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How to build a mudroom bench with MDF or plywood

Keep your shoes neat & tidy with this simple storage project!

A mudroom bench is not only visually appealing in an entrance hall, but also very practical. When it is a rainy day, you need to make sure that whoever comes home takes off his shoes or boots, coat or jacket, and finds where to place the wet umbrella. Unless there is a mudroom bench next to the front door you would end up with footsteps all over the floor, or the difficult proposition of trying to take off all the wet things while standing up.

DIY MDF Mudroom Bench. Image credit: Infarrantly Creative

If you would like to have a mudroom bench at home, you might consider ordering one. However you would need to pay quite a high price for a custom made mudroom bench. Ready-made mudroom benches are not that easy to find, and even if you do it is difficult to find one that will complement the rest of the furniture in your room, or is the size you want it to be to fit in the space available. Moreover you cannot expect to find it at such an affordable price. So, why not try to build a mudroom bench yourself with 18mm cut to size MDF sheets or plywood? It is not that difficult, and with some basic tools you can manage to do it really cheaply.

Let’s Get Started

Start off by measuring the area where it will be placed. Then, based on the space available you can determine the best size and design it. Mark the measurements of the various parts as this will come in handy when you cut the boards and when you start assembling it.

It is best to start off with the seat box, which will be the base of the mudroom bench. The bench seat will start with a plywood box with an open-bottom. Use a circular saw to cut two strips from a plywood sheet as these will be the panels. Then cut out the baseboard. Assemble the box, using the side panels between the other two panels at the front and back. It is best to use glue as well as screws to assemble. Once assembled, place it in front of the baseboard, and mark where the sides of the box will meet the molding. Afterwards slide it into place against the wall, after having marked the position where the sides will fit into the notches ad screw it.

Next comes the hinge support. Use a mitre saw to cut a panel that is the inside width of the box. Screw it along the back of the box into the studs using deck screws. Later this part will be hidden by a plywood strip and molding. Screw L-brackets in the box and to the floor. It is best to have three brackets inside the front edge, and another two on either side. These are important as they will hold the box in place.

Next attach the panel molding to the seat by cutting stiles. Where a horizontal and a vertical stile overlap each other at a corner, place more attention. Glue and nail them using 3″ nails. Make sure to align the edges with the edges of the box, and it may be best to use a narrower stile at the front. If you cut panel molding to fit, miter the ends and nail tightly with 2″ nails. Then frame the other side of the box similarly. Always ensure that the corners are flush with the side panels and then fit the panel molding in the frame you created. Then you can cap and trim the box, and the seat lid. To prevent splitting the wood with the finish nails it may be helpful to dull the points of the nails before tapping them in. This can be done easily with a strike of the hammer. Afterwards you can attach the lid with cabinet hinges. European cabinet hinges are ideal as they will allow the lid to open up completely but at the same time conceal the assembly once it is closed. It is best to allow a 1 inch overlay on the front and on the sides.

Finishing the Build

Now you can mount the bedboard panel to the back. About 4 feet up from the seat is a good measurement. Have someone help you by holding the panels in place, while also ensuring that the rabbets at the edges overlap. Also make sure that the seam will fall on a stud as you will need to have something to screw the edges to. Secure the panels to the wall by using adhesive caulk and screws.

Can you stain MDF? Image credit: Overclockers

If you are going to install a shelf at the top, install the fascia for it, and mount the shelf brackets to it. Secure the shelf by screwing it, and you’re done. You may wish to paint your mudroom bench once it is assembled. It is best to apply two coating of paint for a neater result.

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