DIY Farmhouse Bench for Small Spaces

5 Materials
$50
3 Hours
Medium

There is something so satisfying about walking into your home and being surrounded by pieces you created. Call it a romantic notion, but I love knowing every detail about the pieces that make up my space, including the memories of particular struggles or exhilarating victories of figuring out a conundrum when pulling a piece together. Obviously, I love to work with wood, but I honestly love any and all creative processes that turn my house into a home.
When I decide on a new project, it usually entails me playing with industrial and farmhouse elements because that style simply brings me joy, but I always keep a very strong emphasis on highlighting my small space. Living in a 1600 sq feet home with my three kids and husband fills my heart with joy because I really do believe that:
“Love grows best in little houses, with fewer walls to separate. Where you eat and sleep so close together, you can’t help but communicate. If we had more room between us, think of all we’d miss. Love grows best in houses just like this.”
However, small space living brings along it’s own challenges. How do you make the space feel warm and inviting, without feeling cluttered and cramped. That usually requires forethought and planning. I guess that is another reason why I adore creating DIY projects for my home…because they meet all my criteria! LOL. Like this farmhouse bench. I love that benches don’t create a vertical block to the view of a room like a traditional chair does with it’s back, but I had no room for a long farmhouse table and benches that would seat 4 to 5 guests at a time. Nope, I needed the same cool look in a size that felt substantial but fit snug with my 6 person table.
Photo Cred: Anya McInroy
Supplies:
  • 3 or 4 - 2″ X 4″ boards
  • 1 or 2 - 1" X 8" boards
  • Drill & Screws
  • Wood Putty
  • Steel Wool & Vinegar (optional)

Cut List:
  • vertical legs: 4 – 14 1/2″ long 2″ X 4″ boards
  • bottom horizontal leg joiner: 2 – 7 1/2″ long 2″ X 4″ boards
  • horizontal leg cap: 2 – 13″ long 2″ X 4″ boards
  • seat top: 2 – 52″ long 1″ X 8″ boards
  • frame boards: 2 – 47 1/2″ long 2″ X 4″ boards
  • bottom horizontal support bar: 1 – 46″ long 2″ X 4″ board

You can easily assemble your cut boards using a pocket hole, but I opted for a more direct method. Using a larger drill bit, I lined up my boards and drilled halfway down before loading in a screw. Reason being that my design of butting two 2″ X 4″‘s up against each other left A LOT of real estate for my drill to go all the way through with one measly screw.
Start by drilling your pilot holes with a drill bit that is fat enough to let your screw head dive down below. Drill only half way through the first piece of 2″ X 4″.
Next up, load your screw into the pilot hole and screw it down through the board and down into the vertical 2″ X 4″.
Note that I used two screws to stabilize the horizontal piece that went flush with the vertical piece, but I only used one on the short end. This will be the top of your leg.
Ok, goofy, I know…but I hope this clarifies the construction for you! The two verticals are held together by the small connector board on bottom and then capped with with the 13″ board. This creates just enough space to attach the 47 1/2″ frame board later to create the bench base, and it gives me a simple, modern design for my legs. Do this twice and then it’s time to finish off the base.
Once both of your square legs are assembled, grab the 47 1/2″ length boards and screw them into place, flush with the vertical leg and the horizontal cap board. I used two screws drilled through the flush side of the horizontal cap board, right into the end of my 47 1/2″ board.
Once both frame boards have been attached to the legs, it’s time to assemble the frame. Simply stand them upright and rest the free ends onto the top notches of the legs. This is the whole reason we didn’t cap our legs with a board that ran flush to both ends of the vertical legs.
Screw it into place and then it is time to top the bench with our 1″ X 8″ boards. I just screwed them down into place, sinking the screws a tad so that I could come in and putty up all my holes.
Last bit of construction is to take your 46″ long 2″ X 4″ board and screw it in along the bottom base, connecting it to the middle of each leg.
Final steps were to fill my holes with wood putty, sand things down, and then I hit the entire project with some steel wool soaked in vinegar. Have you ever tried that technique? It does such an awesome job of “aging” the wood with minimal effort. It adds the perfect touch of farmhouse vibes to my home!
Just soak the steel wool in vinegar, then wipe down the piece you are aging. As it dries, your wood will begin to “age” right before your eyes. It is so cool! I did two coats and then simply used some clear furniture wax to seal the job. I love how it turned out!
And now, I have some beautiful farmhouse style furniture that fits my small home and my family’s needs. I love how it opened up my space! I don’t miss the chairs one iota!
Cheers to making your house a home!
xoxo
Chanda

Suggested materials:

  • 3 or 4 - 2″ X 4″ boards  (Home Depot)
  • 1 or 2 - 1" X 8" boards  (Home Depot)
  • Wood Putty  (Home Depot)
See all materials

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Zest it Up

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

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 4 questions
  • Moe
    on Oct 8, 2017

    How does the putty do with the "ageing"

    • Lori Haught Harper
      on Oct 9, 2017

      I think she was referring to the vinegar trick, not the putty. She just filled the holes before doing the aging.
  • Moe
    on Oct 13, 2017

    what kind of wood did you use, those look like pine boards on on top(the 1 x 8's)
    it looks as though the 2x4's are spruce? Do they all take to the "ageing" the same?
    I was thinking about using your design plan for my living room media stand.

    Moe
    • Zest it Up
      on Oct 13, 2017

      Hi Moe! Great questions! We used whatever wood we had on hand so it's a variety of different kinds. They did take the "ageing" all the same. We hope this helps!!
  • Carol
    on Oct 28, 2017

    It looks like you added a board from the center of the ends, like a spacer to keep the ends from losing stability. From one end to the other. I thought I saw two screws along the bottom board in the center. I didn't see you do it in any of the pictures. Did I miss it somewhere?

Join the conversation

2 of 31 comments
  • Paulette Peltan
    on May 31, 2018

    You did a great job--start to finish! Thanks for sharing.

  • Cindy Mcmanus Cameron
    on Dec 29, 2019

    Love this project, just what I was looking for.

    For a unique stain try letting your steel wool and vinegar set for a few days. Distilled vinegar, apple cider vinegar and organic vinegar all give different colors of stain.

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