Easy Window Seat Tutorial

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Window Seat for under $400

How To Directions ~ Easy to make!

We have a 24″ x 90″ bump out in our kitchen aka wasted space. I am a firm believer that builders do crazy nonsense like that because they don’t have to live in the houses they build, and as a result, many of their designs are not thought out very well. Add cheap to the mix, and well, you get a random 24″ x 90″ bump out under a window.

I like to think that this stuff happens just to see how creative the rest of us can get with these spaces. I have always loved window seats, and this area seemed to cry out for one. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, and I wanted to be able to remove said seat if I got tired of it. I also did not want to saw boards, miter corners, build a frame, sew cushions, or build cabinets~ but I wanted it to look like it was built in. Not asking too much – right?

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The Base

I had Home Depot and Ikea do the heavy lifting for me.  I went to Home Depot and purchased a 4′ x 8′ x 3/4″ white melamine board for about $35. I had them cut the board into the sizes I needed. (they do that for free when you buy the board) 4 boards at 23″ x 45″ for the base and 2 boards at 1.5″ x 45″ for the kick plate. I stacked the 4 large boards on top of each other to make the base. Note: if you skip this step, you will probably have trouble opening your cabinet doors! There is a reason cabinets are built slightly off the ground. The good news is that your base pieces (as well as everything else included in this tutorial if you have it cut at the hardware store as suggested) will fit in most normal sized cars, meaning you don’t need a Hummer, or even a truck or SUV for this project 🙂

Melamine Board

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I used my favorite little battery operated black and decker hex drill/screwdriver to put pilot holes into the base and kick plate boards. I attached the kick plate boards to the boards I was using as a base with screws. Note: a post it note does a great job of catching drill shavings.

The Kick Plate

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Voila! You have a simple base!

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The Cabinets

This is where the project got a little pricier than I would have liked, but I was ok with that, as I really had no desire to build cabinets from scratch or to even learn how to build cabinets. I went to Ikea and purchased Akurum over the fridge wall cabinets. I used 3 cabinets that ran $60 each. These are 24″ deep, 30″ long, and 15″ high with harlig white doors. The dimensions were fairly true to size, and they fit my 24″ x 90″ space like a glove. The directions were simple and straight forward. The finished product is very sturdy.

Note: They have other sizes, other style doors, and other colors too. Changing your choice may change the price. You may be able to find similar cabinets at hardware stores that sell ready made cabinets.

Ikea Cabinets Used

The hardest part of this was convincing the salesclerk that I did not need, or need to pay for, the 3 wall hanging brackets (at $10 each) as I had no intention of mounting the cabinets on the wall. She insisted I buy the brackets because I HAD to use them or the warranty would be no good. I finally had to explain to her what I was doing so she would take the brackets off the bill. She actually called over a manager to get approval to sell me wall cabinets without the brackets. Then, while re-ringing me up, she told me that my project would never work because they would have to sit on the floor and wouldn’t open. She smiled and told me she would be happy to help me when I returned the cabinets when they didn’t work out. By then, I didn’t even feel like explaining, I just wanted my cabinets and to get back to my project. I am only sharing this because I don’t want you to spend the extra money either.

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I decided if I was going to have all this extra storage, I was going to make the best use of it. I felt that Ikea’s price for their shelves was higher than I wanted to pay, so I headed back to Home Depot for more melamine, and had them cut some shelves from a finished edge 24″ x 96″ white board. I got 3 shelves at Home Depot for  a little more than the price of one at Ikea. Have them cut .75″ inch off the back of each shelf, making them 23″ deep for a perfect fit.

Board was less than $30, cuts are free. Result 3 shelves.

Cabinet Shelving

Note: Unless they have modified them, Ikea’s shelves do not even fit if you want the back of the cabinet on; they are almost an inch too deep. Probably because they use and cut up the same 24″ melamine board hardware stores sell. The big difference is that Ikea is not set up to fix this problem and Home Depot is.

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The back of the Window Seat

Originally, I was just going to use pillows, but after looking online at some window seat images, I decided the seat needed a stationary padded back. I used two pieces of particle board from Home Depot’s scrap/discard pile which cost me less than a dollar and they cut the pieces to the exact right size (again, for free.) I picked up a beautiful faux silk ombre curtain panel on clearance at Walmart (only one left) for $5 and used it as the covering material. On that trip I also saw a twin sized memory foam mattress topper for $5 which I picked up for the padding. I cut the foam to match the size of the boards, and used a staple gun to attach the material (cut up window curtain) to the boards. I used peel n stick Velcro attached to the seat back and to the wall  to help everything  stay in place.

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The Seat Cushions

I used outdoor loveseat cushions for the seat, also found on that Walmart trip. I reasoned they would be the best choice for a kitchen window seat because they would be durable and should do a decent job of handling any spills. Not to mention that 2 of these were the exact size I needed. I picked these up on clearance and some outdoor throw cushions to match. I got all the cushion material in one trip so that I could make sure the colors would work well together. I used peel n stick Velcro attached to the cushions and the cabinets to help them stay in place.

Starting to look finished

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I picked up more coordinating throw cushions at a Ross

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Fits perfect with with our French cafe kitchen

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Total cost of assembling the cushions: about $150

Note: I originally had the Paris vinyl stickers on the window seat, but I moved them to the upper kitchen cabinets during a kitchen renovation.

The side effect of this project was something I really had not considered until after the fact. I had 3 new HUGE storage cabinets. They hold things that are used only occasionally like large chafing dishes, electric buffets used for the holidays, holiday dishes, an extra large coffee urn, and a slew of other items.

Note: On seating height ~ It is perfect for most tables.

Base  ~ 1 1/2 ”  + Cabinets ~ 15″ + Cushions ~ 3 inches  = 19 1/2 “

Total Cost: $395

Cabinets $180

Cushions $150

Base $35

Shelves $30

This Black and Decker battery operated hex drill/screwdriver is by far, my favorite tool. I love it so much, I purchased a 2nd one as a back up (I have had it more than 5 years) just in case mine dies.


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