Today on the blog we’ll teach you how to build a DIY window seat. This is a no-sew project that is great for DIY beginners. We’ve invited guest blogger Roxanne from TextMyJournal to talk you through the process. Without further ado… Here’s Roxanne! Hi everyone! I’m so excited to share this great project. There’s something so bright and cheery about a window seat – it makes you want to curl up with a good book and read for days. When we moved into our new place, we had a little cove in our living room that was perfect for two window seats. I knew I wanted to customize them a bit, so I decided to make them myself. If you’d like to do the same, here’s how I did it!

Level: Beginner

Time: 1 hour

Materials Needed:

  • shelving unit
  • MDF board
  • foam
  • batting
  • fabric
  • scissors
  • staple gun
  • staples
  • velcro


Choose your base

I used Kallax shelves from Ikea as the base for these seats. I liked the fact that the outside was twice as thick as the shelving – it felt more secure for the large bodies that would likely be sitting on it. We chose two different heights for the seats.

Measure space for window seat

Once we had the shelves assembled, we measured the top where the window seats would live. If you’re using the Kallax shelves, The side is 16 1/2” x 57 7/8“, so we used 16” x 57” as the dimensions for the actual seats.

Buy materials

I sketched out a rough plan before heading out to gather materials. I wound up at three different stores (and Amazon):

Hardware store (Home Depot/Lowes):

The base of the window seat is wood. After researching the various types of wood available at my local hardware store, I decided upon MDF board. It’s a bit sturdier than plywood or particle board because the board is created from wood fibers mixed with resin and glue, then compressed with crazy amounts of pressure. (There’s a great summary here if you’re interested.) Most big box hardware stores will cut a sheet of wood at no cost, so I had them cut two 16×57 boards from the giant sheet of MDF board. You could also do this yourself with a table saw. While at the hardware store, I also picked up a heavy duty staple gun and staples. Light duty might work, but I wasn’t willing to take that risk.

Craft store (Hobby Lobby/JoAnns/Michaels):

Selecting the fabric was challenging and also so much fun. Our walls are tan, but the shelves are white with black boxes. We wound up toting around three bolts of fabric – one white, one black, and one tan – which we held up against all potential fabrics. Unconventional? Yes. Extremely useful? Absolutely. You’ll want to choose either a duck canvas or upholstery fabric. Make sure you buy a little extra fabric because you’ll need to wrap it around the board and foam. Since I was making two seats, 2 yards of the duck canvas was perfect. The fabric was 44” wide, so I could cut it in half and still have enough to wrap around the 16” board and foam. I also grabbed 2 yards of light batting, just to hold everything in place.

Superstore (Fred Meyer):

The middle layer is foam. As I meandered through the craft stores in my area, I noticed foam was SO expensive, and not nearly as thick as I had hoped. I wasn’t sure what I should chose, but then I found my solution at Fred Meyer – I purchased a twin foam camping mattress that was so much cheaper than anything at the craft stores, and also much more dense. It was perfect.


Velcro is expensive everywhere, but I found a sticky (instead of sew-on), industrial strength foam at Amazon.  

Pre-build prep:

Once I had gathered all my materials, it was time to prep everything. The board had already been cut at the hardware store, so that was out of the way. If you didn’t have this done, measure and cut your board now. The foam was easily the most challenging part of the prep. The mattress we purchased was just wide enough for two window seats, so we had to be careful about cutting it. Using a pair of kitchen shears, we started hacking at the foam. It was not easy. I found (later, as I helped a friend build a similar window seat) that it cut easiest and straightest if I took three snips per section – one on the top, one in the middle, then one on the bottom. This kept it from being cut at an angle, and also was the least frustrating way I’ve found to cut it so far. Iron the fabric, and cut to size. Remember not to cut it to your finished size – you’ll need space to wrap around the edges. I cut my fabric 6 inches wider than the finished size, so there would be about 3 inches on either size to pull up. Cut the batting as well, while you’re at it. Cut the velcro to size. You’ll want to use two strips per seat – one on each end. 


Now that you’ve got everything prepped, it’s time for the assembly! I did this on a carpeted floor so the fabric didn’t slide around. Start by laying the fabric right-side down. Then lay the batting on top of the fabric. Place the foam next. Try and center it as best you can, since it won’t be easy to move around with the board on top. Remember you’ll want about 3 inches of fabric on each side. Put the board on top of the foam.  

Now you’re ready to staple!

We used two people to do this part – one to pull tight and one to staple. Pull the batting up around the foam and onto the board. Start in the middle and work your way to the edges. Make sure you pull it tight, but not so tight that it puckers. If any of the staples are sticking out a bit, just whack them with a hammer. Work your way down the long sides, then do the same thing on the ends.  

Now it’s time to tackle the corners.

There are several ways to fold corners. For mine, I pulled the corner of the batting over the corner of the board, secured the corner with a staple, and then straightened out the rest of the fabric. Once it laid flat, I secured it with more staples. Now repeat those steps with the fabric. Once you have the batting and fabric stapled down, stick the velcro onto the board. Put the velcro (pieces together) towards either side of the board. Right before you place the board, reveal the sticky side so you get the positioning just right on your shelving unit.

That’s it! You’ve just built a window seat!