DIY and Crafts

How to build a bench seat with built-in storage

Both functional and beautiful, this DIY bench seat is the perfect piece to bring your entryway to life – it’s ideal for storing shoes, jackets and bags


Tools you will need 

Ruler; screwdriver; square; handsaw; hammer; electric sander; drop cloths; paint brush. This project uses a Sort It cabinet from The Warehouse (pictured below) as the basis for this benchseat.


Begin the project with this ‘Sort it cabinet’, $80, from The Warehouse.

How to make a bench seat with built-in storage

  • Step 1  Assemble the flat-packed cabinet without attaching the hinges, door or handle. Insert one shelf or more if desired. Do not put the backing on yet. Lie cabinet on its back.
  • Step 2 Trim the pine top from 1800mm x 600mm to 1800mm x 400mm.


  • Step 3 Now fit the edging to three sides of the pine top (the long side which will go against the wall does not need edging). Start with a short side, gluing and pinning the edging with pin nails, and keeping it flush with the top. Continue the edging along the other two sides, mitring the corners of the edging (use a square to mark a 45° angle and cut with a saw).
  • Step 4 Give everything a good sand once the glue is dry.
  • Step 5 Screw the new pine top onto the door using 32mm wood screws.
  • Step 6 The cupboard, when upright, does not have a base, so we need to create one as this will form one of the sides of the bench seat. Cut a piece of 6mm hardboard to fit flush with the sides of the cabinet. Attach with wood glue and secure along edges with pin nails. When glue is dry, sand and fill in the holes with filler.
  • Step 7 For the bottom of the storage box, you can either attach the provided backing or leave bottom-less if you prefer.


  • Step 8 Fill all screw holes with filler and give the box a good sand. Apply a base or prep coat then 2-3 coats of paint.


  • Step 9 Attach the door/pine top to the storage box with the new 175° hinges.
This benchseat is great for storing all manner of items inside it.

This benchseat is great for storing all manner of items inside it.

Top tips

  • You can paint the base of the storage bench any colour you choose; it just needs a good sand and prep coat first.
  • Use the shelving provided to section the inside, or leave it open.
  • Go for a minimal Scandi look by leaving the pine as it is, or varnish it for a darker, more rustic or industrial look.
  • If you ever want to move the box, take the contents out first as the backing board used on the base won’t be strong enough to support the weight.


Cabinet $80; Pine top (1800 x 600 x 20mm) $31; Pine edging (2400 x 40 x 20mm)  $13; Pine edging (1200 x 40 x 20mm) $8; PVA or wood glue $6; Pin nails $5; 32mm wood screws $6; 6mm hardboard $20; Filler $9; Paint $30; 175° hinges x 3  $42.

TOTAL: $250

Get the look

Round Joni cushion, $59.99, and wooden hooks, $11.99 small, $13.99 medium, $16.99 large, all from Shut The Front Door; pom pom throw, $389, from Father Rabbit; Boyd floor runner, $249, from Freedom. Scarf, speckled cushion and blanket in box, stylist’s own.

Created by: Catherine Wilkinson and Martin Laidlaw.

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