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Built-in Bench Seat from Stock Cabinets

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Create a cozy retreat in the corner of a bedroom or along the wall of a family room with problem-solving stock cabinets and easy-to-add trim.

built-in bench seat beneath a window

Project Overview

Skill Level

Intermediate

Estimated Time

1 weekend

Estimated Cost

$$$$$$

Tools & Materials

Tools

  • Tape measure
  • Miter saw or backsaw and miter box
  • Cordless drill and driver bits
  • Framing square
  • Oscillating multi-purpose tool with a wood-cutting blade
  • Pry bar
  • Utility knife
  • Portable circular saw
  • Straightedge
  • Hammer and nail set
  • Wood glue
  • Sandpaper

Materials

  • 1 x 6 x 120 pine board
  • 1 x 4 x 48 pine board
  • 3/4-in x 49-in x 97 medium density fiberboard
  • 6-ft piece of moulding that matches the trim in the room
  • Wood shims
  • 2 – 30-in x 12-in x 12-in white wall cabinet, #291719
  • 2-inch drywall screws
  • 2-1/2-in drywall screws
  • 2-1/2-in pan head sheet-metal screws
  • 4d finish nails
  • Construction adhesive
  • Wood filler
  • White paintable interior caulk
  • Valspar paint, Bistro White (#7006-4)

Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colors may vary slightly from those shown. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.

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Instructions

A pair of kitchen wall cabinets is the basis for this project. You’ll need to remove and replace a section of baseboard trim to install this cabinet. You can cut and replace most of the existing trim around the seat, or purchase matching moulding.

Finish Before You Start

Step 1

Cut the top (A) to size (Project Diagram, Cutting List). Prime and paint the top plus the baseboard moulding you’ll later cut to length. Final cuts can be touched up after installation.

Good to Know

Before painting, seal the exposed MDF edges by brushing or rolling on a mixture of one part woodworking glue and one part water. After the sealer dries, sand the edges with 120-grit sandpaper.

Step 2

To remove the baseboard, mark a line 18 inches away from where the bench will be placed (Project Diagram, Drawing 2). Cut the baseboard with an oscillating multipurpose tool fitted with a wood-cutting blade, and carefully remove the baseboards between the two cuts and the corner using a small pry bar. You can also remove the entire piece of existing baseboard and replace as needed.

Good to Know

To spread the load and protect the wallboard when prying the baseboard off the wall, place a 3/4-inch-thick scrap board under the heel of the pry bar.

Build the Base

Step 1

Cut the long base front/back (B) and base dividers (C) to length (Project Diagram, Cutting List). Clamp the parts together with the top edges flush, drill countersunk holes, and fasten the parts with 2-inch drywall screws (Project Diagram, Drawing 1). The frame could also be nailed together with 6d common nails.

Good to Know

When making a base for a project, size the base frame to match the cabinet that will be resting on it. Also match the width of the parts to the height of the base trim you are installing over the base.

Step 2

Use pieces of tape 18 inches above the floor to mark the locations of wall studs. Position the base against the wall. To avoid distorting the base along uneven walls, insert wood shims between the base and walls over each stud location (Project Diagram, Drawing 2). Drill countersunk holes and screw the bases to the wall studs with 2 1/2-inch drywall screws. Cut the shims even with the top of the base with a utility knife.

Add the Cabinets and Top

Step 1

Remove the cabinet doors for access to the interior. Apply construction adhesive to the top of the base and set the cabinets in place. Make the faces of the cabinet face frames flush with the base front (B), and align the cabinet end panel with the end base divider (C).

Step 2

Drill screw holes through the cabinet backs and side into the wall studs you marked earlier. Where you will drive screws, fill any gaps between the cabinets and the wall with shims. Drive the screws (Project Diagram, Drawing 3) to anchor the cabinets.

Step 3

Apply construction adhesive to the tops of the cabinets and clamp the top (C) in place (Project Diagram, Drawing 4).

Finish Up

Step 1

From the baseboard you removed, cut a filler strip to fit between the cut and the cabinet base with a miter on the end that meets the cabinet (Project Diagram, Drawing 4).

Step 2

Cut two baseboard pieces a few inches longer than the front and side of the base. Now cut a miter on each part that fits against the room moulding.

Step 3

Fit the end of the front baseboard against mitered wall baseboard, mark the miter at the base corner, and miter-cut the piece to length. Nail the front baseboard in place with 4d finish nails (Project Diagram, Drawing 5).

Step 4

Fit the side baseboard in place and mark the miter at the front of the cabinet. Miter-cut the part to length and nail it in place.

Step 5

With a nail set and hammer, drive all of the nail heads slightly below the wood surface; then fill holes with wood filler. After the filler dries, sand it smooth.

Step 6

Prime any unfinished parts and apply a paintable caulk to any small gaps in the trim or where the top or sides meet the wall. Finish by and touching up the paint as needed. Re-hang the cabinet doors.