top of page

Dual Purpose Shoe Storage!

Life is hectic, keeping up with the kids and work, not to mention all those after school programs and sports, however there is one area in our home that (for me) absolutely has to stay organized or I go insane, and that's the entryway. My kids LOVE, and they are grown-ish now, to come in and just kick their shoes off! I GET IT...It's great to come home after a rough day, kick off those foot trappers and chill. I GET IT, really. For me though, and this might be dramatized a bit, but FOR ME...this tips my scales to the deep fury of all things bothersome. Yes! ABSOLUTELY, drives me bonkers!

Now I have shoe racks and this shoe bench I'm about to share with you is for a client, but I figured this little gem might help organize someone's life, and help extinguish any unnecessary shoe-clutter-grief.

SO...lets dive-in and get you going on this beautiful shoe storage bench tutorial.

Materials you'll need:

- Sandpaper 120 & 220 grit

- 1” Pocket screws

- 1” Finishing nails

- 1 1/2” Wood screws

- Wood Filler

- Primer & Paint

- Micro-fiber cloth

- Paint brushes/rollers

Tools required:

- Miter saw

- Table saw (or Circular Saw)

- Drill with bits

- 1/2” Boring bit

- Sander

- Nail gun

- Pocket hole jig

- Level (short & long)

- Clamps

- Speed square

- Pencil

- Safety protection

Wood needed:

- (1) 4’ x 8’ x 3/4” Plywood

- (3) 1” x 2” x 8’ Pine wood

- (1) 3/4” x 8’ Unfinished chair rail moulding

- (1) 1/2” x 1/2” x 8’ Quarter round moulding, Pine wood

- (1) 8’ x 2” x 4” Pine wood

*Bench overall dimensions are: 5’ L x 12 1/2” D x 18 1/2” T

Step One_Cut, Sand & Prime Pieces

I purchased one 3/4" piece of white wood plywood at Lowes and cut according to this diagram. Those 4' x 8' sheets are usually about an inch long and wider than the nominal dimensions state, so I was able to get all the cuts made on one sheet, for the entire bench. The gray areas are extra material and the diagonal crosshatch are two extra pieces that can be cut if you prefer to have a bench with 10 shoe slots instead of six - like the one I made.

Cut Diagram.

Bench pieces assembled for visual.

Cut all wood pieces as shown, except the 1" x 2" pieces. I chose to make 45 degree cuts for the trim (refer to step 4), to me it looks more finished than butt joint. I like my 45's as tight as possible, so I always (when feasible) cut them individually, measuring directly on the piece I'm trimming out.

After you cut all your pieces, lightly sand with 12o grit sandpaper and prime. I use Zinsser BIN primers, and didn't change up on this project - worked perfect. I'd suggest doing two coats of primer, sanding in between coats with 220 grit sandpaper. You want your bench as smooth as possible since people will be sitting on it.

Sand and prime all pieces.

Step Two_Pre-Drill Pocket Holes

Use a pocket hole jig to make all the holes on pieces (C) and (E) only. I lined the edge of the wood pieces with the pocket hole jig and made cuts on the 12" sides of each piece, top and bottom, approximately an 1 - 1 1/2" in from the sides.

*As you can see I painted my pieces hoping to eliminate the hassle of painting in tight corners once assembled. I don't like the scratches and all the dirt that didn't come off after I was finished and ended up painting them again anyway. It might be the humidity here - not sure, but it didn't work out for me. I'd suggest holding off on painting till the end.

Cut pocket holes into the 12" side of pieces (C) and (E).

Step Three_Assemble Bench Pieces

Start with one (C) piece with the pocket holes facing the sides, and attach to one (D) piece. Attach using 1" pocket hole screws. Grab another (D) piece and attach it to the other side of your (C) piece. Next, using another (C) piece complete the cube by attaching the two side (D) pieces. I attached the top and bottom to the vertical pieces and then went back and placed the middle shelf in the first three cubbies.

I didn't place a middle shelf in the last two cubbies because I wanted space for bags...maybe baskets, to support different storage needs. If you need 10 slots for shoes then cut cut two more (E) pieces as shown on the above cut diagram and add as the middle shelf in the last two cubbies.

Complete the first cube, then repeat the process using (C) and (D) pieces to make the first three cubbies. For the last two cubbies use (E) pieces and (D) pieces completing the five-cubby bench frame (Reference bench image in step one). To place the middle shelf use an 8" scrap piece of wood (cut from scraps) to get consistent height placement of the middle piece.

Step Four_Attach 1 x 2‘s Trim Pieces

Measurements for the 1“ x 2“ pieces are done individually as stated earlier. I think it makes this process easier, but you be the judge. Start with the top trim, aligning it with the outside edge of the bench cubbies. Trim to size and cut ends at 45 degrees with miter saw. Measure bottom trim piece, making the 1“ x 2“ flush with the inside of the cubby. Trim to size and cut 45 degree (cuts mirrored to top piece). Measure, mark and cut side pieces, cutting 45 angle with miter as marked, make flush with the outside edge of bench frame. Next, measure and cut the vertical trim pieces, centering them on the bench frame. The horizontal trim is last, measure and cut, attaching flush with the top of the middle shelfs. Attach all pieces with wood glue and finishing nails. Basically you're avoiding placing the trim where the lip would prevent shoes from sliding in and out of slots easily.

Cut trim pieces individually and place according to images.

Step Five_Attach Legs, Top & Decorative Trim

Flip the bench over and align the two 2" x 4" x 5' pieces previously cut with the front and back of the bench. Using the 1/2" woodboring bit, drill a hole in the 3 1/2" side of each end (approximately centered on 2x4). Using the 1 1/2" wood screws, attach the legs onto the bottom of the bench. The trim on the front should have a lip on it, so just make sure the front 2x4 is placed right up against it. Place the unfinished chair rail moulding along the front of 2x4 on the front, just under 1x2 trim piece. Attach with wood glue and finishing nails.

Place 2" x 4" x 5' pieces on the bottom of bench flush with the front and back of bench. Place decorative trim to cover the face of the 2x4.

After the legs are attached, flip the bench back over and place the top piece on. To attach the top piece use wood glue and finishing nails. Make sure to align the top with the back of the bench (there will be a gap in the front). To fill this gap place the 5' piece of quarter round to fill the gap, adding wood glue to adhere it in place. Use a few finishing nails to make sure its secure and stays in place.

Attach top and quarter round with wood glue and finishing nails.

Step Six_Wood Filler & Paint

Fill all holes made from finishing nails with a little wood filler. When dry, sand lightly with 220 grit sandpaper till smooth. Wipe clean with a microfiber rag and then apply your first coat of paint. I'd recommend using an enamel paint or something equally as durable. I used Valspar Cabinet Paint_ this color is SW Peppercorn. Do a light first coat and wait the recommended time before applying a second coat. If needed apply a third coat.

Step Seven_Style & Enjoy

By far the easiest step! Hopefully you have found this shoe bench helpful and your life has just become a bit more hassle free. At least you'll be able to get in your front door anyway.

We'd love to see what you create, so be sure to tag us and let us know how your new storage bench is working out! Tag us at @reddesignedinteriors and #reddesignedtutorials.

Do you feel like you need more in depth instruction? We have you covered! Check out our website for a PDF version with, detailed cut sheets and multiple diagrams that walk you through each step of assembly. Visit the link below and be sure to share your project with us!

6 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page