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12 Window Seat Ideas for the Perfect Reading Nook

window seat

Design: Mindy Gayer, Photo: Lane Dittoe

There's a certain genre of architectural detail we always dreamed about having in our homes as children—and window seats fit in squarely. Something about curling up on a window seat with a good book and a cup of cocoa just felt transportive and storybook-like. Others, like the private library complete with rolling ladder, are less practical—though no less dreamy.

This detail started popping up again on Pinterest and Instagram not too long ago, and with the window seat back on trend, we couldn't be happier. Unlike the child-sized ones we pictured in the past piled high with pillows, these modern window seats are as cozy as they are practical: situated with storage, placed in prime real estate for pulling off boots in a mudroom, and act as smart, stylish additions to our homes.

Window seats are officially back on our home design wishlist—right at the top, where our kid-selves would've wanted them. Read on for some of our favorite window seat ideas to bring into your home.

01 of 12

Embrace Natural Light

window seat

Design: Gillian Segal Design Inc., Photo: Tracey Ayton

This sun-soaked seat is one of the sleekest bench designs we've seen. We love its understated-yet-traditional silhouette, flanked by the symmetry of double doors and, of course, matching sconces.

But, these light fixtures aren't just window-dressing. The pivoting arms help point light exactly where it's needed—like on the page of your favorite novel—to prevent eye strain and help you finish "just one more" chapter before bed.

02 of 12

Make a Small But Mighty Space

window seats

Carbon Shack/Home Front Build

This window seat is positive proof that any little alcove can be transformed—and, indeed, it should be. This nook packs a surprising amount of functionality into a minuscule footprint, offering shelves, three deep drawers, and just enough room to thumb through a favorite tome in cozy comfort.

03 of 12

Create a Bonus Room

window seat

Design: JDP, Photo: Amy Bartlam

A deluxe take on a window seat if we ever saw one, this spacious built-in practically stands in for a second couch. The little "room within a room" is flooded with gorgeous light, making it a compelling spot for a coffee date.

Printed window treatments are the finishing touch to this textile-packed, eclectic corner—and we have to say, we're fully enamored with the entire look.

04 of 12

Enjoy the View

window seat

Design: Kate Lester, Photo: Lauren Pressey

When your home has an oceanfront view like this one, it would be a crime not to have a dedicated space for admiring it. The custom tufted awning-stripe cushions echo the coastal vibe, evoking the iconic stripes of beach umbrellas in a more muted, natural way, while the other textiles lean a little more nautical in style.

awning stripe cushion
Annie Selke Awning Stripe Cushion $78.00
05 of 12

Don't Cut Corners

window seat

Liz Caan

Homes with dormer windows often have small alcoves where each window is placed—and it can be tricky to decide what to do with that square footage, since only the narrowest furniture will fit. We're in favor of turning the entire dormer into a mini-hideaway, complete with window seat and a slim pedestal table for resting your coffee or tea.

This space takes the whole "interior escape" idea to the next level, styling it with contrasting wallpaper and a dedicated overhead light fixture—moves that almost make it feel like a glamorous dollhouse grown to adult-size.

striped wallpaper grey
Manhattan Comfort Plano Stripe Wallpaper $41.00
06 of 12

Mirror Your Furniture

window seat

Liz Caan

Duplicates always make more of an impact, so it's no surprise we're loving this living room layout. A built-in bench seat under one window echoes the loveseat to the left, an almost-matching set that mirrors the floor lamps in the space as well.

This look goes to show that you can achieve the look of a window seat without springing for a custom-constructed version just by picking an apartment-sized couch or loveseat that fits the profile of the window overhead.

To complete the conversation area, opt for a coffee table with a light, airy look—like the acrylic one shown here—to keep the corner from feeling overfilled or cluttered.

acrylic coffee table
CB2 Peekaboo Acrylic Coffee Table $300.00
07 of 12

Show Off Architectural Details

window seat

Liz Caan

We're not all lucky enough to be blessed with an imposing quarter-circle of windows, but for those who are, an equally beautiful window seat is the way to show it off to its best advantage. This stunning traditional-style bench offers plenty of room for side-by-side tea time, and we truly couldn't picture anything more elegant.

08 of 12

Add Stylish Storage

window seat

Design: Maestri Studio

We'll never pass up an opportunity to incorporate some handy concealed storage into a custom-built home project, and adding a window seat is no exception. In this stately slate gray and white space, the campaign-style drawers on this bench seat feel right at home.

These roomy drawers are the perfect place to stash seasonal gear, outdoor accessories, or if we're honest, more books on our ever-growing reading list.

09 of 12

Build a Lookout

window seat

Design: Mindy Gayer, Photo: Lane Dittoe

Built-in media centers, or bookcases that have a dedicated space for your flat-screen, have been gracing our Pinterest feeds for a while now. But, what we're really loving are those built-ins that add some texture and personality with the way they're arranged.

This striking example uses narrow trim in a designer-favorite blue gray shade to bring a little coastal-casual depth to this wall. And of course, it incorporates a miniature window seat perch for looking out at the gorgeous nature that surrounds the home.

10 of 12

Use as a Landing Pad

window seat

Design: Mindy Gayer, Photo: Vanessa Lentine

Tucked in a little corner by the front door, this window seat is moonlighting as a landing pad. Whether you're coming or going, having somewhere plush to sink down and put on your shoes is always appreciated—and in a modern farmhouse style home like this one, it just feels right.

The rich natural character of wood detailing behind the bench lends a little added depth and visual interest to this little nook.

11 of 12

Incorporate a Bonus Window Seat

window seats


In a striking shade of blue, these bookcases are scene-stealing enough—but look a little closer and you'll find not one, but two window seats. We can picture curling up on either one to gaze dreamily out the window on rainy days or summer evenings, and it's made all the better by having another space to invite a friend along.

12 of 12

Make It Modern Glam

window seats

Cathie Hong Interiors

While there's plenty of style inspo in "new traditional" takes on the window seat, we couldn't resist throwing this modern-glam version into the ring as well. With cool curvy sconces, plenty of velvet, and cylindrical bolsters on each side, we've never seen a luxe look that felt so cozy and comfy.

bolster pillow velvet
Burrow Nomad Velvet Bolster Pillow (set of 2) $100.00