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How to Build Your Own Window Seat

Cozy Up Your Space with a DIY Window Seat

Looking for a DIY home project that will serve you well into the future? Look no further than this DIY window seat project.

Window seats may look like they cost hundreds or thousands of dollars to pull off, but there is no need to pay a contractor for something you can do yourself. Once you have all the necessary materials, you’ll be surprised at how easily this comes together.

This project is a perfect way to spruce up that awkward cranny under your windows – the spot where a couch or love seat just isn’t working out.

But first:

What Exactly is a Window Seat?

A window seat can be thought of as a custom built-in feature that fills in an alcove or recessed window space in a house. It’s a bench-style seat that is typically flush with the walls on either side of it. A window seat can be upholstered, or dressed up or down with pillows, cushions, and blankets. Many styles also include storage underneath or within.

Window seats are perfect for reclaiming and making better use of empty or awkward recessed spaces in your home. They add to the home’s design and style while offering a functional seating and storage area for occupants of the home.

Steps to Building Your Own Window Seat

With the right materials, designing and building a window seat can be a relatively simple and straightforward DIY project. Below is our guide to building your own functional, stylish window seat.

You’ll need:

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Crowbar
  • Kitchen cabinets
  • 2x4s
  • Plywood
  • Mitre saw or circular saw
  • Baseboards
  • Carpentry nails
  • Finishing nails
  • Hammer
  • Wood filler
  • Sandpaper
  • Primer
  • Paint or stain as desired

Step 1. Measure Your Space

Measure the dimensions of where you are installing the window seat. Be sure to remove all of the baseboards and trim from the project area before measuring.

The easiest way to measure up the space is by measuring the length and width of the floor where the window seat will be installed, then measure the height from the floor to the bottom of the windowsill. These measurements are crucial to knowing what size of kitchen cabinets you’ll need.

Step 2. Select Your Cabinets for the Base of Your Seat

Your kitchen cabinets will form the base of your window seat, so not only do they have to fit in the space you’re working in, they also have to be sturdy enough to support the weight of an adult. Finding the most stylish cabinets – while also important – isn’t nearly as important as finding the right size and sturdiness. You can always change the style later on.

No matter how close you get to finding the right size, you’ll still be required to fill in some gaps between the cabinets and the wall, so don’t worry if you cannot find cabinets that are a perfect fit.

Step 3. Install Your Cabinets

Installing the cabinets takes more than just plunking them down on the ground. You’ll first need to create a strong frame (foundation) out of two by fours. For this, cut 2 two-by-fours to fit the width of your alcove – use 1 board for against the wall, and the other for the front of the alcove so it is flush with each wall of the alcove. Nail these in place.

Now cut and install about 4 two-by-four lengths equally spaced apart to serve as perpendicular cross supports. The amount of boards you need will depend on the size of your space. Be sure to position two of the four lengths directly underneath the edges of where you will rest of your cabinet.

Next, cut and nail in place two-by-four lengths in each of the four corners of the space to act as supports for your seat (cabinet). These will go on top of the base you have in place and be flush with the height of the cabinet.

Carefully place the cabinet where you want it, and then brace it in place using 4 more two-by-four braces that are as tall as the height of the cabinet plus the height of the two-by-four base. Screw the braces to the lateral base supports as well as corners of the cabinet. Depending on the size and shape of things, this could be a two-person task to keep the cabinet stable as you work.  

With the cabinet secured in place, measure up and cut as much plywood as needed to close off any gaps between the cabinet and walls. Nail these panels in place. Things should be shaping up nicely at this point!

Step 4. Measure and Install the Seat

With your cabinets in place, it’s now time to install the seat. The seat will ideally cover the full footprint of the window seat area. From here you can choose a flush design, or size the seat slightly larger than the cabinets to allow for a small amount of overhang in the front.

After taking careful measurements, cut a piece of plywood and then nail it down to form the seat. In place of plywood, you can also wooden slats, depending on the look you’re going for. If using slats, paint and stain them before nailing them in place.

After you’ve nailed down the seat, it’s time to trim everything up, apply wood filler to close up nail holes and gaps, and then sand, prime, and paint as desired.

Step 5. Add Your Personal Touches

To complete the look of your newly installed window seat, just add your desired number of cushions, throw pillows, and blankets. Don’t forget to start filling up the storage space beneath the seat with books, shoes, kid’s toys, and more!

Finally, now that you’ll be spending more time looking out this window, you’ll also want to note the overall condition of the window itself. Notice a draft? Any condensation buildup? Mouldy or rusted out frames? Could the area benefit from all-new windows or window coverings? All these details and more will affect the comfort of your new seat.

Let Modern Fix Your Window Pains

If you need to replace the windows of your window seat, or are thinking about installing new window coverings or energy efficient windows in your space, the window experts at Modern have got you covered. We provide window renovation and window installation services all over Vancouver Island, Vancouver, and the Sunshine Coast and Powell River. Contact us today to learn more or request a free quote on window solutions.

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