How to Build Window Seats

Updated February 21, 2017

Windows are the gateway to the world from inside the house. Building a window seat adds the experience by allowing you to sit while gazing through the glass. But window seats also serve another purpose: storage. Elegantly designed fronts with soft cushions on the top can double as a lid that opens to the storage area.

Measure the distance between the walls (if applicable) to get the length of the window seat. Next, measure up from the floor to the desired height of the window seat.

Subtract one inch from the height of the window seat and set the table saw fence accordingly. Rip enough plywood to this width to be used as the front, back and the two sides of the window seat.

Subtract one-fourth inch from the length and cut the front and the back pieces of the window seat. The sides and the bottom of the window seat need to be cut so they will fit between the front and the back. The bottom will have to be 1½ inches shorter than the front and the back. For example, if the overall length is 60 inches, the length of the bottom is 58½ inches.

Apply glue to the 2 by 2 blocks and secure them to the bottom side of the bottom shelf with the box nails. Be certain that one of the blocks is flush with the ends of the shelf. Next, turn the bottom shelf on its long side, apply glue to the blocks and the edge of the shelf and secure the sides to the shelf with the drywall screws.

Apply glue to the front edges of the sides and bottom shelf and secure the front of the window seat with the finish nails. Repeat this for the back. Stand the window up and measure the overall width and depth. Add one inch to the depth.

Set the table saw fence at the depth of the window seat and rip a piece of plywood to this width. Next, cut the length of the plywood to the exact width you measured in Step 5. Secure the piano hinge to the bottom of this piece.

Place the top of the window seat on its back edge so the piano hinge is on the inside of the back. Secure the piano hinge to the window seat. Decorate the top with hand- made pillows or cushions. "Window Seat Sewing Projects" in the Reference section of this article offers ideas for adding personal decor to your window seat.


Clean up excess glue immediately with a damp cloth. Decorate the front of the window seat with moulding or stencils.


Do not raise the table saw blade any higher than necessary to make the cut. Always wear safety glasses when using a table saw.

Things You'll Need

  • Table saw
  • ¾-inch plywood
  • Wood glue
  • 2- by 2-inch blocks
  • Box nails
  • 6d finish nails
  • Nail set
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About the Author

Michael Straessle has written professionally about the construction industry since 1988. He authored “What a Strange Little Man,” among other books, and his work has appeared in various online publications. Straessle earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in professional/technical writing.