Our (tiny) entryway leads into my kitchen, and we had this extra space next to our kitchen cabinets, so I thought it would be a perfect space for a DIY shoe bench! Now, we do already have this shoe cabinet, that we use regularly. But, both my husband and I have 2-3 shoes that we slip on and off multiple times a day, and it can be a little annoying to always have to put them back in the cabinet. So, we always had a small pile of shoes that never made it back into the cabinet. I’m hoping this shoe bench will alleviate that, plus look cute too!
MY DIY Shoe Bench Wishlist
When designing this shoe bench, I had several things that kept coming to mind:
Convertible for Changing Seasons
We live in Buffalo, NY. If you know anything about Buffalo, it’s that we get a bit of snow in the winter! This means we need snow boots. It’s always a struggle every winter when we walk into our house because our shoes are covered in snow and we’re trying not to drag it through the house. So, obviously, I wanted somewhere close by to store our boots, and this seemed like the perfect spot.
However, when you store boots, you lose a lot of usable space because they are tall. So how was I going to make a shoe bench that got the most out of the space, while also being able to store our boots? I went back and forth on this for quite a while.
Then it occurred to me, why not build something that could be interchangeable with the seasons?! I could build a variety of shelves, and depending on our needs, we can change them.
Using only Scrap Wood
My scrap wood storage area has gotten a bit out of control recently! And, I really love saving money whenever I can. So, I decided that my last few builds in this kitchen were going to be using mostly, if not all, scrap wood. For this project, I was able to use 100% scrap wood!
Building the DIY Shoe Bench
My dimensions: 32” wide, 18” tall, 12” deep
Tools and Supplies
- ¾” plywood
- Circular Saw and Rip-Cut (optional)
- Jig Saw
- Nail Gun
- Clamps (optional)
- Screws, Nails
- Caulk, Wood Filler, Primer, Paint, Polyurethane
Step 1: Build Main Structure
This step was pretty simple, it was just a matter of cutting down three pieces of plywood and securing them together!
I used my circular saw and rip cut to cut down three pieces: 11 ¼” x 32” (1) and 11 ¼” x 15 ¾” (2). I then sanded them down.
Next, I pre-drill holes on the edges of the longer piece and used a counter sink bit so my screws were flush. Finally, I assembled the pieces so that the long piece sat on top, with the two smaller pieces acting as legs.
Step 2: Add Supports & Face Frame
I started by adding 1×2’s around the entire back frame by screwing them into the plywood. Then, I added an additional piece in the middle for additional support. I envision using this bench to put shoes on, so I wanted it to be able to withstand that weight.
Then, I added additional 1×2’s to the two sides and top of the front to cover up the raw plywood edges and give it a more substantial look.
Step 3: Detail piece
Finally, I wanted a little bit of a decorative piece on top, so I again used 1x2s for. I started by adding a regular 1×2 to the back to act as the back lip. Then, for the sides, I wanted to add a small curve. I found a circle that allowed me to trace a cure onto the 1×2, then I used my jigsaw to cut it out.
Then, I used my sander to get the curve really smooth. I was pretty nervous about this part, but it was actually really easy, and I love how small details really add so much!
Step 4: Shelves
Now that the structure is done, it’s time to move onto the shelves! Remember, there are going to be three options.
For the first option, I started with the horizontal shelf that would extend the full length. This will allow us to store 6 pairs of flat shoes (sandals and sneakers).
I had some scrap plywood that was previously ripped down to pretty thin that I used to create shelf supports. These were nailed into the sides. Then, I just cut down my shelf to the full length/width. I set it inside and then added a 1×2 to the front to make it look more finished. Once everything was sanded, I just nailed in the 1×2 and the first shelf was done!
Next, I removed the shelf (just lifted it out since it’s just resting on the supports), and started with the vertical divider. I again just cut it down based on the opening, then cut it down and secured the 1×2 for the face frame. Then, I added another scrap piece of plywood to the middle of the left side to act as an additional horizontal shelf support.
Once I got it in place, I was able to measure for the next horizontal shelf. At this point, it was just rinse, wash and repeat until I had all three options!
To simplify it: Make cuts, sand everything down, secure the 1×2 for the face frame, and put everything together!
Step 5: Finishing Work
The final tedious but necessary step: finishing work! I started by caulking the edges and filling my nail holes. Then I had to prime everything. It did take two coats of primer. Then it was time to paint. I debated between using the Sherwin-Williams Honest Blue from my lower cabinets, or the Sherwin-Williams Eider White on the walls. Ultimately, I thought the blue would be too much so I went with Eider White and I’m happy with it!
Since this bench is going to store shoes, there’s a good chance it’ll get pretty dirty! So I also added three coats of clear water-based polyurethane to protect it. It’ll make it much easier to clean too!
The Final Look!
What do you think?! I’m excited to have something so functional, but still pretty in this space. Now to decide what to do on the wall above it!