Hacks ????????

Published on December 4th, 2013 | by csaffici


Mudroom Hack With Some Help From Rationell

ikea mudroom with drawer bench

Materials:  2x RATIONELL 30″ Drawers. ABSTRAKT Drawer front.  2x AKURUM 12×30 Wall cabinet.  AKURUM 15x30x12 Cabinet frame.  4x KNIPSA Basket. Reclaimed 2x5s lumber.  Some hooks, screws (SPAX), 2x4s, and some MDF I had laying around..

Description:   When we bought our house little over a year ago my wife gave me 2 months to get as many projects completed as I could before the family moved in.  One of the many, many things I did was re-locate the washer and dryer that was situated in a closet between the garage and the kitchen.  After I moved the W/D I realized that the space would make a perfect mudroom, and so began my process of trying to make the perfect mudroom.  For obvious time reasons I was trying to buy something whole from Crate and Barrel or any one of a number of sites I visited.  However, there was something about each of them that I just didn’t like or didn’t fit properly in the space.  Once I was out of ideas and time I put the project on the back burner.  A few months later I had some free time and so I started searching again for something that would work, but what I kept finding was lots and lots of great DIY ideas and Ikea hacks. Unfortunately, they were not the style I was after nor the correct size I needed so I decided to combine the best of DIY and Ikea hacks and make my own.

I decided I wanted a bench, wall-to-wall, with drawers underneath so the kids could throw their sneakers in  and close the draw to hide the mess.  If I put in shelves or cubbies I knew there would be sneakers and shoes everywhere across the floor; not to mention the hassle it would be to try and find matching pairs  in the morning.  Of course I needed hooks for coats, school bags and purses, but I also had envisioned some shelf overhead with baskets for hats, gloves, scarfs, etc.  Lastly, I wanted to find some way to organize all that other junk that is needed  before  we head out the door.  Specifically for me I wanted a place for my wallet, keys, spare keys, sunglasses, membership cards, receipts,  etc.  Here is what I made.


Because I knew I wanted to use drawers under this bench I decided to build everything around two 30″ Rationell drawers.  Together these two drawers were about 18″ short of my space and no Ikea cabinet, even if I hacked it to pieces, would work well so I built a frame for the two drawers.  Similar to other benches you’ll find here I simply used 2x4s to bench and within in bench structure I measured out the height and width of the two Rationell drawers.  Once the bench frame was built and the drawer rails were in and tested I was pretty much home free.

I then moved on to cut the piece of MDF for the bench face based on the measurements of the two drawers.  I test fit the Abstrakt drawer fronts to ensure there was enough of a lip and the drawers would open and close.

I have to take a minute here and make a public announcement, when I bought the Abstrakt drawer fronts I did not know (and was not told) that they different heights.  I was expecting the two large to identical heights and the two small to be identical heights; this isn’t the case.  And when I test fit the drawer I used the largest drawer front, so one of the openings was too big. In order to fix this and not re-cut a piece of MDF I went to the as-is section at Ikea and picked-up a matching cabinet door front.  I took it home drilled some screw holes and it looks great.

WP_000653  WP_000647

After the bench front was on I moved to the bench top.  I found a local dealer who sells re-claimed wood.  I went and grabbed some 2x5s for a steal compared to what I would have paid for new at the local big-box store.  I cleaned them-up a little (removed nails and light sad to get the dirty off) I gave them a rough cut to make them manageable to work with.  Once I figured out the depth I needed I lined-up the boards and made the necessary cuts.  Once completed I used a pocket-hole-jig  to screw them all together.  After they were secured I did a final measurement and cut the piece to fit.  To help the wood look a little older I brushed on some dark walnut Watco Danish Oil  which helped all of the marks and damage in the wood pop-out more.  I also had enough of the re-claimed lumber to use as a support for the coat hooks.


After the bench top was in place I moved onto finding a storage solution.  Again, because I wanted to hide our junk I decided to make a pillar out of two Akurum 12×30 wall cabinets.  They were just big enough to actually hold stuff, but small enough that they didn’t take-up much real estate on top of the bench.   These wall cabinets got matching Abstrak doors to match the drawers under the bench.

Lastly, after the cabinet column was in place I had to get the top shelf that would span the width of the area.  To do this I picked up a Akurum cabinet frame and my intent was to cut off the few extra inches,and to flip the one board so shelf-holes would not be visible.   To this date I’m not sure why I insisted on trying to get this cabinet on top of the column of cabinets.  I only succeeded in destroying the walls and getting myself frustrated.   After about two hours of trying I called it quits.  Later that night I was thinking about problem and decided to attach it to the pillar of cabinets. Honestly, I like it so much more the way it is now.

Hope this inspires!


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The Author

3 Responses to Mudroom Hack With Some Help From Rationell

  1. csaffici says:

    Maria – I’m sorry but I don’t have any technical drawing or measurements. I’ll do my best to outline the components of the frame. This outline will correspond to the first ‘unfinished’ picture above.

    1. Find the height you want the bench
    2. Mount a 2×4 stringer on the back wall where the top of the 2×4 is at the height you want the bench; you may want to account for the thickness of the bench top. For example, if you want a bench at 20 inches and the bench top is 1 inch then the 2×4 should be mounted at 19 inches.
    3. Find the depth you want your bench; at a minimum this needs to be 1-2 inches more than the depth of the drawer.
    4. Mount a 2×4 vertically support to define the front of the bench; repeat for the other side. This piece should be 1.5 inches (the thickness of a 2×4) less than the height of the 2×4 mounted across the back wall.
    5. Attach a 2×4 to the floor between the two vertical supports
    6. Mount a 2×4 horizontally on the wall between the front vertical support and the stringer on the back wall at the top to support the seat bench; repeat for the other side.
    7. Attach a 2×4 to the top of the two vertical supports (above the 2×4 attached to the floor). This should be level with the back stringer.

    (this is where it can get tricky)
    8. Determine vertically how low/high you want to mount the drawer and then mount a 2×4 horizontal support on the wall between the vertical support and the back wall. Then mount a 2×4 on top of this 2×4 that runs from the front of the vertical support to the back wall; this is what the drawer slider will be mounted to.
    9. Attach a vertical support stringer to support the drawer slider. Determine the width of the drawer then add 3 inches (1.5 + 1.5); the vertical 2×4 support should align with this measurement.
    10. Mount a 2×4 horizontal support between the center vertical support and the back wall. I don’t recall how this is attached to the back wall, but I think I mounted a 2×4 on the back wall and this horizontal support sits on top of it.
    11. Repeat steps 8-10 for the other drawer. If you repeat these steps exactly the space between drawers will be whatever space is available. If you want to center the drawers then you’ll simply need to build up the distance between the wall and horizontal support which holds the drawer slider (step 8). For me it just so happen to work out that an extra 2×4 was just the thickness I needed.
    12. Attach horizontal supports adjacent to the vertical supports holding the drawer sliders to support the bench top.

    I hope this is helpful. If not, I will find more time and add step numbers and arrows to the picture.

  2. Maria says:

    can you share the plan how you designed the frame for the drawers? I’d like to build one as well.


  3. Suzanne Melton says:

    Excellent! We just built 25 Ikea base and wall cabinets for the kitchen and thought the engineering was terrific. We need something for our entry that would be similar to what you did for your mudroom. Like you, we want to use 2x4s and a bench seat NOT made of MDF. We want drawers, not holes and the Rationell idea is perfect.

    A particular thank you for making your “public announcement” — That alone will save a lot of people a lot of frustration.

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