How to build a radiator window seat

Written by jophiel aurora
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How to build a radiator window seat
Create a cosy seating area by building a window seat over your radiator. (white radiator image by Ekaterina Sidorenko from

Exposed radiators can be an eyesore for some people. Decorating around the odd object poses a challenge for some room designs. But, with a little creativity you can use the space above your radiator and hide it by building a radiator window seat. A window seat provides a warm, bright place to unwind, relax or enjoy the view. It also adds additional seating that won't take up a lot of space. You can custom build a window seat that will sit nicely over your radiator using a strong heat-resistant wood.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Tape Measure
  • Sharp Pencil
  • Wood (A strong wood that can withstand the high heat from the radiator, such as 4-by-8-foot sheets of 3/4-inch plywood with a birch veneer.)
  • Heat shield (optional)
  • Decorative aluminium sheet with ventilation holes
  • Wood glue
  • Staples
  • Finish nails
  • Mitre saw
  • Finish nailer
  • Table saw
  • T-square
  • Tin snips
  • Staple gun
  • Level
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint or stain to finish
  • Foam
  • Fabric and trim

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  1. 1

    Use a tape measure to get the measurements of the space around your radiator. Measure the width of the radiator opening, around the exterior of the radiator, height of the window and around any electrical sockets that you might want to cover-up. Sketch a drawing of the window seat from the dimensions.

  2. 2

    Cut the top and two side panels to your measurements using the mitre. The mitre saw isn't mandatory but makes a smoother cut than the table saw. The length of the two side panels should be a few inches longer than the height of your radiator. You don't want to sit directly on top of the radiator. You can also control it better. Sand the sides with sandpaper. Place the three wood pieces aside.

  3. 3

    Cut the face cover for the radiator or front of the window seat. Use the mitre saw to cut the exterior front panel for the radiator according to your measurements (length and height of window seat). The cover will hide the body of the radiator and the unfinished wood edges from the top bench piece.

  4. 4

    Cut out a square in the centre of the face cover about 12 inches by 12 inches. Attach a piece of the decorative aluminium sheet, 1-inch longer than the size of the square, to the back of the square using a staple gun. The opening will provide ventilation.

  5. 5

    Assemble the window seat. Assemble the two side pieces and the top bench piece by adding wood glue to the area of the wood where the ends meet. Use your nail gun and nails to secure the pieces together. The structure should look like a regular bench without a face cover.

  6. 6

    Glue and nail the face wood cover onto the front of the bench. Line the outside edge of the cover with the outside edges of the two side panels and top piece.

  7. 7

    Paint the window seat a colour that matches your decor. Allow it to dry for a few hours.

  8. 8

    Install a heat shield around the radiator. This step is optional, but you can install a heat shield to circulate the heat between the top of the radiator and the top of the window seat.

  9. 9

    Install the window seat by placing it over your radiator. If you built it correctly, the seat should be sturdy and able to stand alone. Fixing it to the wall is not needed.

  10. 10

    Cut a piece of foam that is equal to the length and width as the top of the window seat. Place it on the top of the seat.

  11. 11

    Place a piece of fabric two to three inches longer and wider than the foam on top of the window seat. Pull the ends of the fabric tightly as you staple all the way around the bottom of the window seat.

  12. 12

    Cover the stables in the fabric with trim or moulding using glue.

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