wall and Mini Garden Oasis – Entryway

This is my first blog post since the onset of COVID-19. With the current health crisis of our country and the rest of the world, blogging just seemed so insignificant. I work in the lab at a trauma hospital and I’ve definitely been concerned about my own safety and that of my family. I worry about being exposed to the virus and potentially infecting my loved ones. The guilt that I could possibly cause them harm has been overwhelming at times. I’m taking as many precautions as I can. We’re required to wear masks at work, I wash my hands so much that they’ve become dry and cracked, I change out of my scrubs in our garage and of course, we’re practicing social distancing.

If you or anyone you know have tested positive for the coronavirus, I’m truly sorry and it’s my hope you all make full recoveries. We’re continually seeing the devastating effects of this virus so please stay home as much as possible. Practice social distancing and if you have to go out, wear a mask. Also, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or use some hand sanitizer. Take care of yourselves and each other. I hope this post provides a much-needed distraction and you find inspiration or motivation to do something you love.

We purchased this mirror over 3 years ago after moving into our new home. Having such a large, eclectic piece in our entryway meant there was no room for additional home decor in the space which I was perfectly fine with. My content with the simplicity of our entryway was challenged when inspiration struck Hubby via Pinterest. The man pins way more than I do which is quite impressive.

He showed me a stunning walkway of rich wood tones, black canvas prints and perfect greenery to complete the space. Did I love the design? Absolutely! Did I think the style would fit well with the rest of our home? Without a doubt! Did I think our entryway was the perfect spot to recreate this project? Uh … not really! I was super concerned that our space wasn’t large enough to do this project justice.

Top Left = SW Agreeable Gray | Top Right = Behr Silky White | Bottom Left = SW Eider White | Bottom Right = SW Westhighland White

Can I ask why white is one of the HARDEST paint colors to settle on? I couldn’t believe how many options were available to choose from and more options = more indecisiveness, am I right?

I knew I wanted either a white or gray accent wall but I quickly realized that was easier said than done. We grabbed a few samples and marinated on them for a few days, taking into consideration the amount of natural light this space receives throughout the day.

I can’t say enough great things about frog tape! It creates the cleanest, straightest lines every time. We haven’t done a paint job without it.

SW Westhighland White for the win! It’s such a pretty, warm white and it looks great against our SW Swiss Coffee doors, trims and baseboards.

Left = Varathane Early American | Middle = Minwax Fruitwood | Right = Minwax Weathered Oak

Our original plan was to stain the lumber some sort of brown for the frame around the accent wall, but after several attempts with a few options, I soon realized I wasn’t loving the look of any of them. I think it was the unpredictability of how the lumber took up the stain that really bothered me. I’m too much of a control freak!

While some sections showed visible stain, others remained unchanged. At that point, I made the decision to have Hubby paint the lumber instead of staining them. A dark, moody wood frame sounded just perfect with none other than my fav SW Iron Ore. At the very last second, however, Hubby found a YouTube video on how to use paint to create a stained look. Uh … mind blown!

We created a 50/50 mix of water and SW Iron Ore paint. Using a cloth, we proceeded to apply the mixture to the lumber as you’d have done if it was a stain. The first coat was too light in color for my taste.

Since we were using diluted paint, it took 3 coats for us to achieve the dark, rich color I was going for. The beauty of this process is you can keep applying coat after coat of your favorite paint color and notice a visible change each time!

I have to admit, I’m such a big fan now of ‘staining’ using paint! I have so much more control over the finished product which makes my type A personality extremely happy. The beautiful wood grain details are also still visible so I’m going to say this is a win all around. Creating a faux mini garden at the base of the frame was definitely a fun idea and all we needed were some white rocks and faux succulents. But why stop there? Hubby loves greenery so we decided to further accessorize the space with white and gold wall planters filled with, you guessed it, more faux greenery. I promise we’ve tried countless times to add real plants to our home, but it’s not fair to the helpless plant babes that we keep killing them. So, realistic faux it is.

Welcome to our newly updated entryway! I’m in love with this project for so many reasons. Our girls, Neah (6) and Kaiyah (1) are the heart of our family and our home. We work as hard as we do to provide the best life possible for them. Their photos at our entryway are a statement and a symbol of how cherished they are! Their photos were originally colored, but I edited them to black and white versions which I found to be more dramatic and eye-catching. These are framed, canvas prints measuring 24” x 36.”I purchased them from Shutterly at 50% off which was a heck of the deal. Well there you have it, one more successfully completed project! Do you have any completed project that holds a special place in your heart?

Aminah Chung

Current Favorite Entryway Finds

Happy New Year you guys !!

So full disclosure, I purchased this domain name back in 2019 (same time I opened my Instagram account) and quickly got started on a few blog entries. However, I could neither complete a single post nor admit to anyone that I even had a blog. I guess I wasn’t confident enough in my content or the direction of the blog. There was this fear of “what if no one cares about what I have to say?” Well, move over self-doubt because it’s a brand new year! I’ve done some reflecting and found renewed self-confidence! If at least one person finds value in my blog posts then I’ve done my job.

Now let’s get on with my first OFFICIAL blog post!

I wanted to give my entryway table a little refresh after Christmas and found some simple, fairly inexpensive pieces that worked beautifully with my existing decor.

No product featured below is sponsored, however, some are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you make a purchase using them. I would truly appreciate your support by using the links as this helps with the blog site maintenance.

Regardless, all feedback and photos shown are my own. Okay, the photos are my husband’s but what’s HIS is MINE anyway! Besides, he charged me $1 per image (he’s saving up for a new lens), so yes these images are MINE!

I just love the openness of this black bowl! I think it’s a great eye-catching piece on its own but I chose to pair it with some neutral decorative balls. The contrast of the fibrous balls in the steel bowl makes my heart happy!

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The colors and textures of these throws are fantastic! The speckled white details add great depth and character. To compliment my neutral styling I snagged a Stone Gray, but, since yellow is my home’s accent color, I also picked up a Dark Horseradish. When quality and affordability meet, we win!

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This 4″ vase perfectly accompanies a couple of books on any table or shelf in your home. I just love the etched details and matte finish, so much so that I have 2 of these vases. Hey when you love something, buy more than one!

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This beaded garland set is such a great find you guys! 4 styles sold as a collection for under $15. It creates a lovely contrast against my black, matte vase and table books. I’m currently using 2 of these beaded pieces and I’m sure I’ll soon find ways to use the others.

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If you’re in the market for a white vase under 10″, I think you’d struggle to find a better value than this set. I’m a big fan of its brilliant, white color. The smooth, ceramic finish and added rope detail make this a perfect set for any home. I’ve purchased 3 vase sets because of its unbeatable value.

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The vibrant green of these faux eucalyptus stems makes them something special. Their refreshing and crisp appearance help create the Spring vibe I was going for.

My friends, I was able to give my entryway table a makeover for less than $100 and since some of these items contained multiple pieces, I now have extras to use in other areas of my home. These truly are the gifts that keep on giving!

Comment below if you already own or have purchased any of these items for your home. I’d love to know your thoughts on my latest decor haul and also hear about some of your great decor finds! I’m currently hunting for bargain home decor books, so if you have any recommendations, let a girl know!

Aminah Chung