Looking for the best mudroom bench setup—and wondering whether to do drawers, shelves, baskets, or something else? You’re in the right place! We’re a successful Design Architect and Building Engineer husband/wife team who do just about everything inside and outside of homes…(!)
…and today we’re showing you how to create your entryway bench with shoe storage in the simplest, cleanest way possible!
We’ll also answer popular questions like:
- How much does it cost to build a mudroom bench?
- How do you make a mudroom built in bench?
- How tall should a mudroom bench be?
Those of you who’ve followed our blog for awhile are about to get the pants shocked off of you:
Jess is about to recommend something other than drawers.
(It’s okay if you need a minute.)
When we decided to convert this room into our mudroom, we went through a testing phase that determined we for sure needed a place to
2) put on shoes!
As our design developed, we found we had 5 options when it came to our bench with shoe storage:
Mudroom Bench SEAT
Option #1: Shelves or Cubbies
One option was to do a mudroom bench with shelves—or even just leave them as large cubbies like the below, with shoes sitting directly on the floor:
(I found a way we could have the best of both these worlds, which I share in this post.)
MUDROOM Bench WITH DRAWERS
Option #2: Mudroom Bench with Drawers
Another option was to do drawers below our entryway bench, but we specifically decided against anything that pulled out. (Sharing our 3 reasons WHY further down!)
PS: I just gotta say, even though this below mudroom was professionally designed by a big company, why bother with the annoyance of drawers when you’re not even blocking the view of shoes within? 🤦 One of the top reasons I love drawers is how they HIDE what’s inside! 😄
Just wanted to point that out for you, dear readers, in case you’re considering any peek-a-boo drawers like this. Think twice, people! 😂
Mudroom Bench WITH baskets
Option #3: Entryway Bench with Baskets
I admit, I do have a bit of a basket fetish, but for the reasons I’ll share below, baskets are no better than drawers below an entryway bench.
Mudroom Bench BUILT IN
Option #4: Floating Bench Only
Another option available to us was doing just a mudroom bench with nothing below, making it a “floating” bench. However…
…we wanted a more organized look. Not just with kids but even with Matt and me, without the structure of some organized shoe shelves we’d probably still just toss our shoes below in a mismashed heap! 😆 (Because we are normal people.)
Mudroom Bench small
Option #5: Combination of the Above!
The fifth option was to do a combination of any of the above, like these drawers-plus-cubbies-combo!
But again, this was a no-go in our opinion.
Mudroom Bench WITH SHOE STORAGE
Why Shelves are the Winner!
We opted to go with shelves under our mudroom bench. (I know, this is hard to believe coming from The Unofficial Drawer Spokeswoman.) I had some theories that it would work best…but knew I could later add drawers or baskets if I needed to.
When in doubt, start with a phased approach!
After seven years of living with this mudroom bench with shelves, I now can tell you from experience three reasons to avoid drawers and baskets in your own entryway bench!
Mudroom Bench with shoe storage
Reason #1: Easier! (And less annoying.)
Let’s face it: it’s just plain annoying to pull out drawers from behind your legs while you’re sitting there! With shelves, you don’t have to move out of the way—you just slip them on and off the shelf when needed.
It could be possible that you only put your shoes in the drawer and take them out while standing, before you sit down, but then you have to bend over further—again, annoying when you could be sitting down on that cushy bench seat instead!
See how we made our mudroom flexible for years to come HERE!
Above is a pic of our mudroom entryway in summer (hellooooo beach sand!) and below is during our California winter!
Mudroom Bench with shoe storage
Reason #2: Less expensive.
Shelves are always less expensive than drawers, between paying for the materials for the drawer boxes themselves, the faces, the hardware, and the slides (add soft-close if you really want nice ones!). Not to mention the labor if you’re not DIYing.
Mudroom Bench and storage
Reason #3: Saves time!
Along with the annoyance (see #1), shelves under a mudroom bench are a huge time-saver! It’s grab and go! No extra steps of pulling out a drawer, baskets, or other container. Just slip your shoes in or out of the shelf and finito!
Below is the other side of our mudroom, which has a kid-sized mudroom bench with shoes shelves below also! 100% family friendly around here right now.
Bonus: See how we made our entryway space flexible for years to come in this post!
Mudroom Bench MODERN
When to Do Drawers or Baskets Below Your Mudroom Bench!
However, it’s not all bad news for drawers and baskets below! Some instances in which I would do drawers or baskets would be:
- If storage was so limited that you needed to stack a bunch of thin shoes on top of each other or wanted to throw them all in together—like in a beach house with a drawer full of flip flops!
- If you weren’t just keeping shoes in there but wanted to be able to throw lots of smaller objects in the drawers, like socks!
- If you don’t actually have a built-in mudroom bench that can have shelves below—if your bench is a standalone bench and all you can fit below are baskets, then go for it! 😄
I know I love me some good texture—and it’s been said I have “a basket problem” (I think I’m the one who has said this as I looked around our house at all the baskets. Seriously…it’s near impossible for me to say no to a good, beautiful woven basket!)…
…but I still think function wins slightly over form every time! I love beautiful things, but I love smooth living in daily life even more!
There are no hard and fast rules for below your entryway or mudroom bench—just good strategies to keep in mind!
Mudroom Bench diy
It cost about $450 for the materials for our mudroom bench, and we decided that 19″ height was just about right for us. Your mudroom bench can be made in a variety of ways and configurations, so it’s impossible to tell you exactly how to make the one you need before asking more questions. We offer design consulting here, or if you’re a DIYer there are always free videos on YouTube if you’re looking for a step-by-step tutorial for the particular design you want.
When we’ve helped our clients with their entryways or mudrooms, a height of about 18-20″ seems to be about right for everyone—although we’ve done shorter ones for kid-sized entryway benches! 😄
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- Our 3 secret steps to the perfect mudroom & entryway
➜ Our complete list of every single home project is viewable HERE!