Have a naked nook or a boring corner that needs…something? Think window seat.
“Whether your petite space needs some extra seating or you’re craving a cozy nook, the window seat is a functional solution to many aspects of home design,” said Elle Decor. “Top it with a plush throw or surround it with a table and chairs—the window seat shines in many ways (and we’re not just talking about the magnificent natural light).”
This cozy addition is easier than you think to pull off. In fact, you can build a custom-looking feature easily and affordably, and the whole DIY thing can be created in less than an afternoon. For the sake of ease and expediency, we’re concentrating on simple solutions using ready-made items like cabinetry, but if you want to build a window seat from scratch, you can get a good tutorial here.
It should also be noted that, while we’re calling this a window seat, it could just as easily bring interest and functionality to any old nook or niche in need of a little love.
Here are our best tips:
Use pre-made cabinets
You may love the idea of a completely custom built-in, but do your DIY skills match up to the vision? Pre-made kitchen cabinets may be the answer. Look for wall cabinets, especially those intended to go over the refrigerator, because they have more depth. The traditional 12-inch depth of a wall cabinet won’t give you much tush space, and base cabinets tend to be too tall.
In this video, you can learn how to turn IKEA’s SEKTION over-the-fridge cabinets into a dining bench. The same idea can be used to create a window seat. It’s up to you whether you want to create a base to go under the cabinets, to raise them above their 15-inch height. Standard seating height is about 18 inches, but you don’t have to go that high, especially if you are going to be using a thick cushion—and if you’re not intending for this to be used at a dining table.
You can see what cabinets will look like without a base here. Personally we love the low, sleek look (and the fact that no sawing is involved!). These in-stock cabinets from Lowe’s are another option. They come in a variety of sizes and are already painted gray.
Use a toy box
If you’re OK with (or if you prefer) the idea of a lid you can lift up instead of cabinets to open, a toy box makes a great base for a window seat. This one from Wayfair is relatively small, at just 30 inches wide, so it will work in tight spaces, and the lip around the back and along the sides will help to hold the cushion in place.
Use a bookcase
Flip this KALLAX shelving unit from IKEA on its side and you have a bench with cubbies for storage. Even better, it’s super affordable, comes in several colors, and can be customized with a variety of drawers, doors, and other storage options.
Make your own cushion
Now it’s time to top it. You have a couple of options for a homemade bench cushion, and it really comes down to whether or not you can sew. If you’re a whiz on the sewing machine, you likely already know what you want to do, but this version with box corners keeps everything neat and clean.
If you don’t sew, you’ll want to become friends with the staple gun. In addition to your fabric and stapler, you’ll need foam, spray adhesive, and plywood. Don’t freak out about the plywood; you can have it cut to size for free when you purchase it at Lowe’s or Home Depot. Now it’s just a matter of putting it all together. Get the full tutorial here and here.
Get fancy with a French mattress
You can also top your budget window seat with one of these beauties and no one will ever know it’s not an expensive, custom built-in. Unless you’re a master sewer, you’ll probably have to buy one retail or outsource this, and it can get pricey. Driven by Décor was quoted as much as $2,500 by a New York company! If you don’t get lucky with a great seamstress the way she did, check out Urban Outfitters. We’re so in love with their Rohini Daybed Cushion (and the $119 price) that we’re trying to figure out how to fit a 74-inch bench in our breakfast nook.