Floating Bench for Nook, Alclove or Closet

Submitted by Ana White on Tue, 12/29/2020 - 19:05
Difficulty
Intermediate
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A floating bench is easy to build, inexpensive, sturdy, and very functional since dirty shoes stay on the floor, and its easy to clean underneath.  Our free tutorial with lots of reader success photos make it easy!  

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Floating Bench for Nook, Alcove or Closet

floating bench

If you have nook space or an alcove, or a closet you'd like to convert to a mudroom, a DIY floating bench is an inexpensive and easy way to add seating.  It's also sturdy and very functional - about seven years ago, we built this mudroom bench and it still looks great and has held up well.

floating bench DIY

We also added trundle drawers underneath and a coat organizer above.

floating bench with drawers

Since this tutorial, we've seen some great customizations for this project!

built in hall tree

Julie added a back detail to make her floating bench look like a built in hall tree.  We also love the center leg for additional support for longer spans. More photos and details here.

floating bench in mudroom

We love this stained version with inset shelves by The Schmidt Home!  This is also brilliant because you can double stack tall boots over smaller shoes.  

floating bench mudroom  fold up bench

For a deeper bench, hinging the back up allows for easy access to taller boots - customization and photos by HMCTAGG

mudroom bench floating mudroom bench framing

This mudroom system by Mathew40SU is finished beautifully!  We love the stained bench seat that sits on top of the framing and front trim, and the back detailing.

Preparation

Shopping List
  • 2x3 or 2x4s for framing the bench*
  • 1x4s for front trim and optional side and back trim
  • 3/4" plywood or 1x boards for the bench top
  • 3" self tapping wood screws with star bit (SPAX, GRK or similar)
  • 1-1/2" brad nails or trim screws
  • Wood filler and desired finishing products

*Recommended combination is 2x3 when using 3/4" plywood so the front 1x4 trim covers the front edge of the plywood, OR 2x4 framing with 1x boards on top (since the 2x boards have a finished front edge, you don't need to cover with a trim piece)

Tools
Tape Measure
Speed Square
Pencil
Safety Glasses
Drill
Circular Saw
Brad Nailer
Power Sander
Level

Instructions

Step 1

Mark a level line at 17-1/4" off the floor around the desired bench area using a level. 

Also mark studs in the wall just above the level line.

Step 2

Cut two 2x3 or 2x4 pieces to the desired finished depth of your floating bench, minus 2-1/4".

Attach the 2x3 or 2x4 pieces to the side walls of your nook area, keeping top edge flush to the pencil line.  Use 3" self tapping screws (spax or GRK brand or similar, with a star bit head recommended)

Step 3

Measure and cut a 2x3 or 2x4 for the back wall and attach to studs in the wall, top edge on your pencil lines.

You can cut around electrical outlets as shown, just make sure each piece of the 2x3 or 2x4 is attached to at least two different studs.

Step 4

For widths wider than 16" I recommend measuring and cutting a center for extra support.  Attach with pocket holes or use the 3" screws at an angle to secure to the end boards.

Step 5

Measure and cut the front 2x3 or 2x4 to fit and attach to the front edges of the end 2x3s or 2x4s with two 3" screws.

Step 6

Test the bench in the center.  If it needs additional strength, you can add a center "leg" to the middle 2x3 or 2x4, or on the front as part of the trim out.

Step 7

Measure and cut 1/2" or 3/4" thick plywood to fit on top of the bench. You can also use 1x4 or 1x6 boards on top for a more rustic look.

Attach with 1-1/2" brad nails or screws.

Step 8

OPTIONAL: Trim out the back and side edges.  This trim will help conceal gaps between the plywood and the wall and help protect your wall from scuffing, but is not essential.  For a more modern "floating shelf" look, no trim is needed.  Attach trim with 1-1/2" brad nails to studs in walls.  I used 1x4 trim boards.

TIP: If using the trim, prefinish it before attaching.

Step 9

Trim front edge of the floating bench with a 1x4 board.

Step 10

Optional trundle drawers (boxes on wheels) can be added underneath.  We have a free tutorial here for the trundle drawers.

Project Type
Room

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