The Wonder of Window Seats

A window seat is exactly what it suggests: a built-in seat located adjacent to a window. Sadly, many window seats end up unused and collecting dust for a number of reasons. Yet, when thoughtfully designed, a window seat can offer fantastic functionality, can be incredibly comfortable, and can serve as a beautiful and timeless design element.

Here are a few key considerations to keep in mind when planning for and designing a window seat.

Whether you are designing a new home or renovating your existing home, functionality is important. Our spaces should not only be beautiful, but should serve a purpose, as well. Case in point: window seats can be more than just a pretty nook – they can also house drawers for blankets or pillows or be surrounded by built-in bookshelves for added shelf space. While storage may be the ultimate function, window seats can be a terrific solution for hiding unsightly radiators, duct work, or structural beams, when necessary.

While a window seat may have a valid storage function, it is equally important that is designed to be comfortable for its main purpose: sitting! If it isn’t comfortable, it will not get used. Too often, window seats do not have adequate cushions or require leaning up against a window with no support. While space constraints may not allow you to address all issues, there are steps that can be taken to increase the overall comfort level. Incorporate plush cushions, pillows, and blankets to add extra coziness to the space. If space allows, incorporate a sloped back to lean against for added comfort. And if space allows for a deep windowsill, consider making it large enough to double as a guest bed for even more added value. Creating a window seat big enough to also serve as a bed also means that it can be valuable for multiple generations – your children can use it as a reading nook, your children’s friends can sleep on it during future sleepovers, and your grandchildren can sleep on it one day when they visit with their parents.

Design trends come and go, so creating a window seat that will remain timeless through the fads will ensure it will be used for years to come. Finishes such as paint, light fixtures, and even hardware can be easily swapped out as time goes on, but the trim and millwork details are permanent, so you will want to consider those elements carefully: you don’t want too much or too little. Too little trim can make the space feel sterile, while too much millwork can feel over the top or even dated. Of course, in addition to the overall style of the window seat, its function and comfort will contribute to its timelessness.

While each window seat is unique due to the space it is housed in, taking these points into consideration when planning will help to ensure your window seat is functional, comfortable, and as timeless as possible. What elements can you incorporate to make the space as successful as possible? As for me, I have been gathering some ideas for my future window seat, but don’t tell my husband…we have a few other projects to finish before we add “window seat upgrade” to our home improvement list.

By: Ashley Babaian, Associate
A graduate of The Catholic University of America School of Architecture and Planning, Ashley concentrated her studies on Sacred Architecture. In addition to her love for residential architecture work, she also focuses on Purposeful Architecture, Purple Cherry’s non-profit division, where she specializes in designing environments for individuals with special needs. Passionate and energetic, Ashley is also committed to her community, serving as a board member of the Hospice of the Chesapeake’s Chesapeake Kids program. She actively volunteers with Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Habitat for Humanity Choptank, and the Anne Arundel County SPCA.

Architecture & Interiors