DIY Mudroom Bench with Storage
A bit over a year ago my wife and I decided to transform our den on the main level of our house into a mudroom. We were tired of entering the garage directly into our kitchen. Especially with our son on the way, we wanted a place to take off our shoes and jackets in the house instead of in the garage. We had a dark and dingy den that we didn’t use, and my wife came up with a brilliant idea of turning this space into a huge mudroom. We will have to post some before and afters of the whole room, but this tutorial is specifically for building the bench where and old bar/storage area used to be.
Tools used in this project:
Below is a picture of the bar/storage area that was in the place that we made this bench and shelf. You can also see the brick paneling that was on the walls before we put up wainscoting. I wish I had a picture of it before the construction began, when I didn’t have a pile of tools on it, but this was the best I could find.
The first step was demo! As fun as it would be to just take a sledge hammer to this, my wife and I specialize in reusing old wood for new art pieces and furniture, so I had to disassemble this with some care. It was worth the extra time because there were some really great pieces made out of this down the road.
Our house was built in the 70s, and my guess is that this beautiful, multicolored shag carpet shown above was original to the house. I joked that we should just keep it, but that discussion didn’t last long. It had to go! The braces for the previous structure were nailed to the wall with 3″ finish nails. When I pried them off, I put lots of holes and dents it in the wall. The top half of this area was covered with about 40 small, square mirrors, and they didn’t come off easy either. First step of construction was to patch up all the holes.
I wanted to cover up the sub floor, and decided to raise up the bottom of the storage below the bench 1.5 inches. The first step was to cut some braces to line the outside of the wall and in the middle to support some mdf paneling to be the new bottom of the storage area. I had a lot of scrap wood that I used for this. If you don’t have scrap wood, you can buy some 2x2s or 2x4s at the store.
The previous structure here had cabinets below with some shelving made from 1/2 inch mdf paneling. I decided to save some money and reuse these shelves to be the base for the bench. You can easily just pick up a sheet of mdf at Home Depot. You will be using this for the bottom of your underneath storage, the top to your bench, and the shelf above, so you may need a couple of sheets depending on how big your space is. After cutting my boards to right size using a circular saw and a jig saw to wrap it around the corner on the left, I put them in place and used 2″ 18 gauge brad nails to secure it to my braces. This step doesn’t have a dedicated picture, but you can see it in the picture below.
Next, I moved onto building the support structure and frame for the bench. I had a pile of extra pallet braces, so I used these for the structure of the bench. You can use regular 2x4s from the store for this as well. I cut and screwed a brace to each wall making sure they were level as I went. For the brace in the front I just angled my screws on both sides to secure it into place. If I had a pocket hole jig at the time this would have been much more simple, but you dont need this part to look pretty. It will be hidden. It just needs to be sturdy, make sure your screws are into studs when you can. For added support to this front brace, I put a vertical brace in the middle and screwed it at an angle into the top and bottom. I then added some cross braces to make it extra sturdy and for some additional place to nail the bench top down.
Next, it was time to cut my bench top. I bought a half inch 4′ x 8′ mdf panel to use as the top of my bench. I used a circular saw to cut the panel to size. Using a jig saw, I cut it to wrap around the corner. I put some wood glue on the tops of all of the structure braces and fit the panel into place. I secured it using 2″ brad nails.
After the bench top was secured and done, it was time to dress up the wall a bit. I used 1x4s and lined the outside of the bench as seen below. I secured these with 2″ brad nails into the studs.
Next, I measured up to where I wanted the upper shelf to sit and cut 1x4s to run along the back wall and about 12 inches out on the side walls. This would hold my shelf in place. I then measured the length between the 1x4s on the top of the bench to the bottom of the shelf 1x4s, and I cut four 1x4s to this length. I put one vertically in each corner of the back wall, and put two more spaced in the between. I used the same brad nails to secure these in place.
Then, I used part of the remaining mdf panel from the bench to cut the shelf and used brad nails to attach it to the 1x4s. I decided to put vertical 1x4s above the shelf in each corner of the back wall to tie in the space above.
Construction is now complete! Time to paint!
To clean it all up after painting, I caulked all of the seams where the boards met other boards and the walls. This made a big difference in the cleanliness of the look.
There you have it! I nice mudroom bench with storage above and below. My wife made some nice throw pillows to dress it up. You can also add a cushion to the top if you choose. We love how this turned out, and it has added a lot of function to this space.
1 Cor. 16:14