We wanted some more storage space in the bedroom.
A window seat would provide additional seating while getting ready in the morning, additional storage, and hopefully look nice in the room. I went the custom route, so as not to block the window or shutters; and maximize the storage space.
Step 1: Design and Parts
You'll need to measure the height from the floor to the window sill. Figure out if you want it to line up with the window sill (I did), or to slide underneath the window sill. Also calculate how much length and depth you want for the window seat. I wanted enough room to sit, or lay on it... and have plenty of storage underneath. My chicken scratch calculations are attached. I figured on making center supports and a shelf where the floor vent would be, so that I could direct the air out. Most of the items can be found at Home Depot, or special order from their website.
- Sheet of 3/4" furniture grade birch plywood. 4'x8' cut at the store down to 2'x8' (so it would fit in my car)
- Because of the blade thickness, one piece was 23 13/16" and the other was 24", but you'll need to calculate the dimensions needed for your own window application.
- Jigsaw (I didn't have a table saw yet, not sure why I didn't use the circular saw)
- Appropriately sized fabric bins (there are many different sizes available, find the ones that work best for the size your are building (or make your own).
- Martha Stewart Living 10 1/2" x 11" fabric drawers fit perfect for mine (I tweaked the upright support spacing to accommodate their width).
Honey-Can-Do Natural Canvas Drawers for Hanging Organizer 11 1/2" x 5 1/2"
Step 2: Cut the Top, Bottom, and Upright Divider Pieces
Mark your cuts with pencil. Clamp a straight edge to keep the jig saw (or circular saw) steady. I did not yet own a table saw when I took on this project, or I would have used that for the long straight cuts. I trimmed the length of the top and bottom panels to 6 feet, but left the widths at 24" and 23 13/16" (close enough for me). I cut my uprights were cut for a depth of 24" and a height of 11 1/2". You'll want to customize the measurements to fit under your window or windowsill (be sure to factor in the thickness of the wood).
My window seat is going to be on top of a furnace/air register, so I used a jigsaw to cut out an appropriately sized rectangle to allow the passage of air along the bottom panel. Drill a 3/4" hole first, so you can sit the jig saw blade in.
I used some scrap 1/2" plywood (from another project) to make the small center shelf.
Step 3: Install the Upright Dividers, and Assemble
I used L-brackets for assembly. Make sure to use the appropriate sized screws for the 3/4" plywood. I mark the holes with pencil, predrill the pilot holes, and than screwed the panels together. My two middle supports seem to be working well. It's been 1 year, with no sagging and it supports the weight of two people.
With what I know now, I probably would of used a pocket hole jig. The L-brackets did work well for ensuring 90 degree angles, but a carpenters speed square is nice to have around.
Step 4: Apply Primer and Paint (and Sand in Between)
I bought some paint specifically for this project. A nice ice-white, with primer built in (less coats).
I presanded the surfaces (just with a simple sanding block), and than applied 1 or 2 coats. I propped the bench up slightly to make painting the bottom edges easier.
I actually applied a urethane coat at one point, but it yellowed really bad. Probably a combination of not stirring frequently enough and the whiteness of the paint by contrast. I sanded it off and repainted. (Looks like I missed a spot by the vent)
To help direct the furnace air flow, I installed a plastic cover to direct it out of the window seat. I was also able to squeeze a small shelf above it with a short fabric bin.
Step 5: Make the Cushion
Our bench size wound up being the exact size of the foam cushion available for special order at Home Depot. Otherwise you'd need to cut it to length and width. My wife picked out a fabric she liked, and we had asked her Grandmother to sew the cover. She actually wound up doing the hot glue method, where it is folded over the cushion and glued to close the ends. Works pretty good.
The bins are actually two deep. For a total of 10 on the sides, plus two little extra bins in the middle.
Our shutters clear the bench when the cushion is removed.
Now we have nice place to sit when getting ready in the morning, maybe reading a book in the middle of the day, and plenty more storage space at our disposal.