How to Build a Window Seat

Create a cozy window seat with built-in storage. Basic construction techniques and standard materials make this an easy DIY project.

Is there anything better than a window seat? Come rain, sun, or snow, a bench perched by the window always looks like an inviting place to sit and gaze outside. However, you're considered lucky to move into a house with a built-in seat. For the rest, we've designed an easy-to-build window seat that will look great in any home. The bonus storage space will keep your home clean and organized, too. Follow along with our steps below to see how we built it.

  • Working Time 1 Day
  • Start to Finish 1 Day
  • Difficulty         Projects Hard
  • Involves Staining

What you need

Tools

  • Paintbrushes
  • Tools and hardware to attach cabinets to wall or base

Materials

  • 2 unfinished wall-unit stock cabinets
  • Wood filler
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood stain
  • Primer and paint
  • 1x4 boards
  • Wide board for bench top
  • Upholstered cushion
  • Baskets or storage containers

How to do it

Step 1 Prep Cabinets

Purchase a pair of unfinished wall-unit stock cabinets (the kind that might go above a refrigerator or range) from a local home improvement store. Remove the doors to create open storage; dab wood filler over the nail holes, scrape with a putty knife, and sand lightly—you'll never even know they were there. Wipe down surface with a clean cloth after sanding. 

Step 2 Stain or Paint

Stain or paint the exterior of the cabinets in the color of your choice. The sanding done in the previous step will make it easier for the stain or paint to stick. Painting takes less time, but stain will create a warm look.

Step 3 Paint Interior

Paint the interior of the cabinets. The inside of many stock cabinets is made of melamine—a plastic—meaning it can't be stained. Apply a high-quality primer and paint to the interior in a color that coordinates with the exterior stain. To protect the edges of the cabinets, where you'd rather stain or paint another color, use painters tape. 

Step 4 Install Toe-Kick

To create a finished look and boost the seat height a few inches, add a toe-kick underneath the entire structure using 1x4 boards stained to match the cabinets. Attach the cabinets to the wall beneath the window so the bench rests on the toe-kick but is also supported by the wall. If you prefer, create a freestanding bench. First, ensure you have a sturdy base. Either use the cabinets themselves or build a sturdy foundation using appropriate lumber and construction methods; if stained to match, the foundation can also act as a toe-kick.

Step 5 Install Seat

Top the cabinets with a wide piece of wood to join the two cabinets and make a wider seat. Cover the top of the seat with a cushion upholstered in a fabric that coordinates with your space. Place baskets or storage containers in the open compartments to add stylish storage.

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