“There’s a world out there. Open a window, and it’s there.” -Robin Williams
Do you ever wish you had a little nook for cozying up with a book and hot cup of tea? Or maybe you have a room with big bay windows, but not enough storage space. Adding a window seat to your home can be a great way to increase functionality and heighten your space’s aesthetics. Plus it’s a great place to enjoy the natural light coming in through your windows. Whether you’re looking to take on a new DIY project or plan to renovate other areas of your home, building a window seat is an excellent add-on project.
There are many forms the seat itself can take. You can install a simple banquette, build a custom bench with storage, or find a loveseat that is a perfect fit. If the space in front of your window has some depth, your window seat can become a daybed, complete with blankets and pillows. Add drapery around the space, and your window seat or daybed can transform into the perfect pillow fort.
Once you build your window seat, the next step is decorating. Thankfully, these spaces are adaptable to almost any style. Just add a few throw pillows in your color scheme, and you’re good to go! To help you get started, here are some window seat ideas.
1. Small Window Seat Ideas
Window seats built for one can still add a ton of functionality to your home. Whether you make a small seating area in a bathroom or a nook in your home office, you can get creative about where you can squeeze in a bench and seat cushion to add that extra comfort.
These smaller seats can be a great opportunity to make a bold statement with bright paint colors, patterned wallpaper, or unique fabrics on the cushion and throw pillows. If the dimensions are right, you can even skip the custom build and place a perfectly proportioned settee or chaise under your window.
Since smaller spaces may not have a ton of natural light, don’t forget to add wall sconces or other fixtures to your space to make it enjoyable any time of day.
2. Modern Window Seat Ideas
No matter how big or small your space is, using modern decor in your seating area is a great way to elevate the room. Keep the lines of the bench and cushions clean, simple, and square.
Consider looking at natural fabrics and textures such as unbleached linens or leather for the upholstery and coverings. Add in a chunky woven throw blanket or sheepskin rug at the base of the bench for an extra touch of luxe.
Of course, any window seat needs throw pillows for comfort, so use these to mirror the influence of your favorite moments in Modern design. If your space allows, adding a wall sconce or chandelier can also cement the Modern feeling of your home. It can also increase the functionality of your cozy nook once the sun goes down.
For more modern design ideas, click here.
3. Reading Nook Ideas
For some, the sole purpose of a window seat is to create a relaxing, cozy, luxurious reading nook. This is especially true if your designated window is in a nursery or playroom. What could be better than a vibrant space where you can read with the kids?
To ensure all of your favorite authors are close at hand, build or install bookshelves just outside your nook or as part of the bench underneath. Of course, bookshelves are a must for any reading nook so that all your favorite titles are right at hand.
Nobody wants to get deep into a book and realize they’ve got a stiff neck from improper support. Lots of cushions and throw pillows ensure you can prop yourself up while reading.
To make this space feel like even more of an escape, hang curtains across the front so you can be completely secluded. Adding small framed artwork adds a special touch to your nook. Bonus points for handmade pieces made by you or your family.
For more ideas of where you can build a reading nook, click here.
4. Built-In Window Seat Ideas
If you’re going the renovation route, you can plan every detail to meet your specific needs. Bump out the walls surrounding the window so the space feels enclosed. Are you in need of more storage? Build it in! If your window is in the kitchen, consider building bench seating in between kitchen cabinets.
Doing a custom build means you can also be very specific about details. These details might include the type of windows you install, window trim, and any additional unique finishes or textures. You could even incorporate poured concrete or leather into the design—you just have to plan for them.
Adding a window seat into beautiful custom built-ins will elevate your home’s ambiance. It also lets visitors know they’re entering a carefully thought out and cared for space.
5. Window Seat Storage Ideas
Adding storage to your room is probably the strongest argument for building out a window seat. If your window is against a flat wall, adding additional bookshelves on either side of the window transforms what would be a simple bench into a cozy nook.
If you’re super-organized or planning to store something relatively attractive such as books, try storing them on open shelves for everyone to view. If you’re planning to store objects that create a little more clutter, think about building drawers under the bench. You can also convert open shelves into cabinets with doors.
If that project is too much, use bins or totes sized to your existing shelves to hide the mess. These can come in a variety of fabrics and materials, from open wire totes and woven baskets to fun patterned bins.
One easy way to add storage into your window seat area is to purchase a pre-fabricated banquette with open shelving underneath. Just install the bench, add cushions, and you’re ready to go.
6. DIY Design Window Seat Ideas
For those upgrading on a budget, there are a few ways to DIY your dream window seat without breaking the bank. The simplest option is to find furniture that fits perfectly into an existing nook. This can be a bench that you decorate with throw pillows, a settee or chaise lounge, a loveseat with a low back, or even an oversized armchair.
If you’re a little more adventurous and have some basic carpentry skills, you can build your own bench. Just make sure it has enough structural integrity to support an adult’s weight.
Once you build your bench, there are a few options for the finish. Most benches need painting and sealing similarly to kitchen cabinets, as they are in high-traffic areas and need a durable finish. Some choose to upholster the bench, either with a fabric that matches the cushion or in a complementary fabric.
If you want to maintain a more modern look, pick out a nice plywood that you can leave raw, or a wood that you might stain for a more rustic look. You can then finish and paint your bench or choose an unfinished plywood for a rustic, unfinished look.
Once the bench is complete, craft your custom cushion out of upholstery foam, cover in your chosen fabric, and, presto: Your own DIY window seat!
7. Bay Window Seat Ideas
A bay window is perhaps the most obvious place to create bench seating. It already lets in so much gorgeous natural light, why wouldn’t you want to capitalize on that and create a place to relax and enjoy it?
Some home-builders install bay windows with this intention, so they include a bench in the home. If this is the case in your house, just add a custom cushion and throw pillows, and you’re in business. If not, the structure of a bay window makes it a natural place to add in a bench with drawers for storage. If your window is big enough, you can add benches on each wall of the window bay to create a super seating area.
Many homes have a bay window in the kitchen or dining room. By adding a window seat bench, you can make this the focal point of the room. The flexible seating of the bench makes it easy to squeeze extra people around the table when company drops by.
For more storage and room organization ideas, click here.
Window Seat FAQs
Where should I put a window seat?
The possibilities here are truly endless, as long as there’s a window. If there’s enough clearance, almost any window is a candidate for a window seat. Living rooms, family rooms, and dens are the most common locations. These are all rooms where you would be likely to relax with a book or the newspaper for some alone time.
Some kitchen and dining room layouts benefit from a window seat to provide additional seating. This can be particularly effective if you’re going for a modern farmhouse look and need bench seating to accommodate extra guests at your dining table.
Window seats are also great for the unexpected corners of your house. These corners might include the landing of a staircase, a bathroom with dormer windows, or in your home office. If you have an older house with interesting architecture, look for these smaller windowed spots that can transform into a cozy nook.
How high should a window seat be?
Since a window seat is still a seat, let’s start with that height. The seat of most chairs is between 19 and 21 inches off the floor. For your window seat, this includes any cushions, which are usually 3-4 inches in height. So if you build a bench 18 inches off the floor and add a three-inch cushion, you’ll be at the perfect height for lounging.
How much does a window seat cost?
The total cost depends on the scope of the project. If you’re DIY-ing a seat under an existing window, you determine the cost of the materials. These can vary in price depending on the quality. Still, for the most simple projects, a few sheets of plywood, upholstery fabric, and thick foam are all you need.
If you’re building storage into the bench, you may need a designer and carpenter, which will incur additional labor fees.
If you’re completely re-imagining your home and want to create a window seat without a window, you’ll need an architect and general contractor. Their planning and design fees, as well as the more upscale materials they’ll choose, will increase the price of your project. But having that perfect place to curl up with a book or entertain guests can be priceless.