As soon as I got this mission style headboard I knew it would make a beautiful bench. Not only a pretty bench but functional as well with lots of storage under the seat. Let’s see how this mission style headboard bench came to be…
My neighbor Rodney drug this free headboard home for me. He knows I’ll take just about anything found on the side of the road. Notice the legs don’t exactly match, see below for the solution.
Step 1 Choose legs for headboard bench
The very first thing to do when you build a bench out of a headboard is to decide what you’ll be using for the front legs. I opted for a ripped 2×4 to give the look of the back legs.
To make the legs match, I used a putty knife and a hammer to tap off the piece that was missing from the other leg.
Step 2 Cut sides and legs
For the basic build of a headboard bench there aren’t a lot of parts. You can see I ripped the 2×4’s to square them off a little to match the mission style headboard. Also shown are the sides and the armrests.
Step 3 Use Kreg Jig to drill pocket holes
Back in the day I would drill through the bed post into the side board of the bench. Now I always use my Kreg Jig to make a good joint on the side board. You can see Lulu in the background. We have a LOT of hawks around lately and I have to keep her close by.
I had a 2 x 4 sheet of 1/2” plywood. Three sections were cut to make the bottom of the storage area. The boards rest on the cleats and were later nailed in place with brad nails.
Step 7 add center brace
The bench is quite long and needs a middle support brace. I drilled pocket hole screws to secure the middle brace. This is just to show you where I put the pocket holes. I actually flipped it over and secured the brace with pocket hole screws from underneath.
At this point, my neighbor Rodney walked up and asked what I was making. As I was explaining to him how this was going to work. The seat would lift up to reveal storage. I had a light bulb moment realizing that the armrests wouldn’t allow the seat to raise. uh oh
Rodney marked the cut line and I got out the small circular saw to trim off the top of the front leg. That would make this an arm less bench. Then I got out my phone and showed Rodney my inspiration picture I found on Pinterest.
When I showed Rodney this bench he came up with a plan. I hope it won’t get too confusing. Basically we just need the seat to raise without interfering with the armrests.
Step 8 Install side support pieces
To allow the bench seat to raise and lower, it will need to clear the armrest. On the left is the original side. The middle image shows a 2×4 brace set in place. The image on the right is the 1×4 place on top of the original side and the new 2×4 brace.
Step 9 Build Mission Style Headboard Bench Seat
It was necessary to make sure the seat boards fit perfectly in the area before actually putting the seat together.
Scrap pieces were used to attach the wood planks together.
I used gorilla wood glue and my nail gun to tack the pieces in place. Then I pre-drilled pilot holes and added small screws for good measure. I purposely left a small crack between the boards because I like that look. That is why I didn’t use my Kreg Jig to connect the plank board seat.
Step 10 Prepare headboard bench for hinges
To add thickness to allow hinge installation I added small filler boards along the back of the bench. Wood Glue and a nail gun held everything in place until I could get screws in place. The bottom of the storage area was tacked in place with the nail gun.
Step 11 Install armrests
The armrests were cut to size. They were attached by drilling pocket holes and using pocket hole screws on the back.
The front of the armrest was secured using wood glue, brad nails, and finally a 2” wood screw. The entire project was sanded and the visible brad nail holes were patched with wood putty. I like to round over all the edges with my orbital sander to give everything a smooth rounded over look.
I love how the headboard bench is coming along. I’ve only made a few headboard benches with storage.
I wanted to show you how easily I move heavy pieces by myself. The furniture dolly on one side really makes it easy for me to glide it along and get it where I need it to be.
This is where I decided to make a design change. While sitting on the bench one last time I made the decision to remove the board across the back. It really made the bench uncomfortable.
Seriously—what was I thinking? I was calling it done, and ready to PAINT!
You can see my tools on the bench seat. I used a pry bar and a hammer to remove the ledge. I assumed it would be glued and nailed, but I was surprised to see that it had an insert that fit into the ledge. I used my reciprocating saw to cut off the dowels and the insert all along the back. After cutting it, I sanded it really well with 150 grit and then 220 grit sandpaper on my orbital sander.
ABOUT GAIL WILSON - A teacher at heart, Gail Wilson relishes the chance not to show off her projects, but to help others find their inner handywoman, step-by-step. Her blog, MyRepurposedLife.com, chronicles her scrap-saving adventures and has been featured on countless DIY magazines and websites, including Women’s Day, Design*Sponge and Apartment Therapy. She is a longtime influencer for both Homeright and Gorrilla Glue. With a tribe of more than 450,000 followers, Gail is inspiring a new generation of DIYers to pick up some tools and get to work.
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