How To Build a Window Seat

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Estimated Time: 
5-6 hours
Give That Room With A View A Place To View It!

 

Window seats are great additions to any home. They not only enhance the area, but they can also double as a place for additional storage. Window seats are practical, beautiful and if planned out properly, multi-functional.

Building a window seat from scratch can be quite intensive. So, if you're an amateur carpenter at best, one option you might want to consider is using pre-manufactured wall cabinets to create a "built-in" window seat that beautifies your window while providing that extra storage space every house needs.

Project Steps

Step 1

The first thing you'll want to do is determine the measurements for height, width and depth in the area you plan on adding a window seat to. You'll want to be certain to complete this before selecting your cabinets.

Step 2

It's time to shop! By visiting a kitchen supply store or major home improvement store, using your measurements, you should be able to find appropriate sized cabinets for your needs. There are often dozens of potential selections. Just make sure you choose cabinets that satisfy your storage needs and can support the weight of one or two people (it is still a "window seat" after all!)

JANE TIP: Consider also purchasing a bit of moulding that matches your cabinets. This will help you to finish off the base and sides of the cabinets to give you that professional look.

Step 3

You'll need to prep the area first by removing any baseboard moulding from the sitting area. Otherwise it may impede the new cabinet from going flush against the wall. Use a pry bar with a piece of scrap wood between the pry bar and your wall to protect the drywall.

Step 4

Now for a bit of building. You'll want to create a wooden frame pedestal out of 2" X 4" lumber. It's important that your frame be the same width as the window seat area but approximately 3 inches less than the depth of your window seats. This will help the overall support of the unit. For even greater stability, add a center support board. Once your frame is built, lay it inside the seat area. If it fits, go ahead and screw both the back boards and the side boards to the wall.

Step 5

You're now ready to place your cabinets onto the frame. To keep our fingers safe and to lighten the load, remove the doors from the cabinets.

JANE TIP: If you intend on painting your cabinets a different color than they are now, consider doing this BEFORE you install them onto the frame. It will be easier to touch it up than to paint or stain the entire piece AFTER you've installed it!

Step 6

If you're using two sets of cabinets, clamp them together to make sure they are flush on top. You'll also want to be sure to check along the front. Use a level across the seam where the two pieces meet.

Step 7

Once you're level, use a drill bit that is narrower than the screws and drill pilot holes in the side frames of each cabinet. Using wood screws screw the units together.

Step 8

To give your window seat that professional look, make sure to properly center the cabinets between the two side walls. You will have space on either side of the cabinets at this point, but not to worry—we're going to fill those in during a later step.

Step 9

Now you'll want to screw the cabinets into the base pedestal. Be sure to drill pilot holes first to make this easier.

JANE TIP: To make sure you screw into the wood, mark where the base meets the underside of the cabinets. As the base is recessed, it's easy to potentially miss this.

Step 10

You will most likely have a space between the cabinets and the wall. Measure the width of this space. Now, you'll also want to measure the height by measuring from the top of the cabinets to just above the baseboard moulding. You'll use these measurements and cut a filler piece with a circular saw or a jig saw. Remember that the filler piece should be as high as the face of the cabinets. You may need to use your jig saw to shape the bottom of the filler piece if you need it to go around your baseboard moulding so that it will be flush against the wall.

Step 11

Attach the filler pieces to the sides of the cabinet with wood screws. You'll want to be sure to keep the pieces flush with the cabinet as you work.

Step 12

To complete the "seat" top, you'll want to first find some shelving material that closely matches the cabinets both in material and style. Take measurements of both the cabinet face as well as the depth of the cabinets. Keep in mind, that your "seat" can slightly overlap the front of the cabinets. Cut your piece according to your measurements and check the fit. If all is well, remove the piece and run a bead of panel adhesive along the cabinet edges. Press the seat back in place.

Step 13

windowseat step13 

Use your jigsaw to cut a piece of cabinet trim the same length as the face of the cabinets. You'll want to install this on the face of the "seat" piece by using finishing nails. Use a nail set to counter sink the heads of the nails.

Step 14

Replace your cabinet doors and fill in any noticeable crevices with caulk or wood putty. If you have large gaps between the seat and the wall, consider using trim pieces to disguise them.

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6 comments

18
Aug

My husband started a sort of window seat a year ago in the play room because I always wanted one. Of course it isn't finished and may never be finished unless I learn how to finish it. The problem is that it is built beside the window. Most window seats are like your pictures, they are built inside the alcove or indention. We did not have that kind of window. What should I do to make it look right? he also built drawers underneath where the seat is suppose to go for the boys toys but that has woked out well.
10
Mar

I am curious to know the answer to krfranklin's inquiry about building a 'window seat' beside a window when there is not an actual 'alcove' (or extended) window space in one's home? I have a passion for window seats, but due to life circumstances am currently living in a rented apartment that has only one flat (bedroom) window, and one flat (living room) sliding door that accesses a very small outside balcony. Any (non-permanent) suggestions?
10
Mar

I have not done this, but am considering it for my daughter's bedroom. I saw an example of this in a Pottery Barn Kid's catalog. They placed two tall wooden bookcases on either side of the window (to look like built-ins), and then had a low cabinet spanning beneath the window between the two bookcases. Just place a cushion on top and voila- you have an alcove window seat.
15
May

Making it happen! I really love this idea for a flat window arrangement, I think room partitions would also work instead of bookshelves.
10
Mar

You can try this link - it doesn't give you step by step instructions, but it is possible. http://www.doityourself.com/stry/windowseat Maybe if you search the site, you can find detailed instructions. Hope this helps a little...
8
Jun

Another way to approach it is to buy stock cabinets and then dress them up, stain them, paint them, whatever. Will save some of the building time.