DIY window seat tutorial by Little Terraced House

Victorian houses have surprisingly little storage, so I am always looking for solutions to create extra space for all our clutter, without compromising on the style of the house.  This blog will take you through a DIY window seat with storage in a bay window – creating a stylish space to sit and hide away your bits and bobs.  You can find more about our renovation and DIY projects over at Little Terraced House.

DIY window seat: Tools & materials

DIY window seat with storage: Step-by-step tutorial

Step 1. Draw out your plans for your window seat

First and foremost, sketch out a plan of your window seat so that you can work out the lengths of wood required and how much MDF you will need.  I chose to set our seat back a little, as if it had been flush with the corners of the bay window, it would have been far too deep. I also wanted to keep the original skirting board intact, so this guide works around them.

Step 2. Build the frame

Use an angle finder to work out the angles of your bay window.  You then need to set the mitre saw to the correct angle and cut the lengths of wood for your frame as illustrated below and using the plans you drew up at step 1. The cordless Bosch mitre saw is great for beginners as it is light and easy to use. You will need to turn the wood on occasion if it is too deep for the saw to get through in one cut.

Build the frame of the window seat

Use 3.5 inch screws and heavy duty rawl plugs to fix the battens to the wall. Space the screws evenly for a strong grip. Check regularly that the frame is straight using a spirit level.

Using the pocket jig to make holes for you to screw the frame together at an angle. This allows you to easily put it together in situ without having screws sticking out of the frame.  You can then fill the holes with dowels provided in the kit or wood filler. I used wood filler which I then sanded back smooth.

You can also use instant grab adhesive for a really strong hold. Apply this first and then screw the frame together using a range of screws. I used 3.5 inch screws for the main frame and the 2 inch screws to add the support battens.

It’s a good idea to prime and paint the frame now. I didn’t do this, but it would have been much easier if I had!

Step 3. Attach the MDF cladding

The front of the window seat is clad with 6mm MDF sheets.  

Cut these to size using the mitre saw and simply attach with instant grab adhesive and panel pins or screws (only use screws if you plan to panel over the top like I did. Panel pins will be easier to hide with paint otherwise).

MDF cladding to build the structure of the DIY window seat

Use clamps to keep the MDF in place with the adhesive dries. It’ll help get it really flush against the frame.

As with the frame, it may be easier to prime and paint the inside of the cladding before attaching it to the frame.

Step 4. Attach the panelling

If you are panelling your window seat, now is the time to do it (i.e. before you attach the seat). Use 6mm MDF for the panelling.
If you are cutting around decorative skirting boards like I did, you can draw the pattern onto a sheet of MDF using a scribing compass. Once you have drawn out the shape of the skirting board, you can cut out the pattern using your jigsaw. When you have cut the shape out of the board, you can cut it down to size. My panelling is 100mm wide. Where the panelling meets the skirting board, it is 100mm wide at the narrowest part.

You may also wish to include an airbrick at this stage.

Step 5. Attach the seat

The seat is made using 12mm MDF. You could also use ply which would work well.

The window seat has four top sections. The two corners, which are fixed to the frame and the two middle sections which can be removed to access the storage below. You could also add a hinge to these two sections to make it even easier to access the storage.

Use the mitre saw to cut the angled sections. An angle finder will help or a cheat’s way to do this is to create a paper template by simply positioning a sheet of paper and making a fold along the wall, as illustrated below.  

Attach the seat to the DIY storage bench

Attach the fixed sections with screws. Use a countersink drill bit first to allow the screw to sit slightly lower than the top of the seat, then fill over with wood filler.

Step 6. Attach decorative beading

DIY window seat

You can now add decorative beading. I added a half dowel along the edge of the seat using instant grab adhesive and panel pins. You could also add decorative moulding within the panels for a period finish.

Step 7. Fill and finish the window seat

Use wood filler to fill any joins or over any screw holes and sand back smooth. Use caulk around all the edges for a flawless finish.

Step 8. Time to prime

Prime the window seat with a suitable MDF primer and paint as desired for a perfect finish. And there we have it, your very own DIY window seat with storage!

Finished DIY window seat with storage
Finished DIY window seat with storage

Did you enjoy this article on a DIY window seat with storage by Little Terraced House? Why not read our tutorial on DIY ornate wall panelling or even our wall and ceiling paint buying guide!

Are you creating your own window storage bench too? Share your finished results with us on Instagram using the #mymanomanoway#manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!

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