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How to Add Reeding to Furniture | Shoe Storage Bench Makeover

How to add decorative fluting or reeding to furniture for extra texture on a plain surface + an entryway shoe storage bench makeover on a low budget.

Live by the motto “work what yo mama gave ya”… and “work with what your house gave ya”.

Something like that.

Our house didn’t give us a mud room, but it did give us an empty wall beside our back door. So it’s as close to an official entryway / mud room as we’re going to get for a quite a while, I guess.

reeded shoe storage bench in an entryway with black doors and gallery wall

Reeded Shoe Storage Bench Before & After

On the bright side, it gave us a fun furniture makeover opportunity! (You know you’re a DIYer when you see a challenge as an opportunity, right? That’s the good stuff.)

This entryway wall was severely lacking any sort of shoe storage, which we really needed because shoes end up all over our house from the second our kids get home from school.

So we found the perfect solution on Facebook Marketplace, added reeding for extra character, and now it reminds me of a bench version of this $2,600 console table!

If you have a plain dresser, console table, nightstand, or bench hanging around your house, this is such a fun DIY project to try.

entryway shoe storage bench before
entryway bench with decorative reeded molding added

Changing the feet, attaching reeded molding, and painting a taupe color did so much for this little storage bench! (I might eventually reupholster or paint the fabric on the cushion, but I’m still on the fence.)

Adding decorative reeding to furniture is a technique I’ve seen various versions of popping up everywhere all over DIY blogs using different materials, but this is the method that worked for us using supplies readily available in our area.

What is Reeding?

Reeding is a type of molding or ornamental detail with small, convex, semicylindrical shapes carved into the surface. Reeded molding is easily confused with fluting which has a similar look in a concave shape.

The tutorial in this post could also be used to create the look of fluted detailing on furniture by simply using a fluted molding instead of a reeded molding.

Reeded Storage Bench Makeover Tutorial

Supplies / Tools

reeded bench makeover painted taupe in entryway

How to Replace Furniture Legs

We slightly changed the shape of the bench first by swapping the mission style legs with pyramid shaped legs. We did a very similar technique to our dining room buffet a couple of years ago when we cut the bottom board off to add brushed gold furniture legs for a more elegant look.

Step 1 – Remove Screws

Some furniture pieces have legs attached with screws, so use the drill to remove those first.

removing furniture legs to replace with new legs

Step 2 – Cut Off Legs

Use a hand saw to cut off the existing furniture legs. You could also use a circular saw, but our bench had such thick, chunky legs, we wanted to be very slow and precise with our cut.

A basic hand saw allowed us to do that so we wouldn’t make any mistakes since there were no do-overs on this bench.

cutting off furniture legs to replace

Step 3 – Mark Placements for New Legs

Mark with a pencil where to place your new legs. We used a speed square as a guide to mark an X at the base so that we would know exactly where to screw them in.

marking bottom of bench to replace furniture legs

There are so many different furniture leg options out there if you ever want to change the look of dressers, side tables, benches, accent chairs, or sofas quickly.

I’ve found new furniture legs for our projects on Etsy and Amazon.

These unfinished wood pyramid legs are sold out, but I’m hoping they restock.

new furniture legs to replace old ones

Step 4 – Drill Holes for New Legs

Check the screws on your new legs to know the size drill bit you need for this step. Then, drill into the mark you made on Step 3 deep enough to screw in the new legs.

Apply a little construction adhesive around the screw for extra hold.

drilling to add new furniture legs

How to Add Reeded Molding to Plain Furniture

There are all kinds of different materials on the market that you could use to add decorative reeding to furniture.

I’ve seen a lot of furniture flippers use pole wrap to create a reeded style on plain dressers, cabinets, doors, tables, literally anything that could use some texture. But because of its recent explosion in popularity, pole wrap is getting harder to find and is becoming more expensive with demand.

As an alternative, we found this reeded molding while strolling the aisles of our local Lowe’s. We used 13 strips of molding on the bench at $7.98 each for a total of $109.96.

reeded trim to add to furniture

Step 1 – Measure Furniture Areas to Add Reeding

Measure the sections on your furniture piece where you plan to add reeding and decide how many molding strips you’ll need. Mark on the molding strips with a pencil where you’ll need to cut them to fit them onto the furniture sections.

We added reeding to the drawer fronts, side panels, and front panels of our bench, so we measured those accordingly.

Step 2 – Tape 4 Molding Strips Side-By-Side

Use the painters tape to hold together 4 strips of molding side-by-side (shown below). Wrap the tape around every 6-8 inches. This will allow you to cut multiple strips of molding at once at the correct length you need.

cutting decorative fluting on a miter saw to add to plain furniture

Step 3 – Cut Molding

Cut the molding strips you marked in Step 2 with the miter saw until you have enough to cover your furniture piece.

cutting decorative fluting to furniture

Step 4 – Attach Molding With Adhesive

Begin attaching the newly cut reeded molding to the designated sections on your furniture using construction adhesive. Make sure the molding is completely perpendicular and that there are no gaps.

Use painters tape pulled tightly across the newly adhered molding to hold the pieces in place as they set overnight.

Optional: You can also use a pin nailer if you want additional support, but we’ve found construction adhesive to be completely sufficient. You also have to remember you’ll need to apply wood filler to any small holes in the reeding left from the pin nailer before priming or painting. Sanding wood filler smooth on those tiny reeded details is really difficult.

adding decorative reeding to drawers

Step 5 – Sand Reeded Drawers Level

Once dry the next day, if you notice any of the reeded molding strips on the top and bottom edges of the drawer fronts look a little uneven, smooth them out with an electric sander using a medium grid sanding disc.

Test the drawers to make sure they close properly. Sand a little more, if needed, so that no molding on the drawer front scrapes anything on the furniture body.

Step 6 – Apply Primer

Apply a coat of primer to your entire furniture piece. If you are working with a cherry stained piece like I did, it’s worth using a shellac-based primer.

Even though it’s a fumey, smelly job, a shellac-based primer will prevent any red wood stain from bleeding through and potentially turning your paint pink. (I learned that one the hard way one time. It’s not fun at all to discover that little tip for yourself.)

reeded bench primed

Step 7 – Paint

Brush two thin coats of paint all over your piece. Keep an eye out to brush away any rogue drips that like to seep out between the reeded sections. Use this triangular brush and/or a small artist brush to get into the crevices.

I chose to use Sherwin Williams Door & Trim satin paint just because I happened to be at Lowe’s grabbing supplies, and I really wanted to use an acrylic urethane enamel based paint that would cure to a hard finish.

My kids are going to be crazy rough on this bench when they’re in and out of the door wrangling their shoes, so I wasn’t about to take that gamble by painting with a wimpy latex paint.

I still prefer Benjamin Moore Advance above all other heavy duty high traffic paint, but I think this will do the job. This taupe color, Sherwin Williams Anew Gray, is light enough to play against the shadows in those reeded details.

painting a reeded bench Sherwin Williams Anew Gray

Step 8 – Add Hardware

Once the paint is dry, very slowly and carefully drill holes through the molding to add new knobs.

We just used the existing holes that were already in the drawer fronts as our guide and drilled starting from the back so that we only had to worry about drilling through the reeding.

Aren’t these vintage brass knobs so pretty?! They were only $3.20 each but look like knobs straight out of Anthropologie.

decorative reeding added to a storage bench in an entryway and painted Sherwin Williams Anew Gray

Now not only do we finally have some shoe storage but it’s CUTE shoe storage!

The next battle will be to get this family of mine to actually use it. 😉

reeding added to a storage bench and painted taupe

Reeded and Fluted Furniture Finds

Just for fun, I pulled together some pretty reeded and fluted furniture pieces I found for all budgets. (And also because it’s just fun to compare the store-bought versions to your own makeover once you finish a furniture flip, right?)

reeded and fluted furniture finds

Entryway Sources

By the way, you can get this bird art gallery wall for free to print at home.

(Audubon prints always remind me of my mom since she used to pull them from books and frame them all over our house when I was growing up.)

reeded bench in an entryway with an Audubon bird art gallery wall

Now that it’s done, I can’t decide if I should go back and paint the upholstered cushion (I did at least steam clean it and scrubbed with an upholstery cleaner).

But we have a couple of massive home renovation jobs coming up in the next couple of weeks around here, so I’ll have to circle back to it.

What do you say? Paint or don’t paint the cushion? If I DID paint it, what color would you do? I wonder if even a faux leather look would be cool… or a deep rust brown like this bench.

I think I just talked myself into it. 😑

DIY Furniture Ideas

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  1. Looks So Good! I’m blown away by the transformation. I’m gonna need to find a furniture piece to try that out on.. WOW! Fantastic job!!!

  2. The reed trim looks fantastic and I like the shape of the legs you added. The color is perfect for your space. I also think the color of the cushion/upholstery looks great in your space.

  3. What a cool project, it looks fabulous! Curious as to why you would paint the fabric instead of replacing it, or is it attached in a way that is difficult to remove? Faux leather or velvet would be gorgeous! Although I must say it looks great as is, so at least you don’t need to be in a hurry to decide. Looking forward to Olivia’s room and the stair makeover! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks, Vicki! The seat is very attached with adhesive, so removing it would be quite a job and possibly damage the bench itself. So that’s why I’m hesitant.

  4. Hi Lauren,
    I absolutely love the look of your shoe bench. I have my mom’s old hope chest, and have always wondered what to do with it. You have definitely sparked me to give this reeding treatment to it, to update it.