How to Make a Bay Window Seat

Updated February 21, 2017

Bay windows add an element that makes a room look inviting and cosy. Standard bay windows run against three walls, and the sidewalls are typically diagonal. Create a bay window seat in a kitchen with a dining table in front, and watch how everybody will want to sit by the window instead of in a chair. Make one in a bedroom for a spot to snuggle up with a book. Best of all, making a bay window seat is actually quite easy. Put it on your weekend project or "honey do" list.

Measure the area for the bay window seat and make a tracing on newspaper to use as a pattern. Take the pattern and trace the shape onto the plywood. Use a table saw to cut the plywood according to your trace marks and measurements. Reuse your pattern to duplicate this cut on another piece of plywood to serve as the bottom of the window seat. Remove any existing moulding so the window seat unit will slide into the space freely.

Measure the side and centre walls to determine the width for the panels. Use a height of 22 to 24 inches so the seat will be close to the height of a typical chair when you add the cushions. Cut panels for the front, centre, left and right sides.

Attach the side panel pieces to the bottom with wood glue. Use joining clamps to hold the corners in place, and a staple gun to attach the pieces to the bottom securely. Once the glue is dry and the unit is stable, glue and nail the top piece. Allow the unit to dry for up to 24 hours.

Use your nail gun to attach moulding along the baseboard. Match the style of the moulding with treatments used on the room's other walls so the window seat blends in seamlessly. Alternatively, give the bay window seat its own look so it stands out. For example, use a rope-style moulding and create a centred "frame" on each panel.

Prime and paint the window seat unit. Allow to dry. Slide the unit into place against the wall.

Use your saved tracing for the top of the window seat to create a pattern to make the top cushion. Trace the pattern onto upholstery foam. Cut the foam following the tracing's outline.

Trace the pattern onto two pieces of fabric to create the top and bottom cushion for the window seat. Cut strips of fabric for the sides, based on the depth of the foam. Allow 5/8 inch on the left and right sides of the strips for the sewing seam.

Sew the side strips to the top piece. Sew the side, diagonal sections of the fabric on the bottom piece, leaving the centre open. Insert the foam into the cushion. Slipstitch the centre opening to finish the cushion.


Select an upholstery fabric for the cushion that coordinates with the room's d├ęcor. Add hideaway storage to the window seat. Cut separate pieces of plywood for the top's sides and centre. Use piano hinges to accommodate the weight and to create a "flip top" storage hideaway.

Things You'll Need

  • Plywood
  • Table saw
  • Newspaper
  • Marker
  • Wood screws
  • Clamps
  • Staple gun, staples
  • Wood glue
  • Paint and primer
  • Moulding (optional)
  • Upholstery foam
  • Upholstery fabric
  • Sewing machine
  • Needle, thread
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About the Author

Cheryl Munson has been writing since 1990, with experience as a writer and creative director in the advertising industry. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism with a focus on advertising from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.