Tuesday, January 7, 2014

How to build a mud room bench

OK, so I’m super excited to share this progress with you today! Just know it’s not done yet so there won’t be any perfect after picture just yet – but I’m SO happy with how the bench in the mud room is coming together so I had to share the process so far.

I gathered my materials before this weather hit and spent most of Sunday working on it. I was in a zone and was having a blast. It’s been awhile since I’ve worked on something like this!

The only materials were two wall cabinets and a few 1 by 6’s. Oh, and some scrap wood, but more on that in a bit. Here are the cabinets I used:

wall cabinet as mud room bench

These were from Lowe’s but you can find them anywhere – Menards, Home Depot, etc. We have a little “nook” where our washer and dryer used to sit where I am building the bench, so I measured that spot and determined two 30x15x12 cabinets would work.

I think the cabinets were $30-something? The Lowe’s website says $20 and I know I didn’t pay that little. Maybe they were more than $30, I honestly can’t remember. I’ll try to find my receipt and let you know for sure.

Anyway, this isn’t my first rodeo with the cabinets-as-built-ins. I’ll share more links at the bottom of the post, but for now let’s just say this is the fourth time I’ve done this type of thing. I give all credit to my Dad who showed me how to make this happen years ago. :)

I started by flipping the cabinets over and measuring the inside area underneath. I cut down my 1 x 6’s so they made a base:

 bench out of kitchen cabinets

Does that make sense? This gets the cabinets off the ground. I knew I wanted them about 20 inches off the floor so that’s why I used the 1 x 6 size and the 15 high cabinets. They have 12 inchers too.

I used my nail gun to secure the boards to the sides of the cabinet, all around, then used longer nails in my gun and nailed down the sides of each where they meet in the corners for extra stability. You can add braces in the corners if needed too, but when I was done they weren’t budging a bit so I called it done.

I did that for both cabinets and then started figuring out how to make the bench deeper. You could make it just 12 inches deep from the wall to make it really easy, but I wanted more room for the tushes. (Not that mine needs anymore room…ahem.)

I pulled them away from the wall and hung coats and bags behind me to figure out what was comfortable. I wanted to be able to sit without having the stuff behind me pushing me off. I sat on it and then had hubby do the same so I could figure out a good distance. I determined 20 inches out from the wall was best, so this is where the scrap wood came in:

building a mud room bench

I went around the wall with scrap wood that I measured at the same exact height as the benches. (I pushed them up against the wall and marked on the wood where to cut.)

I secured each one into studs in the wall. So now, when I get the butcher block that will be the top of the bench, it will rest right on top of those boards (with glue and nails to secure it, plus screws from inside the cabinets) and on the top of the benches as well. I hope that makes sense?

Now it was time to secure the cabinets to the walls. This is where I had to sit in front of all of it for a second and figure out what I was going to do. I knew I’d have about three inches of space left to fill between the cabinets. (Or 1.5 inches on either side if I placed them together in the middle.)

Because I wanted them really secure I went with the space in the middle of the cabinets, so I could install them into the walls. I used long drywall-like screws – these are my favorite with any woodworking project because they grab the wood so easily:

installing cabinets

I think installing cabinets is hard. I’ve done it a few times and getting every angle level is a pain in the butt, really. Sometimes it happens fairly easily (our dining room built ins weren’t bad), sometimes it takes forever. I used shims to get these as level as I could and then secured them to the wall into studs:

IMG_7866 So these will be used for our shoe storage, if you haven’t figured that out quite yet. ;) It’s not a TON of space so I’ll have to be selective with the shoes we keep down here. In the summer it will be easy with sandals and flip flops. In the winter we’ll have less room to work with with boots and all.

My plan all along has been to make the doors into drawers – I was going to build drawers and install them so we could just pull them out, but I realized I’d lose a lot of space by doing that, so I think we’ll just keep them as is and throw shoes in there:

kitchen cabinets as mud room bench

So anyway, I had that area in the middle of the two cabinets to fill. It just so happened I had a piece of scrap wood that fit in exactly – YES! But I couldn’t figure out how to secure it in there. I couldn’t get my nail gun in between the cabinets to nail at an angle, and the wood had just a smidge of space on the sides so wood glue wasn’t going to hold it well enough. I could have used the long screws through the frames of the cabinets but didn’t want to risk splitting them.

So I sat and stared at it for awhile and came up with an idea. I cut more scrap wood that I nailed into the cabinets (there was a little lip I could nail into – I put arrows to show what I’m talking about) and then just placed my scrap filler piece on top of it:

filling space between cabinets

To give the bench even more stability I added another scrap piece to the back of the bench as well, as you can see above.

THIS is my favorite part of a project like this. I love sitting there and trying to figure out a solution and using what I already have to make it happen. It’s like a puzzle for me and I’m so in my element when I’m doing something like this. Love it!

So this is what it looks like from the front – still a mess but when I’m done with it it will look much better:

mud room bench with kitchen cabinets

If I can’t get it smooth with putty and sanding, I’ll just put some trim over it to hide it.

So that was it for the bench! When it was done I started on finishing up the beadboard around the nook area. I’ve finally found a fool-proof way to get a good cut around my outlets. I’ve always used a jigsaw and still do for some of it, but I can’t cut a straight line with that thing to save my life. So now, I trace around the outlet cover:

cutting beadboard around outlets

Then hold the beadboard up and mark where my cuts will be. like always:

cutting beadboard around outlets

You want the cuts to be under your outlet plate so they aren’t seen.

Then I used the jigsaw for the smaller cuts, but then hold up a straight edge and score the wood with a razor for the longer cut:

cutting beadboard around outlets

I usually do it on both sides of the wood, you don’t have to go that deep. Then I use my wrench to grab the wood and snap it off:

cutting beadboard around outlets

It works EVERY time and gives me a nice, clean cut. It doesn’t have to be perfect since it’s under the plate anyway, but this way is just easier in my opinion. It’s hard to get the jigsaw in there to cut angles.

Like I said, this is still not done, but there’s not really that much left to do (it just looks like it:

building a mud room bench with cabinets

I need to get something to use baseboard across the front. What I got is too tall, so I need to either find something that fits or have it cut down. (I still don’t have a table saw so I’m really hoping I can find something.) I need to paint the bench of course, and then I’ll just need to get the butcher block I’m using as the bench seat. Of course the only place I know of to get that is IKEA, and that’s a two hour drive away. Not happening in all of this snow, but I’m hoping I can get over there later this week. I’m SO excited to get this done!

I need to paint the rest of the beadboard now too, but I’m trying to decide what I’ll do. The painted beadboard (instead of white) has given me a bit of a problem – do I do the wall of the bench in white? The bench will be white. Will it look weird having it all the deep color, then in white there? I don’t know what to do, I’ll have to think about it for a bit. That’s what I get for trying to be all different with a color on the beadboard. Hmmm…

Anyway, what looked like this on Saturday:

Looked like this as of Sunday:

building a mud room bench

Even though the bench is almost done there’s still a lot to do in the room – I need to put spacers in the outlets so they are flush with the beadboard, install the trim around the top of the beadboard, install the upper cabinets and then most likely shelves between them.

But having this part almost done makes me feel like I’m in the home stretch! So excited!

I’ll be sure to update you when I get the bench done. :) Have you attempted this type of project? I had grand plans for awhile but decided in the end but simpler would be better (and easier!).

To see how I’ve used kitchen cabinets to make built ins before, see our wall of bookcases in the dining room here, the ones we did in my son’s room here (a video of how we made them here) and a peek at the one in progress in the new laundry room here.

 

P.S. Go here to see the finished product!

51 comments:

  1. Wonderful! I did this too for my son's reading nook and used Laundry Cabinet since we wanted a taller bench, if you have time check it out here Sarah ..http://buhayatbahay.blogspot.com/2013/10/week-4-tween-boy-bedroom-update-bench.html

    Good-luck, I'm sure it will be fabulous like all your other projects!

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  2. Lindo, amei.
    Desejo a você e sua família tenham um excelente 2014 com muito amor, paz, saúde, realizações, alegria, prosperidade e muitas felicidades.

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  3. Very cute!!! I love everything you do! Come do my house next! :)

    Maybe prime the area behind the bench with white and "live" with it for a minute before deciding between the real white or the color. Just an idea.

    ~Tami

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  4. Looks great! What kind of nail gun do you have? My birthday is coming up and I've been thinking of putting a nail gun on my list:) Thanks!

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    1. Annie mine is a Senco -- a one gallon tank compressor and the gun is an 18 gauge. I've heard Senco is one of the best -- I've used mine for about seven years now and it's still going strong! :)

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  5. That's looking great! I am so glad you posted this today- I have been trying to figure out how to do benches for our built in dining nook and this is perfect!

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  6. Eeek, that is look fabulous already! I would paint all the beadboard the blue and do the bench, upper cabinets, and shelves in white. It will look really crisp, almost nautical. You could even put a stripey bench cushion on top of the butcher block to bring it all together.

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  7. I think it would be great if the cabinets and bead board were all blue. I'm totally loving that look right now and you could dress it up with cool hardware and an awesome textile for the top of the bench. Looking good!

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  8. That is a great space behind the two cabinets that won't be available for stashing really long items in the future once you put the butcher block on top SO....how about you make the butcherblock be able to slide out front in case you want to stash something in that hole behind the cabinets!!!

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    1. I love that idea too Jan. I'll have to think about to make that work!

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  9. you might have luck using a piece of toe kick for that bottom baseboard piece. you could just liquid nails it right on there!

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  10. I LOVE this idea! It's going to be wonderful in your space!

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  11. Awesome! This is just what I've been looking for to make some built-ins in my loft (office/sewing room). Could you provide a link for the cabinets? I can't seem to find them for such a reasonable price. Thanks!

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    1. Here you go!
      http://www.lowes.com/pd_34207-16315-W3015OALP_0__?productId=1083495

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  12. It's looking fantastic Sarah! I have been drooling over amazing mud rooms lately, and am determined to get some built-ins for my double-duty laundry/mud room. I'm thinking a pocket door is in order too.

    I think you could go either way with the beadboard color. If you painted it white, you could do it so it looked like a really built in, cohesive nook. But the contrast of the beadboard against white cabinets would be gorgeous too. Either way, it's a win! :-)

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  13. Although I like the thought of the beadboard being white behind the bench for uniformity and to make it appear as a true built in, I think personally I would choose to go with the same blue behind for the ease of hiding any marks left behind from dirty coats, car key scratches and other hanging items. I think the blue will make the bench really pop, and I would just add upper cubbies or a shelf in the same white to compliment the bench color. Great project! I'm very inspired. - Sarah N.

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  14. You really should paint the beadboard the same blue. Then do the bench seat white and with a nice stained block top it will look great! It would not look right at all to paint the beadboard a different color. As for the cabinets--they can be so dang useful! We used two regular sized cabinets as a base for our laundry table. Spaced out, stained pine board on top, storage underneath (between the cabinets) with a cute curtain on a tension rod. Finished off with a pretty paint, glass knobs, and beadboard inset in the side of the cabinet. I did something similar years (and years) ago with two shelving units. We had the tiniest space. I stacked two for coats and flipped one for a bench with shoe storage. As for puzzles...AGGGHHH! Our board and batten stairway was a huge puzzle! However, it is almost all painted and looks so darn great! So worth the struggles of hiding messed up angles and really bad moulding that we couldn't remove. Can't wait to see your final reveal!

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  15. I don't want to make you panic, but I read on another blog that the Numerer was discontinued at Ikea. I googled and found this site. Maybe you had another in mind??

    http://www.ikeafans.com/forums/kitchen-fixtures/65411-numerar-countertops-being-discontinued.html

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    1. AHH! No way! OK, I just looked it up on the web site and it says they still carry it in beech -- maybe they just got rid of one type of wood? I think the other ones I've used were birch?

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    2. Thank goodness they still carry the beech. Maybe you should stockpile for any future projects???

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  16. This looks terrific! I meant to do this at our old house under the kitchen window but never got around to it. Now, our new house is almost identical and already has a bench! Yay!

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  17. It looks fantastic! I know you aren't done yet, but the before and almost after are so dramatic. I wish I had a mud room!

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  18. I think the cabinets painted to match the beadboard would be neat, but consider doing a light color on the inside (like a light gray?). Our dark luggage has a light gray interior that makes it easy to find yer junk!
    Can't wait for the full reveal. Mudrooms are a Mom's BFF!!!

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  19. Looks so good! Curious, why didn't you fill in the gap between the two cabinets all the way down to the floor? Looks a little odd and unfinished with that hole in the middle.

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    1. Thank you! I didn't put it all the way down because I'm installing a baseboard across the whole front on the bottom. It will be one long piece so that one going down would have been in the way.

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  20. When you're at Ikea or Lowes, look for wire cabinet drawers you can install in at least one of the sections. That can help you get stuff in the back of the cabinet without crawling on the ground (though you may be young enough that crouching is not a problem, but at some point...)

    Here's the Elfa version (on sale at The Container Store) of what I'm talking about: http://tinyurl.com/pglv57b

    At a minimum, look for cookie sheets to tuck in the cabinets to toss shoes onto.

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  21. I love what you are doing and can't wait to see the finished product.. :-)

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  22. Thank you so much!! I have been wanting to put a bench in like this at my front door and now I know exactly what to do!

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  23. I love how this is turning out, I love the beadboard and I can't wait to see it all finished. What, may I ask, did you do with the water valves that were there for the washer? Did you have to have them capped or anything major done to them? DId you just cover them up with the beadboard? Thanks Sarah and have a great week!
    Audrey

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  24. What a great idea! I have a little nook that I might do something similar with now that you've given me the idea...can't wait to see it all finished now.

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  25. How creative! I love your work-arounds, thank you for taking the time to explain all the nitty gritty details. Are you going to do anything to protect the wood on the floor of the cabinet from the dirty shoes? My father-in-law put linoleum in the bottom of the cabinet under our bathroom sink to protect it from leaks and spills. Of course baskets might be a simpler idea. I can't wait to see the finished product.

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  26. I know your family is going to enjoy the bench and a place to stash the coats! I love the blue and think it will look complete by continuing the blue on the beadboard and painting the cabinets white. Then whatever you add above just make it white too. That will be such a nice contrast.

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  27. Wow, such great progress!! You aren't even going to be able to remember the yellow and black once you're done! Happy New Year, btw!

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  28. Its really a interesting work.. You are really great. Congrats.

    interiors decoration

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  29. You are so talented! It looks great so far!!

    Kayla
    www.lovelucygirl.com

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  30. I searched online for those cabinets at Lowe's and couldn't find anything close to that price range. It looked like they're all about $100 ish. Is there any extra descriptive info you could give me to help me out? Also, this room looks so fabulous!

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    1. Thank you! Yes, here you go:
      http://www.lowes.com/pd_34207-16315-W3015OALP_0__?productId=1083495

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  31. I love reading about your projects. I get so much inspiration from them and share the ideas with so many people. I'm wondering why you chose to put the space between the cabinets instead of splitting it and putting it on the sides (between the cabinets and walls). I always find that doors that open onto a wall can be tough, a little extra spacer there might have been my choice.

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    1. Thank you! The scrap wood I had was a perfect fit for between the two, otherwise I'd have to find a table saw to cut it in half to work on each side. Also, I wanted to make sure the cabinets were secured into the walls. With the space on the sides I wouldn't have been able to do that -- I just wanted it as secure as possible so it didn't move around on us. :)

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  32. Sarah, they have some beautiful butcher block at Lumber Liquidators if there is one close to you! Hope this help! -Rosalind

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    1. Thank you Rosalind! We have one not too far away, I'll have to check that out!

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  33. Sarah, this post couldn't have come at a better time! I'm drawing up plans to expand our master bedroom closet and incorporating a window seat into the mix. While drawing I thought to myself a) this is going to cost $$$ and b) it's going to be a lot of work. Genius - I'm so going to Lowes to get these! Thank you for saving us a lot of time and $$$. Your bench looks great! Hope you don't mind that I pinned this to one of my boards?
    Marie@TheInteriorFrugalista

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  34. Wow.. what a great idea and it really looks great!

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  35. Did you cover your old w/d hookups with the beadboard? We're thinking of moving our laundry room to the upstairs & converting the old laundry room into a mud room.

    Liz VanKirk

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  36. Wow! I'm so impressed. Have you thought of doing everything blue, the wall, the cabinet, everything for a monocromatic look? Whatever you do, I'm sure it will look fab.

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  37. Love your ideas! I would love to move ourlaundry room to havea mud room.Can you tell me more about how you moved it and cost etc?

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  38. Hello Sarah,
    Yeah about the color of your new bench...maybe go back to bringing out another color in your rug? Like some of those you were considering to do originally on your walls. White would be okay, but I'd be concerned about foot prints or scuffs.
    Connie

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  39. I can't tell you how inspiring it is to see a woman working on a construction project like this! I'm still working on getting over my fear of the power drill, and hubby still does all the hard work. Kudos!

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  40. I like the idea that Jen had about painting the beadboard blue with the cabinets white, but if it were me I would paint all the beadboard and cabinets white with the wall above blue. It looks like a lot of blue for a small space. The white would definitely open up the space and you can always accessorize with pops of blue or patterned pillows for the bench. I love the look of a crisp white mud room & with the right finish paint, scuff marks shouldn't be a problem. This coming from a house of 1 female & 4 males with white beadboard down the main hallway. It has held up exceptionally well!! Hope this helps
    Diane

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THANKS so much for reading!