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Dining Room Built in Bench with Storage

Add extra storage to your dining room with a DIY built in bench.

The dining room built in bench with storage is finally done!!!  I started this project in January, before I started blogging, and it has taken too long to finish… but it is done now.  

I actually started blogging about all my projects so that I would have to finish them.  Before I started documenting things here, my pattern was: get excited about a new project, work really hard to get a lot of work done, get it almost done, then get tired and stop.

This resulted in a lot of mostly done projects around the house. They are all in a usable state (for example the fire place mantel is up but no tile or paint), but not actually finished.  

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So the blog is doing exactly what I needed, getting me to bite the bullet and FINISH!  My husband should be proud 🙂

side view of dining room built in bench from Houseful of Handmade.

Benefits of Built in Benches in the Dining Room

You might be wondering, are dining benches practical? For our family, that’s a HUGE yes! It makes it so easy to add extra people to the table when we are entertaining.

And the storage, all that storage for items you want close but don’t use all the time. So yes dining room benches can be very practical. I obviously think so!

Our built in bench is 8 feet long, 22 inches tall with the cushion, and 18 1/2 inches deep.

Plus, I had almost all the supplies I needed in my stash of stuff I was to afraid to get rid of (yeah I’m a craft hoarder, but I’m really good at tossing out all the stuff I can’t create with). So making the large built bench was super budget friendly too.

Or if you just want a beautiful bench without the extra storage, this simple X-leg bench is my favorite.

How to Build a Built in Bench

Tools:

Supplies:

  • (7)2x4s
  • (3) 2x2s
  • 1/2 of a 4’x8′ sheet of bead board
  • 8′ x 18″ of 3/4″ plywood
  • 2′ x 4′ sheet of 1/4″ medium density fiberboard
  • screws, nails, staples
  • 8′ of 18″ wide 4″ deep upholstery foam
  • 3 yards of upholstery fabric
  • 3 yards of batting (use what you have, I used an inexpensive medium loft polyester batting)

I have updated the plans for this bench and created a printable PDF for sale. The bench plans include step-by-step 3D drawings of each step.

The design is improved on to create more storage and use less material, but still have a very sturdy and functional bench! It also includes instructions for if you bench is centered in a room and not up against a wall.

Picture of the PDF build plans and text: Get the Printable PDF woodworking plans, I want them!.

Attach 2x4s to Wall

Since I started this project before I started blogging about our adventures, I don’t have pictures for everything.  But I will try to explain what I did for you.  

Start by finding the studs in the wall and mark where they are.  Anything that is built in needs to be secured to the studs.  

Cut four 2x4s to 95 1/2″ long. This will make the final dimension 8′ after the 1/4″ bead board and 1/4″ trim.  

Measure 16″ up from the ground and using a level, draw a line.  

Secure one of the 2x4s to the wall at the studs so the top of the board was level with the line. Use 2 1/2″ long wood screws so they are long enough to go through the 2×4 (1 1/2″ thick) and sheet rock and be secured into the stud.

Next secure one of the 2x4s to the wall along the floor line.  I didn’t have baseboards in the dining room yet because I ripped those out to update a long time ago.  If you have baseboards, you will have to remove those first.

Dining room DIY built in bench with storage from Houseful of Handmade.

Build the Bench Frame

Mark the 2x4s that are attached to the wall in the middle every 32″. This will create 3 equal sections.

Then cut twenty 13″ pieces out of the other 2x4s. Using a Kreg jig, drill 2 pocket holes set for 1 1/2″ thick material in each end of the 20 boards.  

Use 2 1/2″ long pocket hole screws to attach the 13″ 2x4s into a square frame in the order below, attaching the other 96 1/2″ boards when needed.  

The other 95 1/2″ boards are not secured to the floor or wall at all, but they are very secure with the 2×4 frame and the pocket holes.

The middle frames were attached centered at the 32″ marks.  The openings in the storage will not be the same size, but the cushions and frame will all line up at exactly even so that was more important to me.

Inside building instructions for the dining room built in bench from Houseful of Handmade.

Finish the Outside of the Bench

Once the frame is done, wrapped the outside of the frame with the beadboard.

 Cut two 4′ x 16″ pieces for the front and one 18″ x 16″ piece for the exposed side. Secure it with nails into the 2×4 frame.  

I didn’t have a nail gun, so I used finishing nails to hammer it in a couple places, I didn’t worry about it being too secure since I would be adding trim around it and those nails would secure it better for me.

Adding the bead board to the built in bench seat from Houseful of Handmade.

Make the Cushion Seats

Cut 3 pieces of 3/4″ plywood for the storage bench top. Each piece should be 18 1/4″ x 32″.

I chose to just upholster the bench tops instead of making cushions that were removable.  My kids LOVE to remove cushions and throw them around and I am sick of putting them back all day.  And it was easier to upholster the bench top instead of sewing cushions 🙂

Because I wanted to upholster the bench top, I was not able to hinge the top of the bench so I built a simple square frame to keep the bench top secure and stable.  

For the frame, measure each opening exactly, then subtract 1/4″ off each side.  

Use 2x boards to make the frame, then secured it to the bench top with 1 1/2″ wood screws. Attach the screws from the top of the plywood into frame before upholstering. This way the screws are hidden under the cushion.

Underside view of the built in bench top.

Also, since upholstery foam is very expensive, I have found a great way to save money is to use old couch cushions.

You can save the cushions from couches people are throwing out or buy an old one for cheap.  Just pull the foam out and throw the rest away.  

That is how I got the foam for these.  I have been storing these cushions from my sisters old couch that was thrown out for a couple years.  Now they are a new place to sit instead of a pile of crafting junk in the corner of the basement!

Completed DIY dining bench with storage.

I did sew the corners of the cushions so that they fit nice and tight.  

For each cushion, cut a piece of fabric 46″ x 32″.  Then fold the corners at a 45 degree angle and sew down the line to create a bow.

Place a 32″ x 18″ piece of foam on top of the bench plywood. Cover it in a layer of batting, then wrangled the top on it.

I purposely made it fit tightly, no extra space for batting, so that it would look nice and clean, but it does require a little work to get it on.

Once the cushion is all arranged, pull tightly and use the staple gun to secure it.  Start in the middle on the front, add a few staples.  Then pull tight to the middle back and secure with a few staples..  

Do the same side to side and then keep working around the outside keeping the cushion pulled tight and even as you staple.  Trim off the extra fabric and batting.

Close up of the staples on the removable top to the diy built in storage bench.
DIY built in bench before final trim is applied.

You can place the cushion on top of the built in bench now, and take a break.  That’s what I did.  

I wanted to paint and put up the feature plank wall before I trimmed out the bench and painted it.  So it took 3 months before I could finally say it was done!  But it was worth the wait.

Trim Out the Bench

Rip down the 1/4″ MDF into 2″ strips. I used my table saw to do this but you could also use a circular saw with a rip fence.

Raw trim pieces for the built in bench seat.

You could trim it out with anything. If you don’t have a way to rip down boards, feel free to use 1×2 or 1×3 boards (they are 3/4″ thick and 1 1/2″ or 2 1/2″ wide).

But I wanted a very small depth to the trim and the MDF was easy to cut, had no splintering or splitting, and painted beautifully.

Start by scribing the pieces that needed to go up against the wall so they will fit perfectly (except at the bottom because that will be covered by the new baseboards.  I talk about scribing in the feature plank wall post if you need some guidance.  

Attach the trim pieces with a brad nail gun and 1″ brad nails.

Unfinished trim pieces attached to the built in bench.

Then add the rest of the vertical trim pieces, taking care at the corner to line it up beautifully.

Long view of multiple pieces of trim on the diy dining bench with storage.

To add in the horizontal trim pieces, measure carefully and cut each piece to that measurement. It doesn’t matter how careful you are, you will never have the pieces all be the same size.

Fill in any nail holes with wood putty and then sand the surface smooth.

All the trim on the built in dining bench has been attached.

Paint the Built in Bench

Now it is time for paint!

I love to build but I am not the biggest fan of finishing.  But a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, so I toughened up and grabbed the paint brush.

Paint is applied to the dining bench with storage.

Use painters tape and brown paper to protect the walls and floor around the built in bench.

You will need a paint brush to get into all the grooves of the beadboard and trim. Then I love using a small foam roller to get a smooth finish on the top after cutting in around all the details.

It took 2 coats, but the final project is perfection!  

I love all the built in storage I have inside for items I don’t need to access regularly.  It really holds a lot.

Completed DIY dining bench with storage, full view.

And when we have lots of people over, we have extra seating while mingling and cooking.  And the table can be pushed closer to it so we have extra seating at the table for big dinner parties, too.

We’ve got the perfect dining room for entertaining, and that is very important for our family.  We love to have people over to eat and this built in bench makes it so much easier! 

Close up view of the completed built in bench.

And I can load up the storage with all my entertaining supplies!

Image of the seat off showing the storage in the diy built in bench with storage.
Dining room built in bench with storage from Houseful of Handmade.

Dining Room Built in Bench with Storage

Prep Time: 1 hour
Active Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 5 hours
Difficulty: Intermediate

Make a beautiful built in bench with storage for your dining room that has a ton of space to store extra dining room supplies, while also adding extra seating to your dining room.

Materials

  • (7) 2x4s
  • (3) 2x2s
  • 1/2 of a 4’x8′ sheet of bead board
  • 8′ x 18″ of 3/4″ plywood
  • 2′ x 4′ sheet of 1/4″ medium density fiberboard
  • screws, nails, staples
  • 8′ of 18″ wide 4″ deep upholstery foam
  • 3 yards of upholstery fabric
  • 3 yards of batting (use what you have, I used an inexpensive medium loft polyester batting)

Tools

  • Staple gun
  • Level
  • Kreg jig
  • Hammer
  • Drill
  • Paint Brush

Instructions

  1. Cut 4 2x4s 95 1/2″ so that the final dimensions are 8′ after the 1/4″ bead board and 1/4″ trim. Measure 16″ up from the ground and using a level, draw a line.
  2. Secure one of the 2x4s to the wall at the studs so the top of the board is level with the line. Next secure one of the 2x4s to the wall along the floor line. If you have baseboards, you will have to remove those.
  3. Mark the 2x4s that are attached to the wall in the middle every 32″ so you have 3 equal sections. Then cut 20 13″ pieces out of the other 2x4s. Using a Kreg jig, put 2 pocket holes in each end of the 20 boards.
  4. Use the pocket hole screws to attach the 13″ 2x4s into a square frame in the order below, attaching the other 96 1/2″ boards when needed. The other 95 1/2″ boards are not secured to the floor or wall at all, but they are very secure with the 2×4 frame and the pocket holes.
  5. Once the frame is done, use some bead board and wrap the frame in it. Cut 2 4′ x 16″ pieces for the front and then 1 18″ x 16″ piece for the exposed side. Nail it to the 2×4 frame.
  6. Cut 3 pieces of 3/4″ plywood for the storage bench top at 18 1/4″ x 32″.
  7. Use 2x2s to make the frame, then secure it to the bench top with some wood screws before upholstering it so you can hide the screws under the cushion.
  8. Once the cushion is all arranged, pull tightly and use the staple gun to secure it. Trim off the extra fabric and batting.

Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Now it’s time to get the DIY curtains hung.  One step at a time and I will finally have the finished dining room I dream about!

-Kati with picture of blog author Kati

Combined image of completed diy dining bench with storage and showing the in side of the built in bench seat.
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