* Prices may differ from that shown
Following my youngest sons first birthday in May, our front room was absolutely overflowing with toys and although we would tidy them away every evening they were still on display for all to see. As he is only one, many of the toys are quite large in size and were taking up a lot of room. We desperately needed a toy box, but it had to be quite large, very sturdy and it needed to fit in with the decor in our front room, as this is where Logan spend most of his time playing.
Price soon became the fourth issue, I wasn't really prepared for the cost of some of the strong wooden storage boxes, I quite liked a white one although it was a little bit too 'fancy' and it cost £399! Keeping in mind that this was just to store kids toys and was probably going to get quite a battering before eventually being relegated to a bedroom, this was far too expensive. I just wanted something plain and simple but tough and robust for under £100.
When all else fails, we head for Ikea! I used to hate the place, but slowly over the years, we've come to realise that they have great storage furniture for fair prices and low and behold, on this visit we found a brilliant solution to our problem. The Stuva storage bench and drawer.
This was new in when we bought it and it can be found in the childrens section. It consists of two parts which can be purchased together or seperately. We bought everything together for £75.
As you would expect, coming from Ikea, both items are flat packed and both packages are quite large and heavy, although we managed to get both in the back of a Mazda 3 (with the back seats down). The instructions come in an A4 booklet and are in picture form, we found them all really easy to follow. All fittings like screws and dowels are provided, along with an alan key for tightening, but you will also need both Philips and flat head screwdrivers.
When assembled the whole unit measures 90cm wide X 50cm deep X 50cm high, so it is a bit larger than many toy boxes.
The bench consists of four main parts. The top is 3cm thick and the two side panels are 2cm thick. The fourth panel is secured to the top piece and the sides to strengthen the bench. There are also some feet to attach and four semi-circular shaped plastic pieces which fix to the bottom inside edges of each side piece, these help the drawer to slide under smoothly. This is made of five main parts (2 sides, the back, the base and the front). There are two rectangular 'cut outs' at the top of the drawer front to enable you to pull the drawer out, these are big enough for large adult hands and keep the lines of the unit all nice and simplistic. There are also castors which attach to the bottom of the drawer to help it move easily, we have laminate flooring and Logan can pull the drawer out with ease, even when full of toys.
All parts are made from a concotion of materials, none of which I understand, so I've copied these details from the website:
Board on frame: ABS plastic, Honeycomb structure recycled paper filling, Particleboard, Fibreboard, Foil
Side panel: Particleboard, Honeycomb structure recycled paper filling, Fibreboard, Foil, ABS plastic
Back panel: Particleboard, Foil
Drawer front/ Drawer bottom: Fibreboard, Acrylic paint
Drawer side/ Drawer back: Particleboard, Melamine foil, Foil
To me it looks laminated, which makes it easy to keep clean by washing over with a dishcloth and dettol spray.
So, the imortant question, would I recommend it?
Yes. For £75 it's amazing value. It matches our decor perfectly as it is completely white and very plain and contemporary looking. It is also very robust. We've had it over six months and there isn't a mark on it even though it gets very heavy handed daily use. The top of the bench is great to display toys on, for example a train set, then pull the drawer out and Logan can stand there and play happily. We also find ourselves using the bench as a seat when we have visitors and all the sofa space is taken up. Another good point is that there is no lid to fall onto little fingers or heads.
As I mentioned before, the drawer front also comes in pink, blue and green or a birch style (I haven't seen this close up but I presume it's a laminate).
The bench, drawer and drawer front can all be bought seperately, handy if you want to change the colour or if a part gets damaged. There are also matching items available.
Thanks for reading!