Is there anything more inviting than a cozy window seat? Tucked in with plush cushions, an exclusive view of the yard or garden, and armed with a good book and cup of tea…there’s nothing that can compare.
What exactly is it that makes a window seat the most coveted area of the house? Read on as we explore the answer to that question and introduce you to our best built-in window seat ideas and tips.
5 Things You Should Know About Window Seats
A window seat is a unique piece of built-in furniture that deserves its own category, really. From their advent to the modern window seat ideas of today, here are 5 things you should know about window seats.
Window Seats Are Nothing New
They may seem novel in recent years with the renewed popularity of custom building and DIY work, but window seats were born hundreds of years ago. Window seat benches actually made their debut in the early 1700s among the elite throughout Britain’s Georgian era. They were often upholstered and highly embellished backless benches sidled up against tall windows, touting the best view in a room.
Window Seats Bring The Outdoors In
A window seat is a perfect place to cozy up and enjoy the outdoors. No matter your particular view, the right window seat ideas encourage an easy segue to nature and can even inspire your interior design altogether. Highlighting a special window with a window seat can create a sanctuary of breathe-easy space to relax and seek refuge against daily stress.
Window Seats Don’t Actually Have To Be By A Window
Though they obviously got their name from their original and typical location, modern window seat ideas can be found throughout the home—the landing on the stairs, next to the vanity in the bathroom, between locker style cabinets in the mudroom, a bedroom wall flanked by beautiful built-in bookshelves. Wherever they’re found, these welcoming little nooks are still often referred to as “window” seats.
Window Seat Ideas Come In All Shapes & Sizes
Though there are some measurements to generally adhere to when designing a window seat for your own home (more on that below!), window seats can be big, small, wide, narrow, straight, curved, full of open or hidden storage, and about a million other things. They can be open and airy or curtained off as a secluded hideaway. They can be a perfectly blended piece of furniture or a focal point in the room. And they can be endlessly versatile when it comes to added customization with cushions and other decor accessories.
Window Seats Increase Your Home’s Value
Not only does a window seat count as permanent and cohesively designed extra seating, or even an extra bed, it can also increase your home’s value with its bespoke nature and its natural addition to coveted built-in storage space. Whether it’s with bookshelves, an extra-wide window sill shelf, liftable bench lids, or under-bench drawers or cubbies, window seat ideas for storage are a positive consideration when it comes to assessing home value.
What Are The Different Types of Window Seats
There are many ways to group different types of window seats: location in the home, type of storage designed into the window seat idea, and whether or not the window seat stands on its own are a few. For our purposes, we’ll stick with the first—window seats in various nooks and crannies of the house.
Window Seats In The Bedroom
It may feel like the height of luxury to add a custom window seat to your bedroom, but it’s a decision you’ll never regret. If you already have a decent view, a window seat will only add to the private treehouse or garden terrace effect in your master bedroom.
Window Seats In The Closet
A closet may be the last place you’d imagine putting a window seat, but just think of the absolute quiet and privacy to be found every morning in your own little built-in meditation, journaling, or reading nook right inside your own custom walk-in closet!
Window Seats In The Bathroom
Don’t call us crazy until you’ve enjoyed the additional storage found in a cute little window seat in the bathroom! Extra toiletries and towels have the perfect hideaway in this custom bathroom vanity with a window seat attached. Plus, it’s a great place to add a cushion and get littles dry and dressed after bath time.
Window Seats In The Kitchen
One of our favorite design ideas for the kitchen is to add a window seat to create a breakfast nook and solve annoying chair-in-the-corner situations. With a built-in window seat bench, you can not only seat several people in an otherwise difficult to maneuver area, but you can also store extra serving dishes, tablecloths, or other less-frequently used kitchen items.
Window Seats In The Living Room
Building a window seat in the living room is a great way to provide extra seating and storage, as well as to designate an area for small side conversation or refuge when a large group is gathered or another activity is going on.
How To Choose The Right Window Seat For Your Home
Picking the right window seat ideas for your own home is a fun process that can ultimately increase the functionality, value, and hygge factor in your home.
Start the process by physically walking throughout your house and deciding which areas are either underutilized or could be enhanced by the addition of a window seat. Do you have a bay window in your living room you haven’t been able to configure premade furniture within or around? Do you have a pair of bookshelves surrounding an existing window that lacks something below it? Is there an attic nook or stairwell that could stand to serve an actual purpose?
Once you’ve figured out where you want your new window seat, keep in mind these great tips that’ll ensure your window seat ideas are executed with function and beauty.
- A window seat should be situated at least 6 inches below the window to allow for cushions and safety. Ideally, you’ll have plenty of wall space either below the window or on one or both sides of the window seat to use as a comfortable and sturdy backrest.
- A comfortable height for a window seat is between 16 and 18 inches if you want your feet to be sitting on the ground, and that includes a good cushion of at least 3 inches (though many people plan for a 6” cushion to enhance the coziness factor and take compression into account).
- A window seat should be at least 32 inches wide to sit facing forward comfortably. If you intend to snuggle up on the window seat or extend your legs along the width of the bench, make sure you’ve got room for at least 48 inches of bench width.
- Make sure your space can accommodate at least 16 inches of depth for your window seat. If you’re in a pinch, you can make 12 inches work, but it’s not ideal. If you’ve got plenty of room to play with, consider increasing that depth to at least 24 (and up to 39) inches to create a window seat that doubles as a day bed for naps or infrequent guests.
- Consider things like electrical outlets and heating. Make sure you’ve got ventilation planned into your window seat bench if you need to accommodate the latter.
- Don’t skip the storage opportunities available when building a window seat. Add cubbies, drawers, cabinets, and shelves to magnify the space’s ultimate utility. (Just also understand that with those added perks come added expenses due to increased design, labor, and hardware.)
- Think about highlighting your window seat with a lowered bulkhead or valance to make it even more of a cozy statement. You can also create more of a visual showpiece of your window seat with additional lighting—think sconces or directional pieces perfect for reading—or even custom vent covers at the base of the cabinet.
- Don’t forget to trim and decorate your window seat to blend in or complement your existing aesthetic. Make it a standout focal point with a saturated hue or let it blend in seamlessly while your pillows, books, and potted plants do the talking.
Whatever your window seat ideas, find more inspiration in the Christopher Scott Cabinetry Portfolio and follow us on Instagram to see our latest projects!
Designer: Christopher Scott Cabinetry & Design