Bay Window Seats

Contoured or straight fronted with either doors or seat access for storage.

Make the most of your bay window with a bespoke seat.

"Bay window seats are stunning additions to your living area owing to their versatility and their elegance. They serve a couple of purposes, one to provide you with an extraordinary amount of storage, and two, to give you a surprising amount of additional seating. To achieve this I build on site to your specific requirements."

NickThe Ealing Carpenter

Front versus Top Access

Firstly, front access. Having vertical access the storage area underneath via doors ensures that you need not disturb people, pets or items that happen to be placed on the seat. Secondly, attractive doors that match other furniture in the room (maybe you have alcove units or are considering adding in the future) helps to tie together your living space. Taking a little time with the design makes the very most of your space. On the other hand they tend to require more height to achieve practical sized working door/s. As you will undoubtedly have soft furnishings to ensure a comfortable experience, with top access, these may need to be removed prior to your raising the seat. However, it may give the furniture a less fussy look with smoother clean lines. You are not dictated by the height with top access as they can be lower. From my experience of building both types the strength of the top access is slightly better simply as a result of a more solid base but it’s marginal. Therefore, from a functional angle consider what you are storing and if this needs accessing regularly or occasionally and what sort of weight may be placed on the seat should be considered.

History of the Bay Window

Bay windows are rarely found in new builds (unless the architect was asked to include). The English Renaissance era first brought them to prominence to accentuate the seat of the nobleman who would be seated in front. More recently many family homes built in the early 20th century included them because of the character they gave both the interior and exterior of the property.

Bay Window Seats on Pinterest

Pinterest is a great online catalogue of ideas. Spend a little time exploring other builds, you will find examples of what you like and what will work for your individual needs. Ultimately, it also helps with the design of your unit. You will find a style that suits your taste and space. Remember, all units are adaptable.

  • They can be finished in a neutral colour.
  • Painted to blend with your feature wall.
  • Finished in natural wood to match other furniture in your room.
  • Or even a combination of painted and natural wood.


Your bay window will probably be around 600mm from the floor, so what height should your seat be? To high and it will look out of proportion to your room so it’s important to consider this. As you will be adding soft furnishings and cushions on top of your seat, work out where you want those to finish and then mark down another 100mm (or so).

With top access I add hydraulic stays as well as hinges. It’s a safety measure to ensure fingers aren’t trapped if the lid suddenly closed. The seat may weigh as much as 10kg, so it would do serious harm if such precautions were not taken.

Straight Fronted of Contoured

It is a matter of personal choice. If your bay’s proportions are universal and there is a symmetry between left and right then it’s down to you. If there is an obvious discrepancy then a straight fronted would suit better.

“A bay window seat is a snug, a perfect place to sit and read or watch the world go by. Whether on your own or with your family, the seat will be a ‘go to’ place to relax.”

Top Access

Contoured to match the shape of the bay.

"A window bay is never a straight forward shape. By following the contours of the wall I was able to replicate the front of the seat creating a pleasing piece of furniture. In this build the client asked that I keep the seat low. To ensure continuity with their existing alcove units I rebated the skirting board for that 'floating' feel. As access to the storage was via the top opening, I included hydraulic stays that prevents the lid from trapping fingers. The weight of the lid - especially the middle one - meant care was needed in selecting hinges. I opted for the continuous piano hinge in the knowledge that less movement would be likely over time in the perpetual battle of 'hinge versus weight of door'"

Front Access

With a straight front.

"Straight-fronted seats give you more depth on which to sit. They also give the room an orderly look with simple and clean lines. You can have top access however the client chose front access with multiple doors matching their existing alcove unit. Height is always a thorny issue, there isn't a rule that determines height. With all such matters I like to look at the proportions of the room. This was an older house with high ceilings. The window sill was 600mm from the floor. The clients and I decided 500mm to the seat ensured plenty of space for the slim foam cushions that were being made. A definite winner with both the parents and their children. A sunny spot where the children can be read too and with the practical addition of storage for games."

More Images Soon

Come visit here shortly for more inspiration.

"I've been engaged to build one fixed bay window seat, one movable seat (similar to an ottoman) and one L shaped high backed kitchen bench seat. I'll provide more information and pictures as and when completed."

If you have an alcove, why not make the most from this space with a unit…?

To book a free consultation and to discuss your ideas.