Window seats are the design trend of the moment. From sea-fronting self builds to cosy farmhouses, this design idea is popping up in many projects, offering not just a focal point in a room, but a perfect spot to sit and enjoy the view. There are plenty of opportunities to introduce a window seat, but how do you go about getting this design detail right in your self build, renovation or extension project?
It’s worth noting that making a feature of your window does not always require enormous expanses of floor-to-ceiling glazing. In order to draw the eye outwards, and exclude any less attractive aspects, pinpointing a vista with perhaps a linear, spherical, or ultra-wide window frame can be more successful.
1. A Minimalist Approach
In this self build project by Platform 5 Architects, a simple wooden bench spans the width of the rear wall with a singular cushion beneath a tall frameless window, offering a simple solution to this design idea. It’s worth noting in instances where you have large glazed sections such as this that if your window seat is orientated south, then consider solar control glass which has a low G-factor to reflect heat away from the glazing. Likewise, incorporating a roof overhang into the building design can help to prevent overheating in the summer months.
Framing the view is a key draw of installing a window seat into your design. In this remodel project, a spherical design punctures the walls to lead the eye out towards a tree in the garden. A pop of colour in the form of a cushion offers a striking contrast against the white-washed walls.
3. A Built-in Window Seat
If you’re intending on a built-in style window seat to make the most of your view, you’ll need to ensure the window itself is deep enough to accommodate room for a bench that can comfortably sit at least one person without making them feel like they’re perched on a ledge — a bay window is a good example here. In more contemporary settings, such as this project from Kast Architects, where you may have frameless glazing or the window is flush with the wall, well-placed joinery could allow a seating area to be built in front of the glazing. The window seat here offers uninterrupted sea views as well as a spot to perch before dinner.
4. A Curved Design
Image credit: Martindale c/o Jill Stein
In rooms where you have a curved wall, introducing a window seat can act as an additional seating arrangement within the room and allow everyone to be part of the conversation. This curved window seat at a holiday let in Cornwall is perfect for relaxing on and engaging with the rest of the room. An adjacent built-in bookcase means your favourite read is within arms reach if you want to curl up on the cushions.
For those limited on space, a window seat is a great opportunity to build in storage underneath the bench. This could be an ideal home for storing children’s toys, books and so on. Better still, you could open up the space beneath as an alcove that makes room for a pet bed or bookcase. What’s more, if you’re keen on built-in joinery, transforming the wall around your window into storage or bookcases could be a great way of framing the window seat — not to mention making it easier to grab your latest read while you relax. In this conversion project, a window seat complete with bookcase has been built into wall, making this area an ideal spot to read while enjoying views of the outdoors.
Where you might have an internal window, perhaps as a result of linking a series of buildings together in a barn conversion for instance, creating a window seat here is an effective way of adding a spot to relax in what might otherwise be used as just circulation space. In this project, a window seat within the glazed link offers a quiet spot to relax between spaces, and shares views into multiple rooms around the property thanks to its position.
For those who like to wind down of an evening before bedtime, introducing a window seat in the bedroom is ideal. Plumped up with cushions and a padded base, this can be a comfortable spot to relax. In this self build project in the Lake District, a window seat positioned within the dormer window of the master suite makes for a great place to curl up with a book before bed.
In a snug or living room, utilising free space below a window to include a seat can be a great way of increasing your seating space — particularly when you have guests over and sofa space is limited. A small window seat (left of shot) in this extension and remodel project offers an additional seating area within the living room, without having to make room for an extra piece of furniture.
A concrete window bench in this London home has been designed to appear as if it continues out seamlessly to the garden thanks to a divide of frameless glazing. It is worth bearing in mind that sitting next to glass can be uncomfortable if not correctly specified. “Triple glazing is becoming more of the norm in window specification, and it certainly provides significant thermal benefits over double glazing (and the price difference is closing),” says Nicholas James. “Poor seals, however, can result in uncomfortable draughts, so the detailing around the window is critical to ensure continuity of insulation and avoidance of air leakage.”
10. A Functional Solution
Image credit: c/o Platform 5 Architects
A window seat doesn’t just have to be a spot within your living room to sit at now and again. In rooms such as the kitchen for instance, why not design your eating area around the window by positioning your breakfast/dining table here, with a bench set within the recess or against the window to sit at, allowing you to take in the outdoor views while enjoying a meal? Providing a functional purpose, the window seat in this project doubles up as seating around the dining table in the kitchen.