“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” – Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Think back to your favorite restaurant. You arrive with your family, slip into a booth, and enjoy the cozy space with the ones you care about while eating delicious food. What if you could have this experience in your own home? Well, you can. All you need is the right banquette design.
It’s time to ditch that old school dining table and chairs and replace it with kitchen banquette booth seating. These seats will create an intimate dining space or cozy nook where your family can gather. Consider these banquette seating ideas when creating your custom banquette dining nook.
1. Alcove Banquette Seating
Many homes beg for banquette seating with their built-in alcoves. These spaces look like notches out of the main room. You’ll typically find them in your kitchen area. To create an alcove style banquette seat, you’ll line all three sides with bench seating. You can leave the third side open, or place a chair or two there.
What’s nice about this style of banquette seating is that you can customize the shape to fit the available space in your home. It could be a deep space with a rectangular shaped table or more shallow where the table runs horizontally. Perhaps your alcove is round, and you have a single curved bench seat that wraps around the majority of the table.
2. Bench Seat Banquette Seating
You don’t need to have an alcove to have banquette seating. All you need is a space where you can build a bench. Then arrange your table in front of the bench with chairs on the other side.
A hard bench with no backrest will be uncomfortable to sit on for long periods. So make your bench more comfortable with upholstery. Place a fabric-covered foam pad on the banquette seat to cushion the sitting surface. Then place several throw pillows on top for people to lean against.
If you have a small space and the limited number of chairs still makes the area feel cramped, then you can get rid of them too. Place a bench on the outside of the table, and tuck it underneath when not in use. This solution will reduce the total space required for your new eating area.
3. Booth Banquette Seating
You could build a restaurant-style booth in your home. All you need is some plywood, trim pieces, and cushioning for the benchtop. While you could choose a fabric for your upholstered banquette, this may not be the smartest choice. Take a lesson from restaurants and choose a vinyl or leather banquette instead. These relatively liquid-resistant materials won’t absorb spills, so they’re easier to clean.
When you build your booth, you can make it as large or small as you need. Consider the space available in your home and how many people you want to be able to seat. Most functional booths are large enough to seat at least four people.
4. Breakfast Nook Banquette Seating
Most people aren’t hosting large meals at their breakfast nooks. These small spaces are perfect for a couple of people to sit and sip a cup of coffee. With this in mind, you can create a small banquette breakfast nook.
Create a bench area that is only big enough for one or two people. Then on the other side, use one or two chairs. You could even place stools instead of chairs. Place your nook under a window for a lovely view and fresh sunlight to wake up to over morning tea. Or, place it on the backside of your kitchen counter island for a convenient breakfast spot.
5. Corner Banquette Seating
Putting your banquette seating in a corner is a great way to create a cozy nook while also tucking your seating area out of the way. This idea works perfectly in your kitchen area because it gives you a casual alternative to eating in your dining room.
To create your corner bench, look for space that you aren’t using to its full potential. This space is likely an awkward unused corner that you don’t know what to do with (we all have at least one). You can then shape your bench to fit the space. Then you could place a chair or two, or skip them entirely.
Get creative with your corner banquette location. You don’t have to place it in your kitchen. You could have it in the dead space under your stairs or in the corner of your living room.
6. Dining Area Banquette Seating
Creating banquette seating in your dining area is a great way to create a customized seating solution. The bench eliminates the amount of space required so that you can provide more seating. Most people choose to build a bench for one side and place chairs on the other.
This style of seating area is great because you can build whatever you need to fit in your home. You could create a short bench, or a corner, L-shaped, curved, or even circular bench
This banquette could be as small or large as you need. Some are so small that they only accommodate two to four people. In contrast, others are quite large and can seat six to eight people.
7. Long Banquette Seating
If you have a long wall, then you could build a long banquette seating area. This style is ideal for an outdoor space or formal dining room. Then you can place a table that will seat six or eight people. But not all long benches need a long table in front of them. Instead, you could use a couple of cafe-style tables that are small and round. With this option, you’ll create a less formal space. It also makes it easier for people to get up and sit down without disturbing others.
If you do decide to use a long table, make sure the sitting area is comfortable. Large dining spaces like this tend to host long meals with several people in attendance. You want to make sure people don’t become miserable with sore backs. Build a back to your bench on the wall for people to lean against.
8. L-shape Banquette Seating
An L-shaped banquette is similar to a corner setup, except that one leg is longer than the other to create an “L” shape. This style of bench works well if you have a longer space in a corner that you want to use. It also lends itself perfectly to placing a rectangular table in front of it. Then you’ll have bench seating on one short and long end and chairs on the other sides.
Building an L-shaped bench area is also smart if you want more bench seating than you have tablespace. You could build a corner banquette area with a round or square table. Then the leg of one bench extends farther out beyond the seating area. This is nice because now you have a small eating area, but you also have extra space for sitting. Also, a smaller table will take up less space, which is excellent for smaller homes.
9. Luxury Banquette Seating
Most people think of a rustic farmhouse when they think of a banquette eating nook. But this isn’t always the case. You can elevate your dining banquette with a luxurious interior design approach. This approach requires you to choose the right materials and design.
Design your bench out of marble instead of wood. Or, if marble is too expensive, upholster your wood bench with a luxurious fabric. Skip the cotton and imitation leather and choose velvet, satin, silk, or real leather.
Then finish the space with high-end fixtures. Place a gilded and glass table instead of a rustic wooden one. Hang an elegant chandelier that glints in the light or has a futuristic modern feel.
10. Seating Area Banquette Seating
Not all banquette seating needs to create an eating area. You could use this bench and chairs setup in other areas of your home to create a casual sitting area. Instead of having a standard couch in your living room, you could build a bench. Place a coffee table and chairs in front of it for an all-purpose seating spot.
When building your sitting area, think about how formal you want the space to be. This will help you decide on interior design choices. A more casual space could have a deep and plush bench with plenty of throw pillows.
Benches can be difficult to clean under and around. To make your bench easier to clean around, try putting it on legs.
11. Storage Banquette Seating
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could have more storage space? You may be able to gain some storage by installing banquette seating. Each bench you build can provide hidden storage space. When building your benches, leave the benchtop separated from the legs and structure of the bench. Then attach it with a piano hinge on the backside.
Once you install your bench, you can then lift the benchtop to reveal a deep storage space. When done, close the lid, replace the cushion, and no one is the wiser.
Another option is to install drawers. This only works if your bench has enough room in front of it. You’ll then slide the table away from the bench and pull the drawers out towards you.
You can use this storage space for anything you want. It could be a convenient storage space for holding your dining accessories. It can hold tablecloths, placemats, silverware, napkin rings, or anything else you might like to stash.
12. U-shape Banquette Seating
Creating U-shaped banquette seating tends to take up more space than other options we’ve mentioned. This is because you need enough space on three sides for the bench and someone to sit on it. If you have a larger home and have the available space, then a U shaped banquette seat could be ideal.
These eating areas are a great choice since everyone feels included and enclosed in the space. It creates a more intimate feel. Just keep in mind that they aren’t always the most functional. Due to the design, if someone deep in the U needs to get out, then everyone else needs to get up to let them out.
13. Wooden Banquette Seating
Your banquette seating doesn’t have to be overly fancy or ornate. If you have a rustic or farmhouse style in your home, then a simple wood bench will work perfectly. You can even build it yourself if you go this route. Just be sure your bench has enough support to handle the weight of grown adults sitting on it.
Once you build your bench, you could paint it. But this would cover up the natural beauty of the wood. Instead, finish the wood to bring out the natural luster and grain. This finish will add warmth and texture to the room.
Banquette Seating FAQs
What is banquette seating?
This style of seating features a dining bench that can accommodate multiple people. There is typically a bench on one side of the table and individual chairs on the other. You can typically find this style of seating in the kitchen as a breakfast nook.
Does banquette seating save space?
This style of seating will take up less space in your kitchen and breakfast eating area. This is because the bench side takes up less space than the equivalent required number of chairs.
Is banquette seating comfortable?
A bench seating setup can be comfortable if there is cushioning and plenty of room. However, because it’s shared, people may find it uncomfortable to bump into other people while eating. Others may not like that there’s no back support to the bench.