Need a convenient space to store all those shoes and coats? You can convert part of your Laundry Room into a Mudroom.
Like a lot of homes in the US, our garage door leads straight to our laundry room. That makes it the perfect spot for a DIY laundry and mudroom combo. But our house was built before everyone fell in love with mudrooms. After moving in I spent a lot of time on Pinterest searching for DIY mudroom bench ideas.
There are really some huge and beautiful mudrooms out there. But I needed to work our mudroom into a 4 foot wide space between the garage and the washing machine. At first, I was looking at ripping out the existing cabinets to build a mudroom space from scratch. Then I realized those cabinets were already the perfect starting point.
So, I stopped searching for DIY Mudroom Bench ideas and started converting those cabinets. The long cabinet, on the left, that used to store brooms and cleaning supplies became extra coat and bag storage. The base cabinet on the right was cut in half and converted into a bench. The upper cabinet above it was shortened by about 10 inches to increase the head space. Everything got new trim to give it a finished look.
I’ve broken down the details for this DIY Mudroom Bench from Old Cabinets below. It’s really easier than it sounds. AND be sure to see the full Laundry Room tour with a lot more pictures. Guys, this room is Teal now and it’s so, so pretty. 🙂
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What you’ll need for this DIY Mudroom Bench
- Circular Saw
- Dremel or Hand Saw
- Brad Nailer
- Spirit level
- Miter Saw or Miter Box, to make 45 degree cuts on trim
- Various types of trim that matches your existing trim
- 3/4″ Plywood, to add extra support to the bench seat
- 24″ deep finger jointed wood panel for the bench seat
- Wood Filler & Caulk
- Closet Pole and Flange Set
- Primer, Paint, and Polyurethane for the cabinets
- Wood Conditioner, Stain, and Polyurethane for the bench seat.
- V-Groove Wall Panel or Bead board
- Coat Hooks, like these
Cost for this DIY Mudroom Bench
You’ll spend between $70 and $80 on trim, v-groove board, a wood bench top, coat hooks, the closet pole and mounting hardware. This is definitely one of the most affordable DIY mudroom ideas on Pinterest. Right?
Special Notes for this DIY Mudroom Bench
My cabinets are made from painted 3/4″ plywood. So, this made cutting the cabinets down pretty straight-forward and easy. If you have cabinets made from a laminated and/or thinner material. Be cautious when cutting it. If you don’t feel confident cutting the cabinet, then please don’t. Or at least test your technique on upper parts of the cabinet that you’ll be discarding later.
It was also very easy to attach shelves and closet poles to 3/4″ plywood. Thinner materials will not be able to support these on their own. You’ll have to research a suitable technique or attach the shelf supports and closet pole supports to structurally strong cabinet frames.
Patching and painting afterword is unavoidable. Make sure you’re confident that your cabinets can be painted with a result you’ll be proud of. I have never painted or patched laminated cabinets. You’ll have to get back to Pinterest to find out how to do that. 😉
Pantry Cabinet Changes for this DIY Mudroom Bench
This is the easiest update of the 3. Start by simply removing the cabinet doors. The small upper cabinet became a cubby for my purse, gym gear, and water bottle. The long pantry got a new shelf near the bottom. I used a 1″ x 2″ strip of common board on each side as the shelf support. The shelf was made from a 3/4″ board, cut to the size of my opening. More shoe storage goes under the shelf, bag storage on top.
I added extra coat storage by mounting the closet pole and matching flange set about 5 inches from the top of that cabinet. You want to leave plenty of room above the pole for lifting hangers up and off.
Base Cabinet Changes for this DIY Mudroom Bench
Start by removing the doors, drawers, and hardware. I recommend cutting down the base cabinet first. Then you’ll have a bit more room to work on that upper cabinet. But either way works. Select a comfortable height for your new bench. I always measure a seat in my house to use as a guide. I wanted this one to be 18″ high. Since, I would be adding a 3/4″ thick bench top. I’d need to cut my base down to 17 1/4″ high.
Once you decide how much to remove, mark a straight line with a level and pencil across the front and any exposed sides. You can put painters tape on the wood to reduce splintering before cutting. You probably want to remove the counter top first. This can be quite a struggle. Check under the counter top for screws attaching laminate or wood counter tops to the cabinet. For other materials you may need to carefully pry the counter top off.
If you can get the old counter top off without breaking it, you can use that as your bench top. Or buy a 3/4″ thick, 24″ deep piece of lumber, like I did.
Upper Cabinet Changes for this DIY Mudroom Bench
Again, start by removing the doors and hardware. If you are converting a base cabinet into a bench, you’ll need headroom. If you have an upper cabinet above it, you can remove a section of the bottom. Like I did! My husband is tall. So, I removed 12″ from the bottom of the upper cabinet. Anywhere between 8 and 12″ will probably work.
My upper cabinet already had a shelf in the middle of it. It was glued, nailed, and caulked in place. No reason to move it. If you have a fixed shelf too, make sure that you leave enough cabinet beneath it to actually use that opening for storage or display. If I made mine any smaller, not much would have fit in there.
Carefully remove any trim that might be around the bottom edge of your upper cabinet. You can clean it up and reuse it after the cabinet is rebuilt. I wasn’t able to salvage mine. But I easily found new trim at Home Depot.
Once you decide how much to remove, mark a straight line with a level and pencil across the front and any exposed sides. You can put painters tape on the wood to reduce splintering before cutting. But first, you’ll need to grab a friend to hold that section of cabinet up. No need to just let it fall on your feet. 😉
Cutting the Cabinets for this DIY Mudroom Bench
I started my cut with the circular saw. It’s just a faster and cleaner tool for this job. After cutting as much as I could with the circular saw, I switched to the jigsaw. That jigsaw will take you very close to the wall and cabinet, but you’ll still have a bit more to cut. Grab that Dremel or Hand Saw to cut the final bit of cabinet away from the wall and near by cabinets. Now, your detached cabinet section may still be attached to the wall. You have a bit more work to do.
You’ll need to possibly mark that same straight line and make similar cuts on the back inside walls of the cabinet. Be sure that you are only cutting cabinet wood and not drywall. Also, make sure that you aren’t cutting into a shared cabinet wall. Some custom cabinets are built in your home, so the very back of your cabinet may just be drywall painted with the cabinet paint. And the cabinets might share walls. Make sure to carefully assess your cabinets before making cuts.
If you do need to cut inside the cabinet, set the circular saws depth to the exact depth of your cabinet wood (3/4″ in my case). You don’t want to tear up your drywall. You probably won’t be able to use the jigsaw inside the cabinet. The final cuts will need to be made with a Dremel or similar tool.
Once you’ve made all the necessary cuts, try wiggling the cut section off the wall. The cut section of cabinet may be nailed or screwed into the wall or cabinets by it. Search for screws to unscrew. If there aren’t any screws, you’ll need to carefully pry the cut section away from the wall.
Finishing Touches for this DIY Mudroom Bench
After all cuts are finished, you’ll need to add a new bottom to the upper cabinet. Pick appropriately sized lumber to cut to size. I would attach a 1/2″ x 3/4″ ledge along the back wall for the new bottom to sit on. Then nail and glue that new bottom to the sides and front of the cabinet.
For the bottom, you may need to reinforce the bench before attaching the new seat. As I mentioned, I already had a 3/4″ frame. That may have been fine for supporting this bench, but to be extra safe, I added a 3/4″ board across the middle of the bench too. My boys always stand on this bench. We get absolutely no movement in this seat. I know it’s perfectly safe for them now.
If you’re cabinet frame is thinner than mine, you can line the insides with a 3/4″plywood frame too. Be sure to anchor that frame to the studs in the wall behind the cabinet. Use framing screws long enough to get about 1″ deep into the studs. Also, some cabinet bases may not be strong enough to support weight. Use your best judgement, based on the materials used to build your cabinet. Better safe than sorry, right.
Give that wall above the DIY Mudroom Bench a pretty “hall tree” look with v-groove plank, trim, and some nice coat hooks. This looks beautiful, but also means you don’t have to patch that drywall. Yea!
Now you can add your new cabinet trim to hide those cut marks and give your new mudroom a finished look. Trim is everything here. Measure carefully and watch those angles. Finish the trim off with sanding and patching. Use a good wood filler or even Drydex to fill all holes, cracks, and old cabinet door hardware holes. After that dries, sand and prime every bit of the cabinets.
Finish that new DIY Mudroom Bench area with 2 coats of your paint and a good polyurethane. I recommend chalk paint because it dries so quickly and doesn’t leave brush marks. I mix my own chalk paint from my latex trim paint. I use poly over chalk paint because it gives a great smooth finish and holds up to wear and tear better than a wax.
So, what do you think? This is a nice and affordable DIY Mudroom Bench option. Huh?
Update Summer 2018: This Mudroom Room has gotten a stylish Modern Farmhouse Makeover that I love. You can find all of the details on the new finished look for that Modern Farmhouse Mudroom here. I added all of those final touches to get the room ready for an I Did It Feature in Better Homes and Gardens. How amazing is that?! Such an honor.
Looking for more Laundry Room DIY’s and Inspiration. Check out the full reveal of this pretty Farmhouse Laundry Room.
You might also like this DIY Modern Farmhouse Bench Tutorial. Printable plans now available.
Feeling inspired? Get to work on your DIY Mudroom Bench and let me know if you have questions. Post pictures of your work and tag Abbotts At Home on FB, I’d love to see it!