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 ...and thanks for stopping by. I'm Claire Douglas,  DIY and home interiors writer specialising in money-saving and creative home interior projects. I've spent years developing my 'bespoke on a budget' approach to DIY and home interiors and I love sharing all my tips and tricks in tutorials and posts here on my blog, in articles I write for some of the leading titles, in the press, on Instagram, Tiktok and my online course

  • Claire Douglas

10 ideas for a brilliant bay window seat

Updated: 4 days ago


bay window seat
Image credit: Search&Rescued

A bay window seat is a built-in or freestanding seating area located within the alcove of a bay window. A bay window is a type of window that projects outward from the main walls of a building, creating a bay or alcove space. The window usually has a central fixed pane flanked by smaller windows on either side. 

A bay window seat takes advantage of this alcove space by providing a comfortable seating area within the bay. It often features a bench or low platform that is custom-designed to fit the shape of the bay window. The seat could be upholstered and styled with cushions to match the style of the room. Adding storage to a bay window seat or bay window bench is a great way of optimising the space

Bay window seats are popular because they can add a focal point to the room, increase the available seating, make a style statement, improve the room’s storage and offer somewhere for people to sit whilst reading, eating or just chatting. It's all about getting the perfect layout for your room.


Which type of bay window seat is right for you?

In this post, we are going to look deeper in the the types of bay window seat and how to choose the best one for your home. A lot of this will depend on the dimensions of your bay window and your interior style, but also how you like to use and enjoy the space, which room the bay window seat is located in and your budget and DIY abilities


1. Built-in bay window seat


Built in bay window seat
Image credit: English Blinds

A built-in bay window seat can really elevate a living room, and because it is built into the bay window area it’s a really good use of space. More good news is that it’s quite a straightforward DIY job to create a built-in bay window seat, meaning you can have a go at it yourself if you enjoy DIY. 




2. Bay window seat with dining table 

Bay window seating can be useful for a variety of activities and eating is a key one. A bay window seat and dining table combo is a great use of space and potentially provides a nice view out the window for diners. Whilst it might not be the most conventional bay window seat, in small apartments where there isn’t room in the kitchen for a dining table nor a separate dining room, putting a seat and table in the bay window can be the perfect solution. 


3. Bay window seat with accent chairs and side table


This particular arrangement is a great use of space and will appeal to those who favour symmetrical furniture placement. Positioning the side table in between the chairs means they can both make use of it and it can also display decorative ornaments such as a vase, lamp or bowl, don't forget to shop your home.






4. Bench bay window seat

A bench bay window seat makes sense because, generally, the seating needs to be fairly low to accommodate the window. You can create a built-in bench or if DIY is not your bag, it’s easy to position a freestanding bench in front of the bay window to create your seating nook. A bench bay window seat can provide a tonne of extra storage for the room which is super handy and if you don’t need extra storage (lucky you!) you could always use the bench as a blanket box and to keep seasonal cushions and throws in. 



sofa bay window seat
Image credit: ILIV

5. Sofa bay window seat

This one doesn’t need a lot of explaining! Putting a sofa in the bay window can make the room feel larger, although you’ll need a large bay window (or small sofa) to really feel the benefits. Another idea is to turn the sofa around and create a bay window seat that looks out of the window, ideal if you have a really great view that you don’t want your back to.  





6. Armchair bay window seat

If your bay window isn’t large enough to house a sofa, then the perfect modern accent chair might be just the ticket. You can position the armchair centrally or to one side or even turn the armchair sideways so you can enjoy the view out of the window while still being able to face into the room at the same time. Adding a footstool to that particular set-up can be the cherry on the cake - maximum relaxation and comfort for your armchair bay window seat. 



bay window seat reading nook
Image credit: ILIV

7. Reading nook

As we all spend more and more time at home, every little corner and nook needs to earn its keep and a bay window seat is no different. Why not create a little reading nook in your bay window by positioning a comfy chair with extra throws or cushions with lots of books on hand. You could even convert the window reveals into bookshelves for stylish book storage for your bay window seat.




Bay window seat with console
Image credit: English Blinds

8. Bay window seat and console

Console tables are a great way to optimise and organise a small space. Popping one in front of a bay window can create a focal point and opportunity for styling decorative accessories whilst using up the dead space. If you position a bay window seat adjacent to your console it can act as a kind of side table (perfect for placing your coffee cups on), add a lamp too and you have a gorgeous little vignette that’s practical and functional too. 



Bay window seat cushions
Image credit: Search and Rescued

9. Bay window seat cushions

Bay window seat cushions are really easy to make, saving you lots of money on buying bespoke. If you are trying to fit a made to measure bench or seat, simply measure the dimensions of the seat and source a piece of MDF to fit. Cut a piece of foam to fit and attach it to the MDF with surface mount spray. Wrap wadding around the mdf and foam and cover with fabric. Attach the fabric by pulling it taught and stapling the underside of the cusion into the mdf. It really is that simple. I made a DIY headboard following this process last year and will share the tutorial on here soon (subscribe if you don’t want to miss it).  



Bay window seat blinds
Image credit: English Blinds

10. Bay window seat blinds 

To ensure your bay window seat looks its best, don’t forget to dress the window with blinds and or curtains. Blinds are useful because you can pull them down and still make use of the seat, whereas curtains are great for keeping your room warm and cosy in the winter, but can mean the seat becomes unusable once pulled. 




FAQs

How deep should a bay window be for seating?

Around 50cm is a good guide, but you can create the seat to fit the space you have available and this could vary from 45cm - 60cm. It's important to strike a balance between comfort and the available space when determining the depth of a bay window seat. Consider creating a mock-up or using furniture templates to visualize how the bay window seat will fit within the room before finalizing the dimensions. You don’t want the finished seat to dominate the space and look too large for the window, but equally, you need it to be deep enough to be comfortable and functional.


Can you sit in a bay window?

Yes, sitting in a bay window can be a lovely way to enjoy a view from inside your home and make the most of the space you have available in that room. You can make a bay window seat into a focal point for the space and style it with cushions and throws. 


How much does it cost to build a bay window seat?

The costs vary dramatically depending on whether you are buying or DIYing your bay window seat. A bespoke bay window seat made from custom carpentry will be vastly more expensive than a budget-firlendly DIY alternative. If you are a keen DIYer you could knock up a bay window seat with cushion for under £100. 


Are window seats a good idea?

Yes! Window seats are a great way to make the best use of space in a room and to highlight what is a beautiful architectural feature. There are lots of different styles meaning that you can find a window seat to suit your home. 


How do you build a bay window seat?


Here's a general guide to help you get started:

You will need

Materials:

  • Plywood or MDF for the seat base

  • Constructional timber (I like the CLS timber from B&Q as it’s great value)

  • Trim and molding for finishing (B&Q and wickes have loads of options)

  • Plywood or MDF for the front panel

  • Wood screws

  • Wood glue

  • Sandpaper

  • Primer and paint or stain

  • Cushions and upholstery fabric (optional)

Tools:

  • Circular saw or table saw is ideal but you can do this DIY with a handsaw

  • Power drill

  • Screwdriver (an electric one is ideal to save you effort)

  • Spirit Level

  • Measuring tape

  • Carpenter's square / set square

  • Sanding block or electric sander

  • Paintbrush or paint sprayer

  • Upholstery tools (if adding cushions and fabric)

Method


Measure and Plan

  • Measure the dimensions of your bay window to determine the size of the seat.

  • Consider the desired height, depth, and width of the seat.

  • Plan whether you want storage space underneath or if the seat will be a solid structure.

Build the frame

  • Cut the CLS timber to create a rectangular frame that matches the dimensions of the bay window seat.

  • Attach the frame to the floor and the wall using wood screws, ensuring it is level and secure.

Add Support

  • Install additional supports in the centre of the frame for added stability.

  • If you plan to have a hinged top for storage, incorporate supports for the lid.

  • Install the Seat Base:

  • Cut a piece of plywood or MDF to fit the top of the frame, creating the seat base.

  • Attach the seat base to the frame using screws.


Front panel

  • Cut another piece of plywood or MDF to serve as the front panel.

  • Attach it to the front of the frame, creating the front face of the bay window seat.

  • Finish and Trim:

  • Sand the edges and surfaces to ensure a smooth finish.

  • Install trim and wood moulding to cover seams and edges for a polished look.

Paint or Stain

  • Prime the wood and apply paint or stain according to your preferences.

  • Allow adequate drying time between coats.

  • Add Cushions (Optional but preferable):

  • If desired, add foam cushions to the seat and cover them with upholstery fabric using the method I described above. 

  • Attach the fabric securely using a staple gun or other upholstery tools.

Final touches

  • Ensure all screws are tight and the seat is securely in place.

  • Clean up any dust or debris.

  • For extra privacy you might choose to add reeded glass film to the lower part of the window.


Remember this is a guide and you'll need to adapt these steps based on your specific requirements and the design of your bay window.


You might light to read the post I wrote recently about how to replace the seal around the frame inside a window

Where next?


If you enjoyed these creative ideas then you might like these 'ideas' posts too...



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