Welcome to my blog, friends!! I'm so excited you're here. I have been so busy working on custom client projects, literally working from 8/9ish am to 10/11ish pm and I stop between 4:30-7:30 to make dinner and get my daughter ready for bed, so after 3 months of doing this full time, I'm finally taking an evening to blog. It's chaotic, but I love it because it means I'm doing something I absolutely enjoy and wake up each morning excited for something new.
To give you some background, we purchased our house in 2018 and there used to be an entry closet where I put the new bench. Somewhere along the way during renovations, the bi-fold doors for that closet somehow got tossed into the dumpster so they were long gone. That space stood empty for a while and then I purchased an old bench off the Facebook Marketplace for the time being. It was a cheap bench that had sat outdoors for some time, so boards were rotten and it wasn't super sturdy. I also wanted better storage for kid shoes and somewhere for guests to sit and put on shoes or hang their coats. We also already had plenty of coat storage in our mud room, so I was fine with giving up this old closet space anyway.
Things you may need for this project:
-1/2-3/4" plywood for bench and/or shelf
-Miter saw or circular saw
-Kreg pocket hole jig
I purchased this entertainment center from Ikea. It's not made to be a bench, but it fit perfectly for the space I needed it to go in and its sturdy enough to sit on so I had plenty of confidence building it in and securing it to use for sitting. It was a tad short though and I knew I wanted it to sit up a little higher off the ground. The average dining chair and/or bench sits roughly 16" off the floor and the ikea bench was 15", not a big difference, but I also wanted our existing baseboard trim to go around the bottom of the bench so it truly looked built in.
After removing the trim, I assembled my ikea bench and measured the depth so I knew how deep to cut my base. Once that was done, I used two 2x4's to cut a frame for the base and secured them with pocket screws and wood glue. Once it was laid in place, I used four more screws to attach it to the back wall so it wouldn't slide out of place. I slid the bench in and then used the two pre-drilled holes in the back of the ikea bench to secure it to the 2x4's.
For my built in, I used 6 - 1x3's and 3 -1x4's. First I put in the 1x4 cut to size along the base of my bench and secured it with wood glue and my nail gun. I knew I wanted a shelf up high enough so guests wouldn't accidentally hit their heads when standing up, so that helped me determine how tall I wanted my 1x3's. I cut my 1x3's to 38" long and then attached the additional 1x4 above those. I measured out 6" for a little more height on the 1x3's and then added the other 1x4 on the top for the shelf.
Once everything was secure, I went around with white paintable caulk to fill in any cracks to make each individual board look as if it was one piece and scraped off any excess with a putty knife. I also used a wood putty to fill in the holes from my nail gun. I use the DAP plastic wood filler, mainly because I use it for a lot of other damaged or chipped pieces I work on, so its what I had but other brands work just fine. I sanded down those spots till they were smooth so they wouldn't be noticeable under the paint job.
While I let the wood putty and painters caulk dry, I pulled out some old shelving we had saved from one of the other closets, so I knew it was the depth that I already needed it to be. Let me just say, I never, and I mean NEVER throw out any scrap wood of any size, because I never know when I'm going to need it, hence why I still had the old shelving! I had to cut down the length of the shelf, but it slid into place like butter. MUAH. *chef's kiss*
I attached the baseboard trim back into place and got to painting. I used Rust-oleum's Ready-to-use Linen White paint. I use this paint a lot for other projects when I need a neutral white, so it was easy for me to grab what I already had, to use in this space. This paint comes pre-mixed so it makes the color selection easy and matched the ikea bench and my existing trim.
Overall, this is a quick and easy project and perfect for any beginner DIYer. I was able to finish this from start to finish in roughly 2 days, so this would be a great weekend project for anyone.
Disclaimer: I do not gather any form of commission off any affiliated links in my blogs. These are just suggestions on what I personally use in my day-to-day. I wouldn't suggest a product that I don't already use myself.