Upcycle an Entertainment Center into a Window Seat
As a committed “upcycler”, I knew when we replaced my daughter’s old polyester blend, lightweight curtains this summer, there was no way these were just going in the recycling bin. I looked around the house and spied our old entertainment center, which my husband had just moved out of the living room. Inspiration struck. With these two now-unneeded items, I could build a window seat!
While it may seem strange that my first thought went to “window seat,” let me explain. I wrote about how I turned an old bookshelf into a window seat for Care2.com earlier this year. It was such an easy project and my whole family has really got a lot of use out of it. I’ve been meaning to build another one for our playroom. This time however, I wanted the whole thing to be upcycled. I didn’t want to have to buy anything for it.
I still had some quilt batting and foam left over from the first project, and now that the rest of the materials had literally fallen into my hands, I was excited to get started. Here’s a tutorial on how I built my second window seat—this time from entirely upcycled materials.
The main part of this project is to make the seat cushion for the window seat. Once that’s built, you simply attach it to your chosen piece of furniture. The only criteria a piece of furniture needs to make it suitable for a window seat is that it be sturdy enough to sit on and fits under the window where you want to sit. If its fits these criteria, pretty much anything is game: an old coffee table, a bookshelf, a toy box. Use your imagination! My entertainment center fit the bill perfectly, with the added bonus of providing extra storage. In this case, it became a blanket cupboard to relieve my overstuffed linen closet.
Step One: Gather Your Supplies
To build the seat, I used a piece of plywood, some foam (which can be bought at a craft store), fabric (my drapes) and a staple gun. I highly recommend using quilt batting too, as it helps keep the fabric in place.
Step Two: Cut Plywood and Glue Foam
I cut the plywood to fit the top of my old entertainment center and cut the foam to match. Then I attached the foam to the plywood with some glue. If you can’t cut plywood at home, your local hardware store will do it for you.
Step Three: Staple Batting
I wrapped the foam and wood with quilt batting as tightly as possible, securing it with staples.
Step Four: Measure and Cut Your Drapes
Next, I placed the batting-wrapped board on top of one of my old drapes and measured the amount of fabric I would need, then cut off the rest. I made sure to use as much of the bottom of the curtain as possible, as I had another use in mind for the top half.
Step Five: Attach Your Drapes
Once I had the correct amount of fabric, I attached the drapes to the wood and foam board. Having done this once before, I knew this was the tricky bit. Getting it smooth and straight can take a fair amount of work. This is especially so when you’re using a piece of fabric with a pattern, as it will be glaringly obvious if you mess up. The best way to do it, I found, is to lay the board flat on the fabric on a table or other high surface. Position it in the middle and then loosely attach one side of fabric with two or three staples.
Step Six: Fold the Corners
I turned the board over and pulled the fabric snugly—not too tight at this point—until I had a smooth fit. I stapled the other side down tightly, pulling at the fabric to make sure it’s taught. Once I was done, I went back to my first side and attached it more firmly, using the same technique as the first side. Finally, I worked on the corners, tweaking them as necessary to get a nice smooth fit.
Step Seven: Assemble Your Seat
Now that the seat was done, I just attached it to the entertainment center using some long screws and a drill. I used screws that matched the exact depth of the top of the entertainment center and the plywood so that no one gets a nasty shock when they sit down on it!
Finally, once the window seat was in place, I attached the top part of the drape I had cut off earlier to the top of the window, tying the whole look together. The entertainment center now has a useful second life as both a seat in my children’s playroom and a handy blanket cupboard. And the best benefit? Having successfully upcycled my old entertainment center and the drapes from my daughter’s room, I felt very justified in buying a nice set of blackout curtains to help keep my daughter cool this summer and my A/C bills low.
Jennifer Tuohy is an adventurous upcycler who enjoys the challenge of transforming one object into another. Jennifer performs her DIY magic at her Charleston, South Carolina home, and writes about her projects for The Home Depot. To research Home Depot’s wide selection of drapes—to go with your own upcycled window seat—you can visit Home Depot’s website.