DIY Storage Bench

Free plans for a super easy storage bench.

These free project plans are for an 18″ tall bench that can be stained, pained or upholstered with storage inside.    Perfect for a bedroom, living room, playroom or anywhere else one might need an extra seat with some hidden storage.

Tools and materials needed:3/4″ Lumber of your choice cut into the following pieces.  (MDF, Cabinet grade plywood or Sanded ply with smooth side on the inside of bench)

  • 2@    16 1/2″ x 14″  (sides)
  • 2@    16 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ (narrow sides)
  • 2@    14″ x 14″ (bottom and top)
  • 2@    12 1/2″ long scrap strips about 1″ wide (cleats)
  • wood glue
  • Finish nails and/or 1 3/4″ wood screws  (I used my 16 ga nail gun and SPAX MDF screws)
  • Kreg pocket hole jig (if planning on painting or staining instead of upholstering)
  • Assembly Square
  • felt or plastic bumpers to protect your floors
  • Staple gun and fabric for upholstering.  I used 1 yard per box.  *Depending on the width of your fabric you might need more or less.
You can build 3 benches of this size out of one 4×8 sheet of lumber if you have it cut like this.
*You”ll have to trim 2 of the 16 1/2″ x 14″ pieces down to 16 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ per bench.

Upholstered storage benches - cut list


Step 1:  Glue and nail or screw the narrow sides INSIDE the sides.  As illustrated below.  Use a triangle, assembly square or corner clamps to make sure you assemble it square.

Storage bench free plans and tutorial

Step 1:  Alternate assembly option for staining and painting so you don”t have visible nail or screw holes.

  • Drill pocket holes on edges of narrow sides (12 1/2″ x 16 1/2″)

Storage bench free plans and tutorial

  • Drive pocket hole screws on the INSIDE of the box.

Storage bench free plans and tutorial


Step 2:  Attach bottom with glue and nails or screws. (if you bottom doesn”t line up with your sides, something is wonky.  More than likely, the box isn”t square.  If that is the case, convince it to get square.)Storage bench free plans and tutorial

 Step 3:  Attach the cleats to the top.  Use wood glue and 1 1/4″ nails.  The cleats need to be inset 3/4″ in from all sides.

Storage bench free plans and tutorial


So the cleats will fit perfectly inside the bench.  The cleats will keep the top from sliding which is especially necessary when using it as a seat.

Depending on what material you use, this bench could be painted, stained or upholstered.  If painting or staining, you would want to fill all nail and screw holes and sand very well. *Make sure you put bumpers on the bottom to protect your flooring.  The bottom was secured with nails or screws which could really scratch up wood floors, snag carpet and tear rugs.  Take the extra few minutes to put bumpers on the bench!

Free plans for a super easy storage bench.

Free plans for a super easy storage bench.


  1. Carolyn Tucker says:

    Same question how do you cover the box, . Is the lid stuffed. And how di you cover the bottom.

  2. Hi Sandra,
    I also have the cubes made but am unsure of how you upholstered your material. I don’t need a super detailed response, just a basic understanding of what materials you used (other than the 1 yard of fabric), whether you stapled or nailed in the fabric, and how you finished the seam.
    Thank you so much for sharing. We are thrilled about our benches.

  3. Great project! Would you be able to give the upholstering instructions? I already have the cubes. Do you use batting? I can see how to upholster the lid but am not sure how to wrap the fabric around the boxes Thanks!

  4. Priscilla says:

    I think I would like to try this project. I wonder how do you finish the edges of the side when you upholster?

    • I’m sorry Priscilla, I don’t understand the question. It is 3 am and I should be sleeping but hey, gotta do what I gotta do. LOL Please expound on your question. What do you mean when you refer to “sides”?

      • LOL, it was late when I posted too, sorry I wasn’t more clear with the question. I am wondering how you join the seam where the fabric meets on the vertical sides when you upholster the box so that you get a clean edge. Hopefully that is a better way of framing the question. Thanks!

  5. Thank you! This is awesome!! Just an estimate how much do you think it cost to make one?

    • Blonde moment just saw the older comment on $25 for wood! So with my choice fabric and materials I could make 3-4 under $50!

      • If you can find a good deal on Plywood. Normally a sheet of MDF or plywood is about $$35-40. It also depends on material and foam/batting costs. But still, for 3 benches…it’s pretty darn good.

  6. I can’t wait to do this! I have a huge plank of 1/2-inch plywood in the basement. Can I use that instead? How important is it to have 3/4-inch plywood? Thanks!!

    • If you use 1/2″ instead of 3/4″ it will change the dimensions slightly and it won’t be strong and sturdy. If you plan on just using it as a storage box, go for it. If you plan on sitting on it, I would stick with 3/4″.

  7. Jennifer M Garner says:

    Whats average cost to build these minus fabric

    • Cost of wood? I built all three out of one sheet of plywood and the cost of plywood varies depending on what you get. I used Sanded plywood which was $25 for one sheet. Birch plywood is about $45 for one sheet.

  8. “GIVE ME!! I WANT!!!” wait, maybe I don’t need to act like my hubby and kids… I may be able to get him to actually buy me the need materials…I want and need these!! then I can hide my family’s tools and other stuff!

    I may need to fall back on the tears thing to get the mats (he has all the money)

  9. I NEED to know where you got the fabric…all three sets but particularly the cheveron patterns! IM OBSESSED …and I would love to have these three coordinating fabrics for a variety of things…possibly even these stools but si don’t know if Km capable. You have no idea how grateful I’d be if you’d respond…I NEED those fabrics! :) THANK YOU!!!! :) :)

  10. Good plan . .. getting the most out of a sheet of Plywood. There is one little error in ther text. This line – “You’ll have to trim 2 of the 16 1/2″ x 14″ pieces down to 16 1/2″ x 12″ per bench” should say “trim to 16 1/2″ x 12 1/2″. Don’t mean to be picky but you shouldn’t let engineers read these things if you don’t want a stickler for numbers

  11. This is exactly what I had envisioned four our living room! We are in desperate need of more seating, but don’t have much space for more chairs or a couch. Plus, storage is always a need with a toddler and another baby almost here. I’m going to get to work on this right away and hopefully have them done within the week. I’ll post a follow-up about how they turned out!

  12. It looks like you used some padding on the box & the top when you upholstered. Could you say how much and how you attached it? Thanks, think I’ll try these next month!

    • I just used batting and stapled it onto the sides before I put the fabric on. For the top, I bought 2′ thick 14″ x 14″ foam squares and filled the gap in with more batting then stapled the fabric on it.

  13. Can you sit on these?

    • Yes. That was the whole idea behind the design. My daughter can slide one over and use it to sit at her desk.

  14. Wow nice storage! This would be a perfect for kids stuff…

  15. Meg @ Nutmeg Place says:

    Perfect! I’m thinking I’m going to make up several of these!


  16. Michele @ The Scrap Shoppe says:

    Yay!! Thanks, Sandra! I may try my hand at these over the summer. :)