DIY Modern Rustic Bench

entryway bench with plants and pillow and black and white rug

I’ve wanted to put a bench over by our stairs for a while now. Even though it’s a back hallway, it has an entryway feel to it, and I thought a wood bench would be cute over there. Plus it would give me a spot to set some plants on – always gotta look out for those plants! 🌿😉 So back in December Mike whipped one up for me and I thought I’d share how we made it. He found some rough cut maple wood at a local lumber store, and was able to make this simple wood bench from just a couple pieces of wood! I think the rough cut lumber helps to give it a slightly older, rustic vibe, which fits in well in old farmhouse. I’m always trying to keep that blend of modern with a nod to the character and age of our house.

And in case you’re wondering why this bench isn’t by the stairs in these photos, it’s because I couldn’t get any straight on photos of the bench over in that hallway – it’s too narrow. So I pulled it out a little more into the living room to fully show it off; but you can see it in its usual spot in the last photo. You can also see it in my living room Christmas decor post too.

wood bench with plants and framed picture on it
simple wood bench with plants next to it

Materials:

  • wood (we used rough cut maple wood)
  • table saw
  • circular saw
  • square tool
  • compound mitre saw
  • drill/screw gun
  • sander
  • pocket hole jig
  • screws
  • wood glue
  • sand paper
  • finish
pocket hole jig with piece of wood
wood bench upside down

Directions:

Cut your bench top to width using a table saw, we made ours 11” wide. 

Cut to length using a circular saw and a square, we made ours 5 feet long.  

Using the table saw, cut two pieces 80” long by 1-1/2” wide (our wood was rough cut maple which was 1-1/4” thick). 

Using a compound mitre saw, cut the four legs from one of the 80” pieces. We made our legs at a 10 degree angle; set the blade angle and the saw angle both at a 10 degree angle, with the 1-1/12” side down on the saw table, cut one end. Measure 16-1/2” inches, slide the piece down and cut at this point. Repeat this for the other three legs. 

Using the mitre saw, cut a piece 54” long out of the other 80” piece. Set the angle of the saw to 10 degrees and change the blade angle back to 0 degrees. Put the 1-1/12” side against the fence and cut one end. Flip the piece end to end and measure 54” and cut to that mark. From the left over piece cut two pieces 6-1/2” long. Using the mitre box set at a 10 degree angle, put the 1-1/2” side against the table of the saw and cut one end. Flip the piece end to end and measure 6-1/2” and cut. Repeat for the other piece. 

On the table saw, cut the leftover piece in half, which will give you two pieces around 1/2” thick by 1 1/2” wide; cut them using the mitre saw to 8-1/2” long.

Using the pocket hole jig, drill two pocket holes at each end on the bottom of the 54” cross piece. The bottom is the side with the point of the angle. Next drill two pocket holes on each end to the 6-1/2” pieces, once again on the bottom which is to pointed side of the angle.

Lay out the legs in pairs so that the angle of the legs will be out in opposite directions. Measure up 3-3/4” from the bottom inside of each leg and make a mark. Attach the 6-1/2” pieces using screws and glue, keeping the bottom of the piece even with the mark at 3-3/4”. Position the 8-1/2” piece on top of the legs; keeping it centered, mark out for holes for two screws into the top of each leg. Drill and countersink the holes. Glue and screw the pieces to the tops of the legs. On the inside of the legs mark a center line on the bottom of the 6-1/2” pieces; attach the 54” piece with glue and screws. Keeping it centered on your mark, repeat on the other leg.  Drill and countersink holes in the bottom of the 8-1/2” pieces, one in the middle and one on each end. Place your top bottom side up, put your legs on, center them and attach with screws. 

Sand and apply finish (we used a clear polyurethane). 

simple wood bench with pillow on it next to plants
modern rustic bench with pillow on it next to plants and rug
wood bench by stairs with plants

And if you’re looking for some more bench ideas, we have a couple more styles that we’ve made in the past, check out this DIY Simple Wooden Bench and this DIY Woven Bench that Caitlin made!

-Manda

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