What Is the Cost to Install a Window Seat?

Amy Pawlukiewicz
Written by Amy Pawlukiewicz
Reviewed by Robert Tschudi
Updated June 20, 2022
woman reading a book with her dog by a window
Photo: silverkblack/ Adobe Stock


  • The average cost to install a window seat is $2,500

  • It can cost as little as $500 or as much as $8,000 to install a window seat

  • There are several different types of wood and fabrics, all at different price points

  • Design, materials, and options will all impact price

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Dreaming about curling up on a window seat with a good book and a cup of hot cocoa? Your dream can be a reality for an average cost of $2,500. Depending on the extent of your project, you could pay as little as $500 or as much as $8,000 for installation.

National Average CostMinimum CostMaximum Cost

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Window Seat?

The costs associated with building a window seat vary depending on the type of seat you choose. But usually, you can expect to pay between $1,000 and $6,000. Window seats are popular design choices for a reason—they're welcoming, warm, and provide a comfortable alternative to couch seating.

Type of SeatAverage Cost
Reading nook$500 – $4,000
Standard window seat$2,500 – $3,500
Built-in daybed under a window$1,000 – $8,000
Semi-circle or U-shaped$1,000 – $8,000

Reading Nook Window Seat

A reading nook window seat usually costs $500 to $4,000 to build. Reading nooks are smaller-sized seats that can go under a regular window or a bay window, depending on what you have available in your home. The cost will vary based on the type of seating, the materials, and whether or not you have storage available under the bench.

Standard Window Seat

Standard window seats cost between $2,500 and $3,500 for installation. Homeowners usually install these seats in a recessed nook with a five-foot seat. The cost can fluctuate based on the materials you choose and any custom features you add on, such as storage, outlets, or lighting.

Built-In Daybed Under Window

The cost for a built-in daybed under a window generally runs between $1,000 and $8,000. This is a versatile option for a window seat because you can use it for seating; it also doubles as a sleep space for guests (or you if you fall asleep reading in the window). The best place for a daybed window seat is under a larger regular window or bay window in a guest room or office.

Semi-Circle or U-Shaped 

Semi-circle or U-shaped window seats usually run between $1,000 and $8,000. This design is suitable for a nook in a den, bedroom, or keeping room. You can construct the cushion design either using banquette seating or individual cushions.

4 types of window seats, including a reading nook, built-in daybed, and semi-circle or U-shaped
Photo: Jon Lovette/Stone/Getty Images

Window Seat Cost by Material

You can expect to pay between $550 and $6,000 on materials alone. When choosing your materials, you have a good range of options as far as the structure and the upholstery for cushions and pillows. Here's a breakdown of some of the most popular choices.


Finish-grade plywood is a standard material builders use in window seats and costs around $450 to $3,500. Plywood is not as durable as hardwood, but it's easier to work with and can be stronger than hardwood when layered. Plywood also doesn't have knots, which can be hard to work around, whereas many grades of hardwood do. 

“Furniture-grade plywood is a great choice, but it doesn’t have the look of real wood,” says Bob Tschudi, Angi Expert Review Board member and general contractor in Raleigh, NC. “So you can either use furniture-grade plywood and install pencil molding in front to look like wainscoting, or you can install utility-grade plywood and face it with shiplap or another surface wood.”


The cost of hardwood for a window seat usually comes in between $1,000 and $6,000. Hardwood can be more challenging to work with than plywood, but some homeowners prefer the look of polished hardwood grain. There are some advantages to using hardwood, like rot-resistance in some cases, and in general, it has a more elegant look.


Velvet fabric for upholstering your window seat will run you between $25 and $70 per yard. A popular upholstery choice because of its soft texture, velvet is a good choice if you want a classic look. Caring for velvet is more complicated than other fabrics, so be sure to research the exact fabric before making your selection.


You can expect to pay between $10 and $30 per yard for polyester fabric for your window seat. Designers like to use polyester for upholstery because it's easy to clean, durable, and comes in various colors and patterns. Be careful when choosing a fabric rating, or you could end up with a cushion that pills or isn't comfortable to sit on.


Twill fabrics usually cost between $30 and $50 per yard and are another durable option for window seat cushion upholstery. Available in many colors and patterns, twill is stain resistant, which is a plus; however, over time, the fabric's shape can warp with heavy use.


Linen upholstery fabric for your window seat will cost between $20 and $30 per yard. Known for its light texture and classic look, linen will add a touch of elegance to any window seat. However, it is delicate and less resistant to stains and fading. So if your window seat will get heavy use, it's best to choose another fabric. 

Window Seat Cost Breakdown

cozy reading nook by a window
Photo: Julia / Adobe Stock

Materials, labor, and design are all elements you should factor in when thinking about the cost of installing your window seat.


The materials for your window seat are a significant factor in the cost, and you can expect to pay between $350 and $7,000. Your wood and fabric choices can vary widely in price, and the cost also depends on how large and elaborate your project is. A window seat with storage, for example, will require more wood than a bench window seat.


For your window seat project, a local carpenter will usually charge between $50 and $150 per hour, with a total project cost generally running from $200 to $600. However, there are other professionals you might want to consider bringing in for your project, such as a local interior designer or an upholsterer near you. Designers usually charge $50 to $200 per hour, and upholsterers run between $40 and $100 per hour.

Cost to DIY a Window Seat

The cost to DIY a window seat averages between $1,200 and $1,600. A window seat is a doable DIY project as long as you have good carpentry skills. You should also consider whether or not you need outlets installed, which would require a professional electrician. Unless you have professional electrical experience, you should never attempt electrical work yourself.

Cost to DIY vs. Hiring a Pro

Hiring a pro for a $1,800 window seat project will be around $200 to $600 of the total, and they'll be able to complete the project accurately and quickly. 

How You Can Save Money When Building a Window Seat

There are a couple of ways to save money and still build the window seat of your dreams. Materials choices can save you a bundle if you opt for plywood over hardwood and choose lower-cost fabrics—there are many choices out there. Skipping on bells and whistles like storage and outlets will also equal significant savings on the bottom line.


How long does it take to install a window seat?

For a professional carpenter, installing a window seat can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days, depending on some aspects of the project. Aside from building the seat itself, if they have to remove any cabinets, shelves, or baseboards, that will add time to the project.

What size should my window seat be?

The ideal depth for a window seat is between 17 and 20 inches, and a four-foot-wide bench will comfortably seat two adults—or allow you to stretch out. As far as the height goes, you don't want your window seat to be higher than the bottom of the window, and an ideal height falls between 16 and 21 inches.

Do I need a permit to install a window seat?

You may need a permit to install your window seat. Even though it's an indoor modification, some municipalities require permits for any built-ins added to homes. Check with your carpenter or, if you're DIY-ing, do some research on your city's requirements.

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