We Have A Window Seat!

June 4, 2012

Last week we began this operation window seat project with the idea to build a bench under the window in the playroom as we transform it into a study.  I mentioned the idea was to construct a window seat in here so we can pull up a table in front of it for reading, studying, etc.  I was inspired by Aubrey + Lindsay’s window seat and we lucked out with the size of the 15” tall x 36” wideAkurum cabinets we found at IKEA that fit the width of our room.

Over the weekend we constructed the base, installed the doors, and I also primed and painted the cabinet frames too (since we *accidentally* grabbed birch frames instead of white, oops!).  I still need to sew the long cushion that will sit on top and add a bunch of pillows, but here’s how our window seat from IKEA cabinets looks so far!

window seat from ikea cabinets


Here’s the quick play by play on how it came together.  To support the cabinets and raise them up off the floor, we found some inexpensive lumber at Lowe’s and brought it home and built a frame, securing it together with wood screws, but you can use framing nails too.

build frame


For the depth, the frame design had to allow plenty of room for the toe kick and new vent to sit in front, so we calculated those measurements into the final base structure. We ended up using thin ¼” x 3.5” x 4’ boards instead of toe kick to hide the rough lumber, but it all worked out.

room for toe kick


I found this skinny 3.5” tall floor register to fit inside the new frame, perfect!  All it needed was a quick prime + paint job.

new vent


The new frame we built measures 96” x 23.5” and we allowed a space to accommodate the new air flow vent.  The rough lumber boards were 3.5” tall which was the perfect height for elevating the 15” tall refrigerator cabinets to a comfortable 18.5” seat height.

new frame for window seat


For airflow from the heating vent, I created a makeshift metal chamber with aluminum tape (used for sealing ducts in heating/cooling).  We also removed the rear baseboard so the frame and cabinets would sit up against the back wall.

aluminum tape 2

frame on floor


To make way for the electrical socket on the wall, we simply notched out a rectangle in the back of the middle cabinet.  It’s hidden behind the doors along the back so we weren’t terrible concerned with absolute precision.

cut hole for electrical socket


Then Matt screwed the three cabinets together so the fronts were flush.

screw cabinets together

Here’s a peek at the cabinets installed in the room on top of the new frame and before they were primed and painted.  The cabinets are finished on the sides, so if you want to squeeze this kind of project anywhere in your house (entry, dining room, bedroom) you really can.

rough frame


The kids liked playing in their new “houses” for a little while. :)

kids in boxes


The next day I primed and painted the surface and the fronts of the cabinets while Matt installed the doors.  To avoid this part, simply triple confirm  with the stock clerk at IKEA that you are getting the white (not birch) cabinets.  By the way, those are some nice hinges too and easy to install, compliments to IKEA!

color match glidden paint

primed top attach doors


Here’s a glimpse how they all lined up!

new window seat


How does that new air vent work?  Answer: perfectly!

new air vent

Having these cabinets is so great for both seating and for storage, and we need that storage!

great storage in cabinets

Still gotta sew a cover for that looooooong cushion for the top.

ikea cabinet window seat needs cushion

The total cost for three cabinets + hinges from IKEA = $315 (that does not include the cost of the lumber for the frame.)

Now that the bench is installed, I’m thinking of pulling in some more global inspired accents in the form of a pendant light and pillows on top of a new cushion.  I’m also considering replacing the existing cornice with a woven shade, kinda like this.

global inspired pillows on window seat



Pillows and pendant light from here:  1/2/3/4/5/6

To see a full update on how this window seat looks finished see our study complete and this simple sew box cushion cover.




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101 Responses to “We Have A Window Seat!”

  1. Fiona says:

    I’m really late to this party, but this is amazing! (I stumbled on it looking for banquette instructions, so thanks–even though I read you regularly and somehow missed this.) Did you put in this floor? If so, can I ask what it is?


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