DIY

DIY Entryway Bench (with Storage!)

I’m Zoe.
My mission is to teach you to  confidently build magazine-worthy DIYs. I used to be terrified of power tools, which is why I'm a firm believer that ANYONE can DIY.
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Gimme that

Price

$150+

Time

2 Days

Difficulty

Medium

This post was sponsored by Minwax. All opinions are my own. This post also contains affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link, I may earn a small commission, but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Click here to read our full disclosure.

When it came to redesigning our entryway we had two main objectives: make it functional and make it pretty.

In terms of functionality, two of the key elements to a functional entryway are storage, especially for shoes, and a place to sit. No one wants to squat down to the cold hard floor to put their shoes on!

This DIY storage bench was the perfect solution. It makes the entryway feel inviting by giving people a place to sit down and take off their shoes, it has storage for said shoes, and it’s beautiful.

Alright, let’s start DIYing and make you a DIY entryway bench of your own!

Tools

  • Circular Saw
  • Jig Saw
  • Drill
  • Kreg Jig

Cut List

Prefer to printable plans with 3D renderings and a visual cut list that minimizes waste? Grab the printable plans.

For What?Wood SizeQuantitySize (inches)
Side3/4″ plywood226.5×15.5
Back3/4″ plywood146.5×22.25
Top/Bottom3/4″ plywood246.5×14
Dividers3/4″ plywood214.75×10.5
Drawer Fronts3/4″ plywood314.75×10.25
Drawer Box Side3/4″ plywood614×8.5
Drawer Box Front/Back3/4″ plywood612.5×8.5
Top/Bottom Frame1×2246.5
Support Boards1×2314
Middle Leg1×213.5

How to Make a DIY Storage Bench

New to DIY? Download our free 5 Steps to Getting Start with DIY guide!

STEP 1: CUT THE SIDES

Don’t get caught up trying to perfectly replicate the exact curves of our bench sides. I’ll give you the general dimensions as a guide, but just draw some curves that look good to you. You can make your curves steeper or more subtle. Or you can forgo the curves altogether and just square it off!

The “legs” are 1.25″ wide and 3.5″ tall.

As for the arch: at its highest, it’s 26″. At its lowest, it’s 17″ from the bottom of the plywood (prior to carving out the 3.5″ for the legs). It reaches its lowest point around 7.5″ in from the back. The highest point near the front is approximately 21.5″.

Once you have it sketched out on one piece, stack your sides on top of each other and clamp them tightly together. It’s important to clamp them tightly so that the pieces don’t move when you’re cutting them.

Cut your design out with a jigsaw.

When cutting the straight area on the bottom, you can clamp a spare board across your sides to act as a guide for your jigsaw.

STEP 2: DRILL POCKET HOLES

After cutting down your pieces for the back, bottom, top, dividers, top/bottom frame, and middle leg, it’s time to add pocket holes. All pocket holes will be made using the 3/4″ setting.

Add two pocket holes to one end of the middle leg.

Add two pocket holes to either end of the top/bottom frame pieces.

Add four pocket holes to either end of the back.

Add three pocket holes along both 14.75″ sides of the dividers and 2 pocket holes along one of the 10.5″ sides.

Add pocket holes around all the edges of the top and bottom pieces.

STEP 3: APPLY EDGE BANDING

Apply edge banding to the top of the back, around all edges of sides, and on the 10.5” edge that does not have pocket holes on the dividers.

For the curved areas of the sides, you might need to apply your edge banding with glue. We weren’t able to get our iron flush along the curved sections, so we added a bead of glue to those areas and clamped the edge banding in place with painter’s tape overnight while it dried.

Note: we recommend cutting your drawer fronts AFTER assembly to ensure that they are the right size. After cutting down your drawer fronts, you’ll have to repeat steps 3-6 for them.

STEP 4: SAND

Sand all of your pieces with 120, 180, and 220 grit sandpaper.

STEP 5: PRE-STAIN

Next we’ll apply Minwax Water-Based Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner.

When finishing oak with a water-based finish, it’s imperative to first apply pre-stain. Water-based stains soak into the wood and cause the grain to raise, leaving it feeling rough despite already sanding.

To apply the pre-stain, brush it on and wait 5 minutes. Then wipe off any excess with a clean, dry rag. Let it dry for 15 minutes and then lightly sand everything again using 220 grit sandpaper.

For the most part, my grain didn’t raise too badly, but there were two pieces where the grain raising was pretty extreme. I was able to sand it down again after the pre-stain and ended up with a really nice, smooth finish. Had I not applied pre-stain, I would’ve ended up with a few boards that would leave you with splinters every time you touched them!

STEP 6: STAIN

Now that we’ve applied pre-stain and everything is sanded smooth, it’s time for the best part: stain!

I’ll be using Minwax Wood Finish Water-Based Solid Color Stain in Austin Fields. It’s a beautiful deep green. If you’re looking for another color, Minwax’s water-based stains come in over 200 tintable colors! It also comes in a semi-transparent option if you want to see more of the wood grain. For me, I wanted a solid color that maintained the wood texture, which is why I opted for the solid stain option.

To apply, brush it on using a Purdy XL brush, then wipe off any excess using a synthetic pad. It’s five times thicker than traditional oil-based stains, so it feels almost like paint when you’re applying it.

After wiping off the excess, I let it dry for one hour and then flipped all my boards over to stain the second side. After staining the second side, I waited 1 hour for the stain to dry before moving onto assembly.

STEP 7: ASSEMBLE

Use glue and 1.25″ Kreg screws for all assembly unless otherwise noted.

Start by attaching the bottom frame to the first side. The bottom of the bottom frame should be placed 3.5″ from the bottom of the leg and it should be flush with the front of the side.

Next, attach the bottom, making sure it sits flush with the TOP of the bottom frame.

Then, attach the drawer dividers. They should be 15″ from either end. The pocket holes on the 10.5″ side should be facing towards the back of the structure.

Set aside what you’ve assembled thus far and grab your top, top frame, and 2 of the 14″ supports. Place the 14″ supports 14.5″ from either end of the top. Secure them using glue and 1.25″ wood screws. Then, secure the top frame to the top, making sure the top sits flush with the TOP of the top frame piece. 

Now attach the top to the structure you already assembled. You’ll likely only be able to reach 1 pocket hole on each side of the top frame, that’s okay.

Attach the second side and then attach the back.

Finally, attach the leg to the center of the remaining 14″ support and then center the support up on the bottom of the structure. Attach the support with glue and 1.25″ wood screws.

STEP 8: MAKE DRAWERS

Measure the distance between your dividers and subtract 1″. This is what the final width of your drawer boxes should be.

After cutting down the pieces of your drawer boxes, apply edge banding to the tops of each piece for a more polished look.

See our full tutorial on making and installing drawers.

STEP 9: SEAL

Now that the drawer boxes are assembled, we can seal everything with 3 coats of Minwax Polycrylic.

I love Polycrylic because it dries crystal-clear, so it won’t change the color of your stain. It also dries quickly, so you can finish sealing everything in a day.

I love Polycrylic because it dries crystal-clear, so it won’t change the color of your stain. It also dries quickly, so you can finish sealing everything in a day.

STEP 10: INSTALL DRAWERS + DRAWER FRONTS

First, install them to the drawer boxes and then install them inside the bench. Check out this post for more details on our favorite way to install drawers and drawer fronts.

OPTIONAL STEP 11: MAKE A CUSHION

If you’d like to make your own cushion like we did, here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/2x2x4 MDF panel
  • 1″ thick foam
  • Batting
  • Spray adhesive
  • Staple gun
  • Fabric (we got ours from Hobby Lobby and cut it down to be about 2’x5′)

First, measure the top of your entryway bench. Then, cut your MDF to be 1/2″ shorter and narrower than your entryway bench dimensions.

Cut out two pieces of foam that are the same size as your MDF and attach to the MDF using spray adhesive. We opted for two layers of foam to have an extra comfy seat.

Then, cover your foam with batting to help soften the edges. If you’d prefer really squared edges, you can skip the batting. Staple the batting to the bottom of the MDF.

Finally, place your fabric on a flat surface and center your cushion on top of the fabric. Wrap the fabric around the batting and staple to the bottom of the MDF.

You can also buy a cushion or sew a cushion and forgo the MDF. We did it this way because it didn’t require a sewing machine and the tight fit with the MDF helps the cushion stay perfectly in place on the bench.

There you have it! Now you know how to make your very own entryway bench, complete with storage AND a cozy cushion. Not only is this entryway bench in high style, it’s highly functional too. 

Check out more staining inspiration and project ideas.

Don’t forget to grab the printable plans!

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