Introduction: Living Room Workbench

Necessity is truly the mother of all inventions…

Since I currently live in an apartment without any extra rooms that I could turn into a workshop, I had to come up with a way of squeezing a workbench in what I had. Luckily for me, my awesome wife "Hi honey!" (just in case she comes snooping around here) is extremely understanding of my addiction to tinker with things!

Nevertheless, I had to build my workbench while keeping with the general living room decoration, so that it didn’t turn into an eyesore.

I think this will be a constant work-in-progress since I already have a couple more features to be added...

This will not be a fully detailed Instructable (as far as the construction steps go), so if that's what you're looking for please run away now!

PS: Oh! Before I forget, one of the first workbench themed Instructables I came across was from daleruisky ( so here’s a shout-out to you! ;)

PS_2: To all you grammar Nazis out there, English is not my mother tongue, so please flag any issues and I’ll update the post accordingly.

Step 1: Location, Location, Location

I had the perfect spot picked out before the beginning of this endeavor. I had some free space on the corner of our living-room that was small enough to be somewhat hidden and "large" enough to place a small workbench.

It was being occupied by an almighty Lack IKEA table, which I think was mainly used as a death-pit for dust bunnies...

(the picture was taken after the removal of said Lack table and after the installation of a couple of neat storage boxes).


Step 2: Color Scheme

To keep the living-room theme, I went with black and red matte wood paint, finishing up with some matte varnish. After applying the varnish, the final result was not as dull as with just the matte paint but still not shiny of reflective.

Step 3: Eat – Sleep – Plan – Repeat

Since I had just installed Sketchup at the time, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to start using it.

I did not regret my decision!

I've added the SketchUp file on the Instructable's intro.

By the way, the small space that you can see below the "pegboard" was intentional as it allows to pass through small power cables.

Step 4: Materials/Parts

The planning and building stages for my workbench took a looooong time (seriously, a really long time).

This was mainly due to not having a definite time-frame and not having started with a set design (it was changed a lot during the build).

However, I kept a really good track of all the materials/parts used. I won’t be posting prices/parts lists because it’s kind of pointless, since I’m guessing that just a few of you actually live in my country.

I can say, however, that the end result was more expensive than anticipated, but in part this was due to the need to have something good-looking and not only functional.

Just as a quick list of materials used: The entire structure is made of pine wood (maybe not the best choice, but what readily was available), MDF for the work surfaces and shelves and obviously an assortment of screws to join everything.

Due to the need to keep up with the whole living-room theme there was also an investment in paint (this part could easily be skipped if you don’t care about the looks of if you prefer the "au naturel" wood look.

Step 5: The Leg Bone’s Connected to The…

I won’t bore you with the actual step-by-step build, partially because I can’t exactly remember it anymore and mainly because there’s not much to it.

I’m not a skilled woodworker so there’s probably a thousand better ways to do this, but I just went around connecting the different parts using common sense and voilá...

Step 6: Storage Space

Apart from the main work surface I also needed some storage space (mainly for small items, so no need to go overboard on this one).

I ended up adding a couple of shelves under the main work surface (these will eventually be closed on all sides and have a door at the front, but for now they’re open to the world!

Step 7: Mobility Issues

Since the workbench would be fitted in a small space, I needed a way to get it out and back again at will.

I could have simply used those felt "thingies" that you place under chairs and tables to let them slide better, but with the kind of weight I’d be dealing with I would end up struggling with it and inevitably twisting the legs a bit each time.

I ended up choosing some rubber wheels with locking mechanisms (these also added about 10 cm to the overall height, which worked out nicely).

Step 8: Size DOES Matter

Since I only had a 60x60 cm space I was going with a 50x50 cm workbench. But then I started wondering:

"What if I ever feel the urge to take an electronic keyboard apart?!" – (never have and probably never will).

It was at around this point I remembered that I had spotted some cool hinged supports at a hardware store that would allow me to overcome my "small table size issues".

I first went with just two of them (one in the middle of each extra surface) but that caused a lot of wobble, so I ended up using 4 of them (2 on each extremity of each extra surface).

This way, I managed to end up with an overall surface length of 120 cm, while keeping the 50 cm depth limit.

I don’t remember the rated weight for the supports but they are actually quite sturdy, so I’m comfortable in putting some weight on them.

Bracket installation cheats:

1 - I marked the holes with the table upside down, with the table extensions in place on the floor (this way I just had to lay the brackets upside down on the table extensions and mark away - see last SketchUp image);

2 - I used washers on top of the brackets to raise the tables and make them as flush as possible (you can get a glimpse of some of them on the first picture [The shiny parts on the left extension table]).


As far as I can remember I’ve also had a thing for pegboard, I don’t know why but if I had my way we’d probably be living in a pegboard covered house…(Ohhh, the possibilities...)

Although the initial plan was to go with the real (wood) stuff, it ended up being a lot cheaper to use some pre-molded plastic pegboard sheets (complete with assorted hooks and supports).

Step 10: Final (at Least So Far) Results

Step 11: Final Thoughts

As I mentioned in the beginning, this is currently a work-in-progress, so there are a couple of future updates coming up!

I hope you enjoyed this Instructable and most importantly I hope this helps anyone that’s currently in the same spot I was when I started this.

Keep tinkering and remember: If you want something done right, Do It Yourself. ;)