We’ve been needing a mudroom bench for quite some time and ever since we moved into our home it has been on our list of projects to complete. We finally set aside some time to make our DIY mudroom bench happen. This DIY mudroom bench has transformed the space into something that fits our needs! We now have boot storage in the back, cubbies for everyday shoes in the front, and enough space to store an infant car seat on top!
We learned a number of different things while doing this project. The order in which we did things was definitely not ideal. We hope that you can benefit from our mistakes!
The biggest mistake we made was worrying too much about the bench being flush at the front and starting with that area when in reality we should have started from the back of the bench working forward so that our tools would fit.
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Wow! What a transformation this area went through! It may not be much to some, but adding in cubbies and boot storage for our shoes gave some much-needed organization to this area. When we found out we were expecting Little Man, I was worried about where we would put his infant car seat while not in use. The shoe storage we had before wasn’t working and didn’t allow for the space that an infant car seat would take up. Michael really came to the rescue in the design of this mudroom and now you can have the same bench in your home!
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- ½ Maple Cabinet Grade Plywood
- 1x4x8 Pine/Oak/Maple/Walnut (personal
- preference, for the top of the bench)
- Wood Screws
- Soft Close Cabinet Hinges
- Concealed Hing Drill Bit (depends on size of cabinet hinges)
- Paint of your choice
- Painting supplies (tape, brushes, roller, etc.)
- Orbital Sander Pads w/ 120, 220, and 320 g.
Below is how we completed the bench, which is not optimal in any way. If you decide to DIY your own mudroom bench we would suggest doing it in the order of steps 1, 2, 6, 7, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10.
It’s good to learn from your mistakes. It’s better to learn from other people’s mistakesWarren Buffet
1. Measure For Your DIY Mudroom Bench
The first step in building your DIY mudroom bench is to plan your project. This requires you to correctly measure your space, and if you plan to follow along to adjust your cuts accordingly.
Our space measured 28 3/4 inches deep and 56 inches wide. Typically, benches have a height of 18-20 inches, but we wanted our bench a little bit higher at 22 inches to make room for the boot storage in the back of the bench.
Dimensions For Boot Storage
The easiest way to determine the size of your boot storage is to place a pair of your boots in the area where you want your boot storage to be and then mark the dimensions.
Based on my biggest pair of boots, our boot storage is 10 inches deep and will have two compartments that span the entire width of the back of the bench.
2. Remove Floating Floors
Since we have laminate, a floating floor, installed in the area where our mudroom bench was to go we decided it was best to remove the floor in that area.
Floating floors will expand and contract with changing conditions which can have issues when a built-in is placed on top of it (cracking, buckling, etc.).
To remove the floating floor we used a circular saw set to the depth of the laminate, we then cut along the area where the bench was to go and removed the pieces from the area.
3. Install Front DIY Mudroom Bench Lower Frame
The next step that we took in installing our DIY mudroom bench was to build the lower bench frame. We first cut two 2×4’s to the length of 56 inches and four 2×4’s to the length of 15 3/4 inches. We placed one of the 56 inch 2×4’s on the ground and secured the four 2×4’s to it starting with the end pieces.
The middle two 2×4’s were attached at 18 2/3 inches from the ends using wood screws. It’s important to note that the 2×4’s will be standing so they are 3 1/2 inches tall, not flat on the floor.
Next move the lower support into the position so that the 56 inch 2×4 is in the back, next to the boot storage.
Next, place the last 56 inch 2×4 into position at the front of the bench and secure it with wood screws.
Finally, secure the lower frame to the sidewall by using wood screws.
The lower bench support will not cover the boot storage area, which will be covered in a later step.
4. Install DIY Mudroom Bench Supports
Next, we cut eight 2×4’s to the length of 14 1/2 inches. The eight 2×4’s are positioned at the junctions of the lower frame and attached to the lower frame using L brackets. The L brackets are placed in positions where the maple plywood won’t go, which will be installed in later steps.
The upper weight of the bench will hold the supports in place but the L brackets are installed for extra measure and to make things easier. The bench supports should be positioned such that they will support one 2×4 above it running width-wise and another 2×4 above it running depth-wise along the bench.
5. Upper DIY Mudroom Bench Frame
The upper DIY mudroom bench frame has the exact same layout as the lower bench frame that was installed in step 3. Start with the back 56 inch 2×4, secure the middle 18 2/3 inch 2×4’s, place the upper DIY mudroom bench frame into position, secure the front 56 inch 2×4, and then secure the upper bench frame to the supports from the previous step.
6. Install Boot Storage Support System
Hindsight is 20-20 but this step should have come much earlier in the process for us, we should have started here and then done the front part of the bench. We learned this after getting to this step and realizing that we had a hard time with our drill fitting in the space in the back to install the boot storage support system.
For this step, we cut six 2×4’s to the length of 18 inches. We attached these four pieces to the outside wall corners of the boot storage standing upright. Install the final two 2×4’s in the middle of the boot storage so that it can support the benchtop compartment that will open. A 2×4 cut to a length of 10 inches will be placed on top of these middle supports.
7. Install Boot Storage Wall Cleat
Similar to the previous step, this should have come much earlier in the process for us. Luckily for you, you get to learn from our mistakes!
We installed the wall cleat on the back wall of the boot storage using a 1×4 that was cut to a length of 56 inches. The back wall cleat rests on top of the back corner 2×4’s installed in the previous step. Make sure to attach the wall cleat to studs using a stud finder.
Finally, install the sidewall cleats by measuring the distance from the back 2×4 support to the front 2×4 support, cut, and attach to the wall as done previously.
8. Install DIY Mudroom Bench Top
Cut the 1x4x8 benchtop to 56 inches and install the top piece by piece. We started with the front to ensure everything was flush with the wall and worked our way back. For the boot storage, cut the pieces first and make sure everything fits, then cut the pieces in half so that there will be two compartments.
Following the instructions on the cabinet hinges, use the concealed hinge drill bit to hollow out a hole in the benchtop where the hinge will go. Install the hinges to the benchtop and then install the benchtop to the boot storage wall cleat. You can adjust the hinges using the screws so that it sits exactly as desired.
Fill in the remaining gap on the benchtop by using a circular saw to get the desired width. Use a finishing nailer to attach the benchtop to the frame (don’t nail the boot storage top though).
The last step is to cut a hole in the boot storage tops so that the compartment can be opened. Use a hole saw of the desired size and place a hole in the middle of the cabinet drawer.
9. Add Cabinet Grade Maple Pywood
Now the bench is starting to finally look like a bench! Go section by section and cut the cabinet-grade maple plywood using a circular saw and attach the pieces to the bench frame using a finishing nailer.
For the cubbies it is easiest to do the bottoms first, then the back, then the top, and then the sides (you can use a hammer to slightly tap the side pieces into place).
Finally, add a baseboard to the base of the DIY mudroom bench to complete it.
10. Sand, Paint/Stain, & Seal
Sanding is one of my least favorite parts of the entire process but is a necessary evil. It seems to get absolutely everywhere. Start with 120 grit sandpaper and work with the grain of the wood to smooth it out. Work your way up to 320 grit sandpaper to make sure each of the areas are smooth.
Ultimately, we decided to paint the entire bench after briefly flirting with staining the benchtop. The stain didn’t turn out the way we thought it would because it didn’t mesh well with the paint color and the lighting in the area. Paint your bench your desired color, we used Sherwin Williams Iron Ore.
The last step to complete your DIY mudroom bench is to seal the bench using a clear coat, that way it will hold up to everyday wear and tear.
Overall, this project has been very beneficial to our family and will be even more beneficial when Little Man comes along. This DIY mudroom bench has truly transformed the space into something that fits our needs. We now have boot storage in the back, cubbies for everyday shoes in the front, and enough space to store an infant car seat on to.! And the real benefit is no more clutter by our back door!