Small DIY Decorative Outdoor Bench

Small decorative bench on front porch

This small decorative bench is designed for small spaces. If you have a small porch lacking room for a full-sized bench, this small one will add a decorative touch and give you a place to sit seasonal or festive items throughout the year.

It’s super simple to build and cheap with only requiring 2×4 lumber and some screws. Of course, this assumes you have the tools necessary to complete the job, which is also minimal. It’s meant to be a rustic piece so perfection is not necessary. It’s an outdoor porch bench designed to look great in small spaces.

You can also use this little bench indoors if you wish. The sky is the limit as far as how it can be used. Use your imagination and find the perfect spot.

It only took me a couple of hours to build two of these. Sanding and staining took some additional time but overall, it’s a simple and quick project.

Parts You’ll Need

To get started, you will need the following to complete one bench.

1. 2 x 4 lumber

This bench can be built to any size you need so the total length of lumber you will need may vary. It depends on the size you want your bench to be.

The bench that I built measures 27 inches wide and 11 inches deep. It stands 18 inches tall.

I used 3 8-foot 2x4s to complete one bench (with some leftovers). For two benches, I only needed 5 2x4s.

2. Fasteners (screws or nails, glue)

  • 2 1/2″ deck screws
  • 1 3/4″ pocket hole screws
  • Titebond III wood glue

I chose to use screws with a combination of standard outdoor deck screws and pocket hole screws.

Parts of the bench are secured with visible screws but other parts are secured with hidden pocket hole screws from underneath.

I also used a little wood glue between joints to add a bit more strength. This is not necessary but I tend to go overboard in securing wood joints.

3. Tools

  • Miter saw or circular saw to cut lumber to length
  • Drill for drilling holes and securing screws
  • Pocket hole jig set
  • Orbital sander
  • Clamps

A jig to create pocket holes is optional as it can be put together with visible screws or even nails if you wish, depending on how rustic you want the bench to appear.

4. Finishing product

I simply stained my bench to the color I wanted and that was it! You can also paint or just leave it natural if you’d like. This part is totally up to you!

If you like the way my bench looks in the pictures, I used a combination of two stains comprised of 1/2 part Varathane Special Walnut and 1/2 part Varathane Early American.

Cutting the 2x4s to Size

First, you’ll want to cut all the lumber to size. The following picture shows exactly what you’ll need in order to assemble one bench.

Parts needed for bench build

I used a miter saw to cut the 2x4s to size but you can easily use a circular saw to do the work if that’s all you have. A miter saw makes easy work of it, especially if you have a stop block or a way to ensure exact cuts each time. Once you have the first one of a size measured, you can clamp a stop block to ensure each additional piece is exactly the same.

Since this bench is completely customizable, you may end up with different measurements than I did. No problem, the idea, and process remain the same no matter the size you choose to go with.

Once you have all the lumber cut to size, it’s just a matter of assembling all the pieces.

Assembling the Bench

This bench uses a combination of standard deck screws and pocket hole screws to keep it together. If you add a little glue to each joint, you’ll have a very sturdy bench. However, this bench is intended to be decorative only and not one for sitting on regularly.

Although it will likely be sturdy enough for most people to sit on, its function is to hold other seasonal items or just add a touch of interest to your space.

The benchtop portion will need to be separated by using spacers if you want to ensure consistent spacing throughout. Mine is separated a quarter inch and I used spacers to achieve this. I simply took a strip of 1/4″ wood and cut it into four small pieces and then used them evenly throughout the benchtop. This gave me spacing that is even around the bench.

Bench top with spacers between each board.

Once you have all of the bench pieces ready and spaced out, you can clamp them together to hold them tight. I would suggest using a straight edge on one end of the bench top so that you are sure that they are straight on each end before clamping. Once clamped, you can begin installing the legs onto the bench.

When installing the legs, I found it easiest to first combine the legs and top supports and then install the entire leg system to the benchtop. I used 2 1/2″ deck screws for this and also one and three-quarter-inch screws that insert inside the pocket holes drilled in each leg. This is to just add a little more stabilization to the bench and help to secure it as tight as possible.

Assembling legs with leg supports
First, assemble the legs and top supports.
Installing legs onto bench top
Attach assemble legs and top supports to the benchtop.

Once all legs are tightly secured on each side of the bench, the bottom supports can be installed. I installed these 2 1/4″ off the ground to provide a small amount of clearance at the bottom of the bench. To achieve this proper spacing, I used a scrap piece of 2×4 lumber and another scrap piece of 3/4″ wood that I had lying around.

Bottom leg supports

This gave me a place to hold the wooden support as I clamped it tightly and screwed it in from both sides of the legs.

Once each bottom support is installed tightly, you can install the horizontal support that helps stabilize the legs together. You can turn the bench upside down, drill pocket holes in the bottom support and then screw it in using pocket hole screws.

Installing support on bottom of bench

The bench should now be completely assembled. The only thing left to do now is to finish it in the way that you would like and find a great place to place it that will look good with your home decor.

Assembled bench ready for finishing with stain or paint.

Before finishing, you’ll want to give it a good sanding. 2×4 lumber often has lots of imperfections and ink markings. You can easily sand these markings off with an orbital sander. I would also suggest rounding off the edges of the bench to create a smoother finish all around.

I used my DeWalt 20V orbital sander with 120-grit sandpaper to knock off the roof areas as well as any ink markings on the wood. Once the main rough areas were removed, I finished it off with 320-grit sandpaper.

Pro tip: an optional way to round off the ends of the bench top is to use a router and a rounding-over bit. This will give a nice roundedness all the way around the bench top and make it more smooth.


Stained bench on front porch with pumpkins on top.

This bench was a fun little project that was needed for our front porch for some holiday decorations. It was simple to build and can easily be used all year round or just sat out for seasonal use.

No matter how you use it, have fun building it and customize it to your needs. It’s an affordable way to add some variety to your home decor.