How to build an upholstered storage bench.
I built these 18″ tall so she can slide one over and use it as a chair when she wants to do homework at her desk/hutch. That way, we don’t have to have a designated chair taking up valuable floor space in this tiny bedroom. And the benches double as storage for all the things that never get used but we can’t seem to part with.
The boxes are SUPER easy to build. I upholstered mine so I used an inexpensive plywood that is sanded on one side and the other side is pretty rough. I used the smooth side for the inside of the boxes and covered the outside. If you wanted to stain or paint, you could use MDF to paint or a nice cabinet grade plywood for stain. (See: selecting the Right Material for a project for more information about that.)
3/4″ Lumber of your choice cut into the following pieces.
- 2@ 16 1/2″ x 14″ lumber
- 2@ 16 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ lumber
- 2@ 14″ x 14″ lumber
- 2@ scrap strips of lumber OR 4@ scrap blocks of lumber (any size will do)
- wood glue
- Finish nails and/or 1 3/4″ wood screws
- 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.
Build a diy Upholstered Storage Bench
The box is going to be 18″ tall overall so you want to make sure you orient the sides so the 16 1/2″ length is the “Top-Bottom” portion of your box.
- Place the two 14″ wide side pieces so they will be parallel.
- Attach the 12 1/2″ wide side pieces INSIDE the 14″ wide pieces — creating a 14″ x 14″ square box.
- Use wood glue and screws or nails and screws. Either one or the other is fine. I like to shoot in some nails to keep everything in place while I drive in my screws.
- Attach a 14″ x 14″ piece on the bottom of the box.
- Attach cleats on to the top piece to keep the lid from sliding around if someone sits on it.
- I used a scrap of wood about 1″ wide by 12 1/2″ long
- Make sure to leave 3/4″ of space on all sides of the outside of the cleats so the cleats will fit INSIDE the box.
Upholster, paint or stain.
I am not a pro at upholstering and pretty much stumbled my way through the process so I’m not going to try to “teach” you how to do it. Here’s what I did:
- Stapled on some batting
- Sewed the fabric together at the ends, creating a loop
- Pulled the loop onto the box
- folded the fabric over the top edge of the lid
- stapled the edges down onto the top lid and onto the bottom of the box.
Bam — Just like that!
I actually spend a whole day upholstering 3 benches. It was a learning process.
Attach bumpers on the bottom of your benches. This is especially important if you stapled fabric onto the bottom of the boxes. Those staples might scratch your floors if you don’t protect them.
I purchased the fabric at Hobby Lobby and it’s held up quite well.
Measure twice and cut once. ALWAYS use safety gear to protect your eyes, ears, lungs.