So, a sweet reader asked last week if I was still planning to share DIY projects.  The answer was a big fat, “Yes!”  The thing is, last week I had a lot going on.  Not only did I launch Teal & Lime Interiors and Teal & Lime Market, but I also attended the Alt for Everyone conference and participated in a SnapShop photography class.

In the background of all that, I was working on a MAJOR DIY project.  Have you ever built something to seat 5 or more people?  Yeah, that’s what I was doing.  It is so big I have to break it up into two posts, so here we go with part 1…

Since the day we moved into this house I have dreamed of a wrap-around corner bench in the basement nook.  We have the same angled nook upstairs in the kitchen, but there the windows are so low to the ground we could not build in a bench.  The basement was my opportunity for a dream window seat.

basementfloorplangameroombench

There are many great examples of built-in benches using over-the -fridge kitchen cabinets.  That was my original plan, but I changed my mind for two reasons:

Two Reasons I Skipped the Storage

  1. Cabinets are not cheap.  Even for the unfinished oak ones at big box improvement stores I was looking at a minimum of $300 just for the cabinets.  I would need to build a 2 x 4 frame under them, put a board on top of them, and still add foam and fabric for cushions.
  2. When I really sat and thought about how I wanted to use this space, it was as a gathering area and a place to play games (board games of cards).  No part of my vision required storage under the benches.  We will have plenty of storage elsewhere in the basement.  So I skipped the cabinets.

Then, I started back at square one…how was I going to build my dream bench?  The amazing Ana White to the rescue.  I pinned this cute 2 x 4 banquette she built.  Other than it’s size and the skirted bottom, it was perfect for my space.  I realized I could modify it to fit my needs.  So the foundation of what I did to build this bench can be found in Ana’s easy to follow tutorial.

I had the home improvement store cut most of my wood to size.  The guy who helped me wanted to find the cheapest option for the bench cushions and ended up recommending OSB (oriented-strand board), which was a few dollars cheaper than a sheet of plywood.  I went along with it, but if I ever did this again I would get the plywood.  The OSB board is very rough on one side, splinters a lot, and has blue coloring on the edge that rubs off on everything.

Once I got my supplies home, I couldn’t wait to lay out the boards and see just how big my bench would be.  As you can see it is going to wraparound the corner of the nook and provide most of the seating around the turquoise pedestal table.

cornerbenchprogress6

The two side boards are each 2x4ft.  The corner piece is 3x3ft.  With the boards in position, I used my straight edge to mark the corner angle to be cut off the corner board.

cornerbenchprogress7

Using Ana’s exact measurements I built two frames for 2x4ft side benches.  Ana used 2×4′s to make her legs, since she skirted her bench.  I wanted my benches open underneath, so I decided to use furniture legs.  I picked up 2 decorative furniture legs for the front of each bench.    I opted to skip legs for the back side of the bench to save money.  Instead I planned to screw the frame directly into the studs in the wall.

I gave the furniture legs two coats of stain in Jacobean, followed by two coats of polycrylic in satin finish.  I screwed the furniture legs into the front corners of the bench frame.  I used two screws to attach the leg from the inside.  Then, to make sure they were extra secure, I put one more screw in from the outside on the other edge of the frame.

cornerbenchprogress9

cornerbenchprogress10

For the corner piece I totally improvised.  I used the 3x3ft corner piece with one corner cut off as my template.  I basically built a 2 x 4 frame on top of the corner board, measuring and cutting as I went along.

cornerbenchprogress5

Here’s a look at the assembled bench frame next to the table for size comparison.  It looks a bit low, because it still needs 4″ of foam on top.  Then it will be 18″ high.

cornerbenchprogress8

Before installing the bench frame, I used batting to soften up the frame edges.  I wrapped 4 layers of bamboo quilt batting around the exposed edges of the frames, on the front and sides, and front section of the corner piece.

benchframebatting

To attach the bench to the wall studs, I used 3″ wood screws.  I first attached the corner frame to one of the bench frames, making one large piece.  Using scrap pieces of 2×4 wood cut to height, I propped my bench against the wall.  After checking to make sure it was level, I drove two screws through the bench frame into the wall wherever there was a stud.  Once that side was attached, I added the bench on the other side.  I first secured it to the corner frame and then attached it to the walls.

benchframelevel

With the big frame in place I could see my vision becoming reality.  I was eager to keep going, but only had sporadic moments here and there to work on this project.  Here is a sneak peek of the bench with the foam on top:

cornerbenchprogress2

Today I plan to finish the upholstery and I will be back later this week with the big reveal (UPDATE:  See Part 2 here).  Can’t wait to share what I used for foam, batting, and fabric!

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13 Responses to DIY Built-in Upholstered Bench {Part 1}

  1. LAURA says:

    Love that your bench is open at the bottom. The legs look great. Can’t wait to see the finished bench!!

  2. Gwen says:

    I’m in awe!! Speechless!! I remember the tease a while back but you’ve been one very busy lady!!! Hmm. Wonder what cheap no creatively conservative way you found batting and all!!! Love the legs too.

  3. Adrienne says:

    Your tutorial is amazing. Thanks for all the detail. I can’t wait to see how you did your cushion because I tried to make a large bench cushion last year and failed miserably.

  4. jessvii says:

    It looks lovely. However, I’d recommend adding some more structural support to the middle of the middle/corner section. I’m not an engineer, but I work with a couple of structural engineers, and I think that is what they would say. They would phrase it in terms of “distributing the load.” Just a thought! (Feel free to disregard)

  5. jessvii says:

    Retraction – I was incorrect. The middle/corner section is already sufficiently supported just as you built it and described it in this post. However, longer wood screws are recommended for screwing into the wall studs for this project.

    • Jackie says:

      Jess,

      Thank so much for taking the time to ask a structural engineer about my bench. Glad to hear the corner piece is okay, since I completely made that up. I may need to take the longer screws into account. I used 3″ wood screws, 2 into each stud, and I used a countersink bit, so the head of the screw is actually about a 1/2″ into the wood frame. Wonder if that makes a difference? Just to be safe I will drive in a few extra 3.5″ screws :)

  6. Diana says:

    Holy cow, Jackie!! You are amazing!!! Great job! You are a DIYer goddess!

  7. Gwen says:

    Do I dare get a tiny bit miffed when do we get DIY projects when we’ve been busy entering for free by giveaways and you’ve shown us multiple big and little projects I can’t even count?!!! I just did your fabric covered orb(?) using embroidery hoops and strips of my curtain tie backs. It looks so great by the fireplace, not too far from my Suzani lined, well made drapes I’d have never thought to look for because World Market used to be pricier and less quality. That was from your post. Then you did that market board and I chose a vibrant yellow stool as a nostalgia piece, which I’d have never found on my own!, and hubby ordered it through your site (I insisted since it was not in stock just down the road!)…so I’d say you’ve given me lots of courage…oh and I did the dipped wood project at an angle only I used narrow 6″ CB vases as that’s what I had and spray painted. That was your inspiration! So keep up the good work!!! I don’t think you ever sleep!!!!

  8. Pam Zirbel says:

    FANTASTIC!!!! I am impressed, not that I doubted you could do this!!!! I cant wait for the fabric part!!!! Thank you for the pictures during this process!!!!

  9. christine says:

    Awesome project. We just built a home and opted to do the breakfast nook area ourselves and save a grand! What length did you use for the legs. I found a couple of websites to purchase furniture legs from. Thanks!

    • Jackie says:

      Christine, Thank you. We used 14″ legs. The finished height of our bench is 18-19″. The legs were attached inside the banquette frame, then topped with a 4″ cushion.

  10. Stacie says:

    Hi,
    I wonder when you will post part 2 with the fabric details? My husband and I are attempting to build this nook for our kitchen. Thanks do much for the great details.

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