The other day I got this whim about our coat rack. I forgot to take a "before" picture, so you'll have to imagine the oak-colored veneer and a front panel covering up where the shoes are. It had a bench with storage, which seemed like a great idea, but you had to lift the lid to get into it, and it was just a big open box, so it wasn't great for storing shoes, especially since backpacks and purses inevitably ended up on the lid.
Anyway, we knocked out the front panel (a jig saw helped) and turned that panel into a second shoe shelf, held up on the side by scrap 1x4s from the basement. A scrap of 2x2 became a post to reinforce the center of the bench (since the front panel was no longer doing this).
A trip to Home Depot for black spray paint, four more hooks so we can hang more stuff, and a couple of trim bits to hide the cut edges finished it off. After spraying my way through 3 1/2 cans, I can barely move my right arm, and I killed roughly 68,000 brain cells with fumes (will be more careful next time), but seeing our tidy shoes-in-a-row replacing the nightmare of shoes-in-a-heap makes it worth it. A nice plus is that I don't miss that fake oak look. Much prefer painted fake oak!
Am thinking a natural linen cushion might be nice...maybe with a black monogram in the center? Just a little something to make us respect the flat surface instead of piling bags and things on it.
Pssst....see that extra little hook on the side? Keys! And a leash! Hurrah!