How to Build an Upholstered Storage Bench

Need some stylish storage and a nice cushioned seat? Check out how to build your own DIY upholstered storage bench in this post!

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This post was sponsored by Kreg Tool. It also contains affiliate links. See policies.

Shara Woodshop Diaries reaching into upholstered storage bench with lid open

I think I mention pretty often, that we are currently living in a pretty small space. It’s the reason I build the projects I keep for myself with the most efficient storage possible.

RELATED: Like when I built this 2-in-1 Dresser Desk

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And this bench is no exception.  We needed more storage for pillows, blankets and clothes and the end of the bed happened to be empty.  So, I added this modern storage bench.

RELATED: PSST…Like this bedroom set? Check out plans for this entire matching bedroom set here!

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This DIY upholstered storage bench is a really simple build and you’ll be surprised what I used to upholster it.  So stay tuned for that *wink wink*  In the mean time, let’s make some sawdust.

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I’ve got the step by step tutorial to build your own and printable plans below. But, first, I’ve got a video for you right here:

For this DIY Upholstered Storage Bench, You Will Need:

NOTE: Kreg is currently running a special sale on their K4 and K5 pocket hole jigs AND the Rip Cut cutting guide!

Close up of Kreg K5 pocket hole jig
Kreg K5 Used in This Project

For a limited time, you can get up to $30 off these pocket hole jigs and $5 off the Rip Cut, so if you’re looking to grab one for yourself or one for a Christmas gift, check them out here:

Now, let’s build this Upholstered Bench!

I’ve got details on the process as well as how to upholster below, but you can find the free printable building plans here as well.

overall dimensions of upholstered storage bench

Step 1: Cut Down Plywood to Build Bench Box

To get started, I brought out my Kreg Rip Cut and circular saw to cut down my plywood sheet.  I’ve got the printable plans with details, dimensions and cut list for this bench here. 

Using kreg rip cut to cut down plywood sheet

RELATED: Check out this guide for how I cut down my plywood sheets!

I built this entire DIY upholstered storage bench from plywood except for the legs.  You could cut those from plywood as well, but I used poplar to match the wood on my bed and nightstands.

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Once I had a 16″ wide and two 9″ wide strips cut down from my plywood sheet, I took them to the miter saw to trim to length (you could use a circular saw as well). 

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I cut four sides to make a box from the 9″ wide strips and two panels to make the top and bottom of the bench from the 16″ wide strips.

pieces cut to size to assemble storage bench

Save the remainder of the plywood sheet for the base frame and legs later.

Step 2: Assemble Upholstered Bench Storage Box

With all the pieces cut down, I begin assembling using pocket holes and screws.  I drilled ¾” pocket holes into the ends of the front and back box panels and along the bottom edge of all four box pieces using my Kreg K5 pocket hole jig.

drilling pocket holes into 3/4" plywood

Now, because I’m covering this bench with fabric, I attached this with 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws so that the pocket holes were on the outside of the box. 

Using pocket holes to assemble box

If you wanted to paint or stain this instead of upholster, I’d recommend facing these pocket holes toward the inside of the box leaving the outside smooth for finish. (And I’d also recommend edge banding the exposed plywood edges, too!)

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When assembling, make sure to keep the pocket holes that go along the bottom edge facing the bottom.  I accidentally installed one of the sides upside down and had to take it apart and redo it haha.

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Side note: I used wood glue on the joints as well just for extra strength.

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Once the sides were assembled, I screwed the bottom panel in place.  Then it was time to start upholstering.

Attaching bottom panel of bench storage box

Step 3: Attach Foam to Upholstered Bench Lid

If you’ve never upholstered before, it’s actually really fun.  I’m far from an expert, but I actually started upholstering before I started building things.  So I’m taking it back to my roots on this project haha.

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So for the top, I used some 2” foam, placed the top on it and used a utility knife to cut it to size.  By the way, if you wanted a less fluffy top, you could use 1” foam instead.

Cutting foam to fit seat top panel

Then, I used spray adhesive and stuck the foam to the plywood.  Each type of spray adhesive is different, so be sure to follow the instructions on the can.

Step 4: Attach Batting to Upholstered Storage Bench

Once that was dry, I wrapped the top in batting. 

Stapling batting along bottom of bench seat to upholster

I used my staple gun to attach the batting around the top, stapling onto the bottom edge like seen here.  At the corners, I just kind of pulled it tight and tried to fold it in. 

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After I had two edges attached, I could cut the batting to fit and set the rest aside for the bottom of the box later. I stapled the batting around the top until it was covered.

Upholstered bench seat finished

Then, I wrapped the plywood box in the leftover batting.

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The batting will end up being cut into two strips to wrap all the way around the box. I stapled the edge of the batting along the top edge of the box and worked my way around. 

Stapling batting on top edge of upholstered storage bench

Once I got to the end of the batting, I cut it so that there was just enough to wrap around the bottom corner and stapled it in place. This left me with a strip of batting just wide enough to repeat the same steps to cover the rest of the sides of the box.

Stapling batting onto bottom of upholstered storage bench

Step 5: Upholster Storage Bench with Fabric

Now, I basically repeated the process with the fabric.  I had a really hard time finding fabric I wanted to use for this project.  I ended up finding a Sherpa blanket to use for the top and a shower curtain to use for the bottom. 

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As you’ll see, I ended up ditching the Sherpa and keeping things monotone, but if you’re into faux fur, using a Sherpa blanket as fabric is a pretty good idea that will save you a few bucks.

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Anyway, I measured the height of my box and cut my fabric a couple inches more than the height to give me enough to be able to wrap around the edges.  As a helpful tip, using fabric with lines or patterns helps you keep a straight line when cutting and stapling in place.

Cutting fabric shower curtain on workbench

This shower curtain had a waffle pattern, which made it REALLY nice to use for this.

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Just like with the batting, I began at the top of the box and stapled in place.  This time, I wrapped it all the way around and stapled it to the inside of the box to make sure the batting was completely covered.

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I used the waffle lines as a guide to keep my fabric straight along the top.

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Then, I did the same along the bottom, keeping close eye on my waffle pattern to make sure things stayed straight.

Using staple gun to secure fabric on underside of bench storage box

When I got to the end of the fabric, I cut another strip and continued. 

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It’s not perfect, but to help keep the seams from being super noticeable, I just tucked the second strip of fabric under the existing strip at the joints and stapled in place.

Stapling fabric overlap to hide seams

Once the box was covered, I worked on the top.  I did this exactly like the batting, except I folded over the edges to prevent rough edges from unraveling and to keep it a little cleaner.  Again, I used the waffle pattern lines to keep things straight.

Close up of bottom of bench seat fabric stapled in place

For the top, you want to pull the fabric tight for a nicer shape, but not TOO tight that it makes bulges on the sides. 

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And again, on the corners, fold and staple however you think looks best…this isn’t a science.

Step 6: Assemble Bench Base Frame

Now that that was finished, I built the bench base.  I used some scrap pieces of plywood for this, but you could also use 1x3s as well.  I cut pieces to length to assemble a frame the same size as the bottom of the box.

Base frame diagram made from 1x3s and pocket holes

I attached the frame together using pocket holes and screws.

Step 7: Add Legs to Storage Bench Base Frame

Last year about this same time, I built a dog bed with modern legs on it.  I used that same template to draw out legs that matched and cut 4 of them from some leftover poplar I had. 

Cutting modern leg designs out using jig saw

My bedroom set is made from poplar and I wanted this to match, but if you didn’t care, you could cut these from plywood or any leftover 1x scraps you wanted to.

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You can find this leg template in the printable plans here.  I cut these out using a jig saw, then I edge banded the plywood frame and sanded everything smooth.

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Then, I clamped the legs to the frame on each corner and attached so that they were at a 45 degree angle and inset equally from each corner.  I used two 2” wood screws per leg to attach.

Feet and legs attached to base frame at corners

Step 8: Attach Storage Bench to Base

Once the base was together, I could attach it to the bench seat.

Screw base onto storage box

I screwed the frame onto the bottom of the storage along all the sides.

Step 9: Attach and Finish Lid

And the last thing to do was attach the top.

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I used two small hinges to attach the top—you could also use a piano hinge if you wanted.

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I screwed these into the top, then into the box like shown here.

Screw hinges in to attach bench seat to bench box

And for some extra support, I added these chest lid supports, as well. 

Install chest lid supports into storage bench

At this point, it was finished…BUT I decided to add one more detail.  I had some decorative nail heads in my craft supply drawer and decided to use them to create a tufted top.

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I simply used a hammer and nailed these where I wanted them to go.  And again, the waffle lines are super helpful here to keep things lined up and spaced out evenly.

Using a hammer to tuft upholstered bench top seat

And that was it…I brought it inside and filled it with all the things in our tiny home that I needed to find a place for haha.  PS…see those closet cabinets? You can build your own with these plans!

Modern DIY upholstered storage bench at end of bed

There’s room underneath to hide a few pair of shoes, and plenty of room inside for blankets, pillows, backpacks or clothes.

Storage bench with lid open full of blankets and clothes at end of bed

And if you aren’t as excited about upholstery as I am, this would be really nice simply stained or painted as well…I just prefer a nice, cushioned seat haha.

DIY tufted top upholstered storage bench in grey fabric at end of bed

So if you’re looking to add some storage to your home, be sure to grab the printable plans for this DIY upholstered storage bench and check out plenty more storage ideas here.

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If you’d like to save this for later, I’d love if you’d pin it!

Pinterest collage of overall storage bench dimension diagram and finished bench placed at end of bed

Until next time, happy building! 😊

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