Looking for extra storage and function in your space? Let me show you how I made a simple window seat from IKEA KALLAX shelves!
When I redesigned my middle daughter’s bedroom, one of her requests was to have a window seat. She loves to snuggle with her stuffed animals (like most kids!), and she enjoys reading. A window seat is a special place to do both of these! We also needed some more storage in her bedroom, so I wanted to design this into the seat.
To make this window seat budget friendly and easy to create, I used IKEA KALLAX shelves. These shelving units come in a variety of sizes, so I was able to choose units that fit perfectly along my daughter’s bedroom wall. You can also buy a variety of different baskets or bins that fit perfectly into these shelves for extra storage. IKEA cabinets and shelves are one of my favourite bases for DIY projects because of their price and ease of assembly.
This window seat would also look and function beautifully in a dining room, mudroom, or living room. It’s so easy to put together and the final look is great! This is definitely one of my favourite DIY hacks of all time, and it’s lasted for years.
DIY IKEA Hack Window Seat Instructions
To begin creating this IKEA hack window seat, I measured the length of the window wall in my daughter’s bedroom. Lucky for me, the wall was just over 10′ long, so I was able to use this combination of IKEA shelves:
This combination of shelves is almost 10 feet in length, so I knew if I put the first one between two of the second ones the window seat would almost span the wall. I mocked this design up in Photoshop so I could ensure I liked the look:
If you have a different length of wall, you will need a different combination of shelves. Alternatively, you may have gaps between the shelves and the walls that you can either leave as-is or fill with a piece of MDF trim.
After designing the DIY window seat and purchasing the shelves, I assembled the shelves. Like all IKEA furniture, the KALLAX units are easy to assemble. All you need is a screwdriver and a drill to use the provided screws to put the frame together.
Next, I placed the shelves up against the wall where I wanted them to be. The two square units went on the sides and the long short unit in the middle. This creates a built-in window seat look with a ton of storage beneath the bench seat and on the sides. Use safety hardware to secure the shelves to the wall so that they don’t tip.
I chose to leave my baseboards on the wall and place the shelves in front. However, you could choose to remove your baseboards to have the shelves sit flush with your wall.
Finally, I added 3 bench cushions to the top of the seat area, and installed some picture ledges above the two side units. The cushions I used were these 18″ x 18″ floor cushions from Urban Outfitters. They’re a couple inches larger than the depth of the KALLAX shelf, so they hang over the front a little. If you don’t like this look and/or want to add extra strength to the bookcase you could add some plywood to the top of the shelf.
You could also sew a DIY bench cushion with some 2″ foam and sturdy fabric. I did this when I made our IKEA hack dining bench in our breakfast nook with kitchen cabinetry! You can find that tutorial here. This is another easy way to make a bench seat out of IKEA products; I used over-the-fridge IKEA section cabinets.
If I were to do this, I would cut a 1/2″ thick piece of plywood to 18″ deep by 57 7’8″ long. Then, I’d use wood glue and screws to firmly attach the plywood to the top of the middle KALLAX shelf.
To finish the look, I added some BRANAS baskets to all of the shelves. My daughter stores toys and clothing in these baskets, and they also look fabulous! We find them a lot easier than dresser drawers or her closet to store her items inside.
I love how this DIY window seat ties in with the rest of my daughter’s moody & magical bedroom design. We used a lot of jewel tones in the area rug and bedding which tie in to the deep berry colour of the seat cushions.
The boho style headboard is another fun DIY, and you can find the tutorial for that right here.
Let me know if you try this simple IKEA window seat hack. I hope you found inspiration here & happy building!
- IKEA KALLAX shelves (various sizes according to your need)
- seat cushions
- IKEA baskets
- MDF trim (optional)
- 1/2" thick plywood sheet (optional)
- wood glue (optional)
- Measured the length of the window wall you want to create the seat for. It needs to be minimum 58" wide for this IKEA hack to work.
- Purchase IKEA KALLAX units that fit the length of the wall. Use at least one 16 1/2" by 57 7'8" unit that will serve as the window seat. For this one for my daughter's room I used one 16 1/2" by 57 7/8" KALLAX shelf and two 30 3/8" by 30 3/8" KALLAX shelves
- Remove the baseboard on the window wall (optional) if you want the seat to be flush with the wall.
- Assemble the KALLAX units and place them as desired on your window wall. Ensure the long, short unit is beneath the window. Use safety hardware to secure the shelves to the wall so that they don't tip.
- Optional: add strength and extra depth to the long, short KALLAX unit by cutting a 1/2" thick piece of plywood to 57 7/8" by 18". use wood glue and screws to firmly attach the plywood to the top of the long, short KALLAX unit.
- Add cushions to the top of the window seat shelf. You can source an 18" by 18" floor cushion and use three of these, or create a DIY bench cushion from 2" foam and durable fabric.
- Add square baskets to all the shelves.
The cushions I used were these 18" x 18" floor cushions from Urban Outfitters. You could also sew a DIY bench cushion with some 2" foam and sturdy fabric. I did this when I made our IKEA hack dining bench in our breakfast nook with kitchen cabinetry! You can find that tutorial here.