How To Decorate Your Window Seat

2023-02-05 17:11:49 By : Mr. Tom Yang

When envisioning the perfect cozy indoor scene, no doubt it includes a fireplace in colder months or a fresh breeze in warm weather, soft light to read or daydream by, and a comfortable chair. Even more idyllic, perhaps that chair is a window seat. A few things epitomize a quaint and simple home life: a blooming garden, a large farmhouse table, a clawfoot tub, a mudroom strewn with shoes, and most definitely, the aforementioned window seat. It possesses qualities that speak to the child in us — a boat-like build that hints at wanderlust, a great vantage point, and a size that seems so amenable for small bodies to tuck themselves into. Yet window seats can be ideal for grown-up spaces too, especially when you're aiming to create a bit of whimsy.

Window seats offer function in addition to appeal. Per Country Living, they can transform awkward architecture into usable space by adding seating and storage, or even provide a place to sleep. A hallway or stair landing window seat is a wonderful spot that delivers a chance to slow down instead of traversing on autopilot from one place to another. And a window banquette creates the ultimate dining experience. Whether your home already has a window seat (or more — a pair is even better!), or you're looking for ways to incorporate the sun-filled feature into your space, we've gathered some practical styling tips below. 

Any window seat worth its salt has to be comfortable. A thick seat cushion and a pillow or two to soften a side wall as you rest against it are sufficient. The seat cushion must be the correct size, exactly fitting the space. Otherwise, it may slide around or hang over the edges which could encourage it to slip off. Cushions can be custom-made to specific dimensions by a local upholsterer or ordered online. Throw pillows make sitting more comfortable, and varying their sizes is a good idea; pillows can be used together to create a supported reclined position. For sink-in softness, opt for down-blend and synthetic down alternatives. 

The type of foam stuffing in the seat as well as the fabric covering will impact its degree of firmness and the quality of the hand. A dining banquette might require a firm, durable cushion, whereas a fireside nook could employ a plush option covered in luxurious fabric. Furthermore, according to designer Jennifer Morris, you'll want to take into account that dark upholstery absorbs the heat from the sun more readily, potentially making the spot too warm for comfort (via Homes & Gardens).

Most of the expanse and subsequent view should be unobstructed by pillows, however, there are exceptions. If the feature is truly relied on for extra seating and/or the natural light is more important than the vista, piles of cozy pillows may take precedence. The situation shown above is a perfectly lovely and inviting example.

More than a charming decorative aspect or one of the best perches in the house, a window seat provides plenty of function. The seat boxes can be constructed with drawers, cubbies, or compartments accessed with flip-tops. In the kitchen, under-bench drawers are ideal for storing items needed only occasionally such as table linens, party decorations, or little-used serving pieces. In a kids' bedroom or play area, concealed storage can be a game changer, suggests interior designer Tara Benet (via Homes & Gardens). "Window seats are an attractive way to integrate hidden storage. This is especially true for certain spaces such as playrooms, where there is lots of clutter that needs to be stowed away," she tells the outlet. Plus, the strategically placed supports of an open bench box work as natural dividers for shoes in a mudroom or book storage in a reading nook. 

To further make a window seat work for you, think about how it will most likely be used. A few small additions are beneficial to its purpose and utility; for example, per Country Living, a drinks table, a throw blanket, a basket on the floor filled with favorite reading or crafting material, and wall-mounted lighting would not be remiss. If you're in the planning stage, consider adding recessed shelves or cupboards to the sidewalls, especially if floor space is at a premium; they efficiently and handsomely offer a zone for the previous items and activities.

Fabrics are an integral part of a window seat design, therefore, they should be selected with particular conditions in mind such as glare and heat from the sun, what level of privacy you desire, and of course, that view. According to designer Jennifer Morris, "You typically apply these issues to window treatments, but they are important to review in a window seat because [they] could affect the fabric you use," she explained in Homes & Gardens. Cushion upholstery will fade in a short amount of time unless the fabrics are formulated to hold up against excessive sun exposure (via Cushion Factory). Big swings in temperature are another concern. Cotton, Sunbrella and other performance textiles, and leather are suggested for color-fastness and durability. Additionally, stain and moisture-resistant fabrics are a great option for dining banquettes and kids' play spaces. (And they're pet-friendly, too, for the furry sun spot lovers in the family.)

While it's not practical to be leaning against curtains while lounging, window treatments could make the seating area and the entire room more accommodating as they regulate the influx of sun and glare. In the image above, shutters and drapes, which can be opened and conveniently moved out of the way, diffuse the light and provide privacy. Top-down blinds and Roman shades are appropriate alternatives. For a low-budget light filter and privacy screen, apply frosted window film to the desired height.

Difficult, unpleasant, or just underused spaces can be converted into the most coveted seating areas. A dormer window seat perfectly illustrates how to turn an awkward alcove into an enticing retreat. To go a step beyond, the interior walls can be painted a different color than the rest of the room and then matched with fabrics to create a jewel-box platform. Designer Erin Kestenbaum concealed radiators located in the sunroom and walk-in closet of her home, shown above, completely revamping the mood in the process. To carve space from a stingy and challenging floor plan, narrow halls, minuscule entries, and flex rooms can be made more gracious and functional. Alternatively, a window seat can simply offer an enhancement to an amply-sized and attractively decorated room. 

Although often associated with quaint cottages or period homes, with all of their quirkiness and character, window seats can be wholly modern, too. Bolster pillows streamlined on a tailored bench, whether in front of a natural or urban panorama, allow a spare design to place the focus on the world outside. On the other hand, flour sack ticking and mattress-style cushions offer vintage charm. Choose textiles that complement the existing colors and décor of your home, repeating patterns and hues from within the space for a cohesive design. Considering the relatively small quantity of fabric needed, per North Shore Magazine, don't be afraid to play. Lastly, drapery framing a window seat acts as a sheltering and stylish cocoon. 

A built-in window seat is not the only way to take in the scenery. Small sectionals snugged under corner windows, perfectly sized daybeds, and ottomans tucked into tiny alcoves can all replicate the feeling and look of a permanent window seat. In the example above, a caned upholstered bench sits below a recessed window, flanking the fireplace. In this case, its provisional trait is an advantage; the delicate legs, as opposed to the solidness of cabinet seating, add another visual texture and keep that side of the room from skewing heavy.  

Interior designer and HGTV host Sarah Richardson is adept at turning a window, empty floor space, and a piece of furniture into a striking feature. In her suburban home renovation, a classical recamier is centered on a soaring living room window; in her dining room, a tufted indigo settee offers guests a view while they're entertained; and at her lakeside cottage, a chaise is cozied into the corner underneath vistas of the water (via Country Living and HGTV). When presented with a beautiful and inviting spot like one of these, no one will bother to notice that it's not a real window seat.