Build a Window Seat That’ll Last Forever!
We bought our new house and began planning for an area that would seat our whole family for quick lunches and breakfasts. We came up with the great idea to build a window seat that could double as a storage area. Surprisingly, this build was fairly straight forward and somewhat easy to accomplish.
(There are affilliate links included in this article)
- Tape Measure – my favorite is the Stanley 25-Feet FatMax Tape Measure
- Miter Saw – The one I use is an older version of the DEWALT DWS782 12-Inch Slide Compound Miter Saw
- Table Saw (or circular saw) – you can also get the fine folks at Lowes or Home Depot to rip down your plywood
- Hammer – my favorite is the Estwing 16-Ounce Straight Claw Leather Handle Hammer
- Drill and Driver – my favorite is the Makita LXT211 18-Volt LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless 2-Piece Combo Kit
- Variety of levels in different sizes – I use a Stanley FatMax 24-Inch Level, Stanley FatMax 48-Inch Level, and Stanley FatMax 72-Inch Level
- Pneumatic Nail Gun – The Hitachi NT65MA4 15-Gauge Angle Finish Nailer is my current go-to
- Carpenter’s Pencil – check out the CH Hanson Carpenter Pencil (Pack of 12)
- Jig Saw – I use the Bosch JS470E 7.0-Amp Jigsaw
Since everyone’s dimensions will be different, this is just a general list of what you may need.
- A variety of 2×4’s (as straight as you can find)
- 3/4″ Stainless Steel Piano Hinge (to create hinged storage lids)
- Spax 2-1/2-Inch Construction Screws (to screw together the framing)
- 3″ Drywall Screws (to lag the framing into the studs on the walls)
- 1-1/2-Inch Finish Nails(for nailing on the rails, stiles, and 3/4″ plywood)
- Liquid Nails Construction Adhesive
- 3/4″ Birch Face Plywood (for the outer skin construction)
- 3/4″ Thick Sheet of MDF (for the rails and stiles)
- Variety of mouldings and trim to suit your style
Measure out your area and come up with an overall design. Then, dry fit your framing to make sure you have everything laid out where you want it. Once you’re satisfied, begin with framing in the window seat. You can see that some of my top supports from the front of the seat framing to the wall are secured flat, instead of upright. This was to create an area for my storage lids to rest on when closed.
Step 2: Accomodate for Ductwork
As you can see in the photos above, I had an air vent to work around. I didn’t want to cover this up as it is the only one in the space. Which means, I had to figure out a way to accomodate the vent.
At first, I thought I could fashion up some sheet metal ductwork and create a little contraption that I could mount between the framing in the studs, but that failed miserably. Then after pondering my options, I decided to fabricate a wood box to eject the heat/ac. This worked out much better.
Step 3: Dry Fit the 3/4″ Birch Face Plywood Skin
First, I ripped down the plywood to the correct dimensions (btw.. the overall height of the window seat is approxmately 19″) and dry fit all the pieces. I marked the areas where I needed to cut openings with my jig saw for power outlets and ductwork. I then modified the top pieces to create storage lids that could open/close to gain access to the inside storage areas. Next, I had to accomodate for the piano hinges. This was as simple as ripping off a 1 1/2″ strip off the side that will be against the wall and screwing the piano hinges between the lid and ripped portion.
You will also want to accomodate for the extra width of your trimwork when figuring your lid dimensions. We used 3/4″ MDF as our rail and stiles, so I had to add an additional 3/4″ to my lid dimensions so it would sit flush. I then added shoe moulding to the edge of the lid piece to add a more finished look and create an area to “grab” when lifting the hinged lids.
Step 4: Begin the Base Coat of Paint
At this point, you will want to do any needed caulking and then begin painting. You will likely need to put multiple coats on the window seat before adding any of the finishing moulding or trim. The best/most durable paint to use that we have found is Sherwinn Williams Pro Classic.
Step 5: Begin Trim Work and Additional Painting
At this point, your framework is laid out and now it is time to add some style. Your dimensions will vary, but now you’ll want to lay out what the box sizes will be for the face of your window seat. The easiest way I’ve found to do this was to add the top, bottom, and outer edge rails/stiles and then begin playing with dimensions visually from there for the remaining stiles (upright pieces of MDF) to get an even dimension.
Step 6: Finish Up the Accesory Work
When we bought the house, we knew we would have lots of painting to do! What we didn’t realize was just how much work it would take to get rid of all stencils, stripes, and more stencils that the prior owner left us with!! Unfortunately, this meant that we had to spend a lot of time sanding and priming the walls just to get the clean, fresh finish we were looking for. As you can see in the image below, this wall in our kitchen was painted with vertical stripes…which weren’t our cup of tea. We ended up sanding the stripes, priming the wall, and painting it with a color that more matches our taste.
Step 7: Perform Touch Ups, Add Accessories, and Custom Build a Farmhouse Table
Now is the time where I bring in Paige and she does her thing…making everything look damn good. Here’s the items she added at the end:
- New Hanging Light from Lowes
- New Curtains from Target
- E.A.T. lettering above the eating area
- Picture collage
Step 8: Step Back and Admire Your Work…
Here are the finished shots of the window seat in our kitchen breakfast nook.
Now a look at it with the Farmhouse Style Table I built… (More on that later)!
Take a minute and let me know what you think of this build in the comments section below!
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