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How to build a window seat {tutorial}

Today I am sharing how to build a window seat. A couple weekends ago we had a spell of really warm weather. Well, warm for New England in the winter, and I get bursts of energy when that happens. It was a Sunday morning and I decided I wanted to build a window seat for our family room  with some scrap wood we had left over from another project. 

how to build a window seat tutorial

Building a window seat doesn’t need to be expensive. We made our own wooden cleats instead of purchasing hinges and hardware to save money. Wooden cleats are not the prettiest option but they will not be seen from the outside and they save a tremendous amount of money. Hardware can be expensive!

We took 2 pieces of wood cut to the length. We glued and nailed “glue blocks/cleats” around the perimeters with a 1/4” indent (see below) so the sides would fit snug.
window seat tutorial

window seat tutorial 2

The cleats or blocks of wood (glue blocks) are really any pieces of wood (we used 1×2) cut to the length you need. Again, if you don’t want to see the “glue blocks/cleats” you can buy a biscuit machine or use brackets purchased at your local hardware store.

My grandfather, can you believe he walks around outside like this? 


My grandfather was so disgusted we didn’t biscuit the wooden pieces together. I said to him, “what the heck is a biscuit machine?” My dad just laughed at him. Apparently, it’s the correct and very long way to make a piece of furniture. You basically carve out holes with a “biscuit machine” and place little wood pieces in the holes with glue (no glue blocks/cleats and much prettier) but it takes 3x as long and I was all about getting this sucker built in an afternoon and calling it a day! My dad said I crushed his (my gramp) dream. He would have me biscuitting for weeks. Sorry cute little gramps.

window seat tutorial 3

Each side was 2 pieces of 8” wide pine. Make sure you use more glue blocks/cleats for support on the longer pieces as shown below. Also make sure you reinforce with nails! A nail gun with finish nails is perfect for this kind of project.

window seat tutorial 5

We made the top a little wider than the bottom to allow for a 1/2” overhang in the front and sides, so make sure you allot for that when doing your top. We also added extra glue blocks/cleats to the top as it needs to be sturdy for seating.

window seat tutorial 7
window seat tutorial 6

I bought a piano bracket to secure the top and the safety hinges for the inside.

Window seat finished

Here is a picture of the window seat near our door with different fabric coordinates.

how to build a window seat

I purchased bright colorful fabric and made some pillow covers for existing pillows that I had already had. I used two bed pillows and sewed them together for the bench cushion and recovered with coordinating fabric. Learning how to build a window seat is a great afternoon or weekend project. This project cost under $100 which essentially was the cost of wood & fabric. It was a last minute project for us but turned out to be one of our best pieces in our family room.

UPDATE: We used this same tutorial for our DIY Pottery Barn Apothecary Media Console, just different dimensions.

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Responses to How to build a window seat {tutorial}

  1. Taryn February 3, 2012 at 12:14 am #

    I love it and I am loving your Gramps! We have the perfect nook by the window in our guest bedroom and I've always wanted to make one. It's been on the list for a while…. I will definitely use your tutorial when we finally get around to it!

  2. Bella February 3, 2012 at 12:51 am #

    Great job and your dad deserves a big pat on the back :) LOVE the orange and white fabric! Wonder if they have it in black and white? And speaking of biscuits have you seen the kreg jig yet? I'm thinking of picking one up. No need for biscuits. Shhh don't tell gramps

  3. Danielle February 3, 2012 at 2:03 am #

    Love it. It looks amazing. Love all your cushions, too. Very nice with your chalk paint side table :)

  4. Debra from Bungalow February 3, 2012 at 5:19 am #

    Boy, Gramps looks like a character. You're so blessed to be with your family. I love the new window seat and the fabric on the cushions is perfect!

  5. Jody Fierz February 3, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

    WOW!!!! Beautiful! Love it!

  6. Glenn S February 3, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

    Great easy to follow instructions! I would like to see a book shelf next. Keep up the good work!

  7. Maury Kilgo February 3, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

    Looks awesome! What a great little seat. Great job.

  8. nest of posies February 4, 2012 at 1:38 am #

    it looks awesome! such pretty colors.

    your gramps is adorable too!


  9. Kim @ Too Much Time February 4, 2012 at 1:46 am #

    This is awesome! I would love to build one for the window in my bedroom, but not sure I could pull it off:) You sure do have some cuties hanging around your place! I love it! I would love it if you stopped by to share this at my linky party going on right now:)

  10. anu February 4, 2012 at 1:53 am #

    I love window seats! Yours looks great. So nice that you were able to build it with your family.

  11. Deana February 4, 2012 at 2:31 am #

    Love the window seat…I'd like for you to share this @CountryMommaCooks Link & Greet party going on now-Sunday midnight…have a blessed weekend!

  12. Kristi February 4, 2012 at 2:44 am #

    I love this!! So fun. I adore your dad & gramps! My dad would totally be saying the same thing…"stand around & take pictures". Yep..sounds like a few projects I've done! Great site you have here. So happy to have stumbled onto it!

  13. 4you-withlove February 4, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

    LOVE this…it's great! 😀

  14. Jenny@daysofchalkandchocolate February 5, 2012 at 1:14 am #

    I love this! We want to do something similiar in our breakfast nook. Your dad and gramps are so cute too! I host a party on Fridays and I would love if you linked up!


  15. Caroline February 5, 2012 at 6:53 am #

    Wow! What a neat idea! The window seat looks amazing especially with the pillows – great job to you all!

  16. Creative Raisins February 6, 2012 at 2:11 am #

    I love the window seat and the colors are perfect, makes me want summer to be here even more.

  17. Tisha February 7, 2012 at 4:19 am #

    Thank you, thank you for this tutorial! I want to build a bench in my family room, and I'm afraid I may not have as much good help on hand. I'd love it if you'd share this at my Show & Tell party, going on now @ the Delectable Home.

  18. Brittany (aka Pretty Handy Girl February 7, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

    Love that bench! Your Gramps is too funny! That's a real man that can pull off that outfit. OH and now I have to run to JoAnn's! Love those fabrics!

    Brittany aka Pretty Handy Girl

  19. Nancy @searosecottage February 8, 2012 at 11:45 pm #

    Great post and bench! You better watch out for that Gramps–he may just steal the show!!! Love it!!!!!

  20. Stephanie @ Horse Hound and House February 10, 2012 at 10:44 pm #

    I love the fabric! Very spring-y. Looks like a comfy place to cuddle up and read! :)

  21. Good Time Charlie February 13, 2012 at 2:37 am #

    Your Grandpa is AWESOME!! I wish I had a grandpa like that around! These are fabulous directions. I just got asked by a client to add this to her punch list of things she wants me to do for her and I was searching around. Just happened the check out the weekly round up at A-Z and there you were! Thanks for sharing. Just pinned it so I won't forget!

    PS I host a linky party every Friday-Sunday at midnight, I would love it if you stopped by to link up. Thanks!

  22. Sonya Sosa February 13, 2012 at 11:41 pm #

    I stumbled onto your blog today, so glad I did. I adore the window seat! And how can anyone miss how adorable the gramps is too. Your son broke it in just nicely. Great job.

    Sonya {So Simple}

  23. Claire February 18, 2012 at 7:38 pm #

    I featured your window seat on my blog today!!

  24. Bernadette @ B3HD February 19, 2012 at 12:40 am #

    Love the bench. I need to upgrade our porch box to something similar. Just gorgeous.

    Bernadette (B3HD)

  25. jeanetteann February 19, 2012 at 8:28 am #

    lovely seat,and your Gramps looks as if he would be heaps of fun.
    x jeanetteann

  26. SJ @ Homemaker On A Dime February 22, 2012 at 6:02 am #

    Hi! I pinned this on Pinterest, posted on fb, and featured at Creative DIYers Club. Please feel free to grab the feature button :)

  27. Victoria July 10, 2012 at 10:37 am #

    Love these furniture building tutorials of yours! I haven’t really gotten into furniture building yet, and these are so helpful! Some of the techniques I know “in theory” but seeing them spelled out in pictures is great. :)

    • Jessica July 11, 2012 at 7:31 am #

      Thanks Victoria! I love pictures also :)

      • madison December 3, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

        what was the ladder on the side for?

        • Jessica Bruno December 6, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

          Hi Madison, the ladder is just decoration :)

  28. Brenda July 27, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

    Thank you, this was informational and I plan on trying this soon. I have been wanting to do this in my daughter’s room fora while now.

  29. Amanda January 21, 2014 at 2:50 pm #

    Such an awesome project jessica and I love the colors! I shared this on Facebook and it was a hit :) https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153732663010217&set=a.353593675216.349539.323548680216&type=1&stream_ref=10

    • Jessica Bruno January 21, 2014 at 9:27 pm #

      Thanks so much Amanda! I wish my facebook notifications worked b/c I would have thanked you much soon! I can’t believe all the likes it got :) I’m lucky if my reach gets that far. ha

      • Amanda March 17, 2014 at 9:08 am #

        Hi Jessica! I know FB is obnoxious LOL – Just stopping by to let you know I included this post in my favorite craft projects for February. These were the most popular posts on my Facebook page during February as well, so thank you for such a great project! You can see the round up here http://craftsbyamanda.com/2014/03/great-craft-ideas-february-2014.html :)

  30. Samantha July 11, 2014 at 11:09 am #

    Do you have a picture of the lid open? I want to make this and seeing where/how the safety hinges are attached would be helpful.

  31. polly plum August 21, 2014 at 8:57 am #

    I’d LOVE a window seat, just don’t have the right window for it( the right height from the floor, no furniture already under it, etc. I love what you’ve done with the seat and cushions!

  32. Cathy Menard December 30, 2014 at 8:16 am #

    How did you assemble the front and side pieces together, did you use a jointer not indicated in info.

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