Ikea Hack: Small Storage Bench for our Dining Table
We made a storage bench for our Dining Room and I say dining room very loosely as our dining room is just a dining table in the kitchen. There is a 48”long wall between two sliding doors that separates the kitchen and dining room from the kids bedroom. We painted it as a chalkboard wall 9 years ago when chalkboards were super cool but despite my pleas to paint it out white, Trevor, ever the practical and functional voice of reason says the chalkboard wall is useful, so it stays. In front of the chalkboard wall sits our 55” dining table, which honestly is a bit long for our space but it was the smallest, narrowest (33”) extending table I could find at the time. We have had combinations of chairs and stools over the years to fit our family and guests and here is the breakdown of our most recent iteration…
I had the idea to do a bench along the chalkboard wall to gain more seating when we host bigger groups or playdates. We are always short seats when we host and I don’t really have space to hide folding chairs. Then I remembered benches are kind of awkward and sometimes tippy with kids and that a few extra storage drawers would be useful in our space so I started looking at Ikea things I could hack into a storage bench. I landed on an Ikea Besta TV Bench with drawers because the length of the bench magically filled the wall. I initially had plans to mount it on the wall but ended up abandoning that as I was nervous the backing in the wall wouldn’t be strong enough to handle my spirited children.
I chose to add a white oak plywood top to strengthen the bench as well as add some warmth. Our table and floors are white oak so thought it would all blend together.
Ikea Besta TV Bench
We purchased this Best TV bench and then chose the drawers (link) with the full height fronts (link). If you do the same make sure you also pick up the drawer slides (link) as they don’t come with the drawers. We drilled holes in the front to create handles and to change the style of it to suit.
The first drawer has proved useful for holding boardgames and puzzles, while the second drawer now houses our vacuum and charger as well as our steamer. Because the bench was meant as a media unit there is accessibility to the outlet that is on that wall.
White Oak Plywood top
I went to my local building supply shop and found a piece of white oak plywood approximately 3/4 thick. They cut it to size for me and we glued it to the top with PL (construction adhesive). I could have chosen a more inexpensive wood like birch or pine but wanted to match the woods in the dining area. Then I coated the top in a matte clear coat (after a quick soft white wash). The top looks really nice with our floors but now clashes with our table which has yellowed over the years. It’s been on my list to refinish it for a while and this bench is making it more of a priority!
I would love to add an upholstered cushion on top but I don’t have the budget at the moment so for the meantime I added 3 ikea round outdoor cushions which are doing the trick to raise the height of the bench a bit and add comfort but they are annoying because the kids kick them on the ground constantly.
In the end the bench functions well and solves a few problems for us in our dining room by adding seating and storage without taking away any precious square footage. We were also able to get rid of two chairs because of the bench.
To be honest, I’m not thrilled with the bench (so why am I sharing right, ha!). I think a lot of my inspiration images were much longer benches and usually ended at a wall creating a cozy nook. Whereas our bench just sort of floats in the middle of two doors. I find this a lot with small spaces, that when I get ideas or inspirations from larger spaces I end up disappointed with how the mini version translates in a smaller space. Possibly when I get a full upholstered cushion I will like it more or maybe it’s the chalkboard wall that is really bothering me. Oh well, I still felt it was worth sharing. Particularly if you have a nook to fill or a longer wall where you could use a Besta system as a storage bench. And also because hacking Ikea things can be quite tricky and hopefully my thoughts and links are helpful.