Window seat ideas – 10 design tips for wonderful window seats

There's more to window seat design than meets the eye – interior experts share what you need to know

Window seat idea with dining table and armless chairs
(Image credit: Future / Davide Lovatti)

While the elegance of a window seat has prevailed for centuries, there is an exceptionally high demand for window seat ideas recently.

It is no surprise that this 18th-Century trend continues to stay in fashion – it exhibits the unmistakable charm of the period while offering a serene sanctuary to unwind in a modern living room. Plus, it's often the perfect solution for a space-starved room, providing seating and storage options, plus, often, a lovely view, in one.

We wouldn't be surprised if you are already sold on a window seat, but before you make a move, we've taken the best window seat ideas and design tips from a selection of celebrated interior designers to help you perfect your window treatment ideas

1. Design practicality into your window seat ideas

Window seat idea with storage beneath

(Image credit: Neptune)

You may have fallen for the refined beauty of a window seat, but there is even more to this chic feature than you might expect – we're thinking, in particular, hidden living room storage

As the New York-based interior designer Tara Benet explains, a window seat's best asset is, in fact, its most secret. It has the ability to improve not only a window space but also declutter a room.

'Window seats are an attractive way to integrate hidden storage,' Tara shares. 'This is especially true for certain spaces such as playrooms, where there is lots of clutter that needs to be stowed away.'

Jennifer Morris of JMorris Design also offered further ways to enjoy the secret versatility of window seats, revealing how you can use them to store 'books, games, or even a drink.'

2. Stretch the window seat beyond the window

Brown Autumn leaf wallpaper with window seat idea in front

(Image credit: Little Greene)

You may notice that curtain ideas aren't really compatible with window seat ideas – you will need to put a blind or shutters at the window – or if you are not overlooked by neighbors, keep the window unfurnished to enjoy the view to the full. 

3. Build fitted furniture to create a window seat nook

Window seat idea with window seat surrounded by bookcase

(Image credit: JMorris Design / Seth Caplan)

If your living room lacks storage, you may need to build shelves around windows. Usually, this wouldn't be ideal, but with the gap between the shelves and under the window filled with a window seat, it can feel purposeful – and provide you with a space for reading. 

4. Choose upholstery fabric carefully

Window seat idea in nautical colors

(Image credit: Next)

Beyond its practicality, a window seat is, above all, aesthetic, and therefore, choosing the best upholstery fabrics is one of the most important steps in the process. 

Speaking about materials, Jennifer Morris reveals the factors that should influence your choice of fabric: 'sun glare and heat, privacy, air, and view.'

She continues: 'You typically apply these issues to window treatments, but they are important to review in a window seat because it could affect the fabric you use. The material should have some colorfastness if it gets blasted with the sun, so it won't get bleached out.

'You also need to think about the texture of the fabric and color,' the designer continues, before urging us to remember that some dark fabrics, such as vinyl, are notorious for 'trapping heat.'

Despite prioritizing the appearance of your fabric, Susana Simonpietri, Creative Director at Chango & Co, also urges us to keep practicality in mind, recommending 'high- performance fabric' that is 'sun-resistant' but can still 'take a beating from pets and little ones.' 

'Trust me – a sunny spot will be getting a lot of wear,' she added. 

5. Create a flow between the indoor and outdoors

Window seat idea with floral window seat set-up

(Image credit: Future)

With brighter seasons on the horizon, you may be wondering how to create an airy flow between your indoor and outdoor spaces. The unexpected answer, however, is in a window seat, as designer Margaux Lafond explains: 

'Window seats are a great way to bring the outside in and make use of an unused or awkward space for additional seating. This space typically becomes the perfect spot for a breakfast or reading nook if you add a few pillows, especially if you add a pendant light or a pair of sconces,' she shares. 

Margaux's suggestion is further emphasized by Jennifer Morris, who similarly urges us to 'consider the view aesthetics' to create a curated flow between the two spaces. 

6. Consider the view

Neutral playroom in elegant period London townhouse

(Image credit: Future/ Anna Stathaki)

When considering window seat ideas, it really is worth thinking about the view beyond. If it's nothing special, you may find that shutters are a good option – otherwise, choose colors to decorate your window seat that reflect those outdoors.

'Windows are a view out but also are a framed vignette of color and visual considerations that you invite into your space. Be mindful of what you are seeing and how it affects the area around the window,' Jennifer shares before encouraging us to 'play with colors from the outside space.'

7. Use a window seat to allow you to fit in a dining space

window seat

(Image credit: Future/Polly Eltes)

Some small dining rooms don't quite have the space for a dining table and chairs – but you can cheat one with clever window seat ideas. Because the window seats don't need to be pushed back and forth like traditional chairs, you will need less space overall. Plus, of course, you have the added bonus of creating seating with hidden storage beneath lift-up lids.

8. Make a feature of a cottage window with a window seat

window seat in toile de jouy in traditional room scheme

(Image credit: Future/Kasia Fiszer)

Cottage bedroom ideas cry out for a window seat. Traditionally tight on space, these small bedrooms rarely have room for a chair – an element of bedroom design that can suggest a retreat or haven. So, why not have one built into yours? Really tiny spaces will find that this most under-the-radar of small bedroom ideas is super useful, too.

9. Boost kitchen seating with a window seat

white kitchen with wooden worktops and cabinetry plus window seat with red blinds

(Image credit: Future/Kasia Fiszer)

Kitchen seating ideas needn't be limited to traditional dining chairs and bar stools – a window seat can be a great way to introduce color and comfort amongst all the hard surfaces, and of course, offer kitchen storage for bulkier items you might not have cupboard space for – seldom used appliances will be well hidden but to hand, for example. 

10. Fake a window seat with a freestanding bench

Dining room with window seat and colored glassware

(Image credit: Future / Simon Bevan)

If your windows are flush to your walls, you can still indulge in window seat ideas. In fact, it's easier to do so because you can simply find a bench of the right width and push it against the window. Low-profile seating that skims the bottom windowsill will be the most appropriate, and you can dress it so that the framework matches your decor, while the soft furnishings coordinate with those of the rest of the room.

Is a window seat a good idea?

A window seat is a good idea – as it has so many uses. From a practical point of view, the otherwise unused space can be used for storage, while providing seating for reading, eating or just enjoying the view. Aesthetically, a window seat idea is pleasing, allowing you to introduce color and comfort to a space, and inviting you to relax and enjoy the view.

How do you make a simple window seat?

The simplest way to make a window seat is with a bench, backless sofa or chest with a lift-up lid, pushed in front of the window. 

Megan Slack
Megan Slack

Megan is a News Writer across Future Plc's Homes titles. She has a background in national newspapers in the UK and has experience in fashion and travel journalism, which she previously practised whilst living in Paris and New York City. Her adoration for these fashion capitals means she particularly enjoys writing about upcoming styles and trends for Homes & Gardens. Megan also loves discovering vintage pieces in her spare time, meaning her decor is largely influenced by the beauty of the jazz age.