Patio Makeover with a DIY Headboard Bench

Headboard Bench DIY style

When my friend Kim from Farmhouse Made announced she was hosting an outdoor themed blog hop I knew right away what part of my outdoors needed help. In fact, you might say this space is crying out for someone to save it from its dreary existence.

Let me introduce you to my sad and uninspired patio

Patio Makeover

When we moved into our home 7 years ago my boys were still little. This space was a place for water guns, frisbees, sidewalk chalk, and bubble solution. Not to mention grilling supplies and citronella candles that ultimately melt in the Texas heat.

We already had the wicker set you see and this has pretty much been the extent of my patio decorating.

Oh, every summer I have big plans of doing something grand back there complete with outdoor curtains, strings of lights, pillows, and plants. I imagine myself sitting with a cup of iced coffee as the Texas-sized bugs buzz around my head. As you can see, none of these ideas have come to fruition.

Finding Inspiration.

So one day I grabbed a cup of coffee and sat on my patio and pondered exactly what I wanted and needed this space to be.

My “little boys” are not so little anymore and the days of bubble blowing are over for the most part. It’s so true what they say that childhood is but the blink of any eye.

I could allow this to make me really sad but instead, I decided to embrace this new season of life and make the most of it. I really want our patio to be a place to sit and enjoy each other’s company or a place to just be still sometimes.

Truth be told we never really do any of this. I thought to myself why? Why don’t we do this? This is something we should be doing. We should be outside more just sitting and talking about all the things, shouldn’t we?

What’s keeping us from doing this? I realized as I looked around we didn’t really need anything fancy to have a place to make memories. Isn’t that how Pinterest and magazines make you feel?

So just like when Linus said, “I never did think it was a bad little just needs a little love.” My patio is not a bad little space it just needs a little love.

Love in this space means a headboard bench with many pillows

Here’s my short list of patio goals:

  1. plants
  2. add color
  3. find or make affordable pillows that are easy to clean

I know you are probably wondering about #3, but let me explain.

A few months ago these kittens showed up on our front porch. Do I even need to tell you what happened next? 6 months later they are still here and both have names.

The irony of this is my silent partner is terribly allergic to cats. If a cat so much at looks at him his eyes start to swell, (slightly exaggerated for storytelling purposes) and itch. These little furry ones have taken over the furniture.

I wanted many pillows to make it feel cozy but without fur.

I was chatting with my silent partner about this outdoor challenge and my idea of making throw pillows out of a vinyl table-cloth to which he replied, “we should build a storage bench.” I suddenly had a flashback to our 2 x 4 project. I wanted to build a shelf and somehow we wound up with a farmhouse style table.

His idea was not without merit. I remembered I had an old headboard and foot-board that I had already envisioned as a headboard bench anyway. It would be perfect with a storage compartment added to stash some non-vinyl table-cloth pillows and keep them clean!

Headboard bench

As you can see there was some pretty crusty paint on this piece. I could have painted over it but I had a feeling my paint would have trouble adhering so I decided to strip it all off. It only took me 3 days but it was worth it. Sometimes you just need to start with a clean slate.

After it was all cleaned up, I passed it off to my silent partner to so he could start work on the build part.

Headboard bench with storage compartments

In the meantime, I set out to find some fabric for pillows. I already knew I wanted to use a vinyl table-cloth to recover some crusty outdoor pillows I already had. I found a tutorial here. I found mine at Wal-Mart for $3.97 and I was able to get 3 pillows from it. I whipped these up by hand because you know I’m allergic to my sewing machine.

And here they are. Yes, they are bright but since they are outside, it works.


New pillow covers sewn from a vinyl table cloth.

I think they turned out pretty cute.

Patio Makeover

I looked around at actual outdoor pillows for my headboard bench and the cheapest I found were $5 each. Not bad but I just didn’t find any I could fall in love with.

I spied these napkins by Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman but I decided to pass on them. I couldn’t stop thinking about them. This is part of her Flea Market Collection at Wal-Mart. She got me with teal. I went back for them. Can you believe a 4 pack is only $4.97?

Napkins from The Pioneer Woman's Flea Market Collection at Wal Mart

Each napkin measures 18 inches so I picked up 3, 16-inch pillow forms and stitched these up (by hand again).

Now that my pillow problem was solved it was time to shop for plants. This was the most expensive portion of this makeover.

My patio gets early morning sunshine so I chose a mixture of sun and shade lovers. I love Impatiens and this is the only spot around my house they can survive.

The best part of all this planting was my 16-year-old helped me with all of it. 🙂

Patio Makeover

I HAD to have a purple hydrangea this year because well, you know. 🙂

Patio Makeover

I found this chippy little bird house in my yard one day about 5 years ago. Serendipity!

Patio Makeover

Converting this bed frame into a headboard bench turned out to be a real challenge as far as the build part was concerned. I plan on doing a full tutorial on this over the summer.

(The following portion of this post contains affiliate links I added for your shopping convenience. This simply means I may receive a small commission when you use my link to order.) 

My paint choice, of course, was Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint. I decided to use Typewriter on the headboard and foot board. In order to try to marry the new and old wood I used Curio as a base on all the raw wood but I felt like it just needed a little more color. At the last-minute, I dry brushed Kitchen Scale on and that did the trick.

Hand sewn pillows from napkins.

Hand sewn pillows from napkins from The Pioneer Woman's Flea Market Collection

Sealing milk paint for outdoor use required some serious research on my part. I decided on using Helmsman indoor/outdoor spar urethane by Minwax. This is the first time I have used this product. I really dislike using any type of poly but I felt this piece needed a heavy-duty sealant to protect it. It’s tricky to work with and I still need to do some finish work on it but I kind of love the way this turned out.

It doesn’t have to be perfect to be pretty. (preaching to myself here)

This has to be the lowest headboard I have ever seen so we added bun feet to give it some much-needed height.

My favorite part of this makeover is this headboard we converted into a storage bench.

These little pots used to be red but I took care of that with some leftover emerald green chalk paint I scrounged up. They are the perfect size for cute little succulents.

My patio has a new look complete with a headboard bench with storage. Visit to see the rest of the makeover.

It’s amazing what pillows and plants can do for a space, isn’t it?

Now that all the hard work is done…bring on the iced coffee and conversation!

My patio makeover is complete with new pillows, plants, and a DIY headboard storage bench.

Your sister in paint,



Please be sure to hop around for more outdoor inspiration from my friends!

Pssssst, here’s my front porch with panache.


  1. Janice says:

    Lisa what a beautiful bench and post! I too, long for the days of water guns and sidewalk chalk. There’s a few other things I don’t miss though 🙂 Great projects!

  2. Coreen Pike says:

    Love it! You did such a wonderful job, well you always do! Going to grap some of those napkins, I love them. I have some of her kitchen ceramic line, I just love the vibrant colors.😊

    • says:

      Thank you Toni! I am really glad now that I took the extra time to strip all that crusty paint off. 🙂

    • says:

      Hey Anika, I have been wanting to make one of those benches for a really long time and I am pretty smitten with the way it turned out.

  3. Sam says:

    Your bench turned out so well Lisa!!! I LOVE the colour and all your pretty plants and birdhouses!!! I’m certain that you and your family will be enjoying your new space and make more wonderful memories!

  4. Terry says:

    WOW! What a stunning bench you created! It’s one of the best bee to bench makeovers I’ve seen! One would not have noticed that you added bun feet to it for height had you not mentioned it.. they blend in perfectly like they have always been there! Well done! If you would like to share this piece or any other at another party, Making Broken Beautiful over at The Curator’s Collection runs every Thursday thru Sunday and has just begun. I would love it if you would come and inspire! I hope you have a great weekend!

  5. Debrashoppeno5 says:

    I love how your patio makeover turned out. And the bench, oh the bench. I want one and have the stuff to do it. You made it look so easy. And of course the pillows, what a great idea. You knocked it out of the ballpark.

  6. Keri says:

    The porch area is so welcoming. You did a wonderful job on it. Love the headboard bench and all the lovely pillows. The flowers are beautiful. I hope you have some awesome family times on your new patio area.

  7. tarahlynn says:

    Oh my gosh your pillows!! I used the same “fabric” from walmart for some outdoor sun loungers and for cushions on a couple of wicker chairs that I just finished. Love it! And I love your headboard bench, the whole patio turned out so sweet and welcome!

  8. Carol Lander says:

    Lisa, your hard work paid off. What a lovely patio. I love the bright colors of your pillows and the makeover of the bed into a bench was great. Thanks for sharing this cutie project at Your Inspired Design Link Party.

  9. Melanie Alexander says:

    As I read your post I felt like I was listening to myself! Our patio has also always been taken over by boys and toys, so this year I decided it was time to reclaim it for some grown-up space bc my boys are also growing up and spending less time playing on the patio. Patio furnishings are expensive though!!! I love your solutions for finding inexpensive ways to add seating and color–fantastic job on the bench! Thanks so much for sharing on Friday’s Furniture Fix, and I hope you get a little bit of time to enjoy sitting on that patio before it gets crazy hot 🙂

    • says:

      Thank you Melanie. Thankfully our back patio only gets morning sun and even by late afternoon it stays quite cool back there.

  10. Sledgehammer Queen says:

    Awesome project!! I can’t wait to make a bench out of a headboard/footboard I have. I also can’t wait to try Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint! Your patio looks great with all the color added!

  11. MEDINA GRILLO says:

    wow lisa this is stunning! i love the detail of the head board and those cushions really make it pop! I just want to be outdoors looking at this picture….think you can ship one over to the UK 😉

    • says:

      Thank you Medina! I would love to ship one over to you. Can you imagine how much that would cost???? LOL

  12. Debbie says:


    I know I have commented on the bench before but I guess I didn’t see the post until now. I love your process. And I totally identify with Linus comment. There is always possibilities if we just love it a little more. You know on the opposite side of the coin I have seen patios on million dollar homes that look cold and lack the love. You have made your patio a sweet place to sit, talk, read or enjoy brunch and you have created a keepsake that is a memory and conversation piece as well. Brilliant! (did you catch that…I didn’t say awesome 🙂 )

    • says:

      Thank you Debbie. I am working really hard to avoid using awesome as it really is over used. I truly appreciate your sweet comments.


    • says:

      Thank you so much. I am glad I decided to add the blue/green at the last minute. It made a huge difference.

  13. mysideof50 says:

    Wow – your bench turned out great! I love your whole patio! I’m in Texas too (north of Houston) and I have a tiny, sad patio too! You have inspired me! #overthemoon

  14. divaofdiy says:

    Girl this bench is amazing! Thank you for linking it up to Talk DIY to Me! I hope you enjoy the party and come back next week with your awesome self!

  15. Rhonda (@RhondaGales) says:

    Wow, your bench and other touches turned out just beautiful. I’m adding an old bed to my flea market & yard sale finds so I can convert to an outdoor bench for my deck. Thanks for the inspiration. I would love it if you would join my Sunday’s Best Linkup and share your makeovers. We could all use a little inspiration.

  16. Barbara Chapman ~ French Ethereal says:

    Your patio turned out great! The headboard bench is awesome! {Okay, that was a totally Cali girl moment! ;0)}
    I’d seen one like that in a book I have from 10-15 years ago. I tried to buy an old headboard at the SA in Temecula, CA about two years ago but they refused to sell it on half-price day {they wanted $100…}. So, no headboard bench yet! Living vicariously through yours. XD Pinned a bunch and Tailwinded,
    Barb 🙂

    • Lisa says:

      Thanks Barb. I have another headboard/foot board stashed to make another bench. I just need to get my silent partner on board. 😉

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