Easy How to Build a Bench with Purchased Legs

March 20, 2024
nicole

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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14 Comments

  1. Jill

    Thank you so much for posting this! Most of it was easy to follow along. The only thing that took me some time to figure out included what inch setting your put your kreg jig on, how you attached the top to the base (where you did your pocket holes), and I am assuming that you like I, figured out that I could not use pocket holes to do the supports in the middle due to the bit being too long. (Assumed that is what the finishing screws were for.) Figured it out but definitely added some time to my task. It turned out perfect thanks to your starting point for me. Keep them coming!

    Reply
    • Nicole Nigg

      That’s awesome! I’m glad it all worked out. Sorry about those holes in the tutorial. I appreciate feedback like this as I want my tutorials to be thorough and clear. I’ll be sure to make the adjustments needed.
      Thank you!!

      Reply
  2. Carlton Brown

    Did you plane the top? Or just sand it? Orbital sander? Belt sander?

    Reply
    • Nicole Nigg

      Hi Carlton,
      I used an orbital sander.
      ~Nicole

      Reply
  3. Gina

    So cute! Did you paint or stain? And what colors?

    Reply
    • Nicole Nigg

      I stained this piece. Unfortunately, I can’t remember what color stain I used. Sorry!

      Reply
  4. Vanessa

    So excited to build ours!

    I did want to know which type of 2x4s wood did you use? and the finishing screws, you just screwed in the top?

    Reply
    • Nicole Nigg

      Hi Vanessa,
      Thank you for reaching out….I used pinewood as I do on most all of my furniture builds. For the finishing screws, I love GRK Finishing Screws.(I get them at Home Depot, but I know Amazon has them too). To add the top, I simply screwed it in from the top and used wood filler to fill all of my holes. Let me know if you have any other questions. Have fun building it!
      ~Nicole

      Reply
  5. Jackie Wallace

    This bench turned out so beautiful! I love it! I am wanting to make one asap! My next home project is some upholstery cleaning, but making this bench might be next on my list. Thanks for all the tips! Can’t wait to give this a try.

    Reply
    • Nicole Nigg

      Hi Jackie,
      Great! I’m glad you found it helpful.
      Thank you,
      Nicole

      Reply
  6. Julie

    I love this! Have you ever seen anyone do this and add a back or arms to it?

    Reply
    • Nicole Nigg

      Thank you! I haven’t seen it before, but it would be very easy to do. Great idea for a future blog post. :)
      ~Nicole

      Reply
  7. Sarah

    Love the bench! I’m looking to build one for my dining room table about this length. Are the supports you put in sufficient for that or would you think extra legs would be needed for more support for a dining table? I didn’t know if yours was for that purpose or entryway.

    Reply
    • Nicole Nigg

      Hi Sarah,
      The client who ordered this bench, wanted it to be functional too, however, they were not using it at a dining table…just along the wall. So, I was sure to add the extra supports, to be able to hold up to any weight in the middle of the bench. The supports should be sufficient enough. But if you’re concerned and with extra use at a dining table, it probably wouldn’t hurt to add 2 more legs. Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.
      Thank you!
      Nicole

      Reply

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