A storage bench conserves home space by serving dual functions as seating and storage, and it can be used in any room in your home. Conventional built-in bench storage units often offer only one large bin beneath the seat. However, you can create a more organised storage area or even an entire furnishing and storage set by adding a few extras to your bench unit.
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Kitchen Storage Benches
Make your dining set more useful by building a restaurant-style booth that doubles as storage for dishes, linens and other items you don't have room to keep in your counters. Construct your kitchen storage benches in the conventional bin style with seats that double as lift-up lids, but add functionality with nesting bins inside the bench. To do this, place a wood strip on the front and back of the walls inside the bin, about 5 inches above the bottom. Build a wooden box, or buy a bedside tray that rests on these wood strips, creating a removable shelf that keeps frequently-used items handy while lesser-used items are safely stored -- but still accessible -- underneath.
Library and Reading Center
Turn a wall into a reading nook by building shelves that line the entire wall except above and below a large window or a 6x6 foot area if no window is available. Beneath the window, build a bench approximately 18 inches deep and 6 feet long. Pad the bench with pillows, and support the front of the bench with 6-inch-deep bookshelves while keeping the back of the bench as a lift-top bin to store throw blankets, extra pillows or private journals. For the rest of the wall shelves, keep the column closest to the reading bench approximately 15 inches deep for a 2- to 3-foot width on either side; step back the next shelf column to 12-feet deep for 2 to 3 feet, and step the final column of shelves, if you have room for one more, to 9-feet deep. Install reading lights either in the shelf walls or the ceiling above the reading area, and add a curtain that can be pulled to shut off the reading nook from the rest of the room.
General Storage Benches
Whether you want an extra built-in bench for your bedroom, window seat or entryway, use the architecture of your home to dictate the bench's location and shape. For example, build a long bench along a bedroom wall, just as deep as the space between the long wall and closet or other door trim along the adjacent wall. Use cabinet doors instead of lift-top bins for easy access, or install drawers on metal gliders, often available in the kitchen sections of home improvement stores, to give you easy access and organisation. Top your bench surfaces with large throw pillows or body pillows to make them inviting, and keep the wall directly behind the bench bare so the lack of back rest doesn't discourage anyone from using the bench.
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