How to Make a Shoe Bench Better AKA Mudroom Bench

6 Materials
2 Hours

When we moved into our house, off the kitchen dining area was a small bump out into the garage. I always thought it would make a perfect mudroom bench area. Now, I know I could have save a lot of money by making the bottom part and not buying an entry bench but that would have added time and stress to the project and myself. I knew all those compartments would be hard for me so this is the method that made this area so easy to build out.

Bump out into garage

So, here it is. It is 24 inches deep and 48 inches wide. It’s a great idea if you want a mudroom bench and don’t have room to just take 8 square feet from your garage. That is, if you are able to, our garage is very long so we could do this. If anyone wants to see the bump out from the garage view, just comment and I’ll post a picture. Also, I think most closets would work for this idea.

I started with this bench but in white from Pier 1. There are great entryway benches on Amazon, too. I was limited by my 48 inch bump out. A lot of my favorite benches were 48 1/4 inches across. They might have worked but might not have and delivery and returning would be an issue. So I ordered smaller than the length of my bump out.

For my bench seat I glued two stairtreads together back to back with clamps.

I painted it white and honestly this is the only thing that I would do differently. I wished I had stained it. It would have contrasted nicely with all the white.

I used tongue and groove boards from Home Depot. They are about 5 or 6 inches wide and 8 ft long. I cut each one in half. There were lots of knots and I filled them with spackle before I primed the wood.

After the putty/spackle dried, I sanded and primed the planks before installing them.

I put them in the space and then numbered the backs so they would go back in the correct order.

I used a brad nailer with glue to attach all of the planks and then I ran a 1 by 4 across the top and nailed/glued it into place.

More puttying the holes and sanding... there is a lot of that in this project.

More painting...

After priming but before my high gloss paint, I caulked all the gaps.

After applying the caulk, spray with a soap and water solution before smoothing with your finger or popsicle stick.

I knew I wanted to create a template so each hook would be in the same placement on each plank. I cut an index card to that dimension. I folded it in both directions to find the middle of the card. Once I knew where the middle was, it was easy to place the hook in the center and mark it. After you have it marked where the holes are just punch them out.

At this point I wanted a second opinion on how many hooks to put on the second row so I turned to Hometalk and posted the question in the forum. I got such great feedback... and some people mentioned the baskets and changing their color. The first time I saw someone mention basket I didn’t know what they were talking about. When a second person mentioned black baskets... I realized that I was so focused on the hooks that I wasn’t looking at the bigger picture of my project. My shoe bench came with white baskets and it never occurred to me to change them. Until some Hometalkers mentioned it. They were right, I’m going to spray paint them black.

We had a quote from a handyman to build something similar and the it was $800. The biggest cost for this project was the shoe bench. It was $300. I wish I had gotten one off of Amazon because they are so much cheaper than what I paid.

All in all, I’m very happy with how it has turned out.

I thought that I was done and I wasn’t going to add more hooks but more people kept commenting “More Hooks”, so I caved to popular opinion and I do admit it looks better. I also, decided to paint the baskets black.

A little “before” picture of the original hook placement and white baskets.

I spray painted them black but this spray paint seemed to clog from the get go. So, I give it a 5 out of 10.

I managed to coax enough out to finish the job, barely.

And we’re done!

I absolutely love it and I wish I had made this 3 years ago. I will only get to enjoy it a short while before our house goes up for sale.

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