modern 2x4 bench on front porch with plants and pillows

Simple 2×4 Bench Plans | Build an EASY Modern Bench

Last Updated on May 3, 2021

These simple 2×4 bench plans only require five 2x4s and a couple hours! This modern bench is a great beginner woodworking project and a seriously cheap outdoor seating solution.

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modern 2x4 bench, $15 project

As the weather slowly starts to cool down I’ve decided to challenge myself to complete a Budget Front Porch Makeover this month. My front porch is a pretty serious eye sore, but I have big plans for this sad little area.

Drainage issues have kept me from planting anything in this flower bed for the last couple years. Everything I’ve tried up until now has promptly drowned in the heavy North Carolina rains. But, after lots of researching and planning I think I’ve finally come up with a solution! (Check out the raised flower bed I built for this area.)

simple 2x4 bench, modern design

The first project I decided to tackle for my Budget Front Porch Makeover was to add a new bench to the walkway. I wanted something simple, quick and also super cheap. This modern 2×4 bench fits the bill!

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Simple 2×4 Bench Plans

Before I started the build I created some simple 2×4 bench plans that are available for download in my woodworking plan shop. I’ll share some building tips with you here, but you can get the full detailed instructions and cut list in the Simple 2×4 Bench Plans available in my shop. 

All of the woodworking plans in my shop include a lumber list, cut list and supply list. They also feature digitally rendered images and detailed instructions that walk you through each step of the build. I use easy-to-understand language that’s perfect for beginners.

Build Your EASY Modern Bench

Project Time & Skill Level

This bench will only take you a couple hours to build. Quick builds with a big impact are great beginner woodworking projects or just a project for a quick win. The plans will take you through all the steps to build your modern 2×4 bench and includes a shopping list and a cut list.

For this build you’ll need to be comfortable with a saw to cut your wood to size. The only other power tools you will use are a sander and drill. The plans also call for using a pocket hole jig. The Kreg pocket hole jig is easy to use and gives the project a more professional look. I have a couple of basic tips for using the Kreg Jig down in the Tips section as well as a work around if you don’t own a pocket hole jig.

Estimated Cost

Can you believe this bench only cost about $15 in lumber?! It is one of the cheapest pieces of furniture I have ever built! The rest of the supplies for this build are common woodworking items that you should already have in your shop. I had everything else on hand and was able to make my bench for seriously cheap! 

Below is the materials list to give you an idea of what you will need. I’ve linked to the products that I personally use and recommend.

Materials Needed

simple 2x4 bench plans, front porch bench with plants

Simple 2×4 Bench Plan Tips

Sanding, Stain & Paint

  • I always recommend sanding your boards before you start building your bench. It is so much easier and quicker to sand them first so that you don’t have to try to maneuver your sander into tight corners on a completed build. 
  • If you plan to finish your bench in two tones like I did, I recommend painting and staining before you complete the build. This way you don’t have to worry about accidentally getting paint on the stained pieces. Also, it will be near impossible to paint inside the 1/4” gaps on the top of your bench. Paint the legs once you finish building them and stain the remaining pieces at the same time. I used a gloss black paint and Rust-Oleum wood stain in Wheat. I couldn’t find that color available, but here is a similar stain color.
rustoleum wheat stain

Kreg Jig

  • When setting up your Kreg Jig to drill the pocket holes for this project, don’t forget to adjust the jig for 1 1/2” board thickness. You will need to adjust both the jig and the drill bit. (I only mention this, because I have forgotten many times.)
  • Use pocket hole screws! It really does make a difference in the stability of the joint. For years I used regular wood screws in my pocket holes and only recently have I started buying and using pocket hole screws. It has made a huge difference in the quality of my projects! With the pocket hole screws the joints are much tighter and there’s no wiggle. I won’t ever go back to using regular screws for pocket hole joints.
  • If you don’t have access to a pocket hole jig you can still build this project. Instead of using pocket holes for the joints, you can join your boards with wood glue and  2” wood screws through the outside of the boards. Build the legs first, then add the bench top pieces. You will either need to leave the front and back trim off of your project or you can attach the trim to the bench top board with glue and 2″ wood screws through the front of the board. But, this will leave you with a line of screws on the front of your bench which may not be the aesthetic you’re going for.
kreg jig and toddler
You don’t have to have an adorable assistant for the this project, but it definitely helps.

General Building Tips

  • Use a speed square to check for square throughout your build. You will especially want to make sure the bench legs are square and the trim. If they aren’t you’ll end up with a wobbly bench.
  • Use wood glue in all of your joints. Wood glue creates a stronger hold than the screws will and is essential to creating a sturdy bench.
  • When you attach the boards for the top of your bench, be sure to pre-drill your holes. Pre-drilling helps to ensure that the boards don’t split when you drill in the screw.
simple 2x4 bench plans, pre-drill holes
two tone simple 2x4 bench on front porch with pillows and plants

I want to hear from you!

If you build this project please, please share it with me! I love seeing your creations! You can tag me in pictures on Instagram @MamaNeedsaProject or share to my Facebook page. I can’t wait to see your project!

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build this modern bench for only $15

24 Comments

  1. This looks amazing! I’ve been trying to find easy and affordable woodwork. Can you please send me the link to download the plan? I would really appreciate it 🥰

  2. I am very happy to know you. I like woodworking and always try to find some ideas.

    Yours are very helpful to me.

    From Vancouver, Canada

  3. Hi, I submitted my email to get the password, but I’m still not seeing anything come through. I have even checked my spam and junk folders.

    Im excited to get started in this project!

  4. Do I need to use treated lumber if the bench will be outdoors (it is going on my porch)?

    1. Treated lumber will last longer, but I’ve built several outdoor projects using untreated boards and not had any problems. If you use untreated lumber make sure to paint and stain the bench (using exterior stain) to protect the wood. You will want to do this with pressure treated lumber too, but it’s especially important when using untreated boards outside.

  5. Do you have any tips for keeps it from
    Swaying side to side? I made according to plans except without pocket holes, but there’s a bit of play side to side- I was thinking I could maybe add brackets underneath but wasn’t sure.

    1. Kirsten, I’m glad the L-brackets helped! I didn’t have any issues with swaying. It sounds like maybe the joints weren’t tight enough.

  6. Do you use an outdoor stain if you are keeping the bench outdoors, or can you still use an indoor stain?

    1. Hi Diego,
      I used interior stain and my bench is kept underneath a covered porch outside. It’s been about a year and the color still looks great. If yours won’t be in a covered area an outdoor stain will hold up much better.

    1. Hi Nathan! I just sent you an email with a link to the woodworking plans. Please let me know if you have any other questions!

  7. I want to start a hobby in wood making simple projects but beautiful as this bench of yours.

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