Updating a 70's Style Coat Rack Storage Bench

6 Materials
10 Hours

I found this old coat rack storage bench at a thrift store for $10! It was in good condition except for a small hole in one of the door panels and a flat, dirty seat cushion. So I reupholstered the seat and then tried to find a way to replace the door panels - all with the goal of updating the 70's look.

Here is the original piece. You can see the hole at the bottom of the door.

The first thing I did was start removing all the pieces that made up the door panels. I started at the bottom where the hole made it easier to start pulling out the pieces.

For the rest of the panels, I used a large drill bit to create a small hole and then started pulling it apart. When I first started this process, I was just using my bare hands to get all the panel pieces out, but I ended up with a few scratches, so I grabbed a pliers to help removed the broken pieces.

For the new paneling, I wanted to use multi-color stained wood strips. I got a long piece of plywood and used a table saw to cut 2 inch wide strips. Once I had enough to cover the doors and the bottom panels, I sanded each piece before I started staining.

I had picked up this blue-gray paint at the discounted/returned paint section at Home Depot and didn't have a specific use for it. But when I started this project, I thought it could work as a paint wash. I poured a little bit of paint in a small container, added water, and stirred it up before brushing it on. This paint wash technique lets you see the wood grain through the color, giving it almost a stained look. The first wood piece I painted was too dark, so I simply added more water to dilute the color a bit.

The other two colors I chose were both Minwax stains - Golden Pecan and Weathered Oak.

Once all the stain was dry, I covered each piece in polyurethane. After that, I took the door off of the coat rack and laid the pieces on the back side of the door. I used a nail gun to secure each piece in place.

For the bottom panels, I did the same process of cutting, staining, and poly on all of the wood strips. The only difference was that each wood strip on the doors was 2 inches, the bottom strips were 4 inches wide. I also added a 1x2 piece of wood to the center of each panel to make it more secure and help the panel strips lay flat.

Here is the final look!

(I didn't show the process of reupholstering the seat. But I have detailed tutorials of my upholstery process on some of my other posted projects.)

Before and After

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Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • HFredda
    on Jun 30, 2019

    👌. The piece is attractive and functional. A solid royal blue fabric would match the blue stain and make the storage piece “pop”! Red fabric could work too! I would suggest the fabric be a durable leather!


    The piece is a coat rack storage bench.

    Do guests use it or just family members?

    • I sold this piece so I can't say for sure, but the gentleman who bought it talked about how they really needed something in their entryway where the kids could store their stuff because they always just had a like of shoes and stuff - so I'm guessing it's mostly used by the family.

  • Clarence
    on Jul 7, 2019

    How to build a stairway railing?

    • Larry shriver
      on Jul 1, 2020

      You should be able to purchase everything you need at any good

      lumber supply store....Lowe's, Home Depot, Menards, etc. They will have handrailing, and the necessary hardware and brackets to complete the project.

      If none of these outlets are near you, go to your nearest lumber supply and ask if they will order the supplies for you.

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