“I have two questions that I hope you can help me with.
1. I have a large (2′ deep X 18″ high X 16′ long), off-center window seat in my living room. I am not sure how to “decorate” it. I thought about adding built-in bookcases on either end but my husband said no because of the expense. So, should I add a 16′ cushion, or a cushion just under the window seat, or…..? Should a cushion be solid fabric or pattern? H0w do I accessorize it? Should I just add some ledge shelving to the walls or not –aaaack, I don’t know what to do with it!
2. This is a related question. I have bamboo blinds above the window and the hardware shows — a “look” that I thought I would like, and I do, but I think it would look better here in the living room with a valance or a cornice,or crown molding, or something to cover it. I chose not to use any curtain panels here because they would stop at the window seat and not go to the floor. I really, really don’t like panels that stop at the apron of a window. Privacy is not an issue and the blinds are perfect for filtering the afternoon sun. Any ideas?
P.S. I also thought about a simple board & batten, or beadboard (wall paper or wood) treatment on the window wall. I thought maybe placing it about 2/3 of the way up the window and topped with some molding and leaning some artwork up there. If I painted it white I think it would look like a continuation of the window seat…do you think that’s an option? Sindy
The window seat is certainly the focal point of your living room and you should play it up in order to highlight your fabulous garden view, enhance your conversation area and increase the visual impact of your room. You’ve got a number of options – pick the one that bests suits your budget, your style preference and your time commitment to the project .
I love your idea of custom built-in bookcases on each side of the window. If a custom price is your husband’s only objection to bookcases don’t give up! Instead, consider buying inexpensive ready made book cases from someplace like Ikea, Target, WalMart, thrift shop, yard sale or flea market. Just be sure to take your measurements with you when you plan to purchase them. Try to find a bookcase(s) to fill each side of the window from the window trim to the end of the seat. Since the window is not centered you won’t be able to use the same size bookcases on each side so either fill from the end of the seat all the way to the edge of the window trim OR leave the same amount of empty space on both sides of the window between the trim and the bookcase edge.
Paint the bookcases white if you do not purchase them that way. A designer tip is to install painted crown molding on the top of them and add a base molding to tie them into the bench so they give the appearance of being built-in.
Then use a cushion under the window and top it with gorgeous toss pillows. Mix and match a lot of different textures and prints for the pillows, drawing the colors from your walls and rug and adding a few surprise color hits. Add a pillow to your slip covered furniture too so the color is spread around the entire seating area.
This photo illustrates what a bookshelf might look like (closed or open shelving) combined with your idea of beadboard or similar part way up the wall. Notice how the crown of the bookcase is the same height as the beadboard treatment for continuity. Also, note that flanking bookcases wouldn’t necessarily have to go all the way to the ceiling if they have a finished molding edge.
Another option is to use open shelves instead of bookcases to fill each side of the window. There are lots of interesting, decorative brackets from which to choose – some stand out and some blend in. Since you can’t put shelves all the way down to the top of the window seat place the last shelf so it allows you to slide a row of wicker baskets under it for added texture and concealed storage. Then place a cushion and toss pillows under the window.
Full Length Bench
You can also place a cushion or series of cushions on the full 16′ length of the bench. Then use your idea of either white painted board & batten or beadboard – wood NOT wall paper! – to anchor the bench to the window on the sides. On top of the wood add a picture ledge on which you can place framed art or photos. If you select this option, run the wood beyond the bench and to the edge of the door frame so the entire lower section from the door to the wall is covered. This will help balance the larger side of the bench and let the eye flow across the wall instead of jarring it by chopping the wood off at the end of the bench and leaving the small part of the wall bare to the door.
It would take a lot of toss pillows to fill the entire 16′ bench length and could look overly busy or cluttered, depending on the pillows. Instead, consider placing one or two round bolster pillows under the center 2/3 of the window ledge and then scatter toss pillows on either side.
Bookcases topped with crown molding, board & batten and beadboard tend to be traditional so your blinds would tie into the room better if they had a more traditional topping instead of casual, exposed hardware. If you install bookcases, top the blinds by running a valance board across the top of the blinds, attach it to the bookcases on each side and top it with crown molding. Consider creating a wooden cornice box topped with the crown molding if you go with the open shelves or board & batten or beadboard.
It’s Up to You
There are usually several options to any design problem. Pick the one that best suits your budget, your style and makes you smile! And be sure to tell us about it by leaving a comment on a post – simply click on the word Comment after the ads below – or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org (send photos!).