How to Build a Window Seat
Create a beautiful window seat with loads of extra storage
As attractive as window seats are, only a few older homes with deep dormers seem to have them. And adding a window seat has always been considered impractical. First, you need a niche that features a window. Then, the seat has to be custom-built by a cabinetmaker or trim carpenter to fit the exact width and sill height of the window. Not surprisingly, this approach is expensive and time-consuming.
Here's how to build a beautiful, custom window seat in just a couple of days using ready-made kitchen cabinets. This simple, do-it-yourself approach provides both the "niche" and the window seat, and an abundance of storage space. This seat was built under a 6-foot-wide kitchen window, but its design can easily be adapted for any size window in almost any room. The seat is made up of six kitchen wall cabinets and two 48-inch-tall bookcase units, which are trimmed with decorative crown molding. The window seat itself is composed of two 15-inch-tall, over-the-refrigerator cabinets set side-by-side.
Build the Toekick
Start by building a perimeter base, called the toekick, out of 2x4s or 2x6s to the same height as the existing baseboard. The depth of the toekick must equal the depth of the cabinets, not including their doors. Fasten the toekick together with 3-inch screws; check to make sure it's level. Anchor the toekick with a couple of screws driven into the floor or wall studs.
Tip: When deciding where to install a window seat, keep in mind that most windows have an air register or baseboard heater below them. (This one did not.) To ensure that the window seat does not block the flow of heat into the room, you must extend the ductwork under the seat and mount the register in the front of the toekick base. For a hot-water heating system, have a heating contractor install a flat toekick radiator with electric blower under the window seat.