How to build a DIY entryway bench might not be as difficult as you think! This is a fairly easy project for a beginner woodworker that could be used as a mudroom bench with cubbies too!
A couple months ago, I shared with you guys one of our favorite renovation updates so far… opening up our staircase! After sharing that project, I received a number of emails about our entryway coat bench that you can see in some of the photos. I realized I never shared this build with you guys!
Which is crazy because it really does make an appearance in so many photos, and it’s another one of my favorite projects. This one makes my top 5 list because it is the perfect combination of style and function.
When we were working on our plans for our renovation, I was convinced that I wanted a coat bench somewhere in this front part of the house. We had never had one in either of our previous houses, and I just was adamant. There were a few parts of the coat bench that I could be swayed on, but I knew I wanted a section with open cubbies and another section with closed doors.
After arranging and rearranging the new walls on our blueprints no less than 57 times, we finally came up with a design that worked. Well, actually, a friend of mine came up with the final layout for this part of the renovation and when she emailed me the sketched up blueprints I couldn’t text them to my husband fast enough. It was EXACTLY what we had been envisioning but couldn’t seem to work out ourselves. Once we started framing out the new walls, we were sold!
And after living with this new space for a little over 2 years now, it is still perfect! I was worried that we were building these walls around a coat bench that might end up being a source of a frustrating mess. We had never had one before, so I wasn’t sure how much the kids would keep up with it.
Don’t tell my husband, but I was a bit nervous that it would end up a disaster zone and then it would be the first thing you saw when you walked through the front door. I actually mentioned before we built it, that if we ended up hating it here, we would just frame out the space and make it an enclosed closet.
But WE LOVE IT!! It gets used daily and while there are definitely messy times… it never stays messy. It’s convenient and functional and opens up the space so much more than a closet with doors would!
Because we built it into our blueprints and designed the new walls around it, the measurements are very specific to the space we were working with. You can make this as wide as you would like for your own home.
I do think the height of the seat and the depth is fairly important, though. I actually agonized over both of those measurements, but they really do work out so well! The seat height works well for all of us (we range from 5’4″ to 6’1″), and I wouldn’t change it at all if I had the project to do over again.
There are 4 of us in my family, so we have 2 people per section. Then we each have our own basket above our coat hook. The basket is used for things during the current season. The section behind the doors is where we store things that are off-season (i.e. gloves, scarves, the dog’s winter coat).
How to Build a DIY Entryway Bench
I want to preface this part by saying upfront that we are very much novice woodworkers! We basically jumped in during this renovation and just started trying our hand at it. So I very much realize these are not “real” plans! But I’ll do my best to explain the steps we took and hopefully you can follow along!
The very first step was to purchase a sheet of beadboard and nail it to the back wall. Once that was firmly attached, we started building the frame for the bench. The frame is made out of 2×4’s and 3/4″ MDF.
You can see on the left side of the picture that we doubled up the MDF against the wall. That is only to fill in the gap that was created by the baseboard. If you don’t have baseboard in that spot, you will not need to add a double width of MDF.
You can see in the above picture that we’re using a Level to make sure everything is level. We also used a Speed Square to make sure our right angles were correct and everything was squared up. I would not even attempt this project without a level and a speed square!
Once our bench base was secure to the wall, we attached a piece of pine as the seat bench. We rounded the front corners first out of personal preference and I stained it before we attached it.
Then we got to work on the sides! The sides are also made out of 3/4″ MDF. We cut ours to go from the seat bench the entire way to the ceiling. We measured for where we wanted our cubbies to end and marked it off on both of the sides.
Then we used a circular saw to cut grooves into the MDF for both shelf supports. Just set the depth on your saw to 5/16″ and follow your pencil marks. Then do the 2nd pencil line the same way. You will still have MDF left in the middle between your cuts, just keep making passes until your groove is flush and even.
We cut 2 more pieces of MDF for our shelves and slid them into the grooves on the side pieces. We did use a small amount of wood glue in these grooves for extra support.
Once your shelves are in, bring out your Speed Square again and make sure everything is a perfect angle.
When you’re checking your corners, make sure you check the bottoms and the tops of the shelves as well as the front of the shelf and the back of the shelf. You want to make sure it’s a right angle in every spot, otherwise you’ll have a much harder time when it comes to adding the cubbie doors.
Once those horizontal shelves were in place, we added the vertical support in the middle of the shelves to make sure they stayed put and didn’t shift at all.
Then we could go in and add the trim across the front top and back. We also added a piece of trim across the bottom back to help the sides stay in place.
Then we just had to lift it into place and attach it to the seat and the walls.
We also added some trim to the front of the bench legs just to help finish them off. Where the sides meet the wall, we bought some cheap trim and just attached it with a finish nailer. Added some mitered crown moulding to the top and then everything got caulked and then painted white!
Tools Needed to Build Coat Bench with Cubbies
Measurements to Build Coat Bench in Mudroom
This sketch should prove just what newbies we are at woodworking! I’m hoping you can follow them, but just remember that these measurements are very specific to the space we were working with! Pay most attention to the height of the seat and depth measurements. The rest you can change to suit your specific space.
Door Knobs and Hooks: D. Lawless Hardware
Navy Paint: Sherwin Williams Salty Dog
White Paint: Sherwin Williams Pure White
Other DIY Projects You Might Be Interested In:
- how to open up a stairwell
- How to Build a Pantry
- Faux Tile Backsplash
- $35 DIY Barn Door
- DIY Produce Stand
- Console Table out of 2x4s
Don’t forget to PIN, SHARE and SAVE this project!