Follow this easy, budget-friendly tutorial to make a built-in storage bench – How to build a dormer window storage bench with a piano hinge.
He have this little nook in our upstairs hallway. We live in a post-war “Cape Cod” style house, and literally EVERY single house in our neighborhood like ours has a dormer window in the front of our house. For some reason, we have a little nook there, but NO window.
Was is a budget thing at the time of building? I have no idea.
Anyway, that’s why I’m calling this a dormer window bench. Because there really should be a window there!
Here’s the “before” picture of our little nook:
How to Build a Dormer Window Storage Bench:
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- razor blade and trim puller
- measuring tape, level, pencil
- 2×4 boards (for the frame)
- 3/4-inch plywood (for the top)
- bead board paneling (for the front panel)
- 4-inch construction screws
- miter saw
- power drill and bits
- nail gun + brads
- caulk, painter’s tape, primer
- paint color of choice (I used Sherwin Williams Repose Gray)
- baseboard trim to match the rest of your space.
Video Tutorial: How to Build a Storage Bench
Watch the video below to get a quick overview of how this project came together:
Step 1 – Prep and Measure Your Space
Remove your baseboards and paint the walls (if you want).
Now it’s time to measure everything. This was a bit tricky for me, since NOTHING in our home is square. The opening to this nook was off my about a half-inch between the front and the back. I decided to build a “not square” frame to match my “not square” nook.
Step 2 – Build Your Frame
This was SUPER basic, with just 2×4 boards. By not building sides or a base out of plywood, you save lots of unnecessary work and expense.
What size should I build my bench?
The width of your bench will vary, depending on the size of your nook, but a good height and depth for benches is about 21-inches high and 21-inches deep.
Step 3 – Build your Bench Top
Cut your 3/4-inch plywood to cover the WHOLE frame (and allow for a tiny bit of overhang to cover the front panel as well).
Cut a 2-inch strip off the back of the bench top panel.
Cut 1.5-inch strips off both the left and right sides of the bench top panel.
By making these cuts, you will be able to open and close the bench top without it rubbing against the walls.
Secure the 3 bench top side pieces with a nail gun.
Step 4 – Add a Front Panel
Cut bead board panel and attach with the nail gun.
Step 5 – Add trim to the bench top + Replace Baseboards
Since my walls were a bit bowed, I added a strip of quarter-round along the back wall to cover the gap. I didn’t want any little Lego pieces or paper falling back there and getting lost!
Add baseboards. You can re-use your old baseboards, just cut down to size. We were in the process of replacing all of our upstairs baseboards anyway, so I just installed new.
Step 6 – Caulk, Prime, and Paint Everything
Fill in nail holes. Caulk around ALL of the edges. Prime and paint.
What are my paint colors?
The walls are Sherwin Williams Snowbound and the bench and trim are Sherwin Williams Repose Gray.
Step 7 – Add a Piano Hinge
Install a piano hinge to the bench top, and you’re in business!
A DIY Built-In Storage Bench
Here’s my finished bench! The kids love sitting on it in the morning when they get dressed and at night to read before bed.
P.S. Do you like my sconce lights? I added them with no hard wiring! See how in this wireless sconce light tutorial.