How to Build a Bench Seat

Bench Seat

Lee Wallender / The Spruce

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 3 hrs
  • Total Time: 4 hrs
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Estimated Cost: $50-$100

Is your foyer, front hall, or porch in need of a bench seat? Inexpensive and very easy to build, this bench seat has the rustic flavor of reclaimed wood. At three feet wide and 16 inches tall, it is the perfect height for putting on or removing shoes. To help keep your house tidy, at the bottom is a rack for a few pairs of shoes. A perfect weekend project, this bench seat is a complement to any home.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Electric miter saw
  • Circular saw
  • Kreg Jig Mini (optional)
  • Speed Square
  • Pencil
  • Hearing protection
  • Eye protection


  • 1 Two-by-eight, 8 feet long
  • 3 Square dowels, 1-inch by 36-inch
  • 1 One-by-eight plank, 3/4-inch thick and 8 feet long: reclaimed wood, distressed wood, or your choice, to use as the seating board
  • 1 7/16-inch OSB board, 2-foot by 4-foot
  • Kreg zinc pocket hole screws (optional)
  • 1-inch screws
  • 2 1/2-inch nails or screws
  • 1 1/2-inch finish nails
  • 4 Anti-skid grip pads, 1 1/2-inch
  • Wood glue
  • Spray polyurethane clear coat, semi-gloss or gloss
  • Walnut stain
  • Black spray paint


  1. Cut All Boards For the Project

    • With the electric miter saw, cut the three 36-inch square dowels each at 33 inches.
    • With the electric miter saw, cut the 8-foot one-by-eight into eight pieces: four 14 1/2-inch pieces and four 8-inch pieces.
    • With the circular saw, cut the 2-foot by 4-foot OSB board into a single piece that is 11 inches by 33 inches.
    • With the circular saw, cut the one-by-eight seating board into two pieces, each 36 inches long.

    Save all waste pieces for testing the paint and stains.

    Cut Boards for Bench Seat
    Lee Wallender / The Spruce
  2. Paint the Pieces

    All pieces except the legs will be painted; those will later be stained after they are assembled.

    • For the three 33-inch square dowels, paint three long sides and the ends with black spray paint. It is not necessary to paint the fourth side since it will be on the bottom.
    • For the OSB board, paint all edges and about 1 1/2 inches into the field with black matte spray paint. While the OSB board will mostly be hidden, the purpose of painting is to help mask the edges in the rare event that they are seen.
    • For the two one-by-eight seating boards, spray them with the clear polyurethane to create a smooth surface for sitting.
    Paint the Pieces
    Lee Wallender / The Spruce
  3. Create the Front Legs

    Each leg is a rectangle created from two 14-1/2 inch two-by-eights running vertically and two 8-inch two-by-eights running horizontally. Manually or with a pocket jig, angle-screw the front vertical piece to both the top and bottom horizontal pieces. Do this from the back so that the screws will not be visible.

    Build the Legs - First
    Lee Wallender / The Spruce
  4. Create the Back Legs

    Due to space limitations and because the back of the bench will not be seen, you can directly face-nail or screw the rear 14 1/2-inch two-by-eights into place; there is no need to create pocket holes. Keep the bench legs in square by checking them with a carpenter's square or a Speed Square.

    Build Back of Legs
    Lee Walllender / The Spruce
  5. Stain the Legs

    With the legs fully assembled, stain them on all visible sides. You do not need to stain the bottom or the top, but you should stain the back.

    Stain the Legs
    Lee Wallender / The Spruce
  6. Install the Seating Base Board

    Screw the OSB board directly onto the tops of the bench legs. The ends of the OSB board should be flush with the outer edges of the bench legs. Make sure that the screw heads are perfectly flat.

    Install Seating Base
    Lee Wallender / The Spruce
  7. Install the Seating Boards

    Lay the two seating boards upside-down, so that their finished sides are facing the floor. Make sure they are touching each other and are square. Turn the bench upside-down and on top of the seating boards. Maintain an even border around all edges. Screw the boards into place from the bottom with eight screws per board.

    Install the Seating
    Lee Wallender / The Spruce
  8. Add the Shoe Rack Rails

    Turn the bench upright. Add the three square dowel rails by adding a dot of wood glue to the bottom at each end and gently tapping them into place with the finish nails.

    Add Shoe Rack Rails
    Lee Wallender / The Spruce
  9. Add Anti-Skid Pads

    On the bottom, add the four anti-skid pads. Screw them into place with the included screws.

    Add Feet to Bench Seat
    Lee Wallender / The Spruce

Tips for Building a Bench Seat

  • To make the project even easier, opt to drive the screws or nails on the face of the front board of the legs. The screws will be visible.
  • You may need to gently sand off the corners of the seating board material if the corners are sharp.
  • One design option is to space the two seating boards about 1/8-inch. If you do so, spray a strip of black paint on the top of the board, since the light-colored board will be visible in the seam otherwise.