Depending on your desired project, you may want to sand the surface, too. This is particularly important if you’re planning to paint the sills. Generally, this step helps rough up the surface just enough to give the next layer something to stick to. It may make sense especially if your sills have some kind of glossy finish or sheen.
If you’re not planning on lengthening, widening, or otherwise changing the structure of the window sill, you can skip this step.
Of all projects that could fall into this domain, the easiest is probably putting in some kind of topper like the one Thomas made. He was browsing Home Depot when he came across some stair treads that appeared to be the right depth to fit into his sills. After going home to measure, he realized “it was a perfect fit,” he explains. He sanded and stained the treads, then added a layer of polyurethane to seal and protect the topper against any liquids. “After that was dry, I just screwed those treads right to the window sill,” he said. If the space is wide enough, you could throw some cushions on there, too, and make a reading or relaxing nook.
While it will all depend on the room, it may also be possible to increase the window sill’s area, giving you more surface for decorating or styling, or you could do something similar to Thomas, but with wood that is deeper than the sill—essentially, extending the sill outward.
After cutting the wood to your desired size—and painting or staining to your preference—screw it into the sill and wall. If you want the sill longer, you could cut the wood around the corner where the sill meets the window and extend the ledge along the wall. Depending on how much hang you’re adding, it might also be worth adding reinforcements on the bottom.
If you’re not planning on adding any additions, after cleaning and prepping the sill, simple paint or contact paper can add flair. “I’ve recently been using either contact paper or peel-and-stick wallpaper,” Matt says. She offered marble, grasscloth, or something textured as options for potential patterns. Just make sure you’ve cleaned thoroughly so there are no bumps below the surface. “You want it to look as real as possible,” she adds.
Paint is another option and opens up plenty of possibilities to make the sill unique. If you like a more neutral or understated look, Matt suggests matching the color to the wall. Otherwise, you could add a pop of color to make a statement.
Arguably, the most fun part of the process is when it’s time to decorate. Plants and flowers are a solid choice, but you could also accessorize your windows with pictures, books, candles, or little catch-all dishes. “For me, my window sills are essentially a side table,” Thomas explains, noting that he’ll often have a small dish for keys, coasters for drinks, and of course, the drying dishes. Whatever you choose, Matt says that “it should be more decorative and add to the space” and “it shouldn’t just be filled with junk.”
Windows are a huge part of any space. “Everyone looks at a window,” Matt says. While you may not notice every small detail individually, putting effort into the space will really add up. “Overall, it makes the window beautiful and the room so much nicer.”