Mudroom Shoe Storage Bench

Monday, October 10, 2016

A Place for Every Shoe... and every shoe in its place?

I hope so anyway.  We never really had a shoe problem at our old house.  Or a coat or bookbag problem.  At the old house, everyone had a hook for their coats and bags, shoes went in a small pile under said coats or else under the owner's bed.  
Since we moved, however, there have been shoes not only piled by the front door but practically taking over the entire entry area.  It is very unsightly and not what I want to welcome my guests with.  Weekends, when we typically have people over, its worse because bookbags are added to the pile as well.  And then things hit an all-time low when we had our first cold snap of the year and we started grabbing winter coats from the closet.  Heaven knows they don't go back in the closet when we are done with them... So this is what set our project in motion.

Maybe it started when I made a no shoes in the house policy and the kids simply don't wear their shoes past this spot.  Or maybe it started when I gave the kids a shoe budget for back to school shopping and the girls each opted for several "cheap" pairs of shoes instead of one nice pair.  But it def got worse when I tried to fix the solution with an over-the-door shoe rack.  Because every time you touched the door all of the shoes fall in one swoop, but it maddeningly takes ten minutes to put them back on.  

No matter, it is time for a better solution.  That solution is to create some real shoe storage as well as a place for us to hang up our stuff.  This is what I would eventually like to have and the inspiration for our bench. 


We started by removing the trim (carefully so it can be reused) from all three walls surrounding the bench.  This way the bench will sit tight against the back wall and putting the trim back in at the end will give a much more polished "built-in" look than trying to work around the existing trim.  We also scrubbed the entire wall/floor area so that there wouldn't be any unpleasantness lurking beneath our new structure.

We had already made our plan by this point, modified from the inspiration tutorial to fit our exact space and desired outcome, but it's a good idea to double check your measurements one more time once the trim has been removed just in case your walls are not perfectly square (because if yours are, then you are the luckiest DIYer I know!).  Also, as we found out a bit later in the process, it is a good idea to assemble it IN PLACE, and not out in the garage if you have a specific cubby like ours that you are building this for.

Based on our measurements, and using 3/4" MDF, Andrew assembled the cubbies with wood glue, screws, and clamps.

I wanted the structure to have its own backing so that any dirt and/or water from our shoes would be self contained and not plastered all over the actual wall behind it.  Andrew used a backboard that already had a white finish on one side.  This is easily cut with a utility knife and attached with small finishing nails.

Here's the part where it is important for you to have assembled the unit in it's destination space.  We had a heck of a time getting this thing in between the walls.  As you can see we do have a small gap on one side, but it wasn't quite enough and I'm pretty sure it was a small miracle that we were finally able to wiggle it in.  Because we had used wood glue to assemble it, there was no option to take it apart and reassemble, we just had to be patient, persistent, and give up about an hour of our day to make it happen.  

Once it was finally in position, Andrew installed the 1x2 trim pieces.  These pieces cover all the raw edges of MDF, and as a result will overlap into your cubbies slightly, creating a lip that will keep your shoes from falling out.

This is the only photo I was able to capture of the trim process, and it pretty much captures the crazy of our mid-project process.  The bench seat is not actually attached here, we just sat it on top to get an idea of the finished product.  

Once Andrew was finished building, it was my turn to paint.  We taped off the walls and got to it.  I put three coats on to make sure it was well sealed, again to help protect the finished cubbies from future shoe dirt and moisture.

For the bench seat, we bought a piece of stain-grade pine.  I began the staining process in the garage.  For some reason we had some weird swoop marks come through once the stain went on.  I was very careful to apply the stain in the direction of the grain, so this must have been from the processing.  However, after a few coats of stain, they were hardly noticeable.

We nailed the bench top into place and applied the final coat of stain once the holes were puttied.  Be extra careful with taping and protecting your walls before this final stage! 

We also applied three coats of polyurethane to the stained surface to protect it.  At this point you can also reattach your trim.  

Once the polyurethane was completely dry and cured, we hung our hooks and moved in!

It is really hard to take a floor to ceiling photo in such a small space!  Oy, I need photography lessons!  Hopefully you can see that it turned out really well.  It looks completely built-in, like it was meant to be there all along!  


  1. This leaves many people looking for shoe storage ideas so that guests will not see a mountain of untidy shoes the moment they enter the home.Shoe storage


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