A window seat is so much more than a place to contemplate life. Don’t get us wrong, a naturally lit perch is a good place to ponder, but with a few tweaks, this underrated feature can easily become the most treasured spot in your home. Take it from Lexie, one regretful homeowner who has used hers as a dumping ground for far too long. “Now that we’re selling our house, I’ve started to appreciate the design and functionality of this space,” she wrote on Instagram. There are infinite ways to take advantage of a sun-drenched ledge. Install a deep drawer beneath it and you’ll gain serious storage. Pull a small dining table up next to it and—voilà!—it’s a breakfast nook. These eight benches will inspire you to sit and stay a while. 

Face the Outdoors

striped bench cushion
Photography by Laure Joliet; Design by Reath Design

Frances Merrill of Reath Design carved out plenty of post-dinner hangouts in Sofia Howard’s nonwhite beach shack, including this window-facing seat where you can watch the sunset without ever turning your head. And the two stained-glass panes will have you seeing in true Technicolor.

Go Monochrome

coral pink walk in clsoet
Photography by Shade Degges; Design by Chroma

When a fashionable preteen wants a coral-colored closet with a butterfly-wallpapered ceiling, you say yes (or, at least Chroma SF was totally on board when working on this Craftsman remodel). The bold color makes it an enchanting place to relax and, on occasion, fold laundry. 


Pile on the Pillows 

moody navy walls
Photography and Design by Lexie of @thanksitwasonsale

Hardwood isn’t exactly the comfiest thing to sit on, but it only takes a few pillows to make the solid surface a place where you’d want to curl up with a page-turner. Lexie, the Illinois-based homeowner who regrets using her nook as a dumping ground for clothes for so long, recently transformed the spot with fringed cushions from Urban Outfitters. 

Build Off the Architecture 

mid century house overlooking the yard
Photography Courtesy of Jessica Helgerson Interiors

Honoring this mid-century home’s roots, designer Jessica Helgerson was careful to not let any of the details lose their flavor. This included the wall-to-wall ledge in the kitchen, part of which you can actually sit on thanks to an ultra-thin mat that complements the rest of the home’s sleek lines. 

Expand It Into a Couch

pink pallet boards holding up a sofa
Photography Courtesy of Spacon & X

No millwork? No problem. Create your own makeshift window seat—er, window sofa—with wood pallets. Copenhagen studio Spacon & X proves the DIY can look chic if you paint the sides a vibrant color (bubblegum pink!) and add an extra-large leather cushion. 

Ensure the Walls Are Durable

whtie beadboard walls with striped cushion
Photography and Design by Erin Kestenbaum

Erin Kestenbaum carved out a built-in seat in her entry with the hope of cleaning up clutter (the bench features a drawer for shoes). Knowing she’d be leaning up against the walls quite a bit, she swathed them in grooved beadboard and white trim paint, which has a higher sheen than regular wall paint and doesn’t scuff. 


Treat It Like a Second Sofa

living room with orange window cushions
Photography courtesy of Studio DB

In a small space, sometimes there isn’t enough room for more than one love seat or couch. That’s when a platform can step in as additional seating. Studio DB made the detail in this apartment look intentional by covering the cushion in a plush fabric. 

Prep It for Sleepovers 

wood bunk beds with L-shaped bench
Photography Courtesy of Studio McGee

A window seat offers lots of opportunities in a child’s room. When topped with a supersoft tufted mattress, the ledge can double as a bed during slumber parties. That way everyone can rest easy.

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