Closet Mudroom Bench with Hinge Up Boot Storage Compartment

Submitted by Ana White on Fri, 07/12/2019 - 11:22
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These clever and easy to build benches turn a closet into a mudroom with hidden boot storage.  With shelves on the front for shoes, and a hinge up compartment on the back for boots, there's no wasted space and everything is accessible.  Use off the shelf 1x12s to build the benches.  Check out our free tutorial with diagrams and helpful tips and lots of build photos.


mudroom built in closet with hinge up boot storage compartment

My sister has an entryway closet that wasn't working for a family of five with small children.  With winter fast approaching here in Alaska, this closet needed to become a mudroom fast.

But a couple of problems.  This closet is in a tight hallway, with the entry door swinging into the hall space.  So a bench with drawers under it, or bins or baskets that slide out is not an option - the entry door could not be used at the same time as the bins/baskets/drawers were being accessed.

The closet is 24" deep - we didn't want to create shelving that is 24" deep at below the knee level - especially since most of the shoes are small kid shoes.  Stuff would get lost in the too deep shelving, and no one wants to get down on their hands and knees and dig it out.

So we came up with an idea to have shelving on the front, and a hinged top on the back for boot storage.

No wasted space, no too deep shelving, no door/drawer collisions!  

We love how this one turned out, and it was one of the easiest builds ever!  Here's how it went down -

We screwed a 2x2 cleat to the back wall, hitting studs in the wall.  The pencil line is at 18" and is also the height of the finished benches.  The cleat is attached 3/4" below the pencil line.


Then using 1x12s, we built two simple benches.  We built two so the benches could be easily set inside the closet without destroying the drywall.

We screwed the benches together at the front of the closet opening.   (We also added a back, I'll get to that in the plans below).

Then we just measured the distance from the back of the bench to the wall and ripped a 1x12 down to fit, giving about a 1/4" to allow the tops to open easily.  Those boards are attached to the benches with hinges.  (Holes are drilled later to assist with opening the lift tops)

We painted everything "In The Moment" - BEHR(r) Marquee.  It is the perfect turquoisey blue for furniture - not too bright or kiddish, but not a pastel or chalky, with a neutrel undertone.  

The Marquee paint is a true one coat coverage, making quick work of transforming lumber into .....

THIS amazing mudroom!

The paint was really the turning point.  I had planned on just white, but am so glad the #BEHRBOX inspired us to go with "In The Moment" by BEHR Paints(r). 


For the top, we worked with the existing shelf by adding a piece below it. 

Then we installed Liberty Hardware hooks for functionality and beauty. 

My favorite are the large coat hooks on the ends, also by Liberty Hardware, perfect for longer items.  You can never have enough hooks, and you can mix and match and it looks anything BUT boring.

This truly was an easy build, and we are so excited to share the bench plans with you below.  

Do share if you build!

XO Ana

PS - Do pin and share!


Shopping List

1x12s - the width of your closet X 3 plus 18" per leg

1x3s - the width of your closet

Cut List

See steps for cutting instruction

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Circular Saw
Power Sander


Step 1

We recommend building two benches if longer than 40" (so shelves don't sag) or if you are trying to install inside a closet (so it's easy to place the benches in the closet). 

For benches inside the closet: Measure the overall width of your closet and divide by two.  Subtract a 1/4" (so you have some "play") and cut the tops to this measurement.  The bottom shelf is 1-1/2" smaller than the top.  The legs are consistent regardless of width.

Using 1x12s, build bench frame as shown in diagram.  We used a Kreg Jig and 1-1/4" pocket hole screws, but predrilled wood screws (2" length) will work as well.

Step 2

Cut two 1x3s the same length as the bottoms shelf.

1x3s are added to back top (inset in the cabinet) and front bottom (inset in the front bottom).  Can be nailed (1-1/4" brad nails and glue) or screwed or Kreg Jigged in place.

Step 3

The back plywood needs to be held down 3/4" to allow for the hinged top.  Nail to sides and 1x3 at top with 3/4" nails.

Step 4

Additional shelves and vertical dividers can be added with pocket holes, screws or nails as you see fit.

If adding vertical dividers, add before shelves.  You will need to be notched out for the top back  of the divider for the top 1x3 with a jigsaw.


Step 5

For install inside the closet, place the two benches inside the closet, at the front of the closet.  Screw together.

Place a 2x2 cleat at the same height as the plywood on the back of the benches on the back side of the closet.

Measure the opening between the back closet wall and the back of the benches.  Cut plywood or 1x12s to fit.  Hinge to the back of the benches (so the tops rest on the cleats when closet).

Project Type



Mon, 12/09/2019 - 16:42

I need help with the top part.  I have a shelf in my closet already just like in the picture here.  How did you create the second shelf underneath with the partitions, and how did you install it?


Fri, 07/24/2020 - 12:25

I’d like to make this without the bottom part so I can just slide boot trays in and out directly on the floor. Would this be structurally strong enough without the bottom piece? Also, can the hinge be at the back of the shelf against the wall instead of in the middle of the bench? Thanks!

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