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Install a Window Seat

Love to gaze out of your window at your beautiful views but hate standing up to do so? Want extra storage space without forgoing the decor elements in a room? Then think about putting in a window seat! Here are some tips on how to do so.

Posted in Windows and Doors over 15 years ago, 0 replies

If you've got great windows overlooking great views but don't want to have to stand at your windows to enjoy these picturesque scenes, consider putting in a window seat. Window seats are not only pleasing to the eye but are useful. They are great places to cozy up with a book, to cozy up with a loved one during a rainstorm, to sip tea and take in a gentle summer breeze, and any numerous of activities. Window seats are excellent space saving ways to add charm and style to your decor as well as create some extra seating and storage space in your room.

You can install a window seat in your kitchen, your living room, your bedroom; practically any place that has a window and could use a little decorative drama to enliven its space. Window seats can be as traditional and as modern as you would like. From plain and simple to elaborate and sophisticatedly outlandish, windows seats are available to fit any homeowner's personal tastes. All you need to do is roll up your sleeves and get started.

Choosing The Design

The window seat design you choose should be the result of well thought-out assessment of your needs and your budget. Do you want a window seat chiefly for decoration, storage, or to be used as another functional piece of furniture in your home? You also have to consider the fact that a window seat must be installed into a niche or a space that will accommodate a protruding fixture without sacrificing decor aesthetics.

Next, you have to consider how much you are willing to spend to have a cabinetmaker or carpenter custom build a window seat to fit the precise height and width of your window. This method can be costly and time-consuming, but the end result is a beautiful new window seat and an additional storage space.

Storage Design

If you want to install a window seat primarily for extra storage, you'll need to consider the manner in which the seat will open. That is, do you want the window seat to open from the top, on hinges like a piano bench? Choosing the flip-up style of window seat has its advantages and disadvantages. One advantage is that storing items is made simple as you merely lift the top and dump in your items.

A disadvantage is that items stored in this manner are often just thrown in, resulting in clutter filled storage space that is in a jumbled heap and a state of disorganization. Another disadvantage is that you will have to remove such things as pillows and decorative items resting on top of the lid every time you want to get in and out of the window seat.

An easy way to avoid the problems of a flip-up seat is to use a front entry style. Front entry means you are able to get in and out of your window seat by the panels located on its front side, bottom half. The panels are usually cabinet faces that open outward like cabinet doors or slide open on either side.

Front entry window seats may require you to do some bending to dig up stored items, but the items will be better organized and visible than those stored on top of each other in the flip-up style seat. Any window seat storage design you select is purely a matter of personal taste and not a matter of making a right or wrong choice.

The Window Seat Installation Process

Often, the most complex part of trying to install a window seat is the act of cutting and fitting the top. Why? Probably because the shape of the window seat is not in the usual simple, normal shape such as a square or rectangle but is often an unusual shape that requires you to do a lot of tedious cutting and measuring to try to fit the top into the recessed area of the window.

Yet window seats are relatively simple to construct when your window is within a cozy, recessed area or cushioned between two sidewalls. More challenging is trying to build a window seat along a long, flat wall with no recess. You can still install a window seat with no recessed wall by compensating for the wall. For example, you can "create" sidewalls by installing a pair of cabinets with bookshelves above them on opposite sides of the window, and then construct the window seat to fit in between the cabinets.

But, trying to accurately fit the top notwithstanding, window seat projects can be as easy or as challenging as your needs call for. The most challenging window seat installations are those that require storage space. And placing flip-up seat on hinges requires more craftwork than the front panel access. Easiest window seat projects are those that simply call for installing a top on a bench with no concern for creating storage space. Easier window seat installations entail installing a three-sided front face below the window and attaching a piece of plywood on top for the seat. Add pillows and voila!

Steps to Building Your Window Seat

There are a few things you should consider before undertaking your window seat installation project. First, you should figure out what the dimensions of the window seat will be. The best and easiest method of determining the dimensions of your window seat is to model the window seat after the most comfortable chair in your home. Is your chair at the perfect height and depth? If so, try to replicate both in the construction of the window seat.

Typically, the height and width dimensions of the window seat are about 19 inches up from the floor and approximately 17 to 22 inches front to back. The dimensions you choose have a lot to do with the ways in which you plan to use the window seat. If you want to be able to sit and take in the view in your window seat, making it too deep may cause some problems. On the other hand, if you want a window seat for napping and lounging around to read a good book then building the seat too shallow will probably make your time spent on the seat uncomfortable. In this case, you could even extend the depth of the window seat from 22 inches to 24.

Materials You'll Likely Need

Carpenter knife or razor blade
Pry bar (preferably flat)
Pliers and hammer
Prepainted material for window seat (pine board, plywood, MDF)
Tape measure
Levels (2 and 4 foot levels)
White caulk
Piano hinges
Drywall finishing tools
Painting Tools
2 x 4 ledger board and cross board
2-1/2" wood screws
3/4" round trim
Power circular saw
Framing square
Miter box and saw


1. First, cut away all the caulking that exists around windowsill and trim.

2. Next, use a flat pry bar to pry the old windowsill and trim from the wall. Remove remaining nails.

3. Measure the sill then cut the pre-painted material to fit the sill. Arrange new sill so that it sits flush under the window, and then secure sill to the wall with nails.

4. Seal the space around the sill with caulk, and use your fingers to spread it evenly.

5. Start your window seat installation by installing the 2 x 4 ledger boards at the wall where the window seat's top will be installed. Next, install 2x4 boards where the base of the window seat will be installed. New trim is not needed because your window seat will conceal the area where trim should be used.

6. Install 2 x 4 cross board between the fronts of the top ledger boards.

7. Cut the material you will use for the decorative front of your window seat and attach to the base frame with 2-1/2" wood screws.

8. Using the same material in Step 7, cut it to fit the top of the window seat. Then measure out x round trim to rim the window seat behind the wall (like a backsplash; used to fill in gaps).

9. Attach cut material to the top of window seat and to the wall, and then add caulk around the wall trim.

10. If you are going to use a flip-up seat for storage, lay the precut window seat top onto the base and measure and mark the opening. Lightly mark where the top will lie then set the top/seat aside. Measure and cut the appropriate opening for storage.

11. Next, secure piano hinges to flip-top up segment of seat as well as the window seat base.

12. Arrange the seat portion onto the storage base and apply caulk to seal. Let dry, then secure the seat part of the window seat to the base part.

13. Adorn the window seat with a cushion or custom padded seat, pillows, or other accompaniments.


Question about window sea


 What if the area that you want to place the seat has a heating vent in the floor? Is it possible to leave a open area at the bottom of the seat for ventilation?  Any suggestions?


Re: Install a Window Seat


Re: Install a Window Seat


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