A Window Seat Made from Ikea Stolmen

Here’s a quick update on one of the projects we’ve recently completed in our California Cottage.  It’s something that I’ve always wanted to have–definitely a must on my dream house list–a window seat!


Before I tell you all about how we DIYed this window seat using components of the Ikea Stolmen closet system, let me tell you how a window seat ended up in this spot to begin with.  Back in 2013, when we purchased this home, the former homeowners were using this corner as an informal dining area.  Below is how the family room looked the first time we walked through.


There’s a more formal dining area in the front room, but this is the spot closest to the kitchen where there was room for a table that would seat more than 1.75 persons or be directly in front of an exterior door.  For a while, we tried having our kitchen table in that spot, too.


I didn’t love it.  The formal dining space was actually fewer steps away from our kitchen.  When we found a big, beautiful table for that area, I decided that we’d use the formal dining area as our primary family dining spot.  There’s a bar in the kitchen that we can use for quick snacks or when only one or two of us are eating.  So we sold the informal dining table on Craigslist, and I was left with an exceptionally long family room space.

Back when we’d been using that end of the family room for an eating space, I’d considered how useful it would be to install banquette style seating along that back wall.  Once the dining table was gone, I decided that I still loved the idea of having a window seat there.  After all, it could be useful if we every wanted to go back to having a table in that part of the room.  And even if we never used it as banquette seating, I’d always wanted to own a home with a window seat.  What really sealed the deal was the realization that if we installed a window seat there, not only could we use it for extra seating, we could use it for extra storage, too.

Inspired by this project at Centsational Girl, we took ourselves to Ikea to purchase some cabinets that we could turn into a window seat.  (See the window seat from Centsational Girl, below.)


As much as I loved the way those cabinets worked for Kate, I was a little nervous about how they would work for us.  Those upper cabinets came in two depths:  12 inches or 24 inches.  For my space, I knew a depth of 18 inches would be perfect.  So it was going to take more effort on our part use those cabinets to make a seat the size we needed.  The lengths of those cabinets weren’t perfect either–again, it was going to take more effort to get the right size for our space.  Another thing that concerned me was the way the cabinets were going to function.  We planned to store games underneath our window seat, and I was a bit worried that behind the cupboard doors, those shelves would always be a mess.

It was only after we had our helpful Ikea kitchen designer place the order to the warehouse for our cabinets that we wandered through the bedroom closet section at Ikea and spotted the Stolmen closet system.


See those drawers?  Two sets of those were almost exactly the height, depth, and length that we wanted for our window seat!  Other than some minor reinforcement to make it sturdy seating, the construction would be minimal.  And the drawers definitely had me at hello.  I liked the simple profile and the fact that it would be much easier to keep all of our family games arranged and divided inside those drawers.


It’s apparent from this picture that we actually brought more than the Stolmen drawers home from Ikea that night.


The kids and I assembled the drawers while Bionic Man was on a business trip.  It was easy enough that a mom and three kids could put them together….but not easy enough that the mom could stop and take pictures of the process.  Once the drawer bases were constructed and put into place underneath the window, the Bionic Man went to work reinforcing them and making them look built in.


He added pieces of wood along the edges that touched the wall and floors so that there wouldn’t be any gaps.


He also reinforced the top of the box so that it would be strong enough to seat several adults without sagging.

In addition, Bionic Man added a slight lip to the upper front of the drawer base, so that the cushion we’d eventually have there wouldn’t slip or slide off easily.  I’ve been a mother for 15 years, I know the truth about cushions!

Ikea-stolment-window-seat-diy (2)

Here’s how the seat looked once the drawers were back in place.  It actually looked like this for several months, until we completed the painting in our family room, and got those pieces of wood painted to match the rest of the window seat.


The final step in creating my dream window seat was making the cushion.  Folks, that was harder than I thought it would be.  Thank goodness for my mother-in-law!  She came to visit and made our cushion.  Basically, we cut this high-density upholstery foam down to the right size.


You could use cheaper foam, but I wanted this window seat to be comfortable enough that we could sleep on it if we wanted to.  (And believe me, we have!)  Vivian had the genius idea to actually cut the foam slightly larger than the actual seat.  This meant that once it was stuffed into the cover she made, the cushion would be really, really dense and wouldn’t slide around on the seat at all.


I have no pictures of the sewing process, but I can tell you that Vivian basically sewed a box cushion cover with piping on it.  We used canvas dropcloths for the fabric, since they were cheap, durable, and they match my wall color really well.  The cover has a zipper that runs almost the entire length of the cover, so that it can be removed for washing.  Stuffing the foam into the cover was ridiculously aerobic, but the result was worth it!


We’re so happy with the way the window seat turned out!  It’s behind our couch, which kind of creates a neat little separate seating area back there.


You can see the TV screen just fine from the window seat, so it’s great additional (and comfortable) seating when the kids have friends over to watch movies.


It’s honestly my favorite spot to work, now.


And we love the way the sunshine comes in from the window and warms the seat, making it a perfect spot for a catnap on a chilly day!


This isn’t the only way we’ve used Ikea products to add storage and style to our California Cottage.  We gave makeovers to a couple of Billy bookcases, too, for our front room.  I’ll provide more info on those another time, but here’s a sneak peak.  Along with adding trim and doors, we replaced the regular backing with beadboard stained to a dark mahogany.


I don’t update my blog very often, since I’m usually busy helping other bloggers.  If you’d like to keep up with the ongoing projects in the California Cottage, you can follow me on Instagram.  (I’m windmillwords.)  I post a lot of yummy food there, too!

Spring 2014 186

I’m sharing this post at Whipperberry, The Idea Room, Tatertots & Jello, Made From Pinterest, It’s Overflowing, The DIY Show Off, By Stephanie Lynn, A Pretty Life in the Suburbs, The Life of Jennifer Dawn, Lamberts Lately, The Happy Housie, Life With the Crust Cut Off, Living Well Spending Less


  1. It turned out AMAZING! Just love it! Thanks so much for sharing at our Super Saturday Link Party!

    :) Linda

  2. I love it so much! I have always wanted a window seat as well, alas – I don’t have a window that can accommodate. I love Ikea too. I think too much. I am always amazed by how my brother can make anything better than it was intended. I can’t wait to try it out – although that seems a bit too far away right now.

  3. Hi Ruth, I’m visiting you from the That DIY Party. Spotting your link couldn’t have been more timely as we are currently in the planning stages of building a feature wall in our master bedroom. We are incorporating a IKEA Billy Bookcase with crown and a window seat using the IKEA Perfekt system. After seeing your window seat I’m liking the idea of having pull out drawers using the Stolmen better. Thank you so much for the inspiration!

    • Anonymous says:

      Maria, I’m so glad you stopped by! One thing you might consider is there is a really neat company that sells overlays for Ikea products. They have lattices, Greek keys, and circle designs. I’ve considered adding something to our drawer fronts to dress them up a little. I can’t recall the company’s name, but if I find it, I’ll let you know!

    • Found it! The company is called O’verlays. http://www.myoverlays.com/

  4. I love how this turned out!!

  5. I love your bench! It looks fantastic. Thanks for sharing!

  6. This is a wonderful post and the widow seat in beautiful! I’d like to just mention that if one wraps the foam in large trash bags, that have been split open on the sides, before (doing the ridiculous aerobic workout!) pushing the foam into the cover, it will slide in much easier and then just pull the trash bags out.

  7. Love love love this and ikea! I would love it if you joined and contribute your awesome posts at my link party at City of Creative Dreams starts on Fridays 😀 Hope to see you there at City of Creative Dreams Link Party.

  8. This turned out amazing! I’m dreaming of a window seat one day:)

  9. I love a project that gets my wheels spinning!!! LOVE your new window seat so much!!! Featuring you tomorrow!

    XO, Aimee

  10. Cheri - cheri.geer@gmail.com says:

    I LOVE the idea to use those cabinets from IKEA and I am going to show my hubby (he is very handy) and see what he thinks for in our kitchen. I just need your MIL to make my cushion…my sewing is so so.

  11. This is so genius, LOVE! Pinned :)

  12. misskitty914@gmail.com says:


    I was wondering if you could share with us mere mortals (girls with power tools) how Bionic Man reinforced the strength of top. I see photos of using moulding to achieve built in look but nothing that shows reinforcement.


  13. Sara Hagen says:

    Brilliant! It turned out beautiful! :)

  14. Awesome idea!

    I’m wondering if you could say more about this part “He also reinforced the top of the box so that it would be strong enough to seat several adults without sagging.”

    How did he do that? I have the same drawers and I want to use them this way, but I am unsure of how to make the top strong enough so that it doesn’t bend/break.


  15. My daughter thinks I can build this in her bedroom. Ha Ha!
    Maybe… I too would like to know how to reinforce top, is it just a piece of plywood?

  16. 3kidsndune@gmail.com says:

    I love the window seat. I have always wanted one but the cost of builtins made it out of my reach. I was wondering though, how did you match the paint of the trim that you used to the color of the Ikea pieces? Is there a brand or formula and finish that you use to match it? Thanks!

    • I’m glad you like it! So, as far as paint color goes, we just took one of the pieces of the Stolmen to our local paint store and had them scan it to create a custom color for us. We have some built-ins on the other side of the room that are also made from Ikea components, and they happened to be the same color, which made the job a little easier. We used our custom color to paint all the additional wood trim on the window seat, plus the adjacent paneling on the wall. (And when we put a new coat of paint on other molding and trim in our house, we used the same color.) We have also modified Billy bookcases in other parts of our house, but found they were a slightly different shade of white. Based on that, I would recommend customizing paint to your particular Ikea piece, and just buying the smallest amount you need for each project.

  17. Making plans to go to Ikea and make this awesome window seat! thanks for posting. Looking forward to info on reinforcement process…as well as where to buy the foam used for the cushion. thanks!

  18. Please please please get your husband to explain how he reinforced. I LOVE this project and it seems easier than what I had originally planned for my dining booth/bench. I would love to do it, but I need to know if I need a table saw or if I can do it simply by having wood cut at the hardware store etc. Please update us! Thanks!

  19. melaniepanasiuk@gmail.com says:

    Love this. Thinking about doing it as well. What did you do with the left over parts to the organizer?

  20. Kelseycate@hotmail.com says:

    I love this project so much. I was wondering if you could tell me the paint color you used in your living room? I have looked through your blog and can’t seem to find it (though I’m sure it’s right I front of my face!).

  21. graceamc@yahoo.com says:

    So awesome! Can you tell us how he reinforced the top? We’re thinking of tackling this project ASAP!

  22. Yes! Please tell us about the reinforcement! I have the perfect spot that is dying for a window seat! Thank you in advance!!

  23. So GREAT!! Please share the reinforcement technique :)

  24. Yes, I would also like to know how the reinforcement was done. Thanks, I really want this window seat. Bring your family for a visit to California and you can stay at my house!

  25. Also wanting to know how the top was reinforced for strength!!!! Pretty please!

  26. Yes please…can you pass on how to reinforce the top!

  27. I LOVE this window seat!! I’d like to do this in my dining room for banquet seating and storage. I’m on the IKEA website and don’t see the long drawers like this for sale separately? Can you tell me if you bought the whole system? If not, how much were the drawers? Length of each one?

  28. Any updates on how your husband reinforced the top? I’d like to try this in my living room. Thanks!

  29. Please tell us how he reinforced it and how it is holding up.

  30. Shawna Shuster says:

    I have not checked in here for a while as I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are great quality so I guess I will add you back to my daily bloglist. You deserve it my friend :)


  31. I am about to do this to hold shoes in the front hall. I have added a pantry too for jackets and bags. I have a wide and long entry hall that leads into the living room and kitchen.

  32. I would love to know just how exactly you reinforced this.

  33. I would love to know how exactly you reinforced this bench!

  34. Makeeba says:

    How did your husband reinforce the top, please

  35. I’m not positive where you’re getting your information, but good topic.
    I needs to spend a while studying much more or
    understanding more. Thank you for magnificent info I was on the lookout for this information for my mission.

  36. Same! Would love to know how your husband reinforced the top!! Thank you!

  37. symphonee.willoughby@gmail.com says:

    Hey there! any details on the reinforcement? Would like to try this project this weekend and the info would be greatly appreciated?

    Is it just plywood?

  38. RUTH! YOU’RE KILLING US! Please give us that info about reinforcements!

Speak Your Mind