In this article, I am sharing step by step details on how to build a floating seat for Bay window. I converted a dark, non-functional bay window area into a bright & inviting seating nook. It has become my favorite spot in the whole house, so I am really excited to share this tutorial with you all. At the end, I also share the total cost of this project for your reference.
First, let me start with a before picture.
This area is right next to our kitchen overlooking our backyard, but it is not really usable right now. As you can see, there is grey accent paint that I am not very fond of, vertical blinds that look bulky for this space and awful textured ceiling. So, I thought of converting it into a nice sitting or relaxing space. Anyway, I wanted this nook to be light, warm & airy, but still cozy enough to sit and relax.
UPHOLSTERY & DECOR USED IN THIS PROJECT:
Pillow cover plush light blue – https://amzn.to/3EhoNbo
Faux fur pillow cover – https://amzn.to/3nrgIe7
Throw Pillow 20×20 set of 2 – https://amzn.to/3EnQrn9
Pillow insert – https://amzn.to/3k6NPln
Upholstery Foam 4inch thick 96” long – https://amzn.to/3hvcePH
Roller blinds – 3nos – https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/sandvedel-roller-blind-beige-80474052/
Vent deflector- 1 no – https://amzn.to/2Xl189c
- Miter saw
- Circular saw
- Speed square
- Stud finder
- Power drill or Power driver
- Brad nailer
- Electric knife
- Pocket hole jig
- 8ft long 2x4s – 4 nos
- 1/2icnh thick plywood 2ft x 8ft – 1no
- 6″wide 1/2″thick prefinished wood/mdf plank
- Pocket hole screws
- 3″ & 4″ long construction screws
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DIY – How to Build a floating seat for Bay window
Remove textured ceiling:
This is the first thing I had to tackle textured ceiling in this space. Actually, our whole home has a textured ceiling, which I intend to remove at some point and paint it flat. Having never done this before, removing texture in this small area will give an idea if I can do this for the entire home.
Here is a trick that I found. All you need is a spray bottle with water and a wide scraper. But putty knife is all I had in hand. Since this is a small area, a putty knife should be sufficient for this space.
Now spray water on the ceiling and let it soak for 20 mins. Then come back and scrape it off by applying even pressure. Since this is a small space, I did not cover up the surrounding area. But if you are doing this for a larger room, be sure to cover everything around. Because this produces tons of dust. Also wear a mask and eye protection. I have to say, this is a messy and tiring job. My arms were paining a lot after two layers of mudding on that small part of ceiling. I don’t think I can do it for the entire house, but I will come up with some other solution for this texture ceiling.
Build the floating seat
Design Intention & structure:
Now, for the seat, I wanted to build without the legs or any kind of storage underneath to achieve a floating look. To do this, the support structure should be really strong. You can use custom heavy duty metal brackets, but they are not cheap. I decided to build the frame out of 2x4s and add half inch thick plywood on top and front to conceal the frames.
For this 87″ span, I believe if the outer frames are anchored properly to wall studs with proper construction grade screws, they will hold well. In the below framing, the weak spot will be the front center portion. The cross members are the key to distribute load to the frame and then to the wall studs. So, providing as many cross members as possible is important. The plywood that goes on top is not just for aesthetics, it also plays the role of distributing the weight. However, the front covering plank is for the sake of aesthetics only.
Measure your space and plan the frame with even spacing like in above image. If you have a bay window with angle like in mine, you can easily measure the angle by placing one 2×4 over the other in that corner and trace the line. Then set that angle in your miter saw and cut. Repeat the same for the other side too.
Before fixing the frame to wall, find the studs. This is the stud finder I use. First, screw the center frame to wall with 4” long construction screws. Remember to check level. For the side members, measure the remaining wall space, but subtract the thickness of the outer frame and thickness of fascia. On the right side, I had a power outlet on the wall right where the frame goes. So, I marked and cut that part out before fixing it on the wall. Then again measure and cut the outer frame and connect it to the side members.
Next, add cross members for this frame. Again, measure and cut. The side, facing walls are connected to the frame using pocket screws and the side facing front are connected using regular 3” long construction screws. To make my job easier, I added nails first to temporarily secure while I connected them with long screws.
Finally, to cover the frame I used a half inch plywood cut with circular saw and secured with brad nails. Since, I had stone sill on the windows, I cut the plywood to fit the sill shape and in flush level. To cover the front, I used a prefinished plank and attached it with brad nails too. You can definitely use plywood for the front fascia too, but using a prefinished plank makes the job easier, as you do not have to round the edges or sand or paint. Also, this gives a smooth, quality finish in less time.
Looks great isn’t it. We tested it out and enjoyed admiring the build for a while. Its pretty strong and holds great.
Sand, Prime & Finish
Next, we have to fill all the screw holes, mud the ceiling, sand and clean up everything to prepare for the finishing.
I did two coats of primer wherever there is wood trim and dark paint. This is the most important step if you want a good finish. I always use this Zinsser primer in my projects and the best part is that you do not need to sand. If I am finishing a furniture, I would definitely sand first before applying this primer, but it’s hard to sand the wood trims & baseboards. So that is where a primer like this comes handy.
After primer, apply the paint. On the walls, I used ‘whisper white’ in satin finish and ‘ultra white’ in semi gloss for the base board. The wall under seat area is ‘carbon’ in matte finish. All three are from ‘Behr’.
After browsing through several different options I settled with these Ikea roller blinds. What I liked about these particular ones is they can be cut to required width. Exactly what I need for these odd size bay windows. I am mounting them inset to the window and Ikea has separate instructions for that. Basically, You have to measure the inside width of the window and mark it on the fabric. Then mark 35mm less than your measurement and cut it out. Next mark 5 mm on the rod from the end of the blind and cut it with a miter saw. You can also use a miter box for this if you do not have miter saw. Then put the rod end clip back in and install the given brackets before mounting the roller blind.
Add Seat Cushion
I have no idea how to sew, so I am going to show you this simple way to do it. I bought a 4inch thick firm foam and cut it into the required size and shape. Use an electric knife to cut the foam, but you can also use a utility knife for this. Next lay the fabric upside down on floor and place foam over it. Then wrap the fabric covering the foam edge just like gift wrapping. Wherever the fabric overlaps, secure them together with a sticky or iron-on Velcro. That’s it!
Note: I used 3 yards of fabric for this 87inch long seating space. The iron-on Velcro works to secure the fabric but I am not sure it will hold up well after few washes when it is constantly unwrapped and wrapped. Sewing would be the best option for such use.
As a final touch, add some pillows to the seating. I also added a vent hood to redirect the hot/cool air. Otherwise, air will be just hitting the seating underneath area.
Final look of the Bay window floating seat
We absolutely love to just sit, relax, have snacks, chat and gaze outside watching the birds & squirrels on the yard. Also, it has access to a power outlet, so I even work here sometimes.
*Cost does not include the tools used. Paint, primer, sealer, putty are approximately priced based on the quantity used. Actual prices may vary.
The foam and fabric are the major spend in this build but that’s what makes this space more inviting and comfy.
Want to know how to refinish and repaint an existing door to look new? Check out this fun DIY project below: