Tired of tripping over shoes at the front door? This DIY shoe storage bench is the perfect solution for your entryway! The cushion top provides seating while you remove your shoes, and the storage bins below hold plenty of pairs.
Our entryway is always a cluttered mess! There's an overflowing basket for shoes, but nowhere to sit and put them on. But not anymore! This DIY shoe storage bench gives us the seating we need by the front door, and these industrial metal storage bins hold all the shoes for the entire family in one place.
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Sometimes I stumble upon a single object that becomes the inspiration for an entire piece of furniture. In the case of this shoe storage bench, these industrial metal bins from Target just jumped into my shopping cart and demanded to be incorporated into my living room!
The front door is behind the couch, which creates an mudroom area in the living room. Using the same gorgeous leather for both projects brings the whole room together!
Materials Needed for DIY Shoe Storage Bench
- 4' x 4' half sheet of ¾" plywood
- One 8' long 1 x 2 board
- Circular saw or table saw
- You can also get the cuts made for you at the home improvement store.
- Pocket hole jig
- If you've never used one before, here's my overview of how to use a Kreg Jig and a comparison of the different models.
- 1 ¼" pocket hole screws
- Nail gun and 1 ½" brad nails
- Wood filler
- Edge banding (optional)
- Storage bins
Materials Needed for the Cushion
How to Make a Shoe Storage Bench
Download the free woodworking plans
Sign up for my email newsletter to get the free woodworking plans for this storage bench delivered straight to your inbox! It includes the cut list and a plywood cut diagram so you get the best use of your materials, plus step by step instructions with 3D models to help you along the way.
Drill pocket holes
First, read my guide to pocket holes if you aren't familiar with the process. One additional tip for this project: Set your pocket hole drill bit for slightly less than ¾". Plywood is a tiny bit thinner than ¾", and you don't want your screws poking through!
Drill pocket holes down the short sides of the back piece, and along three sides of the top and bottom piece.
At the same time, drill pocket holes along three sides of the center support. If you're not planning to plug the holes later on, you'll want to avoid putting one close to the front edge where it will be visible.
Cover the exposed plywood edges
Some of the plywood edges will be exposed after assembling the bench. I decided to cover these ends with edge banding.
First, check out my tutorial on how to apply edge banding. Basically, you just iron it on, then trim the edges away!
It's a lot easier to do the edge banding before assembling the bench. You can also apply wood filler and sand it smooth later on in the process.
Assemble the frame
Start by attaching the back of the bench to the sides with 1 ¼" pocket hole screws. I used these corner clamps to keep everything square while I inserted the screws. They're like another pair of hands!
Next, attach the top piece 1 ½" down from the top of the side pieces. This will hold the cushion in place on three sides, so it doesn't slide around when you sit down. It's recessed slightly from the front to make room for the trim later on.
Now, measure and mark the middle line of the interior and install the center piece. I used the corner clamps again to hold it upright, and a square hanging from the top to make sure it went in perfectly straight.
Finally, screw the top in place. It should rest on top of the center divider and be level on both sides.
There will be a lot of weight centered in the middle of the bench when you sit down, so it's probably a good idea to support that long span underneath. Attach a piece of wood the same height as the "feet" to the bottom with brad nails. You can cut it shorter than the full depth of the bench so it won't be seen from the front.
Install the trim
Plywood edges aren't very strong, so I wanted to reinforce the most used areas of the bench with trim. The trim should be flush with the top and bottom so the bins move in and out easily.
Apply wood glue along the plywood edge, then align the trim with the front edge. You can use a brad nailer or finish nailer, or just clamp it in place until the glue dries.
Fill any holes or gaps with wood filler, then sand smooth when dry. Now it's ready for paint!
I used Benjamin Moore Advance paint in Decorator's White, which is my go-to color for anything white in my house. There are a lot of white paints out there, so pick one and stick with it for all your projects!
Upholster the bench seat cushion
Cut the ¼" plywood slightly smaller than the top section of the bench. The batting and fabric will fill the gap and make the cushion fit snugly.
Trim the 1" thick upholstery foam to the exact dimensions of the top of the bench. I just cut around the edge of the plywood backing.
Cut the batting and fabric about 4" bigger than the foam all the way around. This gives you plenty to grab onto when pulling it taut.
Staple one side of the batting and fabric to the plywood backing. Pull the other side taut, then staple it in place. Leave a few inches free at each corner.
One benefit to working with leather is that the edges won't fray when cut. Only the front edge of the bench cushion will be visible, so I cheated a little when creating the corners.
I folded the corner over to the short end, cut the bulk from behind the fold, then wrapped it around to the bottom and stapled it in place. This will keep the cut edge up against the side where it won't be seen. It took a lot of fiddling to get just right!
I did the same thing for the back edge, in case the cushion starts to sag over time and needs to be flipped around.
Now the cushion slides into place on top of the shoe bench, and the raised back and sides prevent it from sliding around.
Load up your shoe storage bench!
It was kind of amazing how many shoes fit into the bins of my new bench! It's much easier to find a matching pair when you can see through the metal wire mesh.
The cushion provides the perfect place to sit and take off your shoes at the end of the day!
The crisp, clean lines contrast nicely with the industrial metal baskets. It would have been difficult to find a store-bought bench that fit their not-quite-square size, but that's not a problem when you make your own furniture!
You could also use this as toy storage in a small space! I wish I had one of these when my son was younger and toys were strewn everywhere!