Vintage Footstool Makeover (old seat repurposed!)

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This vintage footstool makeover is the perfect addition to our morning room! A little paint and new fabric is all it needed.

Vintage Footstool Makeover - with FABRIC and PAINT!! So simple! #footstool #furnituremakeover #footrest

I picked up this vintage footstool aka bench, seat, stool, or whatever it was, at our local ReStore last week.
It was all by itself but I am quite sure it originally went with something. Maybe a dressing table or telephone bench?
I don’t know but I thought it would be perfect as a footstool for the chair in our morning room.

Vintage Footstool Makeover

Here is how it started…

Vintage Footstool Makeover - with FABRIC and PAINT!! So simple! #footstool #furnituremakeover #footrest

It had some sort of “pleather-ish” type of seat.

And it was actually completely removable.

Vintage Footstool Makeover - with FABRIC and PAINT!! So simple! #footstool #furnituremakeover #footrest

I always seem to find these little seats with fun little storage cubbies.



I began by removing that old upholstered top.

Vintage Footstool Makeover - with FABRIC and PAINT!! So simple! #footstool #furnituremakeover #footrest

It was kind of funky so I replaced everything. (you can see the wood base to the right)

I used some batting that I already had and fabric that was leftover from another project.

Vintage Footstool Makeover - with FABRIC and PAINT!! So simple! #footstool #furnituremakeover #footrest

This one >>> No Sew Faux Roman Shade … because I thought the colors were perfect for our morning room.

Vintage Footstool Makeover - with FABRIC and PAINT!! So simple! #footstool #furnituremakeover #footrest

Then I used my favorite staple gun to attach it to the wood base.

Since you can use the inside as a little storage cubby. I thought I’d pretty that up too.

Vintage Footstool Makeover - with FABRIC and PAINT!! So simple! #footstool #furnituremakeover #footrest
I began by unscrewing it from the underside (thankfully that was easily done!) and then removing the old, very worn piece of fabric.

Vintage Footstool Makeover - with FABRIC and PAINT!! So simple! #footstool #furnituremakeover #footrest

Which peeled right off.

I then used this paint color and Annie Sloan white wax to finish it off. Then I screwed it back to the underside of the vintage footstool.

Vintage Footstool Makeover - with FABRIC and PAINT!! So simple! #footstool #furnituremakeover #footrest

And done! So much better.
Loving that fun pop of color in there.

For the base, I simply gave it a light sanding (very light run-over with fine grit) and then sprayed it with white primer, followed by a coat of this white paint.

Next, I gave it a little distressing to bring some of the brown back through.

Vintage Footstool Makeover - with FABRIC and PAINT!! So simple! #footstool #furnituremakeover #footrest

I’m really happy with how it turned out but I am a little undecided about something.

Vintage Footstool Makeover - with FABRIC and PAINT!! So simple! #footstool #furnituremakeover #footrest

The height of the old vintage footstool, is, well, tall-ish. Maybe because it’s not a footstool. Probably is a small seat to something?

And so when you sit there, it’s quite comfortable.
But I do sort of think it should be a tad bit shorter if it will be a footstool.

Vintage Footstool Makeover - with FABRIC and PAINT!! So simple! #footstool #furnituremakeover #footrest

I considered cutting down the legs but they have those pretty bottoms, so I didn’t.

Vintage Footstool Makeover - with FABRIC and PAINT!! So simple! #footstool #furnituremakeover #footrest

What would you do?

Vintage Footstool Makeover - with FABRIC and PAINT!! So simple! #footstool #furnituremakeover #footrest

Should I cut the legs down? Or leave it as-is??

Either way, it’s such a cutie now. I really love it.
OH! And I almost forgot to say, I paid $10 for it.
Not too bad considering I used fabric, batting, and paint I already had.

Don’t forget to tell me what you think I should do!

PIN it to save it for later!

Vintage Footstool Makeover - with FABRIC and PAINT!! So simple! #footstool #furnituremakeover #footrest

See you later this week…I hope with the newly made over retro TV cabinet. Stay tuned!

UPDATE!! See it now, here!



      1. This is actually a sewing bench.
        It’s from around the 1950s and 60’s. My mothers originally, I sit on mine at a sewing machine cabinet/table

        1. I was going to say also that it is a sewing bench. We had one that we used as a sewing bench in the 50s and 60s. Wish I still had it. We kept notions in the bench.

        2. Yes! I have a similar one too. It goes with my Moms Early 60’s maple sewing machine cabinet. Love it. Don’t cut the legs, use it as a side table. Put a tray on it.

    1. What a cute footstool. If you want to keep the cute feet, cut the legs at the top, jus below thebottom of the tray. A couple of pocket screws, and you’re all set. It would be the perfect height, and you could keep the cute feet.

      1. Good idea!! Love it!! I may just do that if I decide to keep this here. I haven’t decided just yet but I like this idea! Thanks so much! xoxo

  1. Hi Nancy. You really brought it back to life. It does have some cute legs, however if you bought it for a stool you should cut the legs down a bit. Such a cute makeover.

  2. My parents had a piano stool a lot like this, the cubby was just right for storing music. I love how you’ve refreshed this piece, and I would keep the cute little feet.

  3. My mother had a stool just like the one you have. It was the seat for a sewing machine table. If you have no use for it, I think you should cut it down for a footstool. I am all about practical!

  4. Nancy, this is so cute, it really belongs there. Love the pop of turquoise.
    If it isn’t comfortable to use as a footstool, cut it down. :)
    Have a great week!!

  5. My mother has a stool just like this! It’s a sewing stool to sit on while you are using the sewing machine. That explains why it is a little taller than most other stools. Scissors, needles, spools of thread, buttons, and other sewing notions are kept in the compartment inside. What a beautiful makeover!!

    1. Glad you posted as I was just going to. I have one at my sewing machine. They used to match the cabinets.

  6. Such a great find and makeover! I agree that it’s a sewing stool. I would leave those legs alone. They are so cute! You may decide to use it elsewhere one day and will be glad you did.

  7. Oh darn, It is a tad out of proportion – I love the legs but would suggest cutting them down a bit. Saving those bits I bet you could use them in another project perhaps as knobs! You are so very clever about those types of things.

  8. So cute. It’s a stool that goes to one if those old singer sewing machines that’s inside a table…

  9. Please don’t cut the legs.

    It’s at a perfect height for a table and you said it was a comfortable stool as is.

    All you need is a wooden tray (that might even fit inside the cubby) to put on the top and you have a coffee table / stool. The best of both worlds.

  10. Nancy,
    This stool has come a long way from when you first saw it, but it looks awkwardly uncomfortable to work with the club chair. Once you cut down the legs the height will be forgotten and you’ll enjoy this so much more.

    1. Oh yes, it sure has! And yes, it is a bit awkward looking here, I agree. Thanks so much for weighing in, Linda! :) xo

  11. I think this is adorable! Love the colors & fabric! So is the height really comfortable to use as a foot rest? If not I would consider cutting down the legs or it won’t likely really be used. Cute decor is great but if it isn’t useful for us, then it becomes clutter. Maybe you could add a stripe/band of color around the legs to add back some visual interest if you take the detail off the bottom?

    1. Thank you, Wendy! :) Yes, it is actually very comfortable but it does look awkward like it’s not. And I love that idea of adding detail at the bottom! I hadn’t thought of that, thanks!! :) xo

  12. Beautiful! And, thank you for the inspiration (which you do for me quite often!!). We are redoing a bathroom, I’ve had a piano bench stool that I purchased probably 5 years ago, that I’ve been going to re do. This is the inspiration that I needed! I purchased the fabric years ago, and going to check today but pretty sure that I have everything that I need to complete this project! Thank you!

  13. I wouldn’t cut the legs either. It is a sewing machine stool. I painted my Mom’s sewing machine table and stool.

  14. You actually have a choice, depending on how it is to be used. First rule of design – function. If you are going to use it as seating DO NOT cut off legs. If you are going to use it as a footrest, CUT the legs to proper height! Simple! Hope this helps in your decision making.

  15. I have the same sewing bench with my grandmother’s old singer sewing machine. It is the bench/seat that was purchased with the machine. Because I have searched high and low for a great piano bench, I would hate to see it cut down. Benches the right height are impossible to find..

    1. Yes, I think that is most definitely what it must’ve been! That is what everyone is saying. I had no idea! You know, I never see the benches with the sewing cabinets. Now I see what happens with them. People probably keep them and then discard them later on. Thanks so much for weighing in on this! :) xo

  16. Hi Nancy,
    What a precious footstool, great job!

    I’d like to weigh in on the question of cutting off the legs or not. I’m going to throw out a suggestion, but I’m hoping with your creativity you can make my suggestion work.
    Is there any way you can cut off the legs right above the decorative bottom section, then cut off another inch or two of the legs, and then reattach the bottom part?
    Possibly if you drilled a screw all of the way through the knobby part and then put it into the now shorter leg shank above it? With wood glue of course. It might even require a little sanding and filler to make it look like it belonged on the new shorter leg.
    Alternatively, if you like a little detail at the end of the straight leg, you could buy four round wooden balls and attach them in the same manner, Or even clear Lucite for a funky- er variation :-)

    Just throwing out some ideas, good luck!

    1. Hi Shelley!
      Thank you!
      I love this idea!! I had not even thought to do that. That was the main thing I hated to lose so this might work. I’m gonna check into this for sure! :) Thank you so much! xoxo

  17. You did a great job in the “re-do”! A friend had a similar problem with what she wanted to make into a bench. So, crazy as it sounds, she cut the bottom cute feet off each leg, cut the leg to the new height, and reattached the cute feet with long screws. It turned out really nice even though it was a bit of work, and no one ever knew the difference. There are cute feet in the woodworking section in hardware stores and woodworking stores.too in case the originals had to be changed.

    1. Thank you, Cate! :) Yes, someone else just said the same! I love this idea because I feel like I’m cutting off some of the nice design elements. I am going to see if I can make that work! xoxo

  18. I have the same stool, along with the matching antique Singer sewing machine, from my Grannie and this is inspiring me to refinish both. Great project.

  19. Love the new look. I think the problem is the overall proportion of the stool to the chair. The ottomans that match my club chairs are the same height as the chair seat. I think I’d use the stool somewhere else and look for a more substantial piece that is a better balance to the weight of the chiar.

  20. I love what you did with it. It’s so cute now. I agree that it’s a little on the tall side. If you can shorten it while keeping the legs pretty in some way, go for it.

  21. Hi Nancy!
    That stool looks great now, anx I really like the fabric you used!
    Personally, I’d leave the height as is. The feet add such character, and it makes the chair more like a recliner where you can really kick back and relax. Plus… It doubles as extra seating!

    1. Hi Melanie! Thanks so much! I think they do too. I hate to cut them off. You are right, they are more of a recliner height. And probably why I feel like it is a comfortable height when sitting in the chair. I just think it looks awkward…but doesn’t feel awkward at all. And yes to that! Extra seating is always a plus. :) xo

  22. I was so sure this was going to become a little tile-topped side table! The fabric looks so pretty on it now. I think you should leave the legs and use it as a stool to sit on, but if you like the idea of a footstool, cut it.

  23. Can you cut the legs from the top? That would save the cute detail from the sewing stool. I sat o n one like that when I learned to sew.

  24. Don’t cut the legs, as we get older it good to be able to elevate our legs higher then we use to help with circulation and if it is comfortable as a footstool leave it, you may want to use it somewhere else. I found one and used it for my daughters’ vanity stool.

  25. Hi Nancy,
    I just saw your post about the “footstool” makeover, and was so surprised! I found an identical one at a church rummage sale last summer, and refinished mine almost exactly the same way, right down to the teal paint on the inside, lol. The only difference is I used a nautical design material on the seat. Several of your readers are right-it is a sewing table stool with storage for sewing supplies, but it makes a great little stool for extra seating (and maybe magazine storage?) in any room. I love your blog, and seeing all the amazing makeovers you come up with every week!

    1. Hi Diana! Oh nice, how fun…and funny too! ;) Magazines would be a perfect fit, yep! Thank you so much for the kind words too! So happy to hear that. xoxo

  26. I think it depends on if comfort or looks are more important to you. You said it is comfortable as is and if you cut those legs down, you know you can’t put them back if you choose to use if for something else later on. I would look for a stool/ottoman for the chair and use that pretty stool for something else.

    1. Hmm, yes, exactly. It’s comfortable but awkward looking. Good considerations here…thank you for weighing in, Teresa! xo

  27. Great job; you really gave this piece a new lease on life. I love the way it looks with your chair. Also I think those little feet are an important part of what makes it so pretty. I’d keep the feet.
    Always enjoy your posts; thank you.

    1. Thank you, Carol! I think they are too. If I do cut them, I’m going to try to figure out a way to keep them. :) xoxo

      1. Happy to know that you will repurpose those cute lil feet if you do cut them off. I know you will find a way1

  28. Hi Nancy, I love what you did with this sewing stool! Thank you for this post!!!! My Hubby requested a “taller footstool” a year ago, and of course I could never find one tall enough! I never would have thought of this until reading this post. The quest is on for a vintage sewing stool!!!!!!

    1. Thanks, Kaycee! :) Oh, that is so awesome! Now you know! ;) I can’t remember ever coming across one of these before. But I have come across tons of sewing cabinets and machines!!! So bizarre. I am guessing people keep the stools and discard them later by themselves?! xo

  29. I love what you did with that ugly old brown-seated stool! Personally, I would leave the legs the length they are because of the way they curve at the bottom. Personally, I think that originally this was not a foot stool. I think it was a sitting stool because of the height. I can imagine it in its new incarnation as a dressing table stool or something similar but I think it is quite alright to use it as a footstool, especially as it is, like you say, comfortable when you use it for that purpose.

    I’ll be interested to learn what you decide about cutting the legs off.

  30. OMG. I purchased one of these at a church rummage sale. It was my first project ever & I began corresponding with Christy about it. I asked the church volunteer what it was…too short for a piano bench (mine is hinged). He didn’t know. Who knew it was for a sewing machine!!!! But it is the perfect height for my bathroom vanity. My vanity is the same height as the sink countertop.(not lowered in the center as you find in some bathrooms). So the stool is perfect. When company comes all it takes is one swipe of the items on the countertop to tumble into the open seat (lol). Shut & stow underneath.

    Please do not cut the legs. It will look silly because it needs to be the height of the bottom of the lounge chair cushion in order to be comfortable for your outstretched legs (your feet are lower than your hips.)

    1. Oh fun! Yes, I’m guessing it had to be a sewing machine seat because so many people chimed in and said that’s what it was. It would be perfect for your bathroom vanity, yes! Hideaway storage is always a good thing. ;) Thanks so much for chiming in, Robin! xo

  31. Wow! You have had a lot of responses about this little bench/stool. I had one like this that went with my first sewing machine and it moved to a dressing table and was the perfect height. In my opinion, I would live with it a while and see what you want to use it for. You can always cut the legs off….but once you do! Have a good week! XOXO

    1. Yes, I sure have! It’s definitely a sewing machine chair I think! :) I think that is what I’m going to do for now. :) Thanks, Cecilia! xoxo

  32. I love it as, but I am one to keep stuff original if possible. I would love to find one of these to put with my sewing machine cabinet that I have painted and repurposed as a side table to go with a day bed. I think a trip to my local thrift store is in order!

    1. I am too, really! And why I couldn’t bring myself to cut it yet! ;) Thanks, Sherry!! Good luck with your hunt! xoxo

  33. This is taller because it’s a sewing machine bench. The cubby held all sorts of sewing stuff. I love finding these and bringing them back to life. Yours is a lovely job!

    1. Yes, that makes perfect sense and seems to be the consensus around here! :) Thank you so much, Tess! xo

  34. It’s beautiful! I say don’t cut down the legs. They’re so very pretty and curvy. It may seem tall to you but it looks just the right height in front of that chair. It’s more of an ottoman height and looks like it would be very comfortable to put your feet up on, especially after a days hard work when your feet feel swollen and you just need to elevate them and relax. It’s perfect as is. Great work!

    1. Thanks, Christie! :) Hmm, you know what, you are right, it is about the same height as the ottoman in our other room. I think it’s the legs that are throwing me off, maybe not the actual height. It’s actually very comfortable at the height it is. (I’ve tried it out multiple times, lol) xo

  35. Beautiful redo! I`m so relieved to see that you changed out the seat padding; I always do. My record for removing layers of fabric that have been stapled over the original fabric is eight layers on one chair. There can be stains in those layers that could show up on the new fabric. Also, the padding has usually flattened/deteriorated from years of use. I like comfy seating! 🙂

  36. Oh my!!! I just so happen to have 3 of these…… I had no idea what they were used for, so I was excited to read the comments posted by others. I picked mine up years ago during an estate sale. They are all somewhat different in the style of legs but similar enough to not notice the slight variations. I chalk painted the base in white and changed out the fabric as well. I love your idea of painting the inside… I did not think of that but WOW it’s a great idea. I use mine as extra seating around our breakfast room table when needed. When not in use they slide under a large office desk for sitting on to help kids with homework etc. I have also used them as a “faux” window bench of sorts… To comfortably use as a stool — I think you need to cut down the legs as it’s too tall to be comfortable otherwise. But those legs are beautiful so I see your dilemma in cutting them. I would love a follow up post on how it turns out if you do decide to cut down the legs..

    1. OH my!! That’s awesome! Extra seating is the perfect use for these as they are small and won’t really get in the way. Love that idea and the faux window seat. Creative! I will definitely post if I decide to cut them down. :) xo

  37. I was so surprised when I saw your “find” – I have 2 of these from my mom waiting for a redo- they are indeed sewing machine stools and I spent many a day sitting at my mom’s machine on them! I will probably keep the natural wood and just change the top fabric, but they are destined for my new sewing room that is ‘under construction’. I would find a place where they can be used as is and not cut off their legs, because they are the perfect height for sitting! You might put a clear tray on top and add a side table to your room. I can send you a pattern for a sweet sewn footstool with pockets for magazines. But whatever you do, it’s lovely and reminded me of lovely childhood sewing times!

    1. Oh nice! Lots of ideas and uses I’ve gotten for these from the comments. Lots to consider, for sure. :) I am so thrilled this brought good thoughts and happy memories to you. Love that so much! :) xoxo

  38. I have the identical to your original, also. It came with our piano. Unfortunately, we had to pass- on the piano, but kept the stool, as you surmised. My husband uses it as a footstool and loves the height as is. We recovered the top years ago. But looking at it now, the rest could stand to be refinished or get a coat of paint. I love the idea of the pop of color inside. I hope you leave it as is. It does come in handy for people to sit on when we have a crowd.

    1. You are right, it sure would come in handy as an extra seat! I’m still undecided as of yet! :) xo

  39. Beautiful re-do. Leave the legs alone. If you are sitting in your chair relaxing the “footstool” becomes the perfect invitation for someone to sit down and have a chat with you! I’m not in the majority but I would keep it as is and use it until you find one a little larger to go with your “larger” chair. That’s the awkward part to me—large chair – small footstool. Let us all know what you decide to do.

    1. OH yes, I love that! And yes, I certainly will let you all know. I have an idea…will share soon! :)

  40. The legs are sure pretty. My first thought was not to cut them. But after reading some of the responses I am on the practical side too. Have an idea what to do with cut legs-you can use them as little legs for a tray. Anyway I keep my fingers crossed the cut will turn out beautifully.

    1. Thanks Marta! I haven’t decided fully yet but do have an idea of what I will do. I’ll update soon! :) xo

  41. Oh wow….I have this exact stool. It came with an old sewing machine and cabinet. On the inside of this stool was a removal sewing accessory tray. It’s been in my garage for a long time. I will certainly try to make it as pretty as yours.

    1. Oh fun! And that makes total sense! It’s a great little cubby for holding things. Have fun with your makeover! xo

  42. the stool goes with a vintage sewing machine. I just so happen to have one in my basement and you are a real inspiration for me to do something with it. I need a small sewing area upstairs and if i repaint the table (with the sewing machine left underneath) and do this, it would be so cute! great repurposing!!!

    1. Yay, so happy I have inspired you to pull yours out! Your new little sewing area will be awesome! Have fun! :) xo

  43. That footstool is definitely a sewing machine stool. My mother sat for hours on that sewing my clothing and sewing for her clients. Wish I had that old stool now…

    1. Aw yes, great memories I am sure! I don’t remember my mom having one of these but do remember her making clothes for my sister and me when we were little. xoxo

  44. Yep, I would cut down those legs to make it more functional and if there is a way to reattach those feet, I’m sure you could make it happen.

  45. I say too that the legs should come down. Love the idea of cutting them down from the top and using the screws to rejoin.

  46. Hi, Nancy, The footstool is adorable as is! I say keep it at that height. You may want to use it in another location some day. I know everyone is saying it is a sewing stool and I’m sure they are right, but my first thought was vanity stool. I had one just like it as a teenager. In any case, it’s a beautiful makeover, as always.

  47. Your footstool is the seating bench of a 1940’s Singer Sewing Machine. My mother had a new one and made all our clothes. I still have my mother’s machine and bench.

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