Step 1

Size Up the Project

Look around, choose a window space, stand back and frame the scene. To get a mental picture of the project, ask these clarifying questions: How big is the window? Will the bench width match the window width, or will the bench be bigger/smaller? Does the bench blend in or stand out? Will the bench seat be padded? Is the bench movable or attached to the wall? How deep is the bench? Once it's built should it be trimmed with baseboard to match the room, painted or stained? Answering these questions will help visualize the end product before plans are drawn up.

Step 2

Draw Up the Plans

At Blog Cabin 2011, the small nook determined the size of the bench. Measure for width and depth at the desired location and sketch out the bench and its dimensions on paper. Generate a materials list from this dimensional sketch. The Blog Cabin window bench was 47" wide, 20" deep and 20" tall to conform to the small nook. It was decided to cover the sides with a 1/4" x 4" t&g beadboard, finish the bottom with matching baseboard, trim the corners with corner trim and trim the top plywood edge with 1/4" x 3/4" edge trim.

Pro Tip

If you would like the window bench to stand out, consider using a thin cedar t&g used in paneling the inside of linen closets. The wood color, grain pattern and cedar scent will enhance the look of the furnishing.

Step 3

Building the Frame

Building the Frame

Frame the Bench Box

Once the width and depth dimensions of the bench are determined, measure and cut 2x4s to create two rectangles that will frame the inside of the bench "box."

Pro Tip

Safety Tip: When using power tools for cutting or drilling, always use safety glasses or a face shield for your protection

Builder's Tip: If the bench width is to match the window trim width, allow for the plywood, trim and top when the frame is assembled.

Step 4

Building the Box for Your Window Seat

Building the Box for Your Window Seat

Measure, Cut and Attach the Plywood Sides

The window bench sides are made of 3/4" sanded plywood. Note: If the bench sides are being painted, birch face plywood presents a smooth finish. The desired bench height is created by the dimensions of the bench sides. Screw the sides into the 2x4 framing. With all four sides attached to the inside framing, the rectangular box is taking shape. Fill the screw holes with wood putty and sand smooth if the sides are to be painted.

Pro Tip

Provide a safe support for plywood. When cutting plywood or any other sheet product, always support it on each side of the cut line. This will prevent it from binding on the saw blade.

Step 5

Attach the Top

Attach the Top

Measure and Cut the Plywood Top

The top seat of the window bench will overhang both sides and the front by 2 inches. Measure and cut the sanded plywood to accommodate this overhang. The top will not hang over the back of the window bench. Screw the top into place. Fill the top screw holes with wood putty and sand smooth if the top is to be painted.

Step 6

Finish With Trim

Dry fit the window bench in place (Image 1). Create a plan to "trim out" the bench. The Blog Cabin 2011 window bench was finished with beadboard, corner trim, a baseboard and edge trim.

Pull out the bench and lay it on its back. To cover the two sides and the front of the bench with 1/4" x 4" t&g beadboard, cut each piece to fit vertically from the base of the bench to underneath the top seat overhang. Glue beadboard in place before nailing (Image 2).

Measure and cut baseboard to length, taking care to bevel cut the corners for a corner tight joint. It is better to cut long and dry fit, trimming as needed.

Measure two vertical corner trim pieces and cut to cover the front corners where the beadboard panels meet. Set pieces on top of the baseboard and snug them up under the seat overhang (Image 5). If accessible, use a brad nail gun or micro pin nail gun to secure the corner trim in place.

To cover veneer cross bands on the bench seat, cut a 3/4" edge trim to fit and micro pin nail in place. Note: Measure and cut the corner bevel for a tight joint. Glue the edge trim before nailing (Image 6).

Pro Tip

If accessible, use a brad nail gun to minimize end splitting and to reduce the nail hole size. Attach the beadboard with at least two brad nails at the top and two at the bottom (18 ga. x 1 1/4").

With the bench on its back, use a speed square to align the bottom of the baseboard and corners (Image 3). If accessible, use a finish nail gun or brad nail gun to secure the baseboard in place (Image 4).

Step 7

Finishing Options

To increase the functionality of the bench, include storage capabilities. A piano hinge in the back allows the seat top to be lifted, accessing the bench "box" for storage. For the advanced DIYer, a cubby hole design allows storage access from the front. Adding paint, stain or seat pillows depends on available time, skill and creative energy.