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Today I’m excited to show you how my husband built his own built in benches! Pricing online, and local builder options, we figure we saved ourselves over $1000 by doing it ourselves. The overall cost on this project was under $300, to include all wood, nails, wainscoting, trim, and paint.
The bench cushions cost about $120 in foam and fabric, and Marshall’s mom made them herself (she’s legitimately a magician), also saving us another $200+ (price quotes from Etsy shops).
After a few years of having a 4 seat – round table and chairs, we decided to go with the built in bench option to seat more people. We knew we wanted to have more kids, be able to host family for birthdays and holidays, as well as have friends over more often. With our 4 seat table, we just couldn’t accommodate as much as we wanted to. We don’t have a formal dining room, only a small dining “nook” in our open concept floor plan. So we have to maximize every bit of space we can find or create. That’s why we also designed these benches to have lids, so that we can use the inside as storage.
We are currently using a small rectangle table that we were using on the back porch. We plan to get or build a much bigger table as time or budget allow. For now, a tight fit, we can seat 8. With the table measurements we have in mind, we will be able to seat 12.
While I won’t be providing specific measurements, I’m happy to explain the process Marshall used to build these benches. You’ll need to use your own measurements, because built in benches need to be designed to fit your own space, taking into consideration all electrical outlets, and doors.
We highly suggest you buy or borrow a miter saw. This saved Marshall a TON of time and effort over hand-sawing each piece. Thankfully we were able to borrow one from a fabulous friend!
Marshall started out by making squares to set the frame. These were made to the approximate measurements of a standard dining chair (measurement), using (2×4) wood.
Then, the frame was built around the squares, also using (2×4)’s, to create one solid piece. In the photos above and below, you will see that he left framing out on the pieces of the wall that have electrical outlets.
Here is a closer look at how the square pieces were framed in, and set against the wall.
After the frame was set, he used a thin plywood to make the front and side faces of the benches. He also added (1×2)’ pieces to the edges of the top. Then, a thicker plywood to use as lids for the tops of the benches.
Then he replaced the trim that was on the wall, to the bench. This is what makes the benches look “built in”. With the trim in place, it seems as if the benches were there when they built the house. The wall, to the benches, to the next wall is a seamless finish.
We decided to add a wide planked wainscoting to the wall, and then a trip piece on top. We made sure to get a trim piece that matched the trim on the sliding glass doors in our dining room, as the benches go right to the door. This also adds consistency to the “built in” look – making sure that everything you add, matches everything that was already there.
We painted the benches, wainscoting, and trim, in Home Depot’s Behr Frost. This does not match the current trim in our house, but as we are slowly painting each room, this is the white we are painting the trim. When we’re done, all of the trim in the house will be a much brighter white than it was before. I also made sure that the bench and trim paint was the same high gloss, so that everything will be easy to wipe down with a wet rag.
With paint and cushions, our benches look like this!
We are so excited with how these benches turned out! If you have any particular questions, leave them in the comments below, and I’ll have Marshall answer them. Again, I didn’t provide many measurements because you will need to measure your own space and design them to fit.
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