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Inspiration for the headboard-turned-bench

First, I have to just take a minute and say thank you. I can’t tell you how much your notes and emails and comments about Marley have meant to me. I read them all, over and over, each one helping me heal a bit more. It meant so much to know that so many other people have had a Marley and know what it’s like to grieve for them. I wish I could hug all your necks and thank you for real.

So yes. The foyer.

We started like this:

And after adding the kilim rug and removing the turkeys, we are at this hugely underwhelming (yet colorful!) point right now.

But you know what? Pretty soon we’re going to have some seating in this corner, and it’s going to be stellar.
Foyer with kilim rug
If not stellar, at least good.

Or possibly just functional at best.

Instead of being underwhelmed, maybe you’ll just be whelmed. I like to keep expectations low.

We ran into this $3 Hollywood Regency headboard at a yard sale, and I posted it on instagram and facebook, like “Hey look at this! Too bad we don’t need a headboard!” But then the brilliant Casey commented that we needed to bring it home, and make it into a bench.
Hollywood regency headboard
She was totally right, and this is why I can’t go shopping with you all! You make me BUY THINGS I never meant to buy, and I love it.

I’d already been searching for MONTHS for a small antique pew that would fit in that tiny space, and I’d become convinced that it only existed in my imagination. The time had come to rock the DIY and make something custom.

Plus I was kinda crazy about the faux bamboo details and the cane insert. It’s so hollywood regency, so glam, so mouth-watering.

But here was my concern: headboards turned into benches can tend to go very country or shabby chic, very fast. Not that there’s anything wrong with that if you love shabby chic, but it’s not my thang, and hollywood regency style furniture needs to be shiny and lacquered. I was worried that we’d turn our backs for one second and suddenly it’d be distressed and chippy with lacey pillows and a sleeping shih-tzu or something.

So I dug around for some more glam style headboards-turned-benches to show Andy, and I found these guys.

Headboard turned bench

Mi casa revista

That one feels eclectic and cool, like it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Love the color!


At Home Arkansas via Decorpad
OOH LA LA! Hello ginormously delicious scale. Totally nothing like my headboard, but it’s still okay to stare.


Tales from Bloggeritaville
GORGEOUS! I love the wood tone. A lot of times, people will use the coordinating footboard, cut in half to make armrests. LOVE this look. I wish we had a footboard!
via NestEgg
Another upholstered beauty. Looks just like our DIY bed!

Sooo a non-shabby chic headboard bench CAN BE DONE. It appears we are safe from the doily pillows. All that remains is to pop the headboard into Andy’s Magical Headboard Shrinking Machine and hope it turns out exactly the length of that short wall! Easy peez!

(“Magical headboard shrinking machine” = garage + hours of labor.)


What color should I paint it?! There are 46 different colors in this rug, and they are all candidates.

Except orange. Orange is the stowaway color in the rug that I’m reluctantly permitting to be in my foyer, but sometimes I still give it the side-eye for sneaking in on the Kilim Rug Trojan Horse.

(Don’t forget the brown table is going away and will be replaced with something different soon!)

What color would you paint it? Do you think we can reach the level of “whelmed” with the addition of this bench, or am I hoping for too much?

Let's connect


  1. OOOH a fun color like green or yellow would totally whelm me!

  2. Yay, a bench! I’m kinda thinking the dark blue (there is dark blue in it, right?) and then add some brighter fabric or pillows to the top.

    • I love this idea of a headboard-turned-bench, Kelly!! I like the idea of pulling out that cobalt blue from the rug, since you have blue in your office and on your walls.

  3. Clever idea with the headboard-to-bench. Can’t wait to see it- I’m kinda like you, worried things like that go country or shabby chic but love the images you shared! I think your rug has a couple shades of green or teal in it- you could pull that hue out and do a lighter green on the wall and do your bench emerald green. That would still “flow” with the other colors in your home. Whatever you pick-it will look great!

  4. AAAAAaaaaahhhh, what? A faux bamboo headboard for $3? I am soooo jealous of you. And you are going to turn it into a bench? BRILLIANT! Just promise me that the bench reincarnation leaves the headboard in tact (although I doubt it) for it to honeymoon as a headboard once again in future. I am over the moon for this find and the plans you have for it. Faux bamboo counter: Kelly, 1; Christine, 0. 😉

  5. I was thinking either the deep blue or gray. Then make the cushion or pillow a fun fabric and in such a way they can be changed out when the mood strikes you. I am in the process of finishing one of those head/footboards turned bench, too! Love to repurpose!

  6. Now that you’ve lived with the rug a bit can you tell me how it is functionally? I’m considering a similar style for our foyer and I wonder…did you put something under it to keep it from sliding, do you find yourself constantly fixing the tassles, is it thick – does the door get caught up on it?

    I really appreciate any feedback you can offer.

    • It’s a flat weave, so it’s not thick and the front door is no problem at all. It’s been great. The only thing I don’t love is that the corners curl up. I don’t know if that’ll change over time or if it’s just the one I have. We did have to put a non-slip rug thingy underneath it, which keeps it from slipping and cushions it a bit.

  7. Lol. So I was busy staring at your rug picture trying to pick a colour and finally landed on orange – and then I scroll down and see no orange! Oh well, I think I’d go navy blue then…classic, and it lets the rug to the talkin’

    • I am thinking the same as Kelly @ A Swell Place To Dwell. Orange was my first pick. And I can’t wait to see how Andy shrinks this fabulous find! And may I suggest that the little table which is under the mirror could have some artsy decoration on there the same colour as the finished bench? I am sure you will make it all look wonderful. Oh and by the way, I think the kilim works brilliantly.

  8. Honey, go for the gusto. It’s Hollywood Regency. It’s faux bamboo. It had to be pink! bright, shiny, lacquer pink. Plus the mirror and console are super neutral. Pink! Fun!

  9. What doest the view look like in the room past where you’re putting the bench, where the cowhide pattern rug is?

    When you look at the bench from the foyer, you’ll be seeing wall/bench/rug/cow room. Is there a color common to both the rug and that room that will visually link the two spaces a bit?

    Failing any brilliance there, I also like the dark blue.

    • No brilliance there! 🙂 The room beyond that is the office, and that half of the room is mostly empty. It needs curtains, furniture, etc… Great thinking though!

  10. I so go for it and pick that pinky-purple color!

  11. Natalie @ freshlifefindings says:

    Ooo la la I love the rug and can’t wait to see how you DIY this bench! I like the bluish/purple color on the bottom left corner of this picture. I think it would go with the walls, rug and picture behind the door.

  12. I LOVE this idea. Those inspiration pics are awesome and seriously make me want to go buy a headboard just to turn into a bench. And I love the headboard you chose…very unique. I LOVE the color in the first inspiration pic: kelly green meets turquoise. I know that’s not really in your rug, but I think it would look good with it! Of course, whatever you choose will be beautiful. Can’t wait to see the finished product!

  13. So sorry again about Marley.

    And I ‘m convinced you can take this far beyond just whelmed. And I was tracking with you right on up until you knocked my fave — orange! 🙂


  14. Whelm me, baby! I like the idea of using one of the more subtle colors in the rug – I think I see a nice navyish shade and some green? I’m thinking maybe (maybe, could be totally wrong!) using the red or pink or purple might actually take away from the rug? How about a high-gloss navy? Or something like that green you pictured? Can’t wait to see this come together. Yum yum yum!

  15. It has to be that pop of color piece! Like that pretty pink in your rug. I’d be whelmed all the way.

  16. That nice deep blue, hands down. Don’t be so harsh on orange, it’s a great color! Now purple…that’s an icky color. Only looks good in eye shadow for my hazel eyes and maybe a sweater, but not in my home.

  17. I have no idea, I look to you to answer those questions.

  18. I’m intrigued! Can’t wait to see what you do with that! xo Kristin

  19. Cranberry.

  20. Kelly, who are you trying to kid? I’ve seen your Pinterest boards. It should be pink.

    I mean, OK, my first instinct would be Orange. To make it pop off of your blue walls. But then, Pink. 100% Whelming.

  21. I really like the orange option but since that’s a no-go, what about a nice punch of red? Something that will smack ya in the face with color! Except not really cause it’s paint. And a bench that lacks fists. 😉

  22. Oh how lovely! That headboard has such great lines and I can’t wait to see how it turns out! Color wise I’m pretty traditional – black or white. I do however think a really dark blue, almost black would look gorgeous!!!


  23. I agree w/a lot of the people here, do one of the softer, calmer colors and then punch up the color volume w/pillows. I’m not sure if you’re going to upholster the seat or do wood, but either way I say add the color in the fabric. Here’s another two reasons: it’s easier to change the color of the fabrics/pillows than having to repaint it again; and also, if you decided to move it somewhere else you may be able to incorporate its color into another room by again, adding the color in the fabric. I loved the old rug you had (btw), but totally love how this area looks now w/the bright rug! 🙂

  24. Carol Krueger says:

    I think the headboard is too pretty to cut down. Make it into a bench to go in another space and put a chair in that corner – something like a Chinese Chippendale or another wooden chair with classical lines.

  25. I would use a red lacquer for drama. A Charcoal or gray cushion and some kilim throw pillows.

  26. I would love to see the bench in that fabulous fuchsia color from the rug. Or if you’re not feeling quite that bold, the aqua in the rug would be great too! The fuchsia would definitely be more Hollywood Regency, while the aqua has the possibility of going in the Shabby Chic direction. Can’t wait to see it finished!

  27. Whelmed – bahaha! Is there navy in that rug? Maybe navy with a couple gold painted accents on those turn posts there and add a fuschia pillow on it. Or white with gold accents, with a fuschia pillow. Or if you’re thinking bold – you know what is still in my head, remember that magenta-y dresser inspiration you posted in your fuschia post with the gold campaign hardware Yeah, you know the one. MmmHmmmm.

  28. Hot pink- to match a pink in the rug. the wall color is muted, the rug is great….but the Hollywood regency just creams for bright glamour!!!

  29. Ok, I’m thinking that luscious navy/indigo blue color, with some antique gold or silver gilding paste on the bamboo details to make them really POP. Cover it all in a super glossy poly or laquer, and you’ve got a winner!

    Pull out some of the other rad colors for pillows (maybe a button-tufted textured fabric in that pale gold color for a bench cushion, with the buttons covered in all the bright colors of the rug? Fun, funky & unexpected!)

    Well, you’ll have a winner regardless, cause that’s just how you roll. But that is my 2 cents!

  30. Kelly green, of course! Seriously, green would look awesome. My other choice would be orange – I get you aren’t a fan, but really, orange is the color of sun setting, bright dahlias, pumpkins, and mimosas – what’s not to love?

  31. Oooo. Great find! As for color, I’m boring so don’t listen to my white or light grey recommendation.

  32. WOW. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen this done before. That’s incredible in the wide world of Pinterest hahah. I love this idea.

  33. I’m ready to be OVER whelmed 🙂 I just know that you and hubby are going to rock that headboard bench and I can’t wait to see it. But i’m nervous and it’s not even me doing it! LOL but if I were I’d stay away from the red so it’s not all red white and blue and American-y, not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’d probably pick the deep royal blue and gloss it up till it’s so shiny guests are blinded when they enter 😀 I can’t wait ~ I can’t wait ~ I can’t wait!

  34. Purple, b/c your walls have already pulled the blue, a red would be hard to match to your walls, and orange is it out (which I totally agree with!). That purple would POP against the light blue/white 😀

  35. Navy Blue or Emerald Green would be great but what about a metallic? Gold, Silver, Antique Gold? Whatever color you choose, it should be high gloss.

  36. Navy with fun pillows?!? I don’t think you can go wrong with any of those colors!

  37. Ooh it’s going to be so cute! Love, love, love this idea! And when Andy is done, can you send him over to my place? I have plenty of projects he could tackle over here, lol. Hope you’re having a great week, girl!

    ~Abby =)

  38. I can’t wait to see how it turns out. Now did you count all the colors?
    I vote for royal blue =)

  39. I can’t wait to see the post about the headboard shrinking machine. Because it sounds awesome and I’d imagine that it also has a theme song.

    This is going to be fabulous. And very nice to have the extra seating, too.

  40. MUST. DO. PINK!

  41. Oh I think any hollywood regency piece is just begging for some bright color! I love the idea or a vibrant orange or electric blue! Go big and bold and shiny!

  42. I see yellow in that rug and I would go with a creamy buttery yellow.

    🙂 Cheers,

  43. I may be talking crazy here, and certainly I’m no home decorating pro, but I’d go with bright shiny lacquer on the headboard bench, and then I would totally paint the framing on that mirror another bold color, or maybe a shiny gold?

  44. deep, glossy plum

  45. sorry/not sorry for suggesting turning it into a bench! i can’t wait to see what you do with it!

    i think maybe that gray would look nice as the bench color. and i 2nd whoever else said to put funky colored pillows that you can swap out as needed

  46. Hi Kelly. Wow…what a great deal on a great looking headboard. Can’t wait to see what you make of it. I think that a bright, lacquered pink would look great or a navy blue.


  47. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think it needs to be pink (or whatever color that is in the rug). Also, glossy…super glossy. Maybe with an orange pillow…or navy velvet. Yesssss…

  48. I would go with navy or dark grey. High gloss all the way

  49. Navy, Charcoal, or Dark Dark Plum would be FAB! Can’t wait to see what you do! XO p.s. time heals all wounds lovey…hang in there!

  50. I’m totally with the people who are suggesting royal/cobalt blue. It’s punchy. There’s a splash of it in there that could use pulling out. I’m against the navy idea, because it would fall flat and look dull against such a vibrant rug. I’m also against the pink , purple (my favorite color ordinarily), fuchsia, or red because the rug already reads as those predominant colors. I figure you’ll be painting the walls anyway at some point, so it doesn’t need to go with the walls. The only other color I would go with is black. Then, as so many others have said, you could pull colors in spots with pillows.

  51. I’m all for pulling out that rich cobalt blue in the rug! I can hardly wait to see what you do.

  52. LOVE this idea! Thought about doing this myself but my hubby isn’t so handy with a saw (me either really) but I would totally do a high gloss lacquer black maybe with some gold flakes mixed into the paint, or even painting the bottom of the legs gold so that it pops against the rug. Then maybe upholster the seat in a pink color. Pink, black and gold so Hollywood regency! Cant wait to see what you choose!

  53. I say navy, but have you used the Chip It tool from Sherwin Williams? It might pull out a color you haven’t thought of! Fun DIY ahead, Kelly!
    xo Heidi

  54. I’m so glad that our words helped your heart.

    Now. The bench? I’m going to go with the purple. Your foyer color looks like a gray with blue undertones and I think a purple with blue undertones will be FABULOUSA! (have no idea about the spelling of that made up word…..) I’m also feeling like you are psychically begging for my input on the color of your cushion, in the spirit of a true follower, I will give you said input. Another blue based color, but this time the fuschia pink. Colbalt blue and red dupioni silk pillows to complete the look. I believe the trick is going to be to keep all the colors with the same undertones. Maybe that’s just me being a freak though…. because feeling psychic nudges through an internet blog site is not freaky at all…..

  55. LOVE this rug! Totally makes the space! All the color looks great against the blue walls. I think all of those inspirations are great for your bench! I would have never thought to pick that up and make it into something like that! Good luck!

    House Envy

  56. Ooooo. I love this stage of the process!

    I would look at the paint chip for your walls and try to match a darker tone for the bench (you know how they show the darker colors with the color you chose?). Either that or a beautiful deep grey with blue tones.

    I’m excited for you!
    Annie XO

  57. Ooooh i LOVE it! Also, love that rug. So so so much. I think a royal purple would be so delicious and juicy in this space!

  58. I would go with deep blue or rich, jewel-toned green. And then lacquer the neck out if it. I think it will look gorgeous!

  59. Ooh ooh! You should do that Cobalt blue or the rich Oxblood/maroon color! Just sayin!

  60. I think that bench should be painted either in violet or in a deep blue color. I think they suit most because if to paint it in green or pink they will look rather vulgar and spoil all the décor of the room.

  61. Exciting! can’t wait to see it all finished! I’m voting navy blue. Or emerald green, except I don’t think there’s any of that in the rug?

  62. Again, big, big internet hugs!

    And don’t hate on orange! But if you hate it, you hate it. Does Coral count as orange?

    How about a nice deep teal or turquoise?

  63. You cannot go wrong with navy blue, not ever. Having said that, the color that first caught my eye in that rug was the darker purple. What about a deep, deep shade of plum?

  64. Fuschia Fuschia Fuschia! With a cushion to tame it down.

  65. First things first…you have a great sense of style and your sense of humor is ha-larious! That being said, I’m relieved you nixed the orange because against the blue walls an orange bench would have completely OVERwhelmed me with amazingness and I would have been forced to secretly move in with you when you weren’t looking just so I could sit there. Whelming us with turquoise or gray is a much better choice than having me secretly live in your closet.

  66. I would actually make it orange or at least coral because the strong color of the purple plays off of orange so well. It would also be more fun and is not so serious.

  67. I would go with yellow and ditch the brown table on the other side unless your going to over flow it with plants. 🙂


  1. […] journey from unappreciated yard sale castoff to foyer bench that, I think we can all agree is “whelming” at […]

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