Easy How to Build a Bench with Purchased Legs

March 20, 2024

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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Today I’m coming at you with a two-week “How to build a bench” series. I have built several tables and benches and want to share with you just how simple they are to build.

I thought we would start with the bench and next month I’ll share a super easy coffee table build. Because if you can build a bench, you can build a table. They are both basically the same build. Legs, frame, top–that’s it!

Header image

For today’s bench, we’re going really easy and buying our legs off of Amazon. There are so many styles to choose from, but we’re going to go with these modern style ones.  (Amazon Affiliate Link)

4 custom build bench legs

Alright, now that we have our legs, let’s get started…

How to Build a Modern Bench

Materials Needed:

Tools Needed for how to build a bench:

(Amazon Affiliate Links Included)

Step One: Cut boards for the frame

First step, you’ll want to determine how long you want your simple bench to be. On this particular project I was building a very long bench. 88 inches to be exact.

You’ll want to account for your legs and allow the bench top to overhang the frame a bit.

Therefore, my math for this is:

  • 88″minus 3.25″ (width of leg on one end)
  • minus 3.25″ (width of leg on other end)
  • minus 1″ overhang on one end
  • minus 1″ overhang on other end
  • equals 79.5″

Cut two 2X4’s at this measurement. I know this may be a little confusing. The picture below should help make things more clear….

Measurements for bench legs and seat frame.

Now that we have our stretchers for our frame cut, we’re ready to move onto our next cuts…

2 long pinewood boards

Next, determine how wide you want your modern bench to be. I went with 16″ wide. Again allot for legs and overhang.

The legs are 3 1/4″ wide. And I want a 1 inch overhang on both sides.

Therefore, my math is:

  • 16″ minus 3.25″
  • minus 3.25″
  • minus 1″
  • minus 1″
  • equals 7.5″.

Cut two 2X4’s at this measurement….

2 pine boards with pocket holes on both ends

You should now have four 2X4’s cut. Two long, two short. Drill pocket holes on each end of your boards-long and short (as shown above in my short boards).

Step Two: Attach frame boards to legs

For leg assembly, find the center of your leg’s square shank. And attach your long 2X4 to this center using 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws.

The top of your long 2X4 should be flush with the top of your leg.  Do this on the other end of your long board with another leg too. Making sure the top edge of the long 2×4 is flush with the top edge of the leg…

custom leg with 2x4 for farmhouse bench frame

Now you have one side of your bench frame with legs built…

one side of farmhouse bench frame complete

Next, you’ll want to attach another leg to one of your shorter 2X4’s using 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws…

short 2x4 attached to custom leg

Now, you’re ready to attach that leg and short board to one of the legs on your long board.

Note: Make sure pocket holes are facing in, so they’re not visible on the outside of your frame….

short 2x4 and custom leg screwed into long board

To avoid working against gravity, I used sheets to prop up my leg…this made it easier to screw it in (as shown above).

Do this on the other end and you now have a standing frame for your bench….

long and short farmhouse bench frame built

Add your other long board, and your frame is built. You now have all 4 sides of the bench put together…

farmhouse bench frame with custom legs

How to Build a Bench Step Three: Add supports

Depending on the length of your bench, you’ll want to add some supports to keep your bench top from bowing.

Because my bench was so long, I added 7 supports. These are very easy to add….

  • Simply, measure the length from the inside of one long board to the inside of the opposite long board.
  • Cut your board to fit this space.
  • Drill pilot holes.
  • Attach from the outside of your bench, using 2 1/2″ wood screws.
  • Repeat with as many boards needed, spacing them apart approximately 8-12″….

bench frame with 2x4 supports added

Step Four: Add the bench seat

Now we’re ready to add the seat boards.

  • Rip three 2X6 boards to 5 and 3/8″.
  • Cut each board at 88″.
  • Drill pocket holes on one long side of two of the boards and attach all three boards together using 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws….

bench top being built out of three 2x6's with pocket holes

Note: If you don’t have a table saw to rip your boards, no worries. Just keep your boards at their current width (2X6=5 1/2″ wide). Your bench top will just be a little wider. No big deal!

Sand the top and attach it to your frame using 2 1/2″ finishing screws. (Here are my favorite wood screws to use)...

Amazon Affiliate Link Included

farmhouse bench unpainted

Step Five: Finishing steps for your simple wooden bench

Now you’re ready for all of the finishing touches for your bench.

Use wood filler to fill in all of the holes and let dry. Sand down the entire piece…

side angle of bench unpainted

Add paint or stain. Step back and admire your finished bench….

farmhouse bench with white blanket and display of flowers on it

My finished bench found a new home at my client’s house. She loved it!!

bench in dining room with blanket and basket of flowers on it

Not only does this beautiful bench look great against a wall in your living room, but it would also be great as:

  • an outdoor bench
  • a dining table bench
  • a bench at the foot of your bed

So many options available. I hope you found these step-by-step instructions helpful. As always, don’t hesitate to shoot me an email or comment below on any questions you may have.

Next week, we’ll build another bench, but this time we’ll make our own legs. Don’t let that intimidate you. Another super easy DIY project!!

Let’s go beyond the design to build something beautiful together!

Until next time,

Happy Building, Friend!!

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More Building Projects:

Easy How to Build Floating Shelves

How to Make Your Own Sliding Barn Door

How to Make a Farmhouse Pallet Coffee Table


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