Designing a Home for a Growing Family: Part Two – The DIY Bench Edition

We thought we’d be the type of parents who would be extremely thoughtful about the amount of toys we brought into our home. All they need is a wooden spoon and some boxes, right? Yeah, right. Turns out, Joe and I both love playing with toys as much as August does, and within the first year of parenting, both our basement and living room were FILLED with stuffed animals, blocks, cars, trains, and the list goes on.

Given our challenges with seating in the living room, a storage solution that doubled as a seating area was ideal. I set out to find some sort of solution that existed already but found places like IKEA didn’t have much to offer. I came across this bedroom reveal from Avenue Lifestyle and began hunting for the same materials she used.

Turns out, the IKEA system she used is sold out in Mpls, and not available online. So, I started looking for another way to mimic a similar look.

When designing a bench like this, you want the finished height to be similar to that of a chair, which is no taller than 18.” I was very familiar with IKEA’s SEKTION system from designing the Studio 125 kitchen and knew they had a series of wall cabinets that were 15″ high and 24″ deep. Turns out, the over the fridge cabinets are PERFECT for a DIY bench solution!

These cabinets are about as easy as it comes in the realm of IKEA furniture, so this was the most painless part of the process. The cabinets do need a base, because the doors are flush with the ground and get caught on the floor. So we added a base with 2″x2″ and a 3″ foam upholstered top for a seating solution that is really functional and comfortable!

When we paired this storage solution with our new couch, it FINALLY felt like we had a seating and storage solution that maximized the functionality of our space. After sharing a couple sneak peeks on Instagram, I know there are many of you looking forward to some guidance on how to make this yourself. Below are my instructions! Happy DIYing!

Materials:
Drill
Wood Screws (1/2″, 1″, 2″)
Staple Gun
Spray Adhesive
Scissors

Bench:
30″ SEKTION Top cabinet for fridge w/2 doors, white, Häggeby white
Two 2″ x 2″ cut to the length of bench, minus 2″
2″ x 2″ lumber 20″ long, one for each cabinet
ÖSTERNÄS Leather handle, tanned leather, one pack per Ikea cabinet
2″ Molding

Upholstered Pad:
3″ Foam Pad (cut to size)
Batting (cut to size, with an extra 4″ on all sides)
Fabric (we selected Hudson 43 Farm Upholstery Fabric 58”-Pepper Devol)
11/32 in. x 4 ft. x 8 ft. Rtd Southern Yellow Pine Plywood Sheathing, cut 24″ wide and the exact length of the IKEA cabinets used.

Instructions:

  1. Build a frame out of 2″ x 2″ lumber. Leave an inch on each side for molding. The base should have one 2″ x 20″ support beams for every cabinet you plan to use.
  2. Build the IKEA cabinets per the directions. Place each cabinet on top of the base. Drill the cabinets together with 3/4″ wood screws. Use clamps to ensure they stay flush and secure.
  3. Drill the Ikea cabinets into the base to secure it in place.
  4. Attach doors and drill holes for knobs
  5. Add molding to the base and secure with finishing nails or wood glue.
  6. Spread fabric out on flat surface and make sure it is smooth. Spray a layer of spray adhesive. Add batting. Spray adhesive. Place foam layer in the center of the fabric. Top with plywood. Make sure the plywood and foam are flush.
  7. Tightly secure the batting and fabric to the plywood with staples. Staple every 1/2″ and make sure the patterning isn’t warping.
  8. Place the upholstered plywood on top of the bench. Secure with 3/4″ wood screws.

Product Sources: Lighting by Schoolhouse Electric, Rug from Maison Eleven, Pillows from The Citizenry, Susan Connor NY, Charish on eBay, Curtains from CB2, Curtain Rod by West Elm, Paint: White Dove by Benjamin Moore, Baskets from The Citizenry and All Modern (no longer available, similar style available here).

Images by 2nd Truth