My main goal when redoing our front entryway was to make it a more welcoming and more FUNCTIONAL space in our home with a Window seat Bench. It was a dumping ground for random school projects, tools, mail, my blog things, ev-er-y-thing not exactly what you want to see when you walk in the front door.
First step was to add some warmth and color to the space with a board and batten wall in the most beautiful soft green color (SW Evergreen Fog).
The height and the dramatic color tone drew your eyes to this room and welcomed you in. To contrast, I repainted the circular table a soft pink shade (SW Sashay Sands). Welcoming, CHECK. This room draws you in instantly!
But now, I needed it to be more than just a pretty wall. I needed storage, and I needed a seat for us to use as an extension to our kitchen. Somewhere where family and friends can have a cup of coffee together, eat a meal when there isn’t enough room at our kitchen island, do homework while I’m cooking dinner, or put together a puzzle and play games. I wanted a place to gather beyond just our kitchen island.
Chairs wouldn’t cut it. I wouldn’t get the necessary storage that way.
That’s when I decided that I needed a storage bench to wrap the wall that could hide (I mean hold!) all my office supplies, the kid’s schoolwork they bring home, and even maybe some of the extra kitchen items that can’t fit in the kitchen drawers well.
To build was a definite possibility, but with wood prices still higher than normal, I looked to see what I could find first before I went to building these. And I quickly found IKEA BESTA units were EXACTLY what I was searching for:
- 47 1/4″ x 16 1/2″ x 15″ BESTA Shelf Unit with Doors
- 23 5/8″ x 16 1/2″ x 15″ BESTA Shelf Unit with Doors
- Soft Close Door Hardware
- Leather Pulls
- Minnesund Twin Foam Mattress
- Sharp Scissors
- Magnolia Home Brighton Navy 54″ Fabric
- Wood Screws
- Extra plywood for cushion bases and for building the extra “seat” area
After assembling the cabinets and placing them around the wall, I had to add a “seat” to the corner of the boxes so someone can sit in the corner, as well as allow all the doors to open properly. This would allow the units to touch only in the corner and all doors can swing open.
There was a 16″ x 16″ square right in the corner of the formation that I had to create a makeshift seat. To do so, I attached boards horizontally to the walls, placed a vertical brace for each one, and then finally placed boards across the top and secured. It doesn’t have to look pretty. It just has to hold!
According to IKEA, these BESTA units can only hold a maximum of 44 pounds. So to boost the weight limit and allow this to be a strong, sturdy bench, I added 3/4″ MDF to the top of all of the benches and secured it through the top of each cabinet using cabinet screws.
A typical chair is between 18-20″ off the ground. The BESTA units are 15″ high so I had some wiggle room to add cushions and legs to these to make them comfy and cute. I found this great Magnolia Home fabric that brings in the navy blue from my adjacent front room chairs, we well as the whites and soft creams in the paint colors. Instead of buying bulk foam (which can get so pricey!), I did the math and determined that one foam twin mattress at IKEA is only $99 and is the PERFECT amount of foam needed. Plus, it’s much more firm than anything you can buy for that price online. I just simply ripped off the mattress cover and wa-la! I’ve got 38″ x 75″ of great foam to use for my cushions.
To form the cushions, I used scrap plywood from our garage and cut to fit right on top of my benches. Then I cut the foam to match. I used construction adhesive to attach the foam to the plywood and placed it all on top of my fabric laying upside down. Then it’s just a pull and staple to my fabric on all sides and fold the corners like a package and staple. There are great tutorials online if you need a little more guidance on making your own cushions!
To make this a seamless one piece, I attached everything using wood screws: cabinets to cabinets, cabinets to the wall, and finally the top of the cabinets to the plywood.
This could have been the stopping point, but I wanted to add a little more character to this unit. I found some really cool leather strap pulls at IKEA while I was mazing through the store, but I wasn’t a fan of the silver knob. What do you do when you don’t like the color? PAINT! I spray-painted these silver knobs black and now they bring the natural tone of the leather and the black accents of the corresponding spaces around this room.
And to play with the height and make these look a little more custom, I added natural wood legs to the base of these cabinets (holes are already pre-drilled in the base of the cabinets so it’s a simple screw-in!). I purchased 3 sets of these on Amazon and they finish it off so well.
For additional seating, I added 2 Natural Seagrass Foot Stools to flank the bench seating. These can be used as additional tables to set down drinks OR can be pulled around to the table to be used as two additional seats. These are so sturdy and make the perfect seats for a child or an adult. They can slide under the table or be left on either side of the bench!
This is now our gathering space. Our place of conversation, of homework, of writing this exact blog post. I have the capability to store all of my office supplies, a great file bin that I snagged from Amazon recently, extra entertaining serving dishes that were jammed into my kitchen cabinets, and even have a cabinet that remains empty, just waiting for what it can hold.
This is no longer a drop zone. It’s no longer a space we simply walk through. This is a place that screams home, and that’s all I ever want…my house to be a beautiful, well-intentioned home.
It’s been a pleasure sharing my DIY adventures with you. My hope is that this DIY Window Seat Bench using IKEA Besta Units encourages you to build your own version, making your spaces a better representation of your unique taste. I’m a firm believer that it’s not how much you have or how much you spend; it’s about putting YOU into your home.
For more attainable DIY projects, tips, tricks, and inspiration, please visit my website GrowingUpKemper.com and connect with me on Instagram. I look forward to sharing more creative projects with you! Until next time…stop Pinning and start creating!
– Rachel –