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ORC Week 5: DIY Industrial Pipe Bench

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We’re nearing the end of the One Room Challenge! We are making over our front room in six weeks! The room started out completely unfurnished and we are working hard to get it done and decorated with our coastal style. In case you missed it, here is what we have done:

Week 1: The Plan

Week 2: Painting & Large Furniture

Week 3: Fireplace Makeover

Week 4: Little Details

How To Build a DIY Metal Pipe Leg Rustic Bench - Charleston Crafted

This week we focused on getting something going on at the blank wall alongside the stairs. The only thing currently on the wall is our Ikea shoe drawer which we have had for years and love with all the heart eyed emojis. So much hidden storage in such a small amount of space! I wanted to add something next to the drawers – somewhere I could sit my purse, or that we could sit to put on shoes. A shallow bench was in order. And art, big art!

I wanted something with ORB metal legs to tie in the black of the hanging lantern lights throughout the first floor as well as the plant stand we have in the corner and a variety of knobs all over the place. I decided that it would be fun to play with piping (we made this lamp a few years ago) and google lead me to lots of options.

We got the design for a DIY industrial pipe bench from Lowe’s, where they have a variety of projects and full plans for you to follow. This is great, but we needed to modify it slightly for the space we wanted and only wanted one bench, not a whole table. We didn’t realize when we started the project how expensive pipe fittings are. According to Lowe’s’ plan, this project was $$ out of $$$$$ (2/5 for expense). That made it seem like it would be fairly inexpensive. However, once we started looking at the prices of pipe fittings, we changed from galvanized steel to black iron (about half the cost) and cut out some pieces and still ended up with $100 worth of pipes. Luckily, we were using spare wood we already had to make the top, but we certainly weren’t expecting that. What is $$$$$ worth?? Building a whole house? I wish that Lowes had been more specific with their price guide!

DIY Industrial Pipe Bench

DIY Industrial Pipe Bench - Charleston Crafted
DIY Industrial Pipe Bench - Charleston Crafted

The changes that we made to the official Lowes plans were to use all 1 inch pipes to 3/4 inch pipes, use black iron instead of galvanized steel, and we reduced the width of the bench from 18″ wide to around 12″ wide. It’s a narrow bench but it fits our narrow space and is for more of perching (and bag holding) than long term sitting.

Anyways, the pipes were fairly easy to connect, but you have to tighten them. A lot. With tools. You won’t be able to get them tight enough with just your hands. We used two wrenches to hold and tighten all the fittings. You don’t want an unstable bench!  In the end, it looked great.

DIY Industrial Pipe Bench - Charleston Crafted

We spray painted the iron work with an oil-rubbed bronze spray paint to match the light fixtures we’ve been installing. Lots of thin coats (I think 3 coats) with dry time in between to prevent drips. I let it dry for 36 hours outside to get really dry.

Finally came the bench seat. As I mentioned, we used scrap wood we saved from inside the walls of our house when we had the open-concept created last month. I think that’s a pretty cool element that we can create several projects reusing the wood from inside our house! We used a combination of 2x4s and a 2×6 for the seat and cut the pieces to 50 inches long. We also used 11 inch 1x4s to create cleats to hold the boards together and give the iron legs a place to sit. We also added six large bolts (ends spray painted ORB) to the center of each board for a rustic vibe. We added these on our barn door upstairs and I love them so I wanted to mimic that on the bench.

DIY Industrial Pipe Bench - Charleston Crafted

Once all screwed together, we stained it in our favorite Dark Walnut stain and sealed it with matte poly.

Be sure to check out our Dark Walnut by Minwax wood stain review!

DIY Industrial Pipe Bench - Charleston Crafted
DIY Industrial Pipe Bench - Charleston Crafted

The last step was to fix the iron to the bench, where we screwed the bench to the pipe in the middle with a flange and deck screws and added some glue to each of the side leg holes to keep them in place with added support.

DIY Industrial Pipe Bench - Charleston Crafted
DIY Industrial Pipe Bench - Charleston Crafted
Industrial Pipe Bench

In the end, our DIY industrial pipe bench turned out great and looks awesome with the rustic elements of our house with our lighting and live edge coffee table! We styled the space with a seascape above it (this was actually Sean’s in his apartment bedroom years ago, but I did help encourage him to buy it!) and styled it with the Charleston pillow that I got for Christmas last year. Hopefully CiCi stays off the bench and doesn’t get it all dog hair-y!

Pipes on a bench

We will be back next Thursday with a full room reveal and a complete budget breakdown! I really can’t wait!!!

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Thursday 16th of September 2021

Hey, I like the idea of a pipe bench. Looks great. I may make one for our back patio. Thanks. Antonio


Friday 6th of November 2020

now this will be a really strong table ...just what i need have such a great imagination it ...keep up all of the great ideas to just get hubby to help me ...ayyayayaya...


Monday 24th of June 2019

Black pipe fittings are about $1.25 each (flanges, t's, etc.) if you buy 8~20 at a shot on Amazon. 3/4" flanges alone at my local HD or Lowe's are almost $6. I got 'nuff for 2 benches (H legs w/ flanges on all ends) for $100 including the 6" and 7" nipples to get ~15" legs for a 3" thick top bench.

Nice bench.

Skip @ G's Sawdust Factory


Monday 24th of June 2019

Thanks Skip! Yeah, this was a fun build, but we weren't really using Amazon for that kind of thing back then. We just went to Lowe's and figured out what we needed to build the system. Thanks for finding this for everyone because this is a much more cost-effective solution!

30 Easy DIY Bench Ideas You Can Build Today! - Anika's DIY Life

Thursday 21st of March 2019

[…] you can use pipes to create the frame for the bench too  like this DIY Industrial pipe bench by Charleston […]

Jessie Mann

Sunday 18th of November 2018

Before you painted the pipes, did you have to clean them? I recently bought the same pipes and found that they have an oily black coating on them. I'm wondering if you had to remove any coating on your pipes before you painted them, and if so, how did you clean them?


Sunday 18th of November 2018

Hi Jessie! We wiped them down a lot using microfiber rags. They are greasy straight from the store. We didn't wash them beyond that. Good luck with your project!

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