Home Projects

Before and After: A Built-In Bench Majorly Upgraded This Family’s Entryway — and It Cost Under $500

published Oct 30, 2022
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Before: a white room with tiled floors and a white closet
Credit: Kristine Ham

Close your eyes, and picture your dream home. What fancy features does it have? Two sinks in the kitchen? A massive primary suite? Maybe a walk-in closet, a laundry chute, or a slot for envelopes on the front door?

Kristine Ham’s (@extra.ordinary.home) big wishlist item was to have a mudroom at the front of her home, and she seemingly created one out of thin air. Ok, it wasn’t out of thin air, but it was out of storage cubes, pine, laminated paneling, and wall-mounted hooks. Nevertheless, her impressive vision and spacial planning was basically magic.

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Credit: Kristine Ham

“As a family of five, storage is one of our biggest issues,” Kristine explains. “We use our entryway as a catchall, and I wanted to create a functional but stylish space to suit our needs.”

Credit: Kristine Ham

Kristine started by measuring out the space and marking where she wanted wall paneling — also known as the backdrop for her new “mudroom” — to go. She used a pencil to sketch it on the wall.

Since Kristine wanted a designated spot for each member of her family, she divided the wall space into five equal parts. Then she cut vertical pine strips and affixed them to the wall with wood glue and a brad nailer for a wainscoting effect. “The hardest part of this project was measuring out the length of the pine strips,” Kristine recalls. “I would say ‘measure twice, cut once,’ as I did make a few mistakes with my cuts from not measuring correctly.”

Credit: Kristine Ham

Eventually, Kristine got her measurements just right so everything lined up and intersected evenly, and then she painted her new moulding in sage green (Dulux’s Green Spruce). Next, she focused on the bench seating.

To create the bench, Kristine cut a timber bench top down to two sizes. “One would serve as a seating bench, and the other was for the top shelf,” she explains. She mounted these to the wall using leftover pine pieces as brackets.

Credit: Kristine Ham

Kristine used a miter saw to cut the strips and a circular saw for the bench and shelf. She’s proud that she tackled this woodworking project alone for the first time, since previously, she’d always had a bit of guidance from her dad.

Kristine classifies this project as “intermediate,” and says it’s best if you already own the electric saws needed to get the job done. “You could use a hand saw if you don’t own the power saws,” she says, “However, it would make it a much larger project.”

Once Kristine had her upper shelf and lower bench in place, she added storage cubes under the bench. She fastened those to the bench with nails so that everything stays in place, then placed baskets in each of the cubes to house all of the family’s shoes and hats.

Credit: Kristine Ham

She also mounted gold hooks in each “section” for everyone to hang their own things. In all, she made a stylish family drop spot and mudroom for less than $500.

“This is so much more functional for our family,” Kristine says. “Whenever people come to visit, they comment on how much they love the mudroom. It’s a project I’m very proud of and will serve as a functional yet stylish space for us for many years to come.”