I don’t know about you, but the entry at my house is always such a clutter magnet! Everyone drops their shoes, coats, backpacks, bags, mail, keys…..it’s a hard working area. We don’t have a dedicated mudroom and over the years we have tried lots of different configurations trying to come up with a system that is both stylish and that our kids would actually use.
Recently, we have been using a cute little wicker basket shelving unit. I thought it would be great for housing shoes where I wouldn’t have to look at the mess. The problem with this is that apparently it’s too much work for teenagers to pull out a basket and put their shoes in it. So the area always looked like this
Lots of shoes on the floor. Lots of empty baskets. To be fair, most of our farm boots don’t fit in the little baskets anyway. But for flats and sneakers they have no excuses!
We have a coat closet where people are supposed to hang up their coats. Unfortunately the way our house is configured, we typically come in the back door. The coat closet is near the front door at the other end of the house. So it’s great for storing coats in the off season, but otherwise I was the only one hanging my coat up.
I had put a small chair next to the shoe baskets as a place to sit while putting on boots. This is where everyone else’s coats were always found. The chair also gathered backpacks, purses, hats, musical instruments after lessons, shopping bags. Definitely no room for sitting!
So I am giving up on the closed storage. I set out to make a super easy to use entry area with hopefully a place for everything.
First up – a solution for shoe storage. I wanted to keep somewhere to sit and put on farm boots, and have it be big enough to handle a bookbag or two. A long bench with shoe storage underneath seemed to make the most sense for both ease and use.
I had some old 2×10 boards in my barn that were 10 feet long. I cut one in half to use for the seat and shelf. But they still weren’t quite wide enough to make a comfortable seat or hold my husband’s giant boots.
I decided to add a 2×4 to both the long sides of the 2×10. On the underside we screwed 2x4s in three places to brace and connect the boards for both the seat and shelf.
The legs are also made of simple 2x4s. Originally, I had just planned to make supports that went between the shelf and seat, with the shelf just sitting on the floor. I realized the bench would look better if the legs went all the way to floor. We used a jig saw to trim away the ends of the 2×4 on the bottom shelf.
Screw the seat on and we’ve got a great shoe bench base!
The bench is still pretty rough looking though. The board we got from the barn was pretty dinged up and dirty from sitting in the barn for 40 some odd years. But it’s nothing a good sanding can’t take care of! We ran our palm sander over the whole project, rounding & smoothing out the edges.
While the dimensional lumber is inexpensive & functional, it’s not the prettiest. Adding some simple trim to hide the 2×4 braces along the front of the seat & shelf makes all the difference!
All that is left now is to stain the entire project. When sanding the barn board, I didn’t bring it all the way down to the bare wood. I didn’t want to sand away all of the character of the old wood. This board was once part of a wall that divided stalls in the barn. There are lots of scratches and marks that I think tell the story of this old piece of wood. Because it was starting out darker than the new 2x4s I knew it wouldn’t accept stain in the same way, and I was ok with that. I like the way the barn board is highlighted in the finished project.
All in all, the barn board was free and we already had the stain from another project so all this sturdy new shoe bench cost us was $40 for 7 – 2x4s and $40 for the hardwood trim board.
With the shoe storage taken care of, now I just needed some hooks for coats. I found this really cute coat rack on Amazon. I love the hardware on it. With a hook for a jacket then a more upright hook where you can put hats or even gloves. Perfect for a New England entry!
I added a cute metal sign above the entry and now we have some great, functional storage and our entry area is much more organized! Even when there are backpacks or bags on the bench, there is still plenty of room to sit down. So far it has been working out great!