21 Ways to Use a Storage Bench for All Your Organization Needs

Embrace a tidier home by tucking things away in a dual-purpose bench.

light green end-of-bed storage bench
Photo: Brie Passano

A storage bench combines seating and space-saving, efficiently hiding away a broad variety of items. This essential storage item can be used for nearly anything, from bedding to beauty supplies, and come in several shapes and upholstery fabrics to suit goyour style and organization needs.

Take inspiration from the following storage bench ideas to keep your home clutter-free. The most important takeaway is to strategically place the bench near where you use the items within it to make your everyday routines easier.

DIY painted entryway storage bench

1. Blankets

Sure, you can always toss your blankets into a basket to keep your living room looking neater. But if you also need some extra seating for the occasional party or playdate, a storage bench can accomplish both. This can be especially helpful as the seasons change. Once the temperature rises, simply fold and hide away heavy blankets until winter rolls back around.

2. Pillows

Bulky pillows take up entirely too much space in the linen closet. Instead, use a rectangular storage bench at the foot of your bed to stack them inside. You can also use the space to store holiday pillows that get swapped out seasonally so they’re close at hand when a change is desired.

3. Extra Sheets

Do you have friends or family visit once in a while? Don’t stuff extra sheets for your guest bedroom in your linen closet, especially if it's cramped for space. Place a storage bench in the guest bedroom that can hold the sheets, as well as extra blankets and pillows, and serve as a place for someone to sit while putting on their shoes. Consider doing this for the whole family by adding a bench in each room with their corresponding spare sheet set.

shoe storage in front of bed bench
Cameron Sadeghpour

4. Shoes

While a bench is a good way to steady yourself while tying laces, it’s also the perfect place to stow away shoes. Incorporate an ottoman with a lid that lifts to reveal flip-flops and flat shoes in a corner of a closet for a bonus place to sit down if needed. Another option is to slide a narrow bench in an entryway so everyone can slip off shoes, store them away, and avoid unnecessary stumbles over strewn-about footwear. Because the inside of your storage bench will likely get dirty, empty it and clean out any dirt or dust every month or so. 

5. Board Games

Make cleanup after family game night no sweat by storing the boxes inside a bench located wherever you play. That could be in the dining room, living room, finished basement, or anywhere near a surface to spread out the pieces (and snacks). Since many board games come in rectangular or square boxes, opt for a bench in the same shape to maximize space within it.

6. Photo Albums

If you have young kids and don’t want them pulling fragile vintage photos off of bookshelves, consider storing albums and photo boxes in a bench. Make sure the storage bench is tall enough so that the albums can line up vertically like they would on a shelf. Alternatively, you can store loose pictures in photo boxes and stack them inside the bench. This keeps photos out of direct sunlight to help preserve them.

7. Books

Books are often a beloved home accessory. But it’s important to have or create space to store them. If your bookshelf is stuffed but you just can’t bring yourself to part with some of your favorites, add a nearby storage bench for the overflow. Use it to hold either the books you have yet to read or the ones you want to give to friends so they’re out of the way until you’re ready to donate them.

8. Records

Storing vinyl records can be tricky. You want to preserve your investment while still being able to listen to them without skipping a beat. While there are specific organizers on the market depending on the vinyl size, a sturdy bench can pull double duty if you also need a place to sit near the record player. Look for a storage bench with enough height to store the albums vertically with room to spare so they stay in top condition.

9. Stuffed Animals

With kids comes a plethora of stuffed animals, so it's crucial to have a place dedicated to stashing them, other than their tiny beds. A traditional toy box works well, but if you want to protect their fingers, look for an upholstered cushioned lid with soft-close hinges or a bench with pull-out drawers so kids can safely access their favorite stuffed animals out from their hiding spot.

10. Overflow Toys

Another organizational use for a storage bench is rotating children's toys. After a birthday party or the holidays, take some of the gifts and hide them inside a bench for a little while in the playroom or family room. When the kids get bored with the ones they currently have, you can replace them with “new" toys. Just remember to regularly declutter the bin and donate unused toys, unless your kids have a tendency to come back to toys time and again.

11. Towels

If your bathroom has space, add a bamboo bench to give it a spa-like feel, provide a spot to sit while applying beauty treatments, and give yourself some much-needed storage space. Fold or roll up extra bath towels and tuck them inside the bench. In the summer, add a storage bench to the backyard or the garage and organize the family’s beach and pool towels inside. This clears up space inside the house and lets you grab seasonal items when you’re headed out for a day in the sun.

outdoor bench with sports equipment storage

Gordon Beall

12. Pool Supplies and Sports Equipment

An outdoor bench or storage box made to withstand the elements is an ideal place to pile in pool supplies for easy access during the summer months. Everything from toys to maintenance equipment can be kept hidden near the pool itself. Alternatively, fill an outdoor storage box with sports equipment like racquets, balls, bats, or helmets for quick cleanup after game day.

13. Outdoor Cushions

Another use for a weatherproof storage bench is to protect your backyard furniture accessories, such as cushions and pillows, when not in use. Look for one made of resin and in a rectangular or square shape to best fit the pieces and keep them clean and dry.

14. Workout Gear

Home workouts are more popular than ever, and even if you don’t have a separate room to make a home gym, you can keep equipment organized inside a storage bench. Resistance bands, yoga mats, and even lightweight dumbbells can be arranged comfortably within a bench and stay undetected on your rest days.

15. Pain Management Products

If you struggle with chronic pain and have a lot of cumbersome items, whether heated massagers or chiropractic items, to combat it, consider incorporating a storage bench to collect accessories. This can be especially helpful to keep everything in one place so they're available when and where you need them.

storage bench with dishes and table linens

Ed Gohlich

16. Seasonal Serveware

A Thanksgiving platter that comes out once a year, a special set of wine glasses, or BBQ place settings don’t need to clutter your kitchen 24/7. Consider a banquette bench that provides both table seating and storage for seasonal dishware. For delicate pieces, make sure to properly protect them (using quilted organizers, for example) before storing them in the bench.

17. Pet Supplies

From toys to extra leashes, pads, or grooming supplies, pet supplies can be easily packed inside a storage bench. Place it in the mudroom, hallway, or wherever it's out of the way and safe from hungry pets. One of the best ways to stay organized is to keep like items together, so make your storage bench the home for pet items that might otherwise be scattered around your home.

18. Paper Goods

Buying in bulk can certainly save money but it most definitely does not save space. Create an area to hold all of your back-stock products, such as paper towels and toilet paper. If this isn't an option, consider using a storage bench to stuff surplus paper goods into.

19. Nail Care

This storage bench idea might sound strange, but it was a method that a client of mine introduced to me. She often does home manicures and pedicures while sitting in the living room watching her favorite shows. While storing nail supplies in the bathroom or linen closet could work so long as it the items are transportable, it made just as much sense to keep them closer to where she’d use them. Since most items are small, keep them sorted in an organizer, then pop the organizer into a bench. An oversized foot bath (clean and dry) can also fit inside, saving room elsewhere.

20. Paper Files

Utilize a storage bench to organize files hanging from included metal bars. You can find benches in all different styles and colors to match your home office. And if you don’t need to access your paper files often, a storage bench can also double as a printer stand.

21. Overstock Office Supplies

Similarly, extra printer paper, ink, and office supplies that you’re not currently using can be set aside inside a storage bench. This will help keep your home office tidy while also letting you replenish your desktop organizer when you’re running low.

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