How to Build a DIY Mudroom Bench

Entryway bench with cubbies

Shop Slo / Unsplash

Overview
  • Working Time: 2 - 3 hrs
  • Total Time: 1 - 2 days
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Estimated Cost: $200 to $250

Mudrooms do a great job of capturing the mess from the outside and detaining it before it gets into your home. But a mudroom that's just a bare corridor isn't much use. That's exactly why you need a mudroom bench. With its butcher block seat and three cubbies, this DIY mudroom bench is perfect for tucking away everything that needs to be stored.

Basics of Your DIY Mudroom Bench

Seat (Top)

What makes this DIY mudroom bench such an incredibly easy build is that you'll be using a slab of pre-made butcher block, normally intended for kitchen countertops. At 74 inches long and 25 1/2 inches deep, this butcher block is the ideal size for a bench.

Cubbies (Main Unit)

This mudroom bench's cubbies form the majority of the lower structure of the mudroom bench. Just six boards are used for this area: two sides, two cubby dividers, and a top and bottom.

Backer Board

A board runs across the back of the cubbies to prevent items from sliding back. More importantly, this backer board provides lateral support for the cubbies. Without the backer board, the unit will collapse.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • 1 carpenter's square
  • 1 cordless nailer
  • 1 table saw or circular saw
  • 1 cordless drill
  • 1 orbital sander
  • 1 hammer
  • 3 clean rags
  • 1 pencil
  • 4 carpenter's bar clamps
  • 1 bubble level

Materials

  • 2 sheets veneer-faced plywood, 4 feet by 8 feet by 1/2 inch
  • 1 butcher block countertop, 74 inches long
  • 1 bottle wood glue
  • 1 sheet 220 grit sandpaper
  • 1 box finish nails
  • 4 rubber protective feet
  • 10 3/4-inch screws

Instructions

  1. Cut Wood

    With a table saw or circular saw, cut the sheets of plywood to the following dimensions. If you decide to use a circular saw, also use a saw guide for precise cuts.

    • Top and Bottom: 2 pieces, each piece 73 inches by 25 inches
    • Sides: 2 pieces, each piece 18 inches by 25 inches
    • Cubby Dividers: 2 pieces, each piece 18 inches by 25 inches
    • Backer Board: 1 piece, 73 inches by 19 inches

    Warning

    Be careful when operating the electric saw with the large sheet material, as kickback is a possibility. Observe all safety instructions that come with the tool.

  2. Sand the Wood

    With the electric sander and 220 grit sandpaper, sand the smooth side of each of the veneer boards. Do not oversand, as you risk sanding away the veneer.

  3. Attach Bottom to Sides

    Choose one of the 73-inch pieces and designate it as the bottom on the bench. Face the smooth side of this bottom board upward. Run a thin bead of wood glue along the two far ends of the board (the two outermost, upward-facing sections).

    Place two of the 18-inch by 25-inch (side) pieces on the beads of glue. The 18-inch side should be vertical. With an assistant, hold the boards together and tilt 90 degrees to the side. Temporarily attach each side to the bottom with two bar clamps.

    Attach the bottom board to the sides with the cordless nailer. Drive the nails through the bottom of the bottom board.

    Tip

    Drive the nails straight to avoid splitting or delaminating the plywood. If you do not have a cordless nailer, use a hammer and finish nails.

  4. Attach Top to Sides

    Remove the bar clamps. Rotate the unit so that it is now upright. Run a thin bead of glue along the upward-facing edges of the two side pieces. Set the remaining 73-inch piece on top, so that the fine veneer side is facing down. Nail the top onto the sides. Wipe any excess wood glue off with the clean rags.

  5. Attach Backer Board

    Turn the unit 90 degrees so that the side you wish to be the front is facing downward. Likely, the unit is not in square. Square it by measuring diagonally in both directions. Gently push the unit into square, so that both measurements match. Run a thin bead of wood glue on the top edges of the wood (the top will eventually become the back). Lay the backer board on top and liberally nail into place.

  6. Attach Cubby Dividers

    Turn the unit so that it is upright. Hold one of the cubby dividers vertically. Slide it into the unit about one-third of the way across (if looking from left to right). Use the bubble level to plumb the divider. Nail the divider into place from both the top and bottom sides of the unit. Repeat this step with the second divider, positioning it about two-thirds of the way across.

  7. Attach Seat to Bench Top

    Lay the butcher block seat on top of the bench. Position the seat so that it overhangs the left and right sides equally. It should not overhang the back but should overhang the front its full width. Screw the seat into place from the bottom. Use the 3/4-inch screws or any other appropriate screw that will ensure that the screw does not pierce the top of the seat.

    Add the four rubber feet to the bottom of the bench.

  8. Finish Mudroom Bench

    Stain or paint the mudroom bench sides, as desired. The butcher block seat should be clear-coated in polyurethane or a natural finish such as Danish oil.

Tips For Building a DIY Mudroom Bench

  • The overall size of the mudroom bench is determined by the size of the butcher block seat. Cutting the butcher block is not recommended. If you use a differently sized seat, adjust the rest of the pieces accordingly.
  • Most of the cost of this mudroom bench is due to the butcher block countertop. To control the budget, substitute with three 73-inch-long strips of one-by-eight wood laid side-by-side. Since the bench would be 21-3/4 inches deep with this substitute seat, you'll need to adjust all of the other pieces accordingly.
  • Veneer plywood has veneer on both sides but only one side is high-quality smooth veneer. This is the side that should face outward.
  • This project calls for two cubby dividers, creating three cubbies, but you can add as many cubbies as you wish by increasing the number of cubby dividers.