DIY, Furniture

I needed a simple bench for banquette seating in my dining room and I couldn’t find one that would work with my dining room table so I thought it would be fun to make one out of 3/4″ MDF. It surprisingly simple to build and it’s easy to customize to whatever size you need!

Materials you will need: I used 1 x 4’x8′ sheet of 3/4″ MDF because I needed the rest of the MDF for another project but you can fit the pieces for the bench in 2 x 2’x4′ sheets ($25) and the lattice was about $5 so that’s $30 for the materials. I had all the pieces cut at the hardware store and I already had the primer, paint, and screws on hand.

I’ll outline the main steps to make the bench below, and you can also see how I made the entire bench in this video.

Step 1: Attach the legs to the top

I put glue on the top edge of the leg and used corner clamps to hold it to the top. I drilled pilot holes to prevent splitting and screwed the pieces together, sinking the screw heads below the surface.

Step 2: Attach the back piece

I screwed in place the back piece flush with the top and the legs, following the same steps as for the legs.

Step 3: Attach the front piece

To have more support at the front of the bench, I glued together 2 MDF pieces to make one thicker piece, using clamps to make sure they bonded very well together.

I wanted the front piece to be recessed by about 1 inch so I used a combination square to mark the location of the front piece on the inside of the legs, making it easy to slide the front piece in the right spot.

I added glue to the edge and clamped it, then I screwed it into place from the top and the side, making sure to avoid the screw that was already there from joining the top to the legs.

Step 4: Add decorative molding

To give a little bit more interest to the sides of the bench, I added decorative molding made with 1 1/4″ lattice. I used a combination square to mark the location of the top piece of lattice, and I also marked the middle of the lattice piece, making it easy to nail exactly in the right spot. I pre-nailed the nails into the lattice to save my fingers!

Step 5: Prep the bench for painting

I filled in the screw heads with wood filler and sanded that down. To give a nice finish to the edges, I brushed them with wood glue diluted with a bit of water, waited for that to dry and sanded it down. I repeated that a couple of times until the edges were nice and smooth. This prevents the paint from getting sucked into the edges and leaves a nice smooth surface for painting.

Step 6: Paint the bench

I primed the bench and then painted it with a couple of coats of paint and voila, a finished bench! You can see the entire building process for the bench in this video, including how I made the no-sew cushion to make my bench more comfortable.

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  1. How much weight do you think this can feasibly support? Is there any way to make it sturdier?

    • Well, I’ve had people that weight about 200 lbs sit on it without any problems. You could always another cross piece at the bottom connecting the 2 sides for extra strength.

  2. Is this screwed into the wall to keep firm in place? If not, do you have suggestions on how to hide the support underneath?

    • The bench isn’t screwed into the wall, the panel above it is. Not sure what support you are referring to?

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