Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

October 21, 2015

DIY Walnut Storage Bins with a Mid-Century Modern Feel

DIY walnut storage box with lid
Walnut storage bin

The bedside tables in our bedroom were welded at the same time my Grandfather made the headboard I designed.  We had some leftover materials and he just whipped them up!  We had glass shelves custom cut, but the whole project was really inexpensive.  I loved the airy look of the shelves, but I hated the messy look of piles of books and magazines that accumulated, so I bought two vinyl mock croc storage bins.  I've never love the look of the bins, but they fit really well - and they solved our storage problem!

Over time, those poor boxes started to disintegrate and I decided that I wanted to make something a little bit more solid.  Wandering around my local lumber yard - looking for supplies for the more complicated slatted storage bin idea I had - I stumbled across a really thin sheet of walnut plywood and fell in love!

Walnut plywood

Because the plywood was so thin, Handy Hubby and I were able to make really sizable boxes that are still lightweight - perfect for our glass tables. 

The instructions are over at Hello Yellow - you can click here to see the whole process.  Among the supplies required, you will need a kitty, for box approval:

Kitty in a box

Once the box is completed, it will look really chalky and pale:

Unfinished walnut is so pale

I used Danish Oil to bring out the warmth, but I needed puppy approval first (the smell lures 'em!):

Curious Komondor

The last step was adding hardware.  I wanted something brushed silver, because I am the last person on the planet to favor brushed silver over brushed gold in my home.  I also wanted something oversize and modern, so it didn't look like a kitchen drawer pull.  I found these at Lee Valley - they're 10 5/8" long! 

Long brushed silver hardware

I just love the scale!

Long silver handle

After eight years of living with those vinyl bins (two of which were spent trying to repair peeling vinyl), it feels so good to have something new!  These bins are simple and do the trick, but they have such a great mid-century feel.  I didn't intend to make them quite so tall, but we wanted to maximize how much grain we could show off.

Check out the full tutorial on Hello Yellow, but first here's another look at the finished product!

MCM storage box
DIY plywood storage bin with lid
Plywood bin
Pretty DIY Storage box with lid


  1. That is some seriously beautiful wood and a great idea. We actually have similar bed sets, but mine is with circles, I got it for my 16th birthday lol. I use baskets but you can still see the clutter and it drives me nuts.

    1. We had chatted about your headboard before, but I didn't realize you have similar nightstands too! A basket is a clever idea, but I understand how seeing the clutter would be irritating. I like the lid - hides the mess!

    2. Yeah, pretty similar except mine has a second bar about 5 inches below the top and there are circles in between those to tie the bed and table together in style.....and the bottom isn't glass but just metal bars going across.....which really makes it a pain in the butt to put anything on besides something large like a basket.

  2. Love that grain! They turned out beautifully!

    1. Thanks! I'm so happy with them! They really make the bedside tables look more polished.

  3. I love walnut. My husband made our bed years ago from black walnut. It's gorgeous but you can't see it for all the pillows piled on!

    1. Ooo, I love black walnut!! Shame to hide it with pillows, but throw pillows are so addictive...

  4. That walnut veneer is just so rich.
    Great way to make it shine.

    1. Thanks!! I'm always so impressed by what a difference just oiling walnut makes! I experimented with varnishes, too, but the oil makes it look so much more rich and lively.

  5. walnut plywood?! i obviously need to find a new source of wood in my city. what a fantastic use of that beautiful wood.

    1. I know! I have stopped shopping for wood at places like Home Depot because a lot of that is construction grade so it's cheap, plain, and not usually suitable for furniture applications. I've been going to lumber yards instead and have stumbled across a whole new world! Teak plywood, walnut plywood, solid walnut, live edge maple pieces...some seriously beautiful woods - and a lot of even more exotic species. Hopefully you can find a great source. I head to Windsor Plywood the most, so check to see if you have one of those nearby!

  6. These are soooooooooo beautiful!! But what tickled me the most is the white and yellow planter (McCoy, right?) I have identical ones from my Grammy that are TURQUOISE and cheery orange. I love your yellow and white ones! Perhaps we could consider the possibility of shared planter custody, so we can each enjoy their fabulous colors throughout the year...?



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