Building a Window Seat

8 Materials
1 Day

Who doesn’t love a window seat or any long bench that you can gather on?? I think it would be hard to find someone who doesn’t like to read a book/magazine in the warmth of the sun sitting in a window. I know that for my family the two window seats we have built have been our favorite spots to gather or lounge.

In this post I am going to break down just how we went about adding a bench to a wall in both our kitchen as well as our sons room.

For this to work in your home you will need to find a location (doesn’t necessarily need to be next to a window) where the bench will be at least 20″ wide. The reason for this is you need to be able to at least hit two studs within the wall. I will discuss this more later.

We added one of these benches in our kitchen, so we could have a better eating area for our family of 5, as well as in our oldest sons room.

To start we gathered our materials, which I have detailed below;

  • 1 sheet of 3/4″  Sanded Plywood
  • 1 set of  4 wood legs 16″ tall
  • 1 2x3x8 for the wall cleat
  • 1 2x2x8 for the front support
  • High Density foam for cushion
  • Fabric of choice to cover the foam

If you do not have the ability to cut down the large sheet of plywood, I would make sure that when you go to purchase these items you know the width and length you are planning to use. That way you can have the store rip the board down for you. We have a table saw so we ripped the boards down to 20″ wide by the full 96″ length. We made two pieces the exact same.

So, we had 2 pieces of 20″ x 96″ wide pieces of plywood. One will be the top part of the bench and the other will be what you use to attach the foam and fabric to.

In addition to having the two larger plywood boards for the top of the bench and the cushion, there is also another piece of plywood that needs to be cut. This is to create the finished look in the front of the bench.

In the below image you can see I have outlined the top portion of the leg, this is the area which you will need to get the measurement from. Our particular leg was 2.75″ tall, therefore our last piece plywood we cut down to 2.75″w x 96″ long.

Once you have all the boards cut to the sizes you need, you can start to assemble the bench. First, you want to measure out where the legs are going to fall on your bench. We are using a total of 4 legs for our benches, so we made sure to space them evenly across the board. We also made sure to place them at the very edge of the board

We then attached each leg to the plywood, we made the mistake of not putting the boards on saw horses, so make sure you have the plywood resting on the saw horses prior to doing all your measurements, otherwise you’ll have to move it to screw it all in.

To attach each of the legs we used 3″ screws and put 3 in each leg. Prior to screwing in the screws it is highly recommended that you use a drill bit to pre-drill a hole. That way the 3″ screw will go into the leg easier, and not cause any damage to the piece.

Once all the legs are attached to the plywood, you are then going to want to add the back supports for the finished front piece. This is where you will use the 2x2x8 boards. You will need to measure the distance between the legs and then cut the boards accordingly.

When placing the boards on to the plywood, you want to make sure that the support pieces leave enough room for the face piece to fit. In the below image you can see that the boards are set back about 3/4″. Once these were in place we attached them using 1 5/8″ screws.

Now that the support boards were all in place, we then measured the length each of the face boards needed to be. These were the strips of plywood that measured the same width as the top of the legs.

Below you can each one in its place, and how it gives that finished touch to the bench. We attached these boards using our finish nailer, and use 1.25″ nails.

Now that the bench was completely built, it was time to paint it. I took it into our backyard and sprayed it with our paint sprayer. I just found spraying it easier than hand painting it, but either way would work!

While it was drying we took the 2x3x8 and attached it to the wall, this creates a support brace for the back part of the bench to sit on. The brace should be the same height off the floor as the bench is off the ground. We located the studs in the wall, which are typically 16″ on center, and then used the same 3″ screws to hold the board in place.

The picture below shows the board attached under the bench, unfortunately I forgot to snap an in-progress photo.

Now that the 2×3 was attached, we brought the bench in and sat it on top. Here you can see the bench in its final place, this is the one located in our kitchen.

Now that the bench was complete I needed to get the cushion on, I actually used an old memory foam topper that we no longer used and cut it to size, but the high density foam listed above would work too.

I just laid out my fabric, I used a white linen, first, then I laid the foam topper down and lastly the piece of plywood on top of that. I just slowly worked around the piece stapling the fabric into place.

Once that is done, the bench is complete! Here is a final look at how our bench in the kitchen looked after we finished. We have had this for about 9 months now, and it has been the best thing for family dinners! We completed or sons more recently and he has loved laying on it to read!

I hope this was helpful! 

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 4 questions
  • Stu
    on May 6, 2020

    I have the baseboard heaters in my house and I have wondered if putting something like this over them would heat up the bench too much?

    • Stu
      on May 7, 2020

      Thanks that means I can work on something like this for one of my rooms.

  • William McDonough
    on May 6, 2020

    Looks great. Appears you used some type of finish wood on the front and side between the legs of the bench. Don't see that listed. What did you use?

    • Ashley
      on May 6, 2020

      Hi William!

      I actually mentioned this in the post, I used smaller boards which I ripped down from the plywood to add to the front.

      Thank you so much for your question!

  • N. G. Londonderry
    on May 12, 2020

    Interesting chandelier...did you make it?

    • Ashley
      on May 13, 2020

      I did not, I purchased this one from World Market. I have a plan to make one that looks like a pottery Barn one though!

Join the conversation

2 of 22 comments
  • Em
    on May 6, 2020

    Glad to see you left the radiator open. So many people don't leave enough space for them to properly work. Looks really nice.

  • Ann
    on Jun 2, 2020

    Very nicely done. It suits the space and it’s wonderful having all the extra seating, and with light from outdoors.

    I wondered about the chandelier too. It’s lovely.

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