If you would love to have a mudroom but just don't have the space, this compact bench and shoe shelf may be exactly what you need. Mount it near the garage service door and you'll have a convenient spot to remove and store your shoes or boots before going inside. There's even a hollow bench with a flip-up lid to store your hats and gloves.
By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine
A hinged lid provides easy access to the compartment under the seat. It’s a perfect place to store hats, gloves and all kinds of other small stuff.
All of the parts for this project are cut from standard pine boards, so you don’t need to haul big sheets of plywood home or worry about finishing exposed plywood edges. You do need to choose your lumber carefully, though. The wide pine planks tend to cup and warp, so look for boards that are flat and straight. And plan to build the project soon after buying the lumber. If you leave the lumber sitting around for weeks, it may begin to warp or twist.
Step 1: Cut out the parts
Photo 1: Cut the parts
Cut the boards to length, following the Cutting List. Running your circular saw along a large square ensures straight, square cuts. Parts F, G and N also have to be ripped to width. You can do this with your circular saw or on a table saw.
Start by choosing the four straightest, best-looking 1x12s for the shelf sides. Cut these to 72 in. Then use the Cutting List to cut the remaining parts (Photo 1). If you’re lucky enough to own a sliding miter saw, you can use it to cut the parts to length. Otherwise a circular saw will work fine. The boards for three sides of the bench and one of the bench bottoms have to be ripped a little narrower. You can use a circular saw or table saw for this. After cutting the lumber, sand it with 100-grit sandpaper to remove any marks and smooth out any ripples left from the milling process. A random orbital sander works great for this, but you could hand-sand if you don’t own a power sander.
Figure A: Entry organizer & Cutting list
Step 2: Assemble the parts with screws
Photo 6: Mount the seat hinge
Clamp the lid and the back rail together as shown. Center the hinge on the two lid parts and attach it with four screws, two on each end. Then drill 5/64-in. pilot holes and drive in the remaining screws.
Photo 7: Install the shelf standards
Cut each of the 72-in. shelf standards into two 34-3/4 in. pieces using a hacksaw. Measure from the ends to the centers to retain factory ends on each piece. We spray-painted the standards to match the finish.
We joined the parts with 2-in. trimhead screws, recessing them slightly to make room for the wood filler. But you can substitute regular screws if you don’t mind the look of screw heads. Even though our screws had self-drilling tips, for extra insurance against splitting the wood we drilled 1/8-in. pilot holes for the screws.
Clamping the parts together before you drive in the screws makes it easier to keep the parts aligned. And if the wood is a little twisted or cupped, you can flatten it with clamps before driving the screws. We also added three cleats to the bottom of the seat board to hold it flat. Spread wood glue on these cleats and attach them with 1-1/4-in. screws.
We chose a continuous hinge for the lid. Cut the hinge to 35-5/8 in. with a hacksaw. Since you’ll also have to cut all the metal shelf standards to fit, buy a sharp, new 32-tooth blade. Photo 6 shows how to attach the hinge. Finish up the assembly by cutting and attaching the metal shelf standards (Photo 7).
Step 3: Hang the project on the wall
Photo 8: Install temporary suppport
Locate the wall studs with a stud finder and mark them with strips of masking tape. Install a 1×2 ledger with the top edge 7-1/2 in. above the floor to support the shelves and seat while you install them.
Photo 9: Install the first shelf unit
Rest the shelf on the ledger. Drive a screw through the top hanging strip into a stud. Then use a level to make sure the sides of the shelf unit are plumb. If necessary, push the bottom one way or the other to plumb the sides. Drive a screw through the lower hanging strip into a stud to secure the shelf unit.
Photo 10: Install the coat-hook shelf
Screw the coat-hook shelf to the studs, making sure it’s level. Then level the shelf from front to back and attach it to the side of the tall shelf with 1-1/4-in. screws. Attach the opposite side after you’ve installed the second shelf unit.
Photo 11: Mount the bench
Rest a scrap of 1×4 spacer on top of the temporary ledger to elevate the bench to the correct height. Set the bench on the spacer. Then drive screws through the back of the bench into the studs.
Photo 12: Connect the bench and shelf
Use two-part connector bolts to connect the front of the bench to the shelves on each side (connect the second side later after the second shelf is mounted). These bolts provide more support than screws to ensure the bench will be safe to sit on. The bolts we used required two Allen wrenches to tighten.
Photo 13: Finish up with the second tall shelf
Rest the second shelf unit on the ledger and tip it up into place. Attach it to the wall by driving 3-in. screws through the top and bottom hanging strips and into the stud. Then connect the bench with the connector bolts and attach the other side of the upper shelf with 1-1/4-in. screws.
First, locate the wall studs. An electronic stud finder makes it easy. Mark the stud locations with strips of masking tape. Now choose a position for the project that will allow you to attach each of the 12-in.-wide shelf units to at least one stud. Next, screw the temporary 1×2 ledger to the studs, making sure it’s level and the top is located 7-1/2 in. from the floor (Photo 8). The ledger supports the shelf units and bench while you attach them to the wall. Photos 9 – 13 show the installation steps. Finish up by choosing the locations for the adjustable shelves and installing them with the shelf clips. We prefinished the project with Behr Semi-Transparent Waterproofing Wood Stain.