This might be my favorite build ever! Not only is it beautiful, but it has soooo much storage to hide all the things. Although I built this as a kitchen / dining bench, this bench would also be great as a mudroom bench, or in a bedroom as a window bench, even in a playroom to hide all the toys! I built this bench wall to wall so it is over 12′ long. Since this is so custom to my space, an exact plan and tutorial is hard to make, so to simplify it I have written this tutorial to make half the bench. This way you can easily adjust the size to fit your space. If you have over an 8 foot wall, you will want to divide it in half to make two cabinet boxes like I did, otherwise you can just make one. The plans below are for a bench that is 6’5″ long. If you are not building your bench between two walls, you can also make this bench floating on one end or both ends.
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NOTE: Supply list does not include supplies need to make drawers and drawer fronts or cabinet doors.
- (3) 2x4x8 Lumber
- (1) 3/4″ Sanded Plywood
- (3) 1x2x8 Boards
- (3) 1x4x8 Boards
- 1 1/4″ Pocket Hole Screws
- 3″ wood screws
- 2.5″ Wood Screws
- 1.5″ Brad Nails
- IF Upholstering the Top
- 3 yards fabric
- Quilt Batting
- 2 or 3″ Foam
- IF Upholstering the Top
- 4 @ 15″ (short base pieces)
- 2 @ 77″ (long base pieces)
- 3/4″ Plywood
- 1 @ 77″ x 18″ (box base)
- 2 @ 18″ x 16″ (box ends)
- 2 @ 18″ x 15.25″ (box dividers)
- Plywood (cheap if Upholstering, 3/4″ Birch plywood if you want a wood top)
- 1 @ 77″ x 18.75″ (Top)
- 1×4 Boards
- 2 @ 75.5″ (top supports)
- 1 @ 77″ (front baseboard)
- For bench installed not between walls
- 1 @ 78.5″ (front baseboard)
- 2 @ 18.75″ (side baseboards)
- For Bench installed against one wall
- 1 @ 77.75″ (front baseboard)
- 1 @ 18.75″ (side baseboards)
- For bench installed not between walls
- 1×2 Boards
- 2 @ 77″
- 4 @ 14.5″ (double check dimensions before cutting for a perfect fit)
Step 1: Installing a Base
The first step is providing a solid base for your bench to sit on. You want to lift the bottom of the bench up so that you can wrap around your existing baseboard around the base of the bench. This really helps to make the bench look built in and professional. If you have tall baseboards, I recommend using 2×6 boards for your base, otherwise you can just use a 1×4 board as the baseboard like I did. To assemble your base, simply screw your small base pieces to your long base pieces as shown in the figure below so the dimensions of your base are 77″ x 18″. Then you are going to remove your baseboard in the area the bench will be installed. Screw your base through the back long piece into your wall studs. I like to use this stud finder to locate my studs.
Step 2: Building your Box
Cut a piece of your plywood to 77″x18″ and then two panels 18″ x 16″. You can adjust the height of the bench by making the panels taller or shorter than 16″. Then cut 2 1×4 boards to 75.5″. Put pocket holes in one side of the 18″ side of the panels and on both ends of the 1×4 boards. Assembly as shown below.
NOTE: If your bench is NOT being installed between walls and the ends will be showing, face your pocket holes to the inside of the bench.
Step 3: Installing dividers
Next you will cut your box dividers from your 3/4″ plywood. I wanted three cubbies on each side, so I cut two dividers. You can add or subtract dividers to make your cubbies smaller or larger. To do this math, decide how many cubbies you want (example: 4). If you want 4 cubbies, you will need 3 dividers. Take your total inside length (75.5″) and subtract the width of all the dividers (each divider is .75″). 75.5″ – 0.75″ – 0.75″ – 0.75″ = 73.25. Then take this number and divide by your number of cubbies to determine the space between each devider. 73.25″ / 4 = 18.3125 (18 5/16).
I wanted 3 cubbies. 75.5″ -0.75″ – 0.75″ = 74 / 3 = *about* 24 11/16
Put pocket holes on both ends of your dividers (on the 18″ side) making sure the top pocket holes will align with the 1×4 seat supports. Cut a scrap board to the dimension of your cubbies (24 11/16) to use to easily space your dividers perfectly. Put you scrap board against the box end and insert your divider and screw in your pocket hole screws at the bottom and top of the box.
Step 4: Face Frame
Now you will be installing your face frame. Install your first 1×2 trim board (77″) flush with the top of your bench using wood glue and brad nails. Install the second 1×2 trim board (77″) flush with the top of the base plywood so there is no lip between the bench cubby and the face frame. Then install your vertical trim board pieces. These should be 14.5″, but double check the measurement before cutting, because often times it can vary by 1/8″. Your end trim board pieces will be installed with the edges flush with the ends. The center trim boards should be installed with the center of the trim and the center of the dividers aligned so there is a lip on both sides of the trim boards.
Step 5: Baseboards
Now you are going to want to cover the bottom edges of your base. If your bench is installed between two walls, you will only need the front baseboard. You can reuse the baseboard you pulled off your wall at the start, or you can use a 1×4 board cut to 77″ to install to the bottom of the bottom 1×2 trim board. If your bench is not installed between walls, cut 2 1×4 boards to 18.75″ and install on each end (or one end) with brad nails. Then install the front baseboard (78.5″ or 77.75″ for a bench against one wall).
If you want open cubbies, you can stop building here, and you can move on to wood filling, caulking and finishing. If you want detailed tutorial on finishing, you can check out my beginner e-book.
Step 6: Drawer Fronts
If you want to create cabinet doors or drawer fronts, check out my tutorial on how to make a cabinet door. This tutorial is the same to make a drawer front as it is a cabinet door. You can see the dimensions below for the horizontal and vertical stiles to create drawer fronts that cover the majority of the face frame. And use this tutorial to make your perfect drawer boxes!
Step 7: Installing a Top
If you are upholstering a bench top, use cheap plywood that is at least 1/2″ in thickness. Lay your foam on top of the plywood and use a spray adhesive to secure the foam to the plywood. Then lay your fabric pattern facing down, then lay batting down on top of it, then lay your foam covered plywood, foam facing down on top of the batting. Wrap the fabric and batting up and over the foam and using a stapler, staple down one long side into the plywood, then the other side and then the ends. Remove excess fabric with a scissors before making a corner with a nice edge.
If you want a wood top, use Birch or Oak plywood and cut it to size (77×18″), on the “bad” side, Secure 1×4’s around the edge to make it double thickness, and then add a 1×2 to the front (and sides if bench is not between walls).
That’s it, now you can build a bench! Good luck and as always, reach out with any questions! The best way to reach me is my Instagram DMs. Sometimes I get a lot of messages at once, so if I don’t respond to your message after a couple days, send another one!
I was following this build in Instagram and wondered if you could provide some more information about the vent extender you installed with this? I need to do the same thing for the entertainment center I’m building and liked whatever material you used to create that insulated box. Thanks!
Hi Lisa! I used Thermopan to extend the vent. It is a cardboard coated material. I bought mine at Menards, but if you don’t live near one you can look it up online!