Flip Top Storage Bench / Coffee Table

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 02/02/2010 - 08:57
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A simple bench that holds a suprise in it's aprons. Flip the top up and find the perfect spot to store magazines, mittens, or anything else that can fit! The bench also features a roomy bottom shelf perfect for shoes and blankets. I had this bench under my wall mounted flat panel, and used the flip top for remotes and dvds, and the bottom shelf for controllers. This bench is really easy to build too!

18″ High, 48″ Wide, 15″ Deep


Shopping List

1 – 12′ 1×12 pine board
2 – 1×2 pine boards
1 – 1×3 pine board
2 – 1×4 pine boards
2 – sets of basic butteryfly hinges

Common Materials
2 inch screws
120 grit sandpaper
wood conditioner
paint brush
Cut List

2 – 1×12 @ 42 1/2″ (Shelves)
4 – 1×2 @ 17 1/4″ (Leg Pieces for the Sides)
4 – 1×3 @ 17 1/4″ (Leg Pieces for the Front and Back)
2 – 1×2 @ 39″ (Bottom Shelf Trim, Front and Back)
2 – 1×4 @ 39″ (Top Storage Compartement Sides, Front and Back)
2 – 1×2 @ 8 1/2″ (Bottom Shelf Trim, Sides)
2 – 1×4 @ 8 1/2″ (Top Storage Compartment Sides, Sides)
1 -1×4 @ 48″ (Top, Back)
1 – 1×12 @ 48″ (Hinged Top)

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


Step 1

Legs and Bottom Shelf. Begin by building all four legs. You will need to nail through the 1×2 part of the leg into the 1×3 leg piece, keeping outside edges flush. Notice how the 1×3 part of the legs is on the front and back, and the 1×2 parts are on the sides. Be aware of the leg placement as you assemble the bench.
Then fasten the legs to the bottom shelf, leaving a 3″ clearance under the bottom shelf on each of the legs. I suggest that you mark each of the legs 3″ from the bottom first, and then assemble the bench. Use glue and 2″ nails, fastening through all the leg pieces into the shelf edges.

Step 2

Top Shelf. Fasten the top shelf, leaving 2 3/4″ from the top of the shelf and the top of the bench. As you did in step 1, I recommend marking each of the legs 2 3/4″ down from the top, and lining this mark up with the top of your top shelf. Fasten through the legs into the shelf with the 2″ nails and glue.

Step 3

Bottom Shelf Trim. Measure and cut your bottom shelf trim from 1x2s. These are pieces noted as pieces D and should be approximately 39″ long. Trim both the front and back of the bench. Keep the bottom edges flush. The top will overextend by 3/4″ the bottom shelf. Use the 2″ nails and glue.

Step 4

Top Shelf Storage Compartment Sides, Front and Back. Measure and cut pieces E, a 1×4 approximately 39″ long. Keeping the bottom edge flush with the bottom of the top shelf, fasten E to the top shelf along the bottom edge. Use the 2″ nails and glue. Then toenail, or nail at an angle from the top ends of E into the sides of the leg pieces. This will keep the top edges of the storage compartment in place.

Step 5

Step 6

Bottom Shelf Trim, Sides. As you did in step 3, measure and cut boards F and trim out the sides of the bottom shelf. Boards F should be approximately 8 1/2″ long, cut from 1x2s, and are flush with the bottom of the bench (and not the top, as shown above).

Step 7

Top, Back Piece. Mark piece H 2″ from the outsides for the overhang on the ends. Then mark piece H 1″ along the back edge for the back overhang. Then position piece H on top of the bench and fasten in place using the 2″ nails and glue. Be sure to fasten to the leg pieces and the back of the storage compartment.

Step 8

Hinged Top. Use the hinges to attatch the 1×12 to the 1×4. It is a good idea to use magnetic clasps to keep the 1×12 in place and prevent warping when the top is closed. Look closely at the first picture and you will see the hinges slightly show on top of the bench. If you would like completely invisible hinges, you can invest in support hinges designed for lift top toy boxes and benches. The cheap butterfly hinges work great for me.


Ana White (not verified)

Wed, 10/28/2009 - 14:42

You will suprise yourself at how easy this is. Just be safe and make good square cuts and use good square straight stock. Good luck, post a pic when you are done! Love Ana

Jeanette (not verified)

Sun, 01/10/2010 - 18:55

Did you have the materials and cut list on this project yet?? Also some dimensions would be great!!

Heather Melzer (not verified)

Thu, 01/14/2010 - 07:53

I would love a material/cut list as well for this. I just found your blog and an in AWE!

Ana White (not verified)

Thu, 01/14/2010 - 08:02

Hi everyone, I am planning on reposting the bench due to the popularity. This was one of my very first posts, and I have learned much since. Expect updated plans to post very soon!

junesummer (not verified)

Tue, 01/19/2010 - 01:56

this may have been one of your first posts, and I would like it to be my first (of many) of your projects. I just love your site and you have given me the courage to jump in, but I would love a material and cut lists for the storage bench. Keep up the good work, your site is the first one I check every morning to see whats new. Love it!!!

mlshowalter (not verified)

Tue, 01/19/2010 - 09:37


I was wondering what kind of hinges you used for the lid of the table. My dad and I are building it together as a birthday present for my boyfriend, and we can't figure out how the table works without having the hinges show on top. I have to have it done by Saturday, so any help would be appreciated!

Thanks so much, and I love your site!

Ana White (not verified)

Tue, 01/19/2010 - 10:25

On my storage bench, I just used low profile basic hinges. The hinges do show a tiny bit on the top, but the overall product is fine. I positioned the hinges so that they rest in the crack between the hinged top and the back top piece, and not on top of the bench. Only the pin part of the hinge shows.

You could use european hinges that are completely invisible (like what is used on kitchen cabinets). You will need to buy a special bit and the hinges can be a little pricy. See this article -

The other option is to use "support hinges" designed for lift tops. You would then need to attach the hinges to the sides of the storage compartment.

Hope this helps!

Jill (not verified)

Thu, 01/21/2010 - 15:32

I've been visiting everyday since I saw you featured on Be Different Act Normal. This bench is what I'm gonna start with! I'm so excited!!!

marcjulieb@yahoo.com (not verified)

Fri, 01/22/2010 - 14:23

I want to make this bench yesterday. JK but tomorrow will do. Did you happen to post the cut list and plans yet?
Thanks so much

Annalee (not verified)

Tue, 02/02/2010 - 12:33

LOVE this! I wonder if we could modify the height and make it taller to use as a console/desk/laptop storage in our room.

Thanks for more awesome stuff!!

shamika (not verified)

Tue, 02/02/2010 - 12:44

this is AWESOME!!!!! My birthday is this mo. and I asked for a nail gun and paint sprayer!!!!! I cannot wait to get started!!!! Is this another $50 project:)

Ana White (not verified)

Tue, 02/02/2010 - 17:22

Hi Laurie, you can still cut all your boards, but I have received alot of emails where people comment that the plans are off because the boards do not line up. This is usually either from the boards being non-dimensionally sized or from poor construction. To avoid these problems, I am recommending readers to measure and cut as they go. Of course, the plans will still have a cut list if you are confident with your skills and would like to save time and cut first.

Yolanda (not verified)

Wed, 02/03/2010 - 07:18

Very excited to see these plans, Ana. I'm pretty sure this will be our first build (many more on the dream list right now). Will be in touch and let you know how it goes.

Anonymous (not verified)

Wed, 02/03/2010 - 08:23

I love your website! By far the best I've seen! What stain did you use for this storage bench? I also read sealing pine before staining it? What are your thoughts on that?

Southern (not verified)

Wed, 02/03/2010 - 08:32

I love your rectangular pillows! Would you mind sharing where you found them. please?

Ana White (not verified)

Wed, 02/03/2010 - 08:33

I used walnut stain on the bench. I use poly after I have stained, but I'm not saying my technique is "right". What finish is "right" for you is what I would recommend. Do some experimenting on scraps.

Anonymous (not verified)

Wed, 02/03/2010 - 08:34

I'm such a clutter-phobe that even coffee tables are too much for me. That is, until I saw this plan! I love this storage table!!! I also love the side tables, did you make those as well? Are there plans for those?

Ana White (not verified)

Wed, 02/03/2010 - 08:35

The rectangular pillows are handmade. The fabric is fromm Joanns, I believe you can still buy it online, from the Better Homes and Gardens collection. I just bought pillow forms and coverend the pillows. Same with the zebra print.

Beth (not verified)

Thu, 02/04/2010 - 03:14

I love this table! I 'm picturing it taller to use as a sideboard in my dining room. Is there a way to make the "storage" part a little deeper? It would be great to be able to store dishes or even wine glasses in it. Or liquor bottles even. And how about some sort of wine rack built into the bottom? Just some more ideas. You are so awesome!

Anonymous (not verified)

Fri, 02/05/2010 - 08:42

Interesting blog. I used some of the plans from the restoration hardware table to build our own.

As for finishing, any tips for a less glossy finish, even less so than the satin poly? One person suggested natural oil (but i've heard it is not as stain resistant). Others say wax (but it will get damaged by heat and water). Im so confused now.


Erin (not verified)

Fri, 02/05/2010 - 09:17

I would like to make this into a piano bench to sit on and store our piano books in. Would the only thing I need to change be the 48" long boards? And what do you think would be a decent length if I don't do the 48" length for the bench?

Shelli (not verified)

Fri, 03/26/2010 - 11:01

Is this table load bearing? I was thinking of making it for the foot of the bed, but it would get sat on and I want to make sure it could handle that? Thanks!

Ana White (not verified)

Fri, 03/26/2010 - 11:06

My bench has a huge wide screen on it. I can't give you exact weight limits, but it's very sturdy and strong.

Misi (not verified)

Wed, 03/31/2010 - 15:22

Love your blog!! I'd also like to make this for the foot of my bed. Would 60/65 inches be too long or would I need to add extra support somehow? Thanks!

Carrie S (not verified)

Mon, 04/05/2010 - 04:12

Ana I love this plan. My problem is I don't have a nailer so I thought glue and screwing would work. I just don't see where I would put the screws without them hitting each other. Please help.

Virginia (not verified)

Fri, 05/21/2010 - 03:01

Hi Ana, love this bench!! If I wanted to make it taller, do I just get longer leg pieces? Or would stability/center of gravity be compromised?

Nancy (not verified)

Thu, 06/03/2010 - 12:23

I built this table .. somehow the top warped while staining and I had to re-stain the top again. I had some issues with finding the perfect hings, but it may have just be a first timer error. I'll post pics soon.

PS: From the reader's picture (not Ana's), do we know where her baskets are from? I like the style.

vdub_gryl (not verified)

Tue, 06/15/2010 - 07:40

Ana! I am so glad I found this plan. This is EXACTLY what I have been looking for. So glad I found your blog. I'm a new fan ;) Will post pics when I've finished. Yay!

Judy (not verified)

Tue, 08/17/2010 - 07:48

Hello! Thank You! Love this Bench! Love this Blog! To elaborate: I love seeing how many other women love to work with wood. I have recently discovered my inner carpentress, (sounds like someone in a monestery!?) and I so appreciate your talent. I'm 63 years old. Now my daughter and I are working on things together. Particularly exciting since I was brought up to believe that girls just couldn't pick up a hammer. Best to you, wonderful lady!

Tomena (not verified)

Sun, 08/22/2010 - 18:00

Hi Ana~ I just have to say that I LOVE your site! I have a question about this "table". I am a homeschool mom and I want to make a coffee table that would double as a low activity table for my kids in our small family/homeschool room. When I'm done with it I want to put a world map on top (we're short on wall space and maps are essential to homeschoolers) and put glass or something over it so that they can color and do school work on top of it if they want to. I LOVE the design of this table (my style is farmhouse) but of course it needs to be bigger or more square, if you get what I mean.... do you have plans similar to what I'm describing OR can you give me a few pointers on how to accomplish that? I'm new to building things so be easy my ignorance... {{wink}} Thanks a ton! ~Tomena

Angie (not verified)

Mon, 08/23/2010 - 12:22

This looks like a great project to be scaled up for a kitchen table. Just think of all the odd pans and dishes you only use a few times a year. I just found your site and wish I had a garage! I love building things and with your simple instructions and plans I'm sure there will be some great projects in my future.

52 Things « Wi… (not verified)

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 23:58

[...] My new-found sense of well-being actually began in late August when I stumbled across a website by a woman called Ana White whose website was then called Knock-Off Wood. Ana builds wooden furniture. Not just any wooden furniture, but beautiful, solid, functional wooden furniture that duplicates brand-name designs at a fraction of the price. The interesting bit, though, is that she has no specific background in woodworking. The amazing bit is that she says anyone can build beautiful wooden furniture. The incredible bit is that she tells you exactly how to do it.  The still-somewhat-unbelievable bit is that I bought some wood, and started building this. [...]

Jamieabe (not verified)

Wed, 11/24/2010 - 09:47

Hi Ana, I love this bench and wanted to make a couple of them for our new dining table. We are in the process of making the farm table from your plans. I was wanting to know if you could modify the length of the bench so that it fits the table better. This bench is originally is 4 ft long, and we need it to be the length of the table, so I guess 8 ft. If you can do this it would be great! I'm sure at that length it will need added supports, and I'm banking that you know the rest:) I would really appreciate it if you can do this, thank you so much, Ana, for your website and all your great ideas. I'm so excited to use my new-old farm table for Thanksgiving this year, and to enjoy it in my home for many years to come.

Farah (not verified)

Sun, 01/09/2011 - 11:53

Hi Ana, love you site and all of the amazing plans. This bench was my first poject and now I'm addicted to building :) I finally got around to staining it and it looks amazing....thank you very much for all the plans. I still need to add the hinges and will post a picture when it's completed. I'm already planning my next project from your plans :)

In this plan you mention magnetic clasps. Where do you put them so that the top piece doesn't warp?

Also, I saw the apothecary cabinet in your plans and I would like to build the similar style coffee table. If you have a chance, can you please create a plan for it?


Thu, 03/24/2011 - 13:20

I've been wanting to build a bench to go under the HUGE window in my dining room that included storage but hadn't found any plans for exactly what I'd wanted. I was expecting I'd have to figure it out on my own. I love to build but have only done very small projects so I'm not too terribly confident yet, I'm sure I would have made enough mistakes to cause way more frustration than I need.

Now that I've come across this, I'm elated! I will need to tweak it a bit for height and width but it will be much easier than doing it all on my own :) 

(I love the anchored strip at the back, it will make it convenient to have cushions that can just be propped up while fishing things out of the storage area!)


Tue, 12/20/2011 - 11:18

We are about finished with the bench but the flip top 1x12 is bending a lot when we sit on it. I put some stiffeners under the 1x4 top strip that extend out about 2 inches under the 1x12. This has reduced the bending significantly. And if you were wondering, we both weigh less than 160 lbs individually. Anyone else have any good ideas?

Victoria Marie (not verified)

Sat, 02/18/2012 - 08:08

Hello, I'm attempting this as my first building project, and so I don't want to invest in a kreg jig (in the event that this is also my last building project). Can this be done without pocket holes? Would it work just to drill into the sides of the legs to secure the shelves?


Victoria Marie (not verified)

Mon, 02/20/2012 - 18:04

I broke down and bought a jig. I got a $40 one at Home Depot that someone recommended to me. It's small enough and cheap enough that I can use it for possible future projects -- or not -- and not feel too bad about the splurge.

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