Just in time for hibernation season.
With crisp fall weather upon us, we’re all turning our attention to the interior of our homes in anticipation of our seasonal hibernation. You always want your design to reflect your current stage in life, and for fall that means plenty of places to relax with a good read, a comfy blanket, or a soul-warming cup of mulled cider.
While living rooms will always draw a crowd, the best homes have choose-your-own-adventure hangout zones that beckon you to unwind at every turn. From plush armchairs to versatile floor pillows, these additional seating elements create more opportunities for connection, conversation, and relaxation. One of our favorite ways to deck out your space with additional places to perch? A custom window seat. This unique architectural element is a great way to add visual interest to your space and utilize your square footage in a way that adds both functionality and aesthetic beauty to your interior.
To kickstart a bit of inspiration, we’re rounding up 19 gorgeous examples of window seats, from family-friendly eating nooks to storage-packed solutions that cut down on clutter. No matter which you favor, one thing is for sure: There’s no better place to watch the leaves flush into hues of red, orange, and yellow than the best seat in the house.
Marry Form With Function
If your dining nook is tight on space, a window seat could be a better alternative than having to move the table out to squeeze in an extra chair every time you have a full house. In this space by Chauncey Boothy Interiors, an expansive window seat offers up room for at least two more diners at the oval table.
Mimic a Mudroom
Mudrooms and entryways offer up prime real estate for a perch as multifaceted as a window seat. Here, Margaret Donaldson Interiors made the most of a breezeway by incorporating a window seat with built-in shoe storage, mirrored on either side by additional family-friendly storage.
Embrace a Subtle Curve
While traditionally shaped like a rectangular bench, there’s no rule that states window seats have to be straight-edged at all. For a totally custom look, work with a carpenter to determine what shape seating will have the biggest impact on your space. For this dining zone, Susan Hayward Interiors opted for a gently curved bench, which pairs beautifully with a similarly shaped table.
Consider Your Home’s Flow
Ever feel like a beautiful part of your home is underutilized simply because there’s nowhere to sit nearby? Fix all that by adding a window seat, like BHDM Design did in this light and airy entryway. The result? A once underutilized area becomes a new favorite place to hang out and enjoy a sunset. Bonus: Because this seat is situated by the front door, it doubles as an easy place to take shoes on and off.
Fake It With a Bench
While a custom window seat that fits your space like a glove is great, it’s not your only option. If you prefer the look (or price tag) of a stand-alone bench, you can still mimic the same look by placing it beneath your window, as Margaret Donaldson Interiors did here. Just make sure it fits the space snugly to keep that custom vibe.
Put a Tight Corner to Work
This cozy breakfast nook by Sarah Lederman Interiors is totally transformed by an L-shaped window seat, along with a pile of plush pillows. While two more chairs would have made the petite spot too crowded, a slim built-in (with storage under the seat!) solved a multitude of small-space issues.
Add a Mini Library
Promote a relaxing and restful environment by decking out the area around your window seat with all the essentials needed for a recharge. Here, Margaret Donaldson Interiors incorporated a slim built-in library shelf for a convenient and inconspicuous place to stash a favorite read.
Incorporate an Unexpected Material
When you think of any kind of upholstered seating, chances are a soft, plush, cotton covering comes to mind. Instead of sticking with the status quo, use your window seat as an opportunity to invite new textures into your space. Here, the team behind BHDM Design chose a rich leather to compliment the dramatic black and white interior in the surrounding scene.
Add a Soft Touch
To encourage passersby to stop and sit for a bit, accessorize your window seat with an inviting array of pillows and textural throws. In this historic property, C&J Katz Studio relied on a mix of graphic cushions and a faux sheepskin pelt to bump up the cozy factor.
Balance It With Art
Oftentimes, the visual weight of a window and a large seat can leave the surrounding space feeling a bit neglected. To mitigate this issue, consider decking out the scene with something eye-catching on the walls, like the eclectic gallery wall seen in this Mendelson Group project.
Stick to a Cohesive Color Palette
When adding a window seat to an existing room, the goal is for it to look like it’s always been a part of the design. One surefire way to make that happen? Keep the color scheme cohesive. In this sweet space by BHDM Design, a pretty palette of neutrals and punches of peach unite the perch with the surrounding furniture, including a coordinating armchair and bench at the end of the bed.
Take Advantage of a Staircase Landing
Most homes consist of several “dead zones,” where neither function nor fancy decor are top of mind. But when you happen upon a solution that brings a bit of both to the table, well, that’s a big win. Case in point? This clever staircase landing by Sarah Shetter Design. Instead of leaving the space empty, the designer decked it out with a cozy window seat, pillows, and plenty of patterns for a transition zone that is anything but forgettable.
Sneak in Storage
Every parent knows kids have a lot of stuff. When incorporating a window seat into a childhood bedroom or playroom, storage should be just as big of a focus as comfort. This sprawling seat from Henry & Co Design boasts several oversized drawers at the base, perfect for stashing shoes, toys, and other essentials.
Incorporate Quirky Shapes
For designer Meta Coleman, this cozy reading nook was a chance to incorporate unexpected shapes and colorful patterns into her client’s home. Instead of dotting the whole back with pillows, she worked in upholstered details and unique silhouettes to bring a bit of quirkiness to the sunny scene.
When done strategically, a minimalistic vibe can feel just as warm and welcoming as a spot that’s been designed to the gills. For Melanie Morris Interiors, that meant keeping this whole window seat scene simple and serene, with white-on-white details and a gently curved shape that begs for an afternoon nap.
Construct an Alcove
To boost the coziness of your window seat even more, consider framing out an entire alcove for an intimate and private place to relax, read, or unwind. In this country retreat, KJ Designs and architect Hendricks Churchill collaborated to create a cabin-inspired place to chill out, complete with cozy plaid prints, plush pillows, and a cashmere throw.
Hang Stylish Lighting
While placement by an aperture means your window seat likely doesn’t need extra light, hanging a pair of light fixtures nearby can go a long way toward making the whole scene feel more thoughtful and design-forward. In this coastal-inspired space by Jenny Martin Design, rope sconces add a touch of texture and contribute to the room’s relaxed, beachy vibe.
Go Dark and Moody
An inky paint color is a great way to up the drama of any design element, even one as light-flooded as a bright window seat. In this moody study, designer Meghan Shadrick looked to a dynamic gray-black hue (Lead Gray by Benjamin Moore) to channel a comfortable, calming retreat.
Make it Mini
No bay or double casement window? No problem! Even a single window can make for a mini seat, giving it more architectural interest and weight than it would normally get without a perch. Here, the Henry & Co. Design team crafted a custom wall of built-ins, which included a neighboring fireplace, bookshelf, and alcove window seat (complete with the cutest pattern play!).
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