Old Closet Becomes a Reading Nook With Built-In Bench

9 Materials
$60
5 Hours
Medium

Have a closet you don't use anymore? Turn it into a reading nook! I gutted an underused closet in my house and made my own reading nook with a built-in bench inside it. I also added pretty shelves above it to store books.

Get the full tutorial here.
old closet becomes a reading nook with built in bench
First, I cleaned out my closet. I removed all the shelves and even the track doors and the track hardware. Some of the shelves were made of wood, and we saved those after we removed them.
old closet becomes a reading nook with built in bench
Next, we re-used the old wood shelves that were in the closet to make this higher and smaller set of shelves, intended for book and knick-knack storage. We used the existing supports in the closet for the bottom shelf, and added our own for the two shelves above that.
old closet becomes a reading nook with built in bench
The next task was to build a frame for the bench. We simply used 2" x 4" wood to create two identical frames that were held together with vertical pieces at the right height. The width and depth of your bench will depend on your closet, but the height should be about 18" high for comfort.
old closet becomes a reading nook with built in bench
Next we added side panels made of 1/4" thick plywood. On top of the panels, we added 1" x 3" boards around the edges as a frame. Inside the frame, we put in shoe moulding to give it a more refined look.
old closet becomes a reading nook with built in bench
Finally, our bench needed a top to so we could sit on it. You could just put some 1" thick boards over the top, but we choose instead to make a hinged top so we could use the interior for storage. So we nailed a 2″ strip of 1" thick wood onto the left side of the top frame. We then nailed a 5″-long strip of 1" thick wood onto the back of the bench frame top, forming a sort of frame for the hinged lid. We attached (aff link) three 12″ piano (continuous) brass hinges to the side of the back strip and the seat lid. This way the lid is hinged securely, but also rests on three parts of the bench frame (a bit of left side, all of the right side, and all of the front) for maximum support.
old closet becomes a reading nook with built in bench
I bought 4" thick foam, cut it to size, and covered it with old sweaters to finish the cozy nook. Here's a photo of the completed reading nook in the former closet. (The desk next to the bench was a later addition!)

Suggested materials:

  • 2" x 4" wood (16 feet)  (Home improvement store)
  • 1" x 3" wood (10 feet)  (Home improvement store)
  • 1" wood tabletop  (Home improvement store)
See all materials
Jennifer Maker

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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2 of 53 comments
  • Shirley Roberts
    on Jun 18, 2017

    I can see a toddler grandchild loving this nook for naps or sleep-overs!

  • Ethel Kirkpatrick
    on Jun 30, 2017

    Great idea! Nicely done! Love the dog... did he/she take over the little bed as soon as he/she saw it?! :)

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