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.


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.