I'm not going to lie, we were so happy with how these benches turned out, we made two of them. When we made them over 5 years ago, we were living in a small townhouse. We had to be very intentional with every piece of furniture we brought in. At the time, with our limited square footage, growing family (and growing amount of stuff - toys...), we needed to be smart with our pieces - they had to have multiple purposes. So, we drew up a plan for these benches to have a large scale (they're over 8 feet long), be sturdy and have easy storage. In our previous townhouse, we used them for seating in our dining room, living room and primarily stored kitchen wares and toys in them (double duty win).
Now, 5 years later, we have moved to a larger home. However, we still use both bench storage seats because they're just so versatile in our space. (Seen above, one of the benches in our dining room...it's an open space to our kitchen and the kids naturally play here...so, this bench and all those baskets hung above are toy storage - unconventional in a dining room - yes, but just how we use our space. I wanted to ensure the aesthetic was still cohesive with the rest of the home).
I have to note, the benches are not built in, and moved pretty well with two strong people supporting the weight. I've received a lot of requests lately on my Instagram page for how-to build these...so, here's a proper post. I hope it finds you well. I updated pricing to reflect today's costs. When we made them, they were about $350 each. Today, they're about $450...go inflation. Although, making a custom, storage bench for this size and under $500 is well worth it.
(Seen to the right, the other bench in our office/playroom ).
(2)Besta Shelf Unit with Doors. (47.25"x16.5"x15" - we used the Selsviken High gloss white doors). One of the benches we made using Besta drawers, the other bench was made with as cabinets with a door front. There are pros and cons to each. I will highlight later on.
- (2) 2x10x12 - note: this board truly measures 1.5"x9"x12ft
- (1) 2x10x6 - note: this board truly measures 1.5"x9"x6ft
- Drill (You could hand screw...it would be harder, but, not impossible)
- Mitre Saw (not really haha, you can get the wood pieces cut down at your hardware store...see cut sizes required below)
- 1.5" #8 woodscrews - about 56
- 120 grit sandpaper
- Stain of your choice (we used Minwax Polyshades in Mission Oak)
Here's how we built it:
1. Selected our lumber pieces at the hardware store (see Lumber above).
Had the hardware store cut:
From the (2) 2x10x12 - (2) 99", (2) 15.5" (you will have two 5.5" leftover pieces for some firewood after these cuts)
From the (1) 2x10x6 - (4) 15.5" (with a 10" piece leftover for a future scrap wood project)
2. Handsanded the lumber first, using 120 grit...so it's smooth to the touch.
3. Applied 2 coats of stain (the stain we used has a built in topcoat) to the top of the board and sides. And to the majority of the bottom side. When you open the drawers, you can see the some of the underside of the lumber. Let dry.
4. Assembled the Two IKEA Besta Boxes and Drawers. Left the drawers off till the last step.
5. Secure the Middle Support Piece. (See the middle piece below). Apply a liberal amount of wood glue to where the wood meets the Besta Boxes. This middle support is important to ensure stability of the bench...Placed two 15.5" pieces between the two Besta boxes. Ensured the 1.5" front of the stained lumber is flush with the closed drawer front. (You need to put the drawer in to check this). When you get your placement right, remove the drawer, and drive 4 wood screws in through the inside of the Besta box (no screws will be seen from the outside). We used 4 screws per 15.5" wood piece per Besta Box. So, this middle piece has 16 screws securing it in place. Overkill, perhaps, but...sturdy nonetheless. Will always be an advocate for overengineering rather than underengineering a DIY.
6. Place the two 99" lumber boards on top of the Besta Boxes and middle support piece. Apply a liberal amount of wood glue to where the lumber meets the Besta Box. Place four 15.5" lumber pieces to cap the ends (wood glue here too). Ensure fronts are flush with drawers to get this particular look. (Again, you will have to put the drawers in the ensure the placement of the boards match up with the drawer fronts). And ensure endcaps butt up to the 99" board pieces...If you are fancy, you could mitre the edges for a clean join - but, at this time in our DIY life - we were far from fancy. Our tool box included what IKEA offers in that wholesome handyperson kit - a hammer, pliers, and a battery operated drill that is one step up from a screwdriver.
We left a 1/2" gap between the boards because we liked the look of a small reveal. (See above, it's not a perfect join. Functionally and aesthetically, it looks good in a modern and rustic way - is what I tell myself). This reveal is not necessary... I have to note, there are a lot of crumbs that accumulate in here that our vacuum can suck up 95% of the time. The top portion of the seat measures 18.25" in depth. This means that the back portion of the bench (one that is wallside has about a 2" overhang of seat. The Besta Box itself is 16.5" deep. We wanted to have a seat that had slightly more depth than this box. (See the dusty wall side part of the bench below).
7. Secure all the lumber pieces to the Besta Boxes using wood screws. The 99" top boards each have 6 wood screws in a zigag pattern securing the inside of the box to the lumber. And again, the two end caps each have 4 wood screws securing their placement to the Besta Box.
8. Put drawers back and done!
I have to note (but, honestly, I don't know why I'm writing this part because my partner doesn't read my blog...haha): My partner primarily built this bench. So, I'm giving him kudos. He is pretty handy, he just doesn't prefer to be. Nowadays, almost all renovations and projects get completed by me. But, to be honest, 5 years ago, I wasn't sure how to properly use a drill. Saws scared the crap out of me. And I couldn't tell you where to look for lumber in a hardware store.... I digress, I'm getting off topic on my note. I just wanted to say, Mike helped with the stability of the design. And this bench is STABLE. It has stood the test of time (and stable enough to easily hold 6 large adults - we have hosted many friends and family over the years and often a bunch of them would jam themselves together on this bench. We never really worried about the structural integrity on this one.
A short Pros and Cons List:
Pros: Easy to hold all the small pieces (we use these drawers to corral June's small toys - Paw Patrol, Littlest Pet Shop pieces, coloring stuff). Easy to access and nice not to have to get down low to get all the stuff in the back.
Cons: When using this as a seating bench in our townhouse dining room, if you pushed your heels into the drawers, they popped open. It was super annoying. So we put magnetic baby locks on the drawer to keep them closed. This also helped when June was a baby...cause we baby proofed everything at that point.
Pros: Can store more bulky stuff in here. Upstairs we have our printer hidden in here, and a bunch of bulky ass toys. The cabinets do not pop open if you are sitting on the bench and pushing your heels against it. Also, the Besta Cabinets are a little bit cheaper and easier to assemble than the drawers. Good for carpeted floors.
Cons: You gotta get down low to get to the stuff in the drawers. For the drawers, it's an easy toe kick to open, bend and reach for whatever you need...I have to get on my hands and knees to get whats in the back. If you want to store the small stuff, you just need to buy storage bins for this situation.
Hope you found this helpful! Feel free to drop me a DM below and don't forget to check out my Instagram page @henrikjunehome for more house projects...