How to Paint an Indoor Wooden Bench (French Country Style!)

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how to paint an indoor wooden bench- french country style

So I guess I basically took September off from the blog? It wasn’t intentional or planned, but I found myself drawing back and spending some extra time with my family.

I think it’s really important to listen to what both your body and soul tell you. You know when you’ve got too much on your plate or when you need to step back and let yourself breathe for a little bit. And that’s perfectly ok.

I’m usually not very good at this. In fact, I’m terrible.

But I know these breaks are so important. None of us rest the way we should. Everything is go, go, go all the time. Even God rested on the 7th day and understood that rest was needed!

And something about going into the fall season makes me want to hunker down on the couch with a blanket and binge watch Netflix with my people. Let the busyness of summer fade away with the warmer temps and embrace everything that fall offers.

So I’ve got a lot to catch you guys up on! Today is all about how to paint an indoor wooden bench for our dining table that we bought for only $30. (You can click here if you want to see the other treasures we got that day.)

I knew as soon as I saw it that it would be the perfect addition to our downstairs game table/ dining table. Actually the table we use in our basement (that belonged to my sweet Mamaw) has many purposes: our arts and craft center, board game table, or just a place to grab lunch when we’re all hanging out in the basement.

I feel just a little bit closer to her everytime we use it.

I had already bought 2 black Windsor type spindle chairs and was wanting a bench to go on the other side to complement them. (Here is a similar chair to the ones we have.)

You can see that this bench mimics the Windsor style, French Country style spindles of our other chairs. Which just goes to show that you can mismatch your furniture all you want. The key is to find specific design elements that you can repeat throughout which ends up tying it all together.

This bench was literally (or would be, anyways) what I was envisioning. It’s always amazing to me that when I go on flea market/ thrift store hunts with something specific in mind, I almost always find it.

Like the time I fell in love with a wall sconce I found and I had wished there was two. I went ahead and bought it, though. Literally the next store we went to, there the match was. I couldn’t believe it. (You can see them hanging on the wall next to our vintage laundry room door in the pic below.)

I mean, what were the chances?

Painting this bench was such a fun project and it gave us a reason to use our new paint sprayer! (Here’s a link to one similar.) It’s now the most coveted seat in my house to eat lunch on according to my kids. And by that, I mean fought over. Literally. They refuse to eat on any of the other chairs.

And I love the French Country stye high back of the bench, unlike many dining benches you see. It makes it so much easier and not to mention more comfortable when sitting on it. Especially for little kids.

Here’s what it looked like when we found it.

I gave it a good scrub. Then lightly sanded it since all we were doing to it was painting. No need to go to all the trouble of sanding down to bare wood for that. Next it was Jeremy’s turn.

He mixed the black paint with some water to use in the paint sprayer.

Then he tested the sprayer nozzle output on a piece of spare wood.

It took a few tries to get the consistency we needed. Basically, if it’s not turned to the exact perfect setting, the paint will spray out too thin where you won’t get good coverage or it comes out too much and you’ll end up with an undesirable, gloppy finish. Don’t look up that word. I’m pretty sure I just made it up. But, you get the idea.

We were actually using some old black paint for this project at first. But the paint wasn’t mixing well and kept clogging the sprayer. So we gave up and I went and bought another can. This go around was much more successful.


Since we skipped the priming step, (Jeremy is notorious for feeling like it’s a wasted step and always skips it) it took lots of thin coats with the sprayer. The good thing was they dried quickly so there wasn’t a lot of downtime between coats. After the 1,874th coat of paint, we were ready for polyurethane.

How to paint an indoor wooden bench- french country style

*Moral of the story: don’t skip the priming step when painting. It drastically cuts down on how many coats of paint you need. But since Jeremy was doing this project, I didn’t say a word and wasn’t about to offer any suggestions. I’ve learned over the years that he likes to do things his own way, as do I. But…. if I were the one doing it, I’d prime:) Just my two cents.

You can use whatever top coat finish you prefer. I like using polyurethane for painted furniture. Just brush it on the same way you would with paint. 2 or 3 light, thin coats works best.

Allow to dry and cure per the recommendations on the back of the can and you’re good to go. This project can easily be done in a weekend.

How to paint an indoor wooden bench- french country style

The great thing is, this bench is so much more heavy duty than the chairs I bought (and also paid a lot more for). That’s because this bench is made of real wood unlike the chairs I bought at Wayfair.

Just another reason I love rescuing old furniture. I have a feeling this bench will be around a lot longer than the chairs, especially if my kids have anything to do with it.

Thanks so much for stopping by! It means more than you know! I hope today’s post inspired you to go out and find you a one of a kind furniture piece to make your own. Especially now that you know how easy it is to paint an indoor wooden bench!

Be sure to check back in next week to see the vintage rolltop desk I just redid for my daughter’s new “big girl” room! It’s the sweetest little thing I’ve ever seen even if it was the worst DIY I’ve ever attempted! Definitely a labor of love.

If you just want to pin it for later, you can do that here:

how to paint an indoor wooden bench- french country style

You may also like these other posts on furniture flips:

How to Paint a China Cabinet

DIY Round Pedestal Coffee Table Transformation

Brass Lamp Makeover with Chalk Paint