Easy How to Build a Bench Seat with Cubbies

February 7, 2019

Hi! I'm Nicole

Fearless DIY. Sharing building project tutorials and interior design tips. Let’s build something beautiful together. For more projects, design tips and behind the scenes, follow me @designtobuild.nicole

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If you’ve been on this room makeover/furniture building frenzy journey with me for a little while, you know that last Fall I participated in the One Room Challenge and did a full makeover on our mudroom. I promised you guys I would follow up with a tutorial on the bench seat with cubbies and the lockers that I built. I don’t want to totally overwhelm you guys, so for today, we’re going to focus on the bench seat with cubbies and cover the lockers in the next week or two.

This is the second bench seat (also called a banquette) that I have built in my home. My first go at this was in my kitchen. I built a bench seat in the bay window for our kitchen table. It was the perfect spot for a banquette….

Very new to this craftsman adventure at the time, I really just eyeballed the space and drew out a plan that made the most sense to me. Since then, I’ve learned a few things…but for the most part, the mudroom bench seat with cubbies was put together the same way. So, in this post, I’m going to try to put my method of madness to words and pictures…

Alrighty! Let’s do this!

How to Build a Bench Seat with Cubbies

Supplies Needed: (affiliate links included)

measuring tape

3/4″ plywood

2 x 6″ pine boards (for bench top) (length and quantity depend on size of bench top)

1 x 4 x 8 (one)


Kreg Jig

Pocket hole screws (1-1/4″)

Nail gun

2-1/2″ nail gun nails

Step One: Measure

First things first…you’ll want to measure the space for your bench seat with cubbies. Determine all of the dimensions: How tall? Wide? Long?

empty closet space

Step Two: Assemble the cubbies

For this project, I used 3/4″ plywood. However, for my kitchen bench seat, I used 2 x 4’s. Either way works great. But for simplicity, I’m going to share the plywood method. I feel this method is a little easier if you’re going to add cubbies underneath your bench seat. I would typically go with 2 x 4’s if I’m going to then cover it all up with plywood and not have any openings for cubbies. Hopefully that makes sense.

First, I cut my bottom sheet of plywood to the desired length and then drilled pocket holes into each end of the plywood; using my Kreg Jig. (If you don’t have one, you need one and Amazon can deliver it to you tomorrow…Pocket holes are a piece of cake with a Kreg Jig). Affiliate Link

Next, I cut my side sheets of plywood the height and width I wanted my bench seat to be. (These side sheets are going to stand up directly on the floor of the space you are building your bench seat). Attach both side sheets to your base sheet with pocket hole screws…

This can be a little tricky, because of well, gravity. So, I recommend using some scrap wood to prop up your base sheet to the height you want it–to then attach it into your side sheets. (As seen in the picture below)…

The reason you want your base sheet to be a little raised up from the floor is because this will allow you room to add trim when the bench seat is finished. I allowed for a 1 x 4 board to be added. Therefore, I raised my base sheet 3-1/2″ up and attached them to my side sheets. (Refer to Step Four below to see what I mean).

Now, you’re ready to cut and attach your center sheets. Determine how many cubbies you want and divide out the space evenly with your center sheets. Drill pocket holes into the bottom of your center sheets and attach to base sheet with pocket hole screws.

cubbies being constructed

And now we can move the project inside to the space you want your bench seat with cubbies…

After setting my bench seat in place, I realized I wanted the floor for my appliances (vacuum, etc.) to be raised also. So, I added a sheet of plywood for this too. Definitely, not something you have to do. But I just wanted to point that out, so you can fully understand the project…

Step Three: Assemble bench top

Using 2 x 6’s cut your boards to the length of your bench and attach with nail gun using 2-1/2″ nails…

cubbies built for mudroom

Work your way to the front of your bench seat…

bench constructed

If your last board hangs over more than you would like, you’ll need to rip it to the desired size with a table saw or circular saw.

As you can see, I used scrap wood as added support underneath each sheet of standing plywood…

Step Four: Add trim piece

Now, you’re ready for that trim piece that I was talking about earlier in Step Two. Cut your 1 x 4 to size and attach to the bottom of your bench seat (underneath your cubbie compartments)….

Step Five: Finishing Touches

And voila! Now you’re ready for caulk (a builder’s best friend) to fill in all of those pesky gaps. And paint!! I stained my bench top with General Finishes Black Gel Stain. I love this product! Such great quality and goes on so well. I chose to keep mine thick and not wipe any off. But really, it’s personal preference and depends on the look you want.

lockers with metal crates

For my cubbies, I went with white paint and matched them with my trim color.

locker cubbies with metal crates

Love how my bench seat with cubbies turned out!! But more than anything, I love the utility of them. I wonder how we ever went without them!!

mudroom decorated

In a couple weeks, I’ll share the rest of the project. Watch for the locker tutorial…coming soon!!

Until next time,

Happy Building, Friend!!

Affiliate Links are included in this post. 

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