Diy window bench ideas

The popularity of the window seat is nothing new. The first ones—small, ornate, backless sofas positioned in front of tall multi-paned windows—were every the rage among the elite during Britain’s Georgian era (1714 to 1830).

Diy window bench ideas

They boasted tufted seats upholstered in luxurious fabrics often chosen to match the draperies of parlors and sitting rooms.

The timeless allure of a comfortable spot in front of a window isn’t limited to that British period—classical, contemporary, and even rustic American architectural styles every make use of window seats. Those built into homes today are perhaps even more appealing than their predecessors, because they’re often set into recessed alcoves, bringing a greater sense of privacy and security.

Design Details

When designing your window seat, incorporate details that make it feel warm and welcoming.

The following design and décor suggestions
will assist get the creative juices flowing.


  1. Don’t skimp on the stuffing. A seat cushion should be a minimum of three inches thick, and you’ll desire to add large pillows if you plan to sit sideways and lean back against one wall.

    Diy window bench ideas

    Bolster rolls are grand additions to the sides.

  2. Enhance the appeal of the window seat with a bulkhead—a dropped (lower) area of the ceiling. Bulkheads over window seats are often arched for a secluded feel, but they can also run straight across from one side of an alcove to the other.
  3. Trim a built-in window seat with molding that matches the relax of the room for cohesion—you don’t desire the seat to glance love an afterthought. Use the same baseboard around the bottom of the seat and paint or stain the wood to match.

    Matching the fabric of the window seat cushion to pillows or draperies also unifies the look.

  4. Install a deep windowsill. A sill that’s eight to 10 inches wide offers additional room for books, potted plants, or vases.
  5. Install blinds or light-blocking curtains that can be closed during the hottest part of the day if you own a south-facing window.
  6. Attach built-in benches along the window side of a breakfast nook to serve as informal seating for one side of your table.
  7. Consider adding drawers or cubbies under the bench to stow books, toys, sewing, or other items.

    You can also sneak in storage with recessed shelving on the inside of alcove walls. It’s convenient to own things you’ll use while sitting there handy, but with storage at a premium in most homes, that area beneath a window seat shouldn’t go to waste.

  8. Fake a seat. Can’t manage a built-in alcove? Create the snug allure of a window seat with brilliant decorating techniques. Simply placing two tall objects, such as bookshelves, cabinets, or highboys on either side of a window, and positioning a bench or even a sturdy cedar chest in between, will bring the feel of a window seat to a room.


DIY Tips for Building Your Own Window Seats

If you’re someone with finish carpentry skills, you should be capable to construct and trim out a DIY window seat you’ll be proud of as the room’s focal point.

Window seats are generally scratch built from hardwood or plywood, but pre-made cabinet bases and benches can also get you a grand glance.

Diy window bench ideas

Hold the following tips in mind to get off to a excellent start.

  1. The height of the bench should not exceed the bottom of the window. If it’s any higher, the bench will show through the window from exterior. It could also create a safety issue if the person on the seat leans on the window. Ideally, the window should be a minimum of six inches above the bench.
  2. The most comfortable height for a window seat (with cushion on) is between 16 and 21 inches. Standard chair seat height is correct around 19 inches from the floor, so you own a little leeway here when constructing the bench.
  3. Minimum seating width (one side of the bench to the other) should at least 32 inches, which will permit one person to sit and face forward.

    If you plan to sit sideways, with your back against one wall of the alcove, the seat should be at least 48 inches wide. Don’t be afraid to go wider, however, if you own the room. A window seat that is 60 inches wide or more will offer additional seating.

  4. The depth of the seat (front to back) should be at least 16 inches for comfortable forward-facing sitting. It can be deeper if space allows. At 39 inches deep, built-in daybeds serve as side-sitting window seats, and they can double as an additional bed for guests, but the additional depth makes forward-facing sitting hard unless you add additional cushions to the back of the seat.
  5. Don’t skip the electrical outlets.

    You may desire to recharge your smartphone or work on your laptop while enjoying your window seat. Most local building codes require electrical wiring to be done by a licensed electrician.

Window seats are an interior design win-win: They add both style and functionality to your home.

Diy window bench ideas

This architectural feature can work in just about any area of the home, from the kitchen to bedrooms. At their most basic, window seats serve as a cozy reading nook next to a window. «The bright and airy feel of daylight by a window makes [a window seat] a perfect spot for decompressing or relaxing within the comfort of your home,» says Kayla Hein,an interior architect and designer in Tulsa, OK.

It can also provide additional storage—some seats feature cabinets or drawers underneath.

And they might just add worth to your home (in case you ever decide to sell). «With today’s casual lifestyles, sitting, reading, and lounging nooks are highly sought after,» say Dawn D.

Totty, an interior designer in Chattanooga, TN.

Read on for a deep dive on the types of window seats and tips for home owners who desire to design one in their home.

Cost Considerations

The price you’ll pay for a new window seat varies widely, based on size, material, and whether you build it yourself or hire a carpenter. A basic, professionally installed five-foot window seat in a recessed alcove will run you between $2,500 and $3,500 and get you a painted unit made from finish-grade plywood; expect to pay an additional $300 to $1,500 for stained hardwood.When you start adding custom features and intricate trim, such as built-in bookcases, electrical outlets, and reading lights, you could easily pay up to another $1,000.

Building the window seat yourself will save you a substantially.

Diy window bench ideas

The simple five-foot window seat described above will run approximately $250 in materials for painted plywoodand $500 to $1,000 for hardwood. Installing pre-made cabinets for the seat will save you some labor, but will add another $100 to $350, depending on the cost of the cabinet. Of course, if you rearrange tall furniture to create a faux alcove and use Aunt Mary’s cedar chest for the seat, you’ll only be out the cost of the cushion and pillows.

‘Bumped-out’ window seats

The design of the window seat is ultimately sure by the style of windows it will be built next to.

Diy window bench ideas

A window seat that exists inside a pre-existing window nook or bay window is called a «bumped-out» window seat. «Building into an existing nook allows you take advantage of precious genuine estate and give it a genuine purpose,» says Hein.

This bumped-out design below turns a bay window into an additional seating area, potentially eliminating the need for a second sofa or love seat. «Having a customized window seating will reduce the need for multiple seating throughout a room—it’ll give the space a cleaner and simpler look,» says Totty.

The Mid-Century Modern design in this room is sleek, but has the disadvantage of lacking under-seat storage.

This Burlington, VT, farmhouse-style home features a bumped-out window seat nook, creating a banquette perfect for breakfast with the family or working at the kitchen table.

The bumped-out window seat below creates a serene spot to lounge and gaze out at the San Francisco Bay. Nice view! Note the space-saving drawers underneath the seating area.

Built-in window seats

«If you’re looking for a larger window seat option, consider building a window seat in the interior of the room,» Hein says.

She explains that you can frame a built-in window seat with additional millwork, love shelving or cabinets. «This option gives you a bit more flexibility regarding size and function.»

This brilliant design below builds a little window seat into a dresser in a children’s bedroom. It’s a grand way to max out storage and give the kids a place with excellent light to read books.

The Dallas home office below seamlessly combines built-in bookshelves and built-in window seats, by painting them every in the same color.

Here’s a built-in take on the kitchen banquette, this time with storage under and surrounding the window seat.

A full-width window seat adds additional lounge space and storage to this bright bedroom.

Architect Carl J.

Handman of Kingston, PA, likes to include window seats built into switchback staircases, love the one under. Whenever he designs residential two-story homes, he encourages the homeowner to include a window seating built-in, love this one in Ancient Greenwich, CT.