DIY Ikea window seat with storage. This is an Ikea bench hack using Nordli drawer units. It is so affordable that we got the whole window seat built-ins done for under $400! If you are looking for affordable DIY bench seat solutions, keep reading and watching (because there’s also a video) !
DIY bench seat with Ikea Nordli hack
DIY bench seat in an easy way is something I’m forever interested in because it makes such a big impact on a space. In fact, one of my popular posts on this blog is a DIY Ikea Banquette tutorial for my dining room. So this time, I’m sharing another Ikea bench seat DIY, but for my bedroom window seats!
I used Ikea Nordli 2-drawer chest and hacked it into a super long window seat with storage for my bedroom because I have some awkward empty space that is impossible to use well. Also would like to have more closed storage so release some pressure from my packed small closet.
This DIY Ikea window seat project is so versatile that you can not only use it as a window bench, but it’s also great for dining room banquette, breakfast nook, or other bench seat needs for your home.
It has lots of closed storage which is always great because it contains the mess within. Plus having drawers just makes it so easy to access things within. I’ve also got some Ikea drawer organizers which fits pretty well inside the drawers.
Before diving into the DIY process, I’d like to share with you what the finished DIY Ikea window seat looks like.
I’m planning to DIY some bench cushions for this DIY window seat. But for now, I’m using a chunky runner rug and folded in half to serve as a cushion.
Ikea Nordli hack and DIY window seat project cost
For this Ikea window seat hack, I’m using the Ikea Nordli 2-drawer chest. You can also use Nordli 4-drawer dresser. The reason I got the 2 drawer unit is because I want to use the drawers, but create my custom top and bottom to fit my space wall to wall.
I’ve also considered other drawer and dresser units from Ikea, but their Norli dresser units offer the most flexibility in terms of width and height. I have found their 2-drawer configuration has the perfect height for a bench seat hack.
The height is 17 ¾”, so plus the top and bottom, you can have your finished bench seat to be around 19 1/4” or above, which is considered to be within standard bench seat height (18” – 20”).
This project is really affordable compared to hiring out or buying as furniture.
Each of the Nordli 2-drawer units costs $60. With four of those and all the materials to make the customization happen, and we got the whole project done under $400. Considering how much storage it adds to the space, I think it is a steal!
I didn’t include the tool cost because most of those I already have on hand. Also tools are something that you invest once and use them over and over again.
Ikea window seat hack modifications
For this Ikea Nordli hack, I did make quite a few changes to make it fit my space better. Here’s a summary:
Raise bench seat height
First of all, I raised the height of Nordli dresser units so it serves more like a furniture piece. My finished DIY bench seat height is 23 ½”.
This is because I’m not using it as a dining banquette where the height is limited: 1. it has to work with the height of dining table; 2. it has to allow people to put their feet on the ground comortably.
In my case, I’m using it as a window seat, so the height is less limited. Also I don’t have any other furniture on that wall so I’d like it to fill the vertical space more by having a slightly higher appearance.
Add custom bookshelf to the bench seat
I created a custom book nook to fill the extra space because I want this window seat built-in to be wall to wall. With 4 Nordli drawer units, I have about 14 inch empty space. So I used the remaining space for a custom bookshelf.
This bookshelf has a shallower depth compared to Nordli dresser, and that’s because there’s a big closet door on the right side wall of this space.
Custom bench top and power socket under it
I created a bench top for this DIY window seat so it can handle a lot of weight, plus a more custom look. Also, I have added an outlet box on the bench top that is hidden but super accessible.
There’s a wall outlet that will covered by this Ikea window seat, so adding bench top power strip allows me to still have access to the power and also plug in any appliances such as humidifier, laptop chargers, etc.
Ikea window seat hack video tutorial
Here’s a full video tutorial of this DIY window seat with Ikea Nordli hack. I created this video walking you through my DIY process, and highlighted a few key points to make this project successful. You can click on the video below to watch it.
If you want to watch more videos like this, be sure to subscribe to my Youtube channel.
DIY Materials and tools
Ikea Bench seat hack materials:
Ikea Nordli 2-drawer chest. I got this unit in white color. On Ikea’s website, they only listed dark gray color but I was able to find the white version in the self service furniture area. So I suspect white is a new color so they haven’t updated it yet on their site.
Ikea window seat hack tools:
DIY Ikea window seat instructions
Assemble Nordli 2-drawer chest
I assembled Ikea nordli dresser units following their instructions manual, kept the box frame and the drawers separately. It was pretty easy to assemble.
Then I placed all four of them in my bedroom, to get a general idea of how they will fit in the space. This helps me to plan out how much extra space I need to fill up because I plan to have my window seat bench be wall to wall. I will use the remaining space for a small book nook.
I had to remove part of the Box moldings and baseboard, so that the window seat bench top can touch the back wall, and book nood will be flush to the wall.
Build base for bench seat
Next step is to build a base for this bench to sit on. I used some 2×4 boards to build long rectangles with braces that the Ikea Nordli dressers can sit on.
I used a Kreg pocket hole jig to make pocket holes, and used pocket screws connected all the pieces together.
If you don’t have a pocket hole jig, you can pre drill and screw everything together. But I’d recommend to countersink the screws if they are on the surface so that when attaching trim later on, there’s no gap.
You can see that this 2×4 frame fits my entire wall snuggly. I have the smaller box on the right because my book nook has a shallower depth due to the door opening on its right.
Then I attached the 2×4 base to my wall stud. Btw, I didn’t remove the baseboard on the back wall because I plan to leave some space there for my power outlet to reroute.
I’m not using the standard Nordli dresser unit which has a top and bottom board. Instead, I created my own bottom board for those Nordli units and used it to attach to the 2×4 base later. We used some 1 x 4 boards that I got from the Homedepot.
I cut them to size and then used a nail gun to staple them to the drawer frame. I used 2 boards per unit. You can cover the bottom completely but that would be more costly.
It also raises the height of those drawers by ¾”. With the 2×4 base being 3 ½” tall, I can use a 4 ½” baseboard to cover them all.
I then put all the Nordli drawer units on top of the base. And it’s looking pretty good!
On the right side of this space, I have a big closet door, so the remaining space needs to have a shallower depth. I used that space for a small bookcase by attaching ¾” thick wood board around to create that nook.
Attach Nordli dresser to the base
Once the small bookcase is done and I’m happy with all the placement, I attached all the Nordli dresser units together by 1 in screws .I also made sure to clamp them together so that their top is aligned which makes it easier to attach a bench top later.
I have a wall outlet that is right behind one of the drawer units. So I created a notch on the back of one of the drawer units before attaching it to the base.
I also attached all four Nordli drawer units to the 2×4 base. When I designed the base I made sure that there will be at least one vertical board around the middle of each unit to make it easier to attach. I used some 2 in screws to do that.
DIY custom bench top
Now it’s time to add a bench top to this window seat. We Used two 2 x 12 boards from Homedepot that are 12 feet long. The reason we used the 12 feet board was because my wall is 11 ½ feet long and I want this DIY bench seat to look continuous.
If your bench seat is less than 8 ft, another great option is to join two sheets of 4×8 plywood together and then using a wood veneer to conceal the edge. I did it for my home office desk that I think looks pretty good. So check out my Ikea Alex desk hack post.
So for our super long window seat bench top, we joined two boards together with pocket holes and screws every foot of the length. We also added wood glue between them.
At this stage, we also cut out a rectangle shape so we can house a power socket under this bench top.
To create the door that can cover up the power strip, I use a ¾” board and attached it to the bench using two hinges. I also used two small wood blocks to make the door sit flush with the bench top.
Then we moved this giant bench top to our DIY window seat in the bedroom. Moving it is not easy I would say as it is super heavy and long, but we did it! Yay!
This is what it looks like after we added the bench top to the window seat. It was pretty snug to the wall so we didn’t attach the bench top to the nordli dressers below it. If you’d like to attach it, you can use L brackets to do so.
Add trim and finishing touches to bench seat
Now the basic structure is all done, it’s time to add all the nice finish touches so this DIY bench seat will look super custom and polished.
I have planned to cover the 2×4 base, so I cut out some baseboard to size using a miter saw. The baseboard I used is the same of what I have in this room so it looks more uniform. I attached the baseboard using a brad nailer.
With the 2×4 base and the ¾” boards that I attached to the drawer unit, my 4 ½” baseboard covers them perfectly. I painted the ¾” board white because there’s a tiny bit peaking.
BTW, If you are looking for a lower height bench seat such as for dining banquette, you can use 2×2 base, or skip it all together and only keep the ¾ boards as the bottom. In this case, you can choose trim pieces according to your bench seat base.
My house is really old so the walls are curved. To seal the gap between the bench top and my wall I got some shoe moldings. I attached them at the edge where bench top and wall meets, except the power socket part.
Then I applied some speckle and caulk to conceal all the gaps and nail holes. I did some touch up paint so everything flows together.
Also I made the mistake of painting the bench top a light gray color and only realized it after the bench top installation 😂. So I ended up giving it another few coats of paint.
I also finished off the book nook which is looking cohesive with the whole bench seat setup.
Add Nordli drawers to DIY window seat
To slide in the drawers, I basically followed the Ikea instructions. First pull the tracks out, then place the Nordli drawer and slide it in. Once it sits at a proper position, I push the white switch and to the engaged position.
You can check out my Youtube video to see how I added the drawers.
There is a caveat in terms of the white switch on Nordli drawers. It is important to make sure those white switches are on the off position when you first attach the drawers.
I have made the mistake of not setting the white switch to the off position and that made it impossible to lock the drawers to the track. So make sure that the switch is disengaged before you add the drawer, and re-engage the white switch once the drawer is in position.
The white switch does wobble a little bit so don’t mistake the wobble as the switch. Otherwise the drawer is really easy to install.
What’s nice about the Nordli unit is that their drawers have soft closure which just feels so nice to use. Also bench seat with drawers is such a great storage solution!
Add hidden outlet socket to bench top
Because I have a wall outlet that will be covered by the window seat, I want to reroute it somehow so I can still have access to it.
The solution I came up with is to add a power extension cord and have it hidden under the bench top with a hinged door. I found this outlet cover with power strip from Amazon that doesn’t take much depth which is perfect for my case. I left about ⅝” gap between the wall and Nordli dressers.
In the previous step, I have created a notch on the Nordli back frame and also the bench top. To create the door, I use a ¾” board and attached it to the bench using two hinges. I also used two small wood blocks to make the door sit flush with the bench top.
So the next step is to create a box to house the power extension.
I cut several pieces of quarter inch wood and glued them together using wood glue. I clamped them overnight for the glue to cure. I also created a notch on the left side of this box so that the outlet cable can pass through.
To add it in, I slid in the box from the top and placed it on top of the notch I created previously on the Nordli back frame. This outlet extension comes with some double sided tape. So I just use them to hold everything in place.
Having this hidden power outlet on the bench not only lets me still have access to the wall outlet that is covered by my window seat, but it also makes it convenient to charge my phone or plug in small appliances such as a lamp or humidifier. I also love that bench top power strip is pretty hidden, so most of the time things still look tidy when I’m not charging anything.
Ikea Nordli bench seat hack summary
Those are all the steps to make your own DIY window seat with Ikea Nordli hack! It was such a fun and rewarding project, although it does take some time and patience!
I just love how hacking Nordli dressers makes it possible to fulfill my needs and make my space more functional with tons of storage. I hope you find this post and video useful if you are looking to build something similar or looking for ideas to hack Ikea Nordli units!
And let me know if you have any questions in the comment section.