In the end, I decided to keep them both; one for the front porch (which you have probably seen in pictures of the front porch decorated for Halloween) and one for our entryway. I knew I had to at least try to refinish them in colors that I liked. So I did. Here is how my black bench went from an old, beat up and not my style bench, to the cutest, country-esque bench ever!
Disclaimer: Since this is my very first attempt at refinishing a piece of furniture and I may not have done it the right/best way, note that there may be better ways of doing this and my way might not be perfect. So if you are looking to refinish something for your first time, research!
Step 2. Tape off any parts you don't want painted (I wanted the seat to stay brown) and start painting! I used a simple white chalk paint that you can find at Michaels. Note: Home Depot has LIMITED amounts of chalk paint and Lowes doesn't have any! So don't waste your time there.
Step 3. Stain the seat of the bench. I used Rustoleum American Walnut (its seems to be the color I am using for many projects lately). I only used one coat, as a little goes a long way and I didn't want it to be too dark.
Step 4. Then spray two coats of polyurethane over the seat and then wax the whole bench, top to bottom. I used Martha Stewart's Vintage Decor Clear Wax. This is just to help seal it all in and protect the bench from getting scratched too easily. The chalk paint is nice because it gives it that cool "chalk-y" look, but then it can come off like chalk if you don't seal it with wax.
I didn't want the seat to be quite so dark, but it has definitely grown on me.
That's it for today. Hope you've been inspired to refinish something of your own!