How to Build a Window Seat

A Window Seat

Learning how to build a window seat can enable a homeowner to add both storage and seating to their home. Window seats were most popular in older homes, where the depth of the exterior wall material - usually stone or brick - was concealed by putting seating in that space. Newer homes with a bay window or built in furniture that protrudes from surrounding walls are also a good location for a window seat.

How to Build a Window Seat in Thirteen Steps

A simple window seat is easily constructed during a few weekends using a few basic materials. To maximize the space created by your window seat, this design has a hinged seat that allows for storage. Other window seat designs may have no storage at all, or use drawers or cabinets to access the hollow space beneath the seat. What is appropriate for you will depend on your carpentry skills, as well as the style of your home.

  1. To begin, remove the baseboards underneath the window using a pry bar. Try to make a window seat that will accommodate the millwork around the actual window if at all possible.
  2. Measure the area the window seat will occupy. From these measurements, draw dimensioned plans for your window seat. For this project, a simple box with a hinged top, appropriately sized for the space, is ideal.
  3. Cut the four vertical sides out of plywood. A furniture grade plywood is an excellent choice, and can easily be stained or painted to match your decor.
  4. Join the pieces to form a box using finishing nails and carpenter's glue.
  5. Add a brace at the midpoint of the box for added stability.
  6. Using wood putty, cover the front exposed corner edges of the window seat. Allow it to dry and sand it down to eliminate any ridges. If you use solid lumber you can eliminate this step.
  7. Cut the top for the window seat. Allow for a slight lip on the front so the top can easily be lifted. The top should be split into two pieces lengthwise, with the smaller piece abutting the window wall.
  8. Attach the smaller piece of the top of the window seat using carpenter's glue and finishing nails.
  9. Using two or three sturdy hinges, attach the larger piece of top of the window seat to the fixed top of the seat. Check the range of motion of the top before fully installing all the hinges and make any necessary adjustments, such as beveling the edges of the top.
  10. Using a nail set, sink the nail heads and patch the holes with wood putty. Sand the area after it has completely dried.
  11. Paint or stain the window seat as desired.
  12. To attach the window seat to the wall, drill pilot holes through the back of the box and into the studs in the wall. Secure the box with screws.
  13. Touch up the paint or stain as needed. Consider installing crown molding around the window seat depending on the style of your home to further integrate the window seat with the surrounding architecture.

Final Considerations

If you have completed several woodworking projects or have several weekends to devote to building a window seat, consider building a more complex seat. Drawers or cabinets often make better use out of storage space and these can be constructed using the same skills and plans used to make kitchen cabinets. Keep in mind that knowing how to build a window seat can also be a valuable first step in building the skills necessary to tackle larger home improvement projects.

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How to Build a Window Seat