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Building a Shoe Storage Bench from Kitchen Cabinets

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Welcome! If you are a friend, you know that all our friends and family enter through our mudroom. This door is the closest to our driveway. Only the door-to-door salesmen go to our front door (heh, heh, heh!)

Come on in! This blackboard, mirror and memory board used to be a discarded window.
Make one of your own! Tutorial here.

This is my pride and joy! My mudroom bench and coat rack. Yes, I made it myself.
And no, I didn’t have any help from my husband. I am the handywoman of our home.

I’ll give you a little background about how this bench came to be. I really loved having a mudroom to begin with. But, the piles of shoes and coats that accumulated behind the door were making me nuts! Who knew that a flip flop could double as a door stop, not allowing me to enter my own house!

My son tried to help out by piling all the shoes on top of the coat rack. Better, right?!

Sure, I could have hopped over to Pottery Barn and bought a mudroom bench and shelf, but I balked at the price tag. So, I continued to ponder a solution. I dreamed of having a perfect storage solution to streamline my mornings of getting two little boys out the door to preschool. A bench to perch the kids on while putting on their shoes. (A task I know someday I will miss doing, but for now I can’t wait for them to learn to tie their own shoes.)  Everyone’s socks and shoes would be at hand but not in the way. And a place for every jacket, book bag, and hat. The final product was beyond my dreams. I love it more than any other piece of furniture in my house. It is my sanity saver!

My dreams began to form when I stumbled across some kitchen wall cabinets on clearance at Lowe’s. These are the short cabinets that mount over your fridge. They were marked down to $45 each.

The wheels in my brain began to turn. I started to see how I could use these cabinets to solve our shoe dilemma.

I bought some lumber. I also had some salvage pieces that had been collecting dust in our attic. An old door with recessed panels, four ornate old coffee table legs, and some shelf brackets from a yard sale.

After a few days of distressing and staining boards, cutting lumber, rounding some edges, hammering, nailing, driving screws and sweating, this is what I ended up with!

Chain throwing and hammer marks add a distressed look to new wood.

Decorative shelf brackets add nice character to the back rest.

Salvage coffee table legs add that much needed detail.

The finished bench (the only time it was ever empty.)

Loaded with shoes and with the salvage door on top as a coat rack. A mudroom bench with shoe storage and a clear floor! My sanity has returned.

If you are intrigued as to how I constructed this bench – keep reading. If not, thanks for stopping by. I hope you will come back again soon. And, the tutorial for the coat rack is here!


Building the Shoe Storage Bench (the Tutorial)

I have to apologize up front for not having the usual step-by-step tutorial for this bench. But, I built it pre-blogging days when I didn’t have to stop and start after every step to take a photograph. I hope you’ll forgive me. And now the abbreviated tutorial:

Here is the bench flipped on its back to show you the base construction:

I built the base frame by nailing 2x4s together.

Added a 1×4 board (toe kick) to hide the cheap 2×4’s. Then finish nailed the toe kick to the base frame.

Now the upright view to show you the bench construction:

I attached the two wall cabinets to the base frame with screws.

Added a 1″ thick pine board cut to size to fit between the two cabinets. This board also hides the base frame.

Used two 1×4 pine boards with rounded top corners for the back rest.

Mounted decorative coffee table legs by driving a screw down through the bench seat.

From the back, the bench looks like this (not pretty, but no one sees it.):

You can see the two wall cabinets from the back side.

Another view of the two 1×4 back rest boards.

Shelf brackets were used to mount the back rest to the bench seat.

Screwed 2×2 cleats to back of cabinets, then attached the bench seat by driving a screw down through the seat and into cleats.

Now to show you how the pieces were attached, the close up below is a view of the shelf bracket and corner section:

This corner shows how I used screws and nails to attach the parts (definitely ignore my sloppy nailing skills. I’m still working on perfection y’all.)

Base cabinets had particle board construction, so I added veneer end caps.

Close up of end cap veneer with base moulding profile cut out.

Read more about scribing and cutting a profile here.

Then I added L brackets inside the cabinets to support a shelf.

Add the shelf and you’ve got double the shoe storage.

Hmmm, but if you have shoes, you need to have sock storage as well. I purchased one magazine basket at Target.

And filled it with our socks. Old baby wipe containers are used to divide the socks for each of my sons.

And voila, I have an efficient sock storage spot.

Here is the final result loaded with socks, shoes and coats! The coat rack is made from an old door, antique hooks, and yard sale shelves.
Coat rack tutorial is here!

Not bad for about $200 in materials! I love my mudroom bench and get oodles of compliments on it.

See y’all later.

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94 replies
  1. gnee @ Singing With Birds
    gnee @ Singing With Birds says:


    You are amazing and this is terrific! I'm passing this on to my kids who are suffering from shoe build up at their homes! Thanks…

  2. marty (A Stroll Thru Life)
    marty (A Stroll Thru Life) says:

    This is absolutely fabulous. It is so creative and looks wonderful. Super storage and it's beautiful too. What a great creatie solution to a problem. Hugs, Marty

  3. Kim
    Kim says:

    I've had a wonderful time looking through several posts today. This is just brilliant. I especially like the brackets as side pieces.

  4. rebecca @ older and wisor
    rebecca @ older and wisor says:

    Those legs are SCRUMPTIOUS and look like they were meant to be there! The dark stain is perfect, and of course I'm a fan of anything that didn't have boy help (something I never get either).

    (not that I'm complaining)

    (because I've seen my hubby's "work")

    Linked over from the Lettered Cottage

  5. Erin @ Two Story Cottage
    Erin @ Two Story Cottage says:

    WOW. How beautiful! Great tutorial too. Your handiwork is inspiring!

    Socks with shoes. Now why didn't I think of that?

  6. The Pennington Point
    The Pennington Point says:

    That bench is fabulous! You did a great job of taking hardware store stuff and making it look original and custom. I am completely impressed! Lisa~

  7. Pam @ diy Design Fanatic
    Pam @ diy Design Fanatic says:

    Love your mudroom bench! Your tutorial deserves an A++++. As a kitchen designer I can say you did an outstanding job! I have designed many a mud room bench/locker, etc. and I just use cabinets and other cabinet accessories to create them. The same goes for custom range hoods! You have discovered our secret!!! Great job!

  8. Meg
    Meg says:

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this! Will you make one for me???

    I'm having a Target giveaway at my blog! Love it if you could stop by. alittleknickknack.blogspot.com

  9. Tina Grimes
    Tina Grimes says:

    This is wonderful! I soooo want one. Gonna have to show this to my Hubs, because I myself am not quite that handy. But HE is! LOL Thanks for the wonderful tutorial. I'm visiting from All Thingz Related.

  10. Debbie
    Debbie says:

    Not only intrigued, I am extremely impressed! That is AWESOME…you are really good, and should be very proud of your work!

  11. Rhiannon
    Rhiannon says:

    ok so we tackled our first big project and im feeling a little more comfortable now. Still have to paint but I also found a great website that is a cheaters… I mean beginers/idiots guide to building a bench. I'm ready to tackle my next project!

  12. Amanda@Imperfectly Beautiful
    [email protected] Beautiful says:

    AMAZING!!! You are a creative genius woman. I love all the slavaged materials you used to construct this piece. Everything about it is fantastic. Great job! Thanks for linking up with us over at The CSI Project.


  13. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    First of all, amazing blog. I'm blown away by the both of you.
    Second, can you please make sure your husband checks his FB message. My phone is inoperable. I was trying to steal him away for much of the afternoon Sunday, and it turns out it won't be possible. Sorry for the hassle. You are both missed.

  14. Amy
    Amy says:

    This is awsome!!! Beautiful and functional. I would love to have room for one of these in my laundry, but alas there isn't…guess I will just admire yours! Thanks for sharing!

  15. Robin
    Robin says:

    You are so amazing. I want this mudroom storage for my house. Thank you so much for linking you awesome project to my upcycled awesome linky party.

  16. Sherry @ No Minimalist Here
    Sherry @ No Minimalist Here says:

    Wow, This is absolutely fabulous! How creative you are to use the shelf brackets for the back rest. Love it! Hugs, Sherry

  17. Allison Shops
    Allison Shops says:

    Gosh, your project was so creative! Nice job!

    I wanted to let you know about Atticmag's new linky party – Giveaway Friday! It's a convenient place for bloggers to link their giveaways each week. We've kicked it off with a fantastic giveaway of our own. Five lucky winners will win material to do a backsplash in their homes. Hope to see you there!


  18. ★All Thingz Related★
    ★All Thingz Related★ says:

    It's beautiful! We are so glad you joined us for Anything Related! Come back tomorrow for another great party!

  19. Ann Marie @ Twice Lovely
    Ann Marie @ Twice Lovely says:

    I am blow away by this project!! It looks like something that would cost thousands at Pottery Barn or Ballards or the like. It's one of my great desires and something I don't have in the house we're in now is an entry way or mud room, but when I do, you better believe I'll be referring back to yours for inspiration! Awesome!

  20. Marion
    Marion says:

    LOVE this one! We have a less fantastic version of this in our hallway and could have used this tutorial beforehand – what a beautiful work of (furniture) art – and it's practical!!! You are masterful.

  21. Leslie
    Leslie says:

    NO WAY! I was just thinking today about how I desperately need to make/buy one of these. Thank you so much for sharing this. Very, very cool that you made this all by your pretty (handy) little self.

  22. Paige Wyckoff
    Paige Wyckoff says:

    You rock ! And, your being bookmarked!! This bench and hook system is what I have been trying to brainstorm myself … thank you so much for doing such an amazing tutorial :-)))
    LOVE IT !!! I fancy myself pretty handy, but have definitely raised the bar!

  23. GPSOkie
    GPSOkie says:

    I was searching for ideas to build a shoe and coat rack for my son and came across this. Awesome job! I don’t need one this big but I am going to use your idea as a basis for my project. Thanks for posting!!

  24. Conessa
    Conessa says:

    Love, love,love the coat rack and bench and my handy husband has agreed to tackle the project. What are the final dimensions for the coat rack and the bench? They seem huge but huge is what we need – we need as much storage as we can get.



  25. Melanie
    Melanie says:

    I love your blog, I am new to the DIY scene and will be tackling the staining of my kitchen cabinets next month. From what I noticed the sides of those cabinets don’t seem to be real wood and might be what you mentioned on here (either fiberboard ends or veneer ends) and they don’t look or feel like they can be sanded down and stained. So I guess my question is how do I tackle that, can I just buy veneer end caps that match my stain?? Did you buy your veneer end caps at home depot?

  26. Krista
    Krista says:

    This is exactly what I have been trying to create – in my head! It is amazing and I thank you for sharing how you did it!

  27. Gwen
    Gwen says:

    That is FANTASTIC! I’ve been looking for a free or really cheap cabinet to build a shoe bench, and I love that I just stumbled upon your bench and tutorial. Your explanations are fantastic! I really love how your bench turned out.

  28. Travis
    Travis says:

    Awesome work!! It’s great to see womenfolk getting their hands involved in typical “mans domain” type work! That said, get a good countersink/pilot hole drill bit from lowes and some torx bit type outdoor screws from their or home depot. The philips head or even the #2 square drive screws like to cause the bit to jump more than torx and screw everything together rather than nails. Screws don’t loosed up and cause wood to squeak and wobble as much imo. I just couldn’t bring myself away after I started reading this tutorial and the superb pictures that no guy would EVER think to do to make others understand the process fully! I’m off to try and find some kind of shoe rack for the garage entryway that’s more utilitarian than what you have created.

  29. Amber cato
    Amber cato says:

    LOVE THIS! Thanks for giving me the inspiration for my entry. And I’m so glad to see another woman that likes to “do it herself!” I like to build too. Thanks!

  30. Debbie Froedge
    Debbie Froedge says:

    Can you give me more information on the tiles used in the mudroom and is there a link to the how to on laying the tiles?
    “They are actually porcelain tiles inkjet printed to look like slate. We bought them at Lowe’s Home Improvement.”

  31. Thea
    Thea says:

    Guess what a few people on my Christmas list will be getting this YEAR!! I love giving useful items to people and well, this is most useful. I also thought, well with a few openings and some nice baskets, I could make a lovely coffee table for my mother and put hidden storage in the middle for lap blankets and such. (she lives in a large one bedroom apartment.) So, many excellent thoughts on this. Thank you.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Kitchen Cabinet to Shoe Storage by Pretty Handy […]

  2. […] I take your jacket? You can kick off your shoes if you want to get more comfortable. The shoe storage bench and coat rack were early DIY projects. This mudroom spot is my sanity saver because it holds our […]

  3. […] of a disgustingly filthy grease covered discarded cabinet door. So, let’s hop to it! While building my mudroom bench, I took off the doors and kept them in the hopes of being able to use them another day. I’m […]

  4. […] Building a Shoe Storage Bench from Kitchen Cabinets […]

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  13. […] Make a Coat Rack from an Old Door and Make a Shoe Storage Bench with Kitchen Cabinets […]

  14. […] scoured the internet for ideas and found the perfect solution over at Pretty Handy Girl. Her shoe bench was cleverly made from two stock upper kitchen cabinets which she found at the […]

  15. […] mudroom to spray paint  one piece of threshold brushed nickel. Okay, call me crazy, but I was on a mission […]

  16. […] Throwing a chain at wood gives you those elliptical dents. Dragging the sharp edges of a pry bar across wood will give it some deep grooves. Finally a few random hammer marks here and there finish off the worn look.  This is the exact same technique I used on the mudroom bench. […]

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  19. […] started planning out the storage bench and coat rack at the same time. The coat rack was definitely the less involved project. Below is a […]

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