South and Hickory Facade

Rules for Placing Furniture Under Windows

Small desk placed under a window. Image credit: Ksenia Chernaya
March 2022


Who doesn’t love an apartment with lots of windows? Windows provide natural light, fresh air, and a view of the outdoors. But there’s a challenge that comes with them. How do you use the floor space under your windows? That’s valuable real estate, but placing the wrong items there risks obstructing your view, airflow, and light.

This is one time that it’s really important to break out your measuring tape. Before you look for anything to place around a window, know how high the window sill is and how wide the full window is. While you may think that furniture should never block a window, it’s actually okay. You just have to follow a few rules.

If a piece of furniture is going to be against the wall with the window, it shouldn’t extend more than a few inches above the sill. A good example would be a bench with a spindle back. The back can extend a few inches above the sill, especially because it’s not a solid slab of wood but a line of spindles.

If something will extend higher than a few inches, bring it out further into the room. You can easily place an armchair or sofa that extends more than a few inches above the sill, you just have to move it out a foot or two from the wall. The higher a piece is, the further out it should be placed. Obviously, there are limits to this. You don’t want a high-back chair covering half your window.

To help you out, here are some items that often work well under windows:

  • Plant table. These are lower than most windows and what a great way to make sure your houseplants get enough light.
  • Desk. You can face toward the window and get a nice view while working, or you can face away from the window and benefit from all the natural light.
  • Daybed or chaise lounge. Why not lounge in the sunlight and look outside from your daybed or chaise. It can provide a great place to stretch out and read a book.
  • Sofa. If the back is low enough, people often put a sofa in front of their windows and the television on the opposite wall.
  • Cat tree. Cats love to stay occupied looking outside. If your windows are low enough, a cat tree by the window will quickly become their preferred hangout.
  • Bistro table and chairs. A small bistro table in front of a window provides a great place to enjoy your coffee or breakfast while enjoying the view.
  • Console table. Because console tables are just a narrow top with legs, you can essentially see right through them. This is one piece that can naturally extend over the sill of a lower window and still look great.