We had a landing leading down to our basement that was completely empty. It was large but had no purpose, no function, and had seen no love!
When I was in the process of ripping the carpet off our stairs, I decided it was time to change that!
I had a vision for this little landing. Big plans for it to be a destination, not a passthrough. So once I replaced the carpet with beadboard for a fun flooring pop, it was time to build on top of that!
I figured a storage bench would be both beautiful and functional, so I drew up some plans and got to work using primarily scrap wood that I already had on hand!
This bench cost me a total of $55 in new materials! If you were building it from scratch needed to buy everything, it might cost you around $200 or so depending on the types of lumber and plywood you decide to go with! Still not bad for a beautiful feature!
HOW TO BUILD YOUR OWN BUILT-IN STORAGE BENCH IN 5 SIMPLE STEPS
STEP 1: MEASURE & GATHER YOUR MATERIALS
First, come up with a plan! Decide how far out from the wall you want it to be, decide how deep you want it to be depending on what it will be used for.
I decided to build mine 19″ out from the wall and allow it to be 22″ tall. A little on the taller side for a bench to allow for extra storage!
For you, this all might look a little different! You don’t have to build yours out exactly like I did – make it your own! And make it functional for your home!
Once you have your dimensions, gather your materials.
Here’s what I used…
- Sanded plywood (1/4″ thick)
- 3/4″ plywood or melamine panel
- 1×2 select pine boards
- 1×4 select pine boards
- 1.5″ lattice molding
- Pocket hole screws
- Bulls Eye Primer
- Sherwin Williams Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel, Color: SW Pure White 7005, Finish: Satin
- Plastic Wood
- Wood glue
- Cane webbing
- Piano hinges
- Veneer edgebanding
And here are the tools you need…
- HART Tools Drill
- HART Tools Miter Saw
- HART Tools Jigsaw
- Foam Paint Rollers
- Wooster Paint Brushes
- HART Tools Multitool
- Kreg Pocket Hole Jig
- Finish nailer
- Utility knife
STEP 2: REMOVE YOUR BASEBOARDS & BUILD A PLATFORM FOR YOUR BENCH
First things first, start by building your platform! Remove the baseboards where you’ll be building your bench to allow it to look built-in to your home.
To remove your baseboards, mark where you need to remove your boards and use a multi tool to cut your baseboard while it’s still on the wall. Then, score the caulk line with a utility knife, and use a crowbar and mallet to slowly pry them from the wall. They come out pretty easily!
Next, add 2x4s to the back wall, the front of where your bench will be, on both the left and right sides, and in the center for support.
Use pocket hole screws to secure them together if you want them to be extra sturdy! I used nails to hold ours together since the bench wasn’t going to get super heavy use.
Next, cut down a plywood sheet to fit exactly on top of your 2×4 frame. Sand down the edges, then nail it into the 2x4s to hold it in place!
Go ahead and caulk around all the edges and where the plywood meets your 2×4 frame. Then prime and paint this platform before you move on to the next step. It will make your life way easier!
STEP 3: TIME TO BUILD UP!
Now that your platform is done, it’s time to build up! Start by taking more measurements to figure out exactly how tall your bench will be again, and keep those in mind with the platform already built.
I went ahead and added a 1/4″ sheet of plywood to my back wall and added sides for my bench using 3/4″ plywood to allow the sides to support the top of the bench. Keep in mind that when you add the top and front of your bench, that will add some height and depth as well! If you follow my plans, it’ll add 3/4″ of height and depth! So keep that in mind when adding the back and sides of your bench!
I secured the sides with wood glue and pocked hole screws so they’d be nice and sturdy! And I just nailed the back panel into the wall since that was more for aesthetic and not support!
Once those were done, I added 2 3/4″ plywood dividers in my bench as well to allow for customized storage and more support for the top of the bench! I cut these the same size as my sides and measured to allow them to be evenly spaced in the bench. Secure these with wood glue and pocket hole screws as well.
Next, go ahead and cut down a piece of 3/4″ plywood (or melamine panel) for the front of your bench, then nail it into your left and right-hand sides along with the dividers through the front of the board. Make sure it’s level on top! This will support your lid!
STEP 4: INSTALL & SECURE THE TOP OF YOUR BENCH
For the top of the bench, I cut down and installed a 1×4 board across the back of the bench. I nailed this into the sides and dividers of the bench. Then, I attached my piano hinges to this piece!
Next, Measure the depth that you have left after the 1×4 is installed and cut down another 3/4″ plywood or melamine board to use as the top! This should cover the edge of your front of the bench but shouldn’t extend over the edge.
Secure it to your piano hinges as well, making sure it’s nice and secured.
For extra security, I highly recommend adding soft close hinges too! The plywood can get heavy!
Installing the lid this way allows me to open the bench and lean the lid up against the back wall instead of having to hold it open!
STEP 5: MAKE IT PRETTY!
Once the bones of my bench were built, it was time to make it look good! Wood fill all your nail holes and seams where two boards meet, and caulk where the wood meets the wall or where you have seams when boards change depths or directions!
I also opened up the bench and added veneer edge-banding to the unfinished edges of the sides and dividers to make the bench look a little more finished! I simply ironed it on – it was as easy as that!
I also decided to frame some cane webbing on the bottom of my bench. To do this I added a 1×4 across the bottom to act as a baseboard of sorts.
Then I added a 1×2, followed by cane, followed by another 1×2. I used scrap pieces of 1x4s for the sides of my cane webbing frame and nailed all of these into the bench using finish nails.
Then, I decided to create a board and batten effect on the front of my bench to match my wall! I started by installing a 1×2 board across the top of the bench to make the edge look more finished!
Using the top 1×2 from the caning as the bottom of my board and batten, I used 1.5″ lattice molding strips for my batten and spaced them about 14″ apart. Make sure they’re level and you measure them when the lid is closed to take the 1×2 you just added into account, then use a brad nailer to nail them into the front of the board, keeping in mind that your board is only 3/4″ thick!
Once you’re done, don’t forget to caulk and wood fill before priming and painting!
But make it your own! The whole goal of this build is to make this space more functional for you and your family.
Questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments below!