Make a Bench with Built-in Storage

Make a nursery bench:storage with one sheet of plywoodI made this bench the other day for IQ’s (our daughter) room. It doubles as storage, which is great, because that kid has more stuff than I do. You could make this for pretty much any room in your house, or even an outdoor space (maybe when it warms up again).

-4′ x 8′ sheet of 3/4″ hardwood ply (I used 3/4″ particle board just because I never had before. I wanted to try it out, but if I were to do it again, I’d just use plywood.)

-4′ x 8′  sheet of 1/8″ DPI board (optional, if you want the bench/storage to have sliding doors)
-wood glue

-table saw

-miter saw
-pocket hole jig
-measuring tape

Click here to download the storage bench diagram/cut list

Step One: The first thing I did was cut out all of the material. I wanted to challenge myself to make the bench from one sheet of material. See diagram above for the cut list.

Make a nursery bench-storage with one sheet of plywood Step Two: After I had all the pieces cut, it was time to do a bit of pocket hole drilling. All of the B pieces needed to have holes drilled on both top and bottom sides (refer to diagram above). The D pieces just needed holes for the bottom. I made the sides half pieces so that even with the doors closed, Imogen could take toys out of the sides or (fingers crossed) put them away. I’m sure that day is a couple months away.

Make a nursery bench-storage with one sheet of plywood Step Three: Once the holes were all drilled, it was time to assemble. I measured and marked out where each piece went. Each piece was about 9″ apart from each other. From there, I just worked my way down, gluing and screwing. I wanted the storage to have sliding doors, so I cut a notch out of the upper piece corner, which was about 1/4″ x 1/4″. Once that was done, I attached it to the top of the benchMake a nursery bench-storage with one sheet of plywood Make a nursery bench-storage with one sheet of plywood
Step Four: After the top was attached, the back was cut and attached; I cut out the doors and placed them in the opening. Then I nailed on all of the surround strips, which kept the doors in place and gave the overall piece a bit more detail. I drilled out a couple of finger holes and was done! Or so I thought. I liked the brown color, dang it! But Sarah had other plans. I ended up painting it gloss white, which looks good too. 😉 The particle board needed three coats to start looking halfway decent (another reason I’ll never use particle board again, but at least I know now!).

I hauled the thing upstairs (I’m just looking to kill my back again), and it looks pretty dang good!

Make a nursery bench-storage with one sheet of plywood Make a nursery bench-storage with one sheet of plywood Make a nursery bench-storage with one sheet of plywood What do you think? Do you have a space this might work in? -Josh

Credits // Author: Joshua Rhodes. Photography: Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions. 

  • would you please be able to send a cut list? this is amazing! and do you think MDF would work as well?

  • Love this modern storage bench, can you please email me a higher resolution measurements on the cutting diagram? Hope this can be done in a week for beginner.

  • I would love to make this project, but am having a difficult time seeing the mesurements on the cutting diagram. Is there a way I could get a higher resulution picture, so that I can zoom in and see how to do the cuts. Thank you

    • Sorry about that! I just added a higher-res image to the post that you can download. 🙂

  • Could you please email me the cutlist dimensions, too small to read.

  • could you email a cutlist. dimensions and resolutions are too small to make everything out.

  • We’d love to make this but we can’t read the measurements in the cut out diagram, can you post a larger picture?

  • I couldn’t read the “cut list” for the storage bench. Could you email it to me?

  • Paylaşımlarınızın devamını bekliyoruz.

  • You are so talented! I love how you made a gorgeous bench and made mini compartments, such a creative idea.

  • Do you think doing this in plywood would mean some messy looking edges? The edging on your particle board looks really clean. Thinking this might be my weekend plans 🙂

  • Thank you for sharing! It looks like something bought from IKEA. I love it! It’s creative and good-looking!

  • Thank you for sharing! It looks like something bought from IKEA. I love it! It’s creative and good-looking!

  • Hah!! I figure I post enough photos on instagram for the entire internet!! 😉 But keep an eye out for her room tour in the next couple weeks – we’ve got several IQ appearances on there. 😉 xo – Sarah

  • Hi Erica, our rug is from Rugs USA but no longer available. Sorry! xo – Sarah

  • The photos in the frames are 8″x10″, and I think I remember the frames being 11×14? I’m not entirely sure! I grabbed them at Target. 🙂 -Sarah

  • Dear Josh, lovely work, as always. Only one thing makes me cringe: please wear proper shoes, best safety shoes, while working! Drop one thing and your feet could really be injured and damaged badly. Just looking out for you!! I worry about fellow craftsmen/craftswomen, you see:) Bye

  • If you need a good starter project, check out the triangle shelf post I did a while back. it’s super easy, and could technically be done without power tools (just a lot of hand sawing.)

  • My husband will love it in the living room to hide all the toys, ha ha!

  • Glad to help kernedtightly. Shoot us a pic when it’s all built, you’re doing that today right? 😉

  • thanks Cori, I think that should happen too 😉
    Elsie and Emma, you see that?

  • so exciting! I’ve been thinking of doing something just like this in my daughter’s room! thank you!

  • Wow! What a gorgeous idea with the drawing and all. You have some pretty amazing ideas, sweetie.

    I’m a doctor by day and a fashion blogger by night, my blog can be found at:

  • This is a simple storage option for that nook…Love those photos of Imogen…


  • This looks amazing! Sadly, I doubt I have the skills to recreate this, but I can at least stare at the photos 🙂

  • I’m always so impressed by your work, Josh! There should seriously be a “A Beautiful Mess: Joshua Rhodes Edition” book in the near future!

  • I absolutely love all of Josh’s posts. It is so fun to see a passionate male perspective in a business run by so many strong women. I love all of his pieces, and his commentary always makes me laugh.

  • As someone who lives in a city apartment with almost no closet space, I am all about getting more storage out of my furniture. This may be a little out of my technical abilities, but I love the idea!


  • I love seeing your woodworking DIY’s, but they are all so far beyond my skill level… I’d love to get better, but I don’t even know where to start. It would be really awesome if y’all could do a round up that starts with easy projects and then builds up to harder stuff.

  • OH MY! I’m in love with this project! Yoo Hoo—hubby…I found a project for you! 😉 He’s been looking for something new to do-this just might be it! Thanks for sharing.

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