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We are sharing our write up on a DIY Breakfast nook bench, which we are going to setup as a multi-purpose piece of furniture which also features extra storage! Our breakfast nook is an octagonal shape, and it takes some careful measuring to figure out the amount of wood you will need. We will not be sharing exact amounts of wood, or measurements as each persons will be unique.

Required Supplies

Building the Bench Frame

The first and most important step is to measure your breakfast nook area. Measure twice, cut once always. The frame just needs to be basic and your 2x4s should outline the wall and bench frame, accounting for the thickness of the MDF in the front. I started by finding some studs, and attaching 2 by 4s into the wall at the height of the bench. Also put one 2×4 right in the middle of the frame from front to back for support of the top, and doors. We opted for 19″ high, the same as our chairs. It will allow us to use the bench at the table as well as our chairs for extra seating.

Once you have built the frame around the perimeter of the breakfast nook, you will need to measure angles of your breakfast nook corners, and apply them to your MDF. Make sure you take your time and measure several times, and if you are not 100% confident in your findings use Cardboard as a template before cutting! It’s very important to have the proper angles, and a good straight-edge to lay out these lines. Although you can use some silicone to hide rough edges or bad cuts, there is only so much it will be able to hide!

Attaching the MDF Panels to the Bench

Now it’s time to attach the front MDF panel. I applied glue to the frame, and used some screws which have self-drilling heads and Torx drive to avoid any stripped screws. You want to make sure the screw is deep enough into the MDF that you can use wood filler to fill any screw holes before painting and finishing. You may have to use two pieces of MDF if the width of the bench is wider than the size of your MDF. Make sure to place the seem in the middle so you can hide it with the trim later.

Once you have the front panel in place, it’s time to put the top on. I chose to lay down both tops and screw them down with only 3 or 4 screws temporarily. I took my piano hinges, and also a square and planned out where I would make the cuts for my storage doors. We decided to cut two doors in the centermost portion of the top, and it turned out great! Once you have your doors planned, and all the lines marked out you can remove the screws and make the cuts for your top. I used a jigsaw for this, to keep the cuts thin and straight.

Once we had our cuts, I re-attached the tops with the existing screw-holes. Then I place my new cutouts in their openings, square them up and attach my piano hinges. We opted to get some shocks and rubber seal to avoid slamming. The lids were quite heavy before these shocks were installed, and we didn’t want our son to get his fingers smashed. The rubber seal was installed at the front lip, just to avoid the lid from smashing the top of the bench.

To make the bench have a more aesthetic appeal, we used 3″ Primed MDF trim from Lowes to make a design on the front which matches our Shaker style cabinets. It gives the appeal that it could be a cabinet, but the top actually opens instead. We used a simple brad nail gun to attach the trim. Now that everything is installed, I used wood filler to fill any screw holes and nail holes that were visible. Once the filler had dried, I used my orbital sander to sand down the high spots, and applied primer.

Finishing Touches

I was now ready to prime and paint the bench, but first I removed the piano hinges to avoid getting any paint on them. I used a high quality primer sealer from Lowes to give us a good base to apply our white paint later. I wanted this thing to look like a high quality cabinet once it was done, and super smooth paint was a must. Once we applied two coats of primer, I masked off the whole area and opted for my paint gun to spray the white paint. I applied 3 coats of Sherwin Williams Interior paint, in a Bright White base.

After allowing the paint to dry for 24 hours, I applied 4 separate layers of PolyMax polyurethane from Lowes. The results were nothing less than amazing, and the paint looked great and super smooth. The multiple layers of Polyurethane will provide ample protection from scratches and water for the future. After all the paint and polyurethane had dried and finished, we re-attached our piano hinges and installed the custom order cushion from Home Of Wool.

Custom Order Cushion

The cushion was not cheap, as it had to be made custom order for our dimensions and it was made with real wool which made this cushion super comfy and soft. It is absolutely beautiful though, and I could not have asked for better quality for the price that she had charged me. The downfall of this vendor is that is took several months to get our cushion, but that was due to covid delays, and we also chose the standard shipping instead of the expedited shipping because it was a lot cheaper.

You could also opt to make your own cushion, but we decided not to tackle this. Our custom ordered cushion was made with striped material, tufting and buttons. It turned out beautifully!

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