Friday, September 7, 2012

How to Build A Window Seat

Hey ya’ll!  Today is the day I show you how I built my dining room window seat! Yay!  It seems like I’ve been working on this project forever!

OK…we started with these old drawers I got out of an old 1916 house that was being demolished.  Not much to look at in this state…but just wait!  Oh JOY!

what to do with old drawers

They now look like this……………drumroll please!!!! (can you tell I’m just a wee bit excited to share this with you?!!)


window seat

I still have some roman shades to make, and a valance that will go under the archway, but I’m in love with what I have so far!

As I showed you in THIS post, this is where I started, a VERY formal dining room……

formal dining room

I bought a set of Billy bookcases from IKEA and assembled them, and centered everything on the wall with three windows, like this……(see the bookcases on each end?)

how to build a window seat

I cut a piece of MDF (medium density fiberboard) for the top of the window seat, but it had to have something to rest it on at the back, so I installed a ledger board. 

I took some 2 x 4’s and screwed them into the studs in the walls with some REALLY long screws….because of the lip of the window sill that happened to be the depth of the first 2 x 4 that I installed, I ended up layering a 2 x 4 on top of the first one…screwing it into the first one. I put the double 2 x 4’s the length of where the window seat would be.
This is where the wood, that I’ll be making the top of the window seat out of, will be screwed into.

how to install a ledger board

See how the top of the MDF will sit on the ledger board… (that’s the old set of drawers you see with the beadboard on the back of them, the ledger board is the one under the window sill)

how to build a window seat

Once I put the MDF top on the window seat it left it looking like this………..

buiding a window seat

Don’t worry, we’ll fix that hole and sharp edge, but first we have to fill in the spaces on the left side of the china cabinets.  (note..nothing has been nailed into place at this point…the MDF top is just sitting there, because we’ll need to make some more cuts)

I fixed the hole on the side of the china cabinet by building a spacer.  I used a 2 x 4 to fill in the gap….(note:  the baseboard had to be removed so the spacer would fit snug against the wall…I just cut it off to fit the new space later)

how to put in a spacer

Since you’ll never see the back of the 2 x 4 I decided to use L-brackets to attach it the wall. I was very lucky and hit a stud, if I hadn’t hit a stud, I would’ve had to use some drywall anchors. I used 4 L-brackets up and down the piece of wood….it needed to be super sturdy! I used a level to make sure it was nice and straight too!


I put the cabinet back in it’s place and screwed it from the inside of the cabinet into the side of the 2 x 4. I’ll eventually show you why I put the 2 x 4 all the way to the ceiling…there’s a method to my madness! lol


Now to fix the hole and sharp corner on the top…..

how to build a window seat

To get rid of the sharp corner on the top, I drew a line on the MDF top from the front of the drawers, to the front of the cabinet, then cut that off with my circular saw. (if you look closely at the picture above, you can see the line I drew) I had to cover that huge hole in the front with a piece of MDF too, so I did this…

building a spacer

This is a  aerial picture of the side of the white cabinet with the glass doors. I attached a piece of wood to the side from the inside of the cabinet and the side of the drawers, so I’d have something to nail the front piece of wood to, then installed the front piece like this…

how to build a window seat

No more hole!  :0)
Then I attached the top seat piece of MDF to the top of the frame  and it looked like this…(I did put a little half round trim molding on the front edges of the top and gave it a coat of primer in this pic)…

how to build a window seat

So here’s the hole all covered up…and I cut some foam rubber to fit the top for the long cushion I’d be making later…..(oh..did you know you can cut foam rubber with an electric carving cuts like butter!)

covering pillows

I also gave it a good coat of paint and put the old drawer handles back on.

farmhouse window seate

The shelf in the above picture is just a long board that’s 12" wide...I laid it across the top of the two end cabinets, and put L-brackets along the back edge on top, into the studs in the wall. I put the L-brackets on the top, so you wouldn't be able to see them, then I'll paint them out with the wall color once the room is painted. I'll be installing some wainscoting 2/3rd of the way up before I do any painting though.
The arch was just a very long, wide board that I cut an arch into and put a piece of very flexible screen molding on the bottom, to cover the raw edge. I put it up with L-brackets under the shelf it sits in front of. . I also put a piece of trim at the top of the arch that extends over onto the cabinets for a more finished look.

In the picture below you can see I built two little boxes to set on top of each of the cabinets to take up the space between the cabinets and bulkhead. (I installed them with some construction adhesive and a couple of nails) I'll be putting up crown molding there so it'll have a nice transition from the cabinet to the bulkhead.

window seat

Here you can see where I installed the crown molding on the little boxes.  I just did a short return on the end, it doesn’t go all the way back the wall on the sides.

installing crown molding

I installed bead board on the side of the IKEA bookcases, facing the window seat.  I also put paintable wallpaper on the bottom of the long shelf.  I trimmed out and caulked anything that had a gap. (it hadn’t been painted yet here) :0)

installing bead board

Okay…here’s a part I LOVE!  I got these light fixtures from a gal on Facebook that was selling some stuff here locally and I installed them on the bead board on the inside walls of the bookcases.  They were $10 BUCKS! Woo hoo! (I just put screws in the holes, directly into the side of the bookcase/china cabinet, then glued on the little covers)

edison light bulb

I found the old Edison light bulbs at Lowes….don’t you just love how you can see the filament when they’re all lit up?!  I also bought a cord cover from Lowes and covered the cord up on the wall.  These sconces were plug in types, but if you have some that aren’t you can buy kits to add a’s not hard and it comes with directions.

edison bulbs

Here’s the finished..well almost finished, window seat! You can see the bead board, and light fixtures on the china cabinets.

how to build a window seat

Here are some of the pillows close up…..I used drop cloths for the long window seat cover, floral fabric that was left over from my kitchen chair re-do (you can find that HERE), and some striped tan and cream ticking.

drop cloth pillows

I used a drop cloth on this pillow.  The drop cloth had a seam, so instead of getting upset that it had a seam, I decided to use it as a design element and I love it!  I used a covered button kit to cover buttons in the floral fabric and made piping for the edge of the pillow in the stripe.  Yes, it did take forever, but I think anything worth anything, takes time. (and patience!)  Sorry it’s a little wrinkled…guess I need to break out my steamer. :0)

window seat pillows

I used my floral fabric on the large feather stuff pillow, and again trimmed it out in piping covered in the stripe.  I adore the little bolster pillows I made on the ends…. you can buy bolster inserts, so it makes the job much easier.

I actually didn’t make the little brown pillows, I found them at a yard sale for .50 cents each. I bought them for my patio, and just happened to lay them on the window seat when I came in, and I loved them there, so there they stayed! :0-)

how to build a window seat

So, in a quick re-cap, we went from this:

formal dining room

to this:

what to do with old drawers

to this:

what to do with old drawers


how to build a window seat

how to build a window seat

Here’s how I decorated the top…..ironstone, old books, wooden crates, bubble glass silhouette picture, and of course old platters……




I’m working on a couple of other projects for the dining room, but it’ll be a little while before I can show you those….. I’m about tuckered out from this one! I still have some roman shades I’ll be making for the window seat window, and maybe a valance for under the arch…still debating that one, but this is what I have thus far. :0)  SO glad to be almost finished, but it was SO worth the hard work and effort!

Blessings and Hugs
Missy :0)

I’m linking up to
My Repurposed Life Catch as Catch Can
Before and After Party at Thrifty Décor Chick
Also entering:

250 depot


Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

OH YES your hard work was worth it! Missy, you are amazing! I had to share your before and after with my did such a wonderful job on this! The room looks fabulous!!

Peggy said...

OH Missy, your dining room is simply stunning!! Talk about truly beautiful! I am definitely going to have to show this to Chris... I know he will be as impressed as I am. Good job!

The Boston Lady said...

Linda at Itsy Bits... sent me over. This is amazing Missy! You are one creative, clever gal. I love the whole look and I especially love how you kept the budget so low. You have a new fan. Ann TBL

Marilyn said...

And to think that a GIRL did all this!! Fabulous!!! And now that fall is coming, you'll have such a pretty place to share with friends and you will be able to show off your space during Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings!! Thanks for showing us the details.♥♫

Leave It To Davis said...

Woweeee!!!! Absolutely breathtaking!!! You are a wonder! If we ever get rich, I'm gonna' contact you and see if we can hire you!!! :) Simply Amazing.

Ggomez said...

Awesome! Just beautiful! Love the vision you have,now I want one too! Although I can't sew,nor am I good with power tools! However you do inspire :)

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

It is stunning, Missy!

I love what you've done here! I've long wanted to do something similar in my living room....


Crystal Rose Cottage said...

Missy you NEVER cease to amaze me with your carpentry talents! It turned out just wonderful! You must be so proud of yourself! This will look so nice for the holidays. Are you hosting Thanksgiving this year? ~Hugs, Patti

Cindy said...

Woooo Hoooo!!! I love it. It's fabulous, every single thing. The white is just incredible with the red walls and the pillows are crazy wonderful, as is the seat cushion. I can't believe you made the pillows too. You accessorized the shelves perfectly. I know you must be in love..


gail@My Repurposed Life said...

whoa oh boy! Girl you did good! :)
Love your window seat. It all came together so nicely. I know it was a lot of work, but oh so worth it! right?
Loving the soft touches, especially the drop cloth pillow with the seam!

love it! pinning it!

Karen H said...

Missy, I am so impressed!!! You did an absolutely fabulous job... but I knew you would! Been dying to see the reveal! You should be so completely proud of yourself!

Roeshel said...

WOW, Missy! That's gorgeous! SUPER job! I love it! :)

Korrie@RedHenHome said...

This is amazing! Love, love, love it. Your attention to detail made for a stunning end-product!

Fairfield House said...

Your window seat and 'built ins' are fantastic but they are missing one thing...ME sitting on it reading a favorite book! :)
Your Friend,

~ carol said...

Just have to tell you how BEAUTIFUL it all turned out. That is just gorgeous.

~ carol said...

Just have to say how BEAUTIFUL everything turned out. Simply gorgeous!!

Geezees Custom Canvas Art said...

Your dining room looks amazing. Great craftsmanship on the window seat and you pulled all the fabric together beautifully.

Geezees Custom Canvas Art said...

Love the window seat...excellent craftsmanship. You pulled it all together beautifully.

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

Wow! It looks like verrrrrrrrrrrry expensive custom cabinetry.

TheMoonAndMe said...

What a find...what a makeover! You did a beautiful job...and now have a fabulous window seat!

Ronda Batchelor said...

That looks great! You and I think alike. Come check out my office built in's. I made them from different used pieces of furniture. Very similar to yours.

Etcetorize said...

Wow! I saw this on pinterest and just had to come check it out. Looks like a lot of work but so worth it. It's a great transformation!

- Brittany aka Pretty Handy Girl said...

Missy, seriously?!!! I am in love. And finding those drawers was an amazing score. I appreciate how much time it took and that you were willing to share how you built it. Thanks for sharing!

Christy James said...

Wow! I saw this on Not Just A Housewife's contest link up. You've got one of the best projects here! Amazing job...don't believe I'll luck into finding a set of those drawers anytime soon but one can hope:) Good luck!


Cocalores said...

I just love this window seat - I've been wanting to have one all the time. Now I just need to show this to the hubs, and then start praying for a miracle, ha ha! Thanks for sharing! =)

Unknown said...

I'm a friend of Elisha's; she asked her fb friends to vote and I'd like to! You did an excellent job! But can't figure out how to vote. I looked for the picture and the dot that you mentioned but I don't see it... help? ~ Peggy Lee

Unknown said...

I'd like to vote for you! You did an excellent job! Can't wait to see it with the Roman blinds! How do I vote? I looked for the dot next to the picture but don't see it!

Maranda said...

This is absolutely amazing! I've been asking my husband if he could build a window seat in our dining room! You did a fantastic job! I have to show my husband your fantastic work! What kind of shelves are those? I browsed IKEAs website, but didn't see the kind you have. Thanks for sharing this for people like me!

Alice said...

Dear Lady, Are you telling me that you've done all this work (building the window seat) yourself? I would really like to know so that I can challenge myself to do the same without the help of a hired carpenter. I really, really need to know. If that's so...then where did you learn your skill around the tools and their applications. Thanks, Alice

My Cottage Charm said...

Alice....I did indeed do all the work myself, I didn't hire out anything. As far as where I learned to use tools...I pretty much taught myself. I have watched lots of "how to shows" during the years, and basically when I wanted to do a project, I would get the tools I needed for that project, and just play with them until I learned how to use them. Tools aren't really scary things to use at all, you just have to take the proper safety precautions so you don't get hurt. (like know where your fingers are in conjunction to the blades, use the guards, where safety glasses etc.) You really can do all this stuff, I promise! I didn't start out knowing how to do any of what I do now...I just took it one project at a time, and learned as I went. I figured the worse thing that could happen is I would be out the money for the supplies. :0)

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