Sharing all the details of this gorgeous church pew makeover & DIY tips for how to complete a vintage church pew restoration for free with pictures.
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DIY How to Give a Church Pew an Incredible Makeover
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I have long been on the hunt for the perfect church pew for our farmhouse.
We found this old church pew on Craigslist & were so excited by it’s size, craftsmanship & low price.
It just needed a makeover or restoration!
Refinishing this church pew was a quick & easy makeover we did for FREE (except for the cost of the pew) by simply sanding it down to show off it’s gorgeous oak wood detail & finish.
Our home is the headquarters for many large family dinners & holiday gatherings so seating can often be at a premium.
Our new church pew makes the perfect entryway bench for just inside our living room.
Church pews are great because they can fit a lot of people without sacrificing much needed floor space.
Why we Sanded our Church Pew verses Painting it
If it was up to me I would have slapped some Old English on this piece and added it to our living room…but Jason had different ideas.
He wanted to sand it down to show off the gorgeous oak that this pew was made from.
And…painting it or keeping it’s dark original stain would completely hide the original wood finish.
In the end, Jason was absolutely right.
Sanding this church pew bench was definitely the better idea to showcase this vintage piece!
Sanding down the Pew
We took our vintage church pew out to our garage because sanding can be MESSY.
If you are planning on doing any sanding to your vintage pew, I would definitely recommend doing all the sandy outside or somewhere you don’t mind getting covered with sand dust!
A few hours & a few less pieces of gum (yup, gum under the seat) & graffiti later this pew was absolutely perfect & ready to come into our home.
We sanded this piece down with our trusty orbital sander, find it HERE on Amazon)
The only part of the church pew we didn’t sand were the open accents on either side of the pew.
We liked the look & contrast of the dark and light shades of the oak wood.
We chose to not add any poly urethane to the church pew since we love the look of the raw wood & we are keeping it in our living room.
However, you could add a couple clear coats of polyurethane if you were worried about getting spills or rings on your pew.
Strengthening the Sides & Seat of the Church Pew Bench
Over the years, the bench of the vintage pew had started to loosen away from the wood sides.
We wanted to make sure the pew would last for many years to come in our farmhouse!
To sure it up we used our Kreg jig, (find it on Amazon HERE) to drill holes in the bottom of the bench in order to add some hidden screws to the bottom of the bench and into the wood sides.
Although, I had measured the church bench before we brought it home we couldn’t believe how perfectly it fit in our living room.
The church pew ends just where our door molding begins!
I added a few farmhouse pillows to our new & perfect entryway bench as well as my favorite watering can & some fresh Annabelle hydrangeas from our front yard.
Can you believe how GORGEOUS the original oak wood is on our vintage church pew?!!!
I also placed a Longaberger basket and an vintage wooden box underneath to hold my favorite magazines in.
One huge reason we needed more seating was that this guy is FOREVER hogging the comfy furniture :).
Although the floral gallery wall looks pretty above the pew, I have something more personal planned for the white frames, you can see how we created a DIY photo galley wall HERE).
I know I am going to love decorating our church pew with seasonal & farmhouse decor for many years to come.
I hope this inspires you & answers any questions you might have about giving an old church pew bench a makeover or restoration?
by Tara Lehman
Don’t Forget to Save & Pin Our Farmhouse Church Pew Makeover to your favorite DIY projects board on Pinterest!