For the last year, we’ve been hard at work on the renovation of our small fixer-upper in southeast Michigan. In fact, we just celebrated the one-year anniversary of our closing date last month! In that time, we’ve refinished the floors, added a central HVAC system and, most recently, completed a kitchen overhaul. It’s been a whirlwind, to say the least! In-between, we spruced up the two bedrooms with fresh paint, linens, and furnishings, but there was one area in the master bedroom that felt, well, downright awkward.
Do you see it, under that off-centered window? While we don’t have plans to center the octagonal window (yet), we knew that the empty space beneath it would make for an adorable window seat. Better yet, it had the potential to be an adorable nook for our dogs’ bed, and we knew we could pack in function with storage, too! As soon as we had the idea, we couldn’t shake it. Up until then, we were laying our pups’ bed in that area, so we knew it would be an easy transition for them.
Although the dimensions of a window seat will vary for everyone, our plans to create a well-loved nook could work for almost any awkward recess in your home. Here’s how we made a sweet little perch using a cabinet, fillers, and paint!
Tools + Supplies Used:
- Cabinet for the base (ours is 12″h x 36″w x 24″d)
- Pine 2 x 4s for support struts
- Select pine 1 x 2 for toe kick
- 4′ x 4′ x 3/4″ thick MDF for top and side fillers
- 3/4″ decorative trim (optional)
- Wood screws
- Miter saw
- Table saw
- Nail gun
- Paintbrush and/or mini roller
- Speed square
- Measuring tape
- Cushion + accessories
What We Did:
When we added baseboards to our master bedroom, we never completed this corner, because at that point, we already had this idea in mind! That said, if you’re planning on the same in your home, to achieve the cleanest look, you’d want to remove any trim that would sit behind the cabinet. Below, you can see where our baseboards were. Taking into account the depth of our cabinet and cushion, we removed them almost 27″ from the back wall.
Using our miter saw, we cut support struts that would sit under our cabinet. The idea was to elevate the cabinet so that the doors would open without scraping against the floor. We used 2 x 4s for a small lift and our nail gun to secure them to the floor.
To cover the raw edge of the 2 x 4, I painted our select pine 1 x 2, and once it was dry, Scott adhered it to the front 2 x 4. I used a satin finish white interior paint that matched closely to the color of our cabinet.
We brought the cabinet back into the nook and set it loosely into place. Using a level, we made pencil marks on the wall where our 2 x 4 side and back supports should go. We then removed the cabinet, and using the level once again, we secured our 2 x 4s into the wall with wood screws. These will act as supports for the cabinet top – more on that in a moment.
At this point, our nook had all of the supports in place! Do you see those pieces, below, that sit close to the baseboards along the wall? Those were installed so that our side fillers would have something to adhere to.
The width of our nook opening is approximately 42”, and our cabinet is only 36” across. This is the part where we’re going to fill in all the gaps using our sheet of MDF! To get started, we put the cabinet back into place, and we checked for level.
We squared up the cabinet and attached it to the bottom supports using short wood screws, one in each corner.
Our cabinet is cheated forward in the nook because we wanted to take full advantage of the nook’s depth. Above, you probably noticed that there was a support strut in the back, and this is to give the cabinet top a place to rest. Once the cabinet was firmly in place, we took measurements for our MDF top, and we cut it down on the table saw. At the same time, we took measurements for the fillers to the left and right of the cabinet, and we used leftover MDF to create those.
The top and sides were attached with our nail gun, and we even opted to add a finish piece to the exposed edge of MDF. This helped us to achieve a cleaner look overall.
Drywall is never, ever perfect or square, so don’t worry if you’re off by a 1/8-1/4″ around the edges of your MDF! This is where caulk comes to the rescue. Once our top and fillers were in place, We ran a line of caulk along the edges to fill any gaps, and I used my fingers to smooth spackle into nail holes. Once dry, I lightly sanded the spackle, and then it was time to paint! MDF is very porous, so I applied three coats of paint with a 4″ foam roller for a uniform look.
We allowed everything to dry overnight, and the next day, we put cushions and bolsters into place! For an unexpected touch, we also installed vintage brass knobs. We created custom cushions using this cushion builder, which essentially kicked off the dimensions for every other aspect of this nook, and we chose an extremely durable outdoor fabric for longevity.
Inside the cabinet, we’re storing extra bed linens, and because our cabinet is 24” deep, there’s no shortage of room!
Although we waited over a year to complete the project, it only took us a day and a half to complete this window seat in its entirety. It was well worth the wait, we think.
Most importantly, our dogs, Jack and CC, absolutely loved it! For fun, we installed a brass light, and we hung a kitschy seascape above. It only adds to the sweetness, right?
We gave them a (machine washable) throw blanket to nestle into for two reasons. Not only does it add to their comfort, but also we can easily toss the blanket into the washing machine to keep their space from getting funky! Although the cushion cover is also removable and washable, the blanket will act as a barrier while cutting down on how often we’d need to strip it off.
What was once an awkward and unused space now has purpose!