If you have been thinking about constructing a banquette in your kitchen I can tell you that it is the best home improvement project I ever did.It not only adds architectural detail to the room, but it creates more seating without the need for a lot of chairs, plus since the seating is right against the wall, the table can be pushed towards the wall making the room feel more spacious.There is no space allowance needed for chairs to be pulled back.
I originally saw a professional carpenter make a banquette with a slanted back that my friend had made for her kitchen.I loved how it looked, but knew I couldn’t afford a carpenter and would never be able to construct the back. After looking at it for awhile and seeing how it was made, I decided I didn’t need a back. The base was nothing more than a box with a top on it.Breaking it down in my mind like that, I realized I could probably make one with a little planning for my own kitchen.I didn’t have a pattern or directions to follow I just based it on the design my friend had.
Here is the finished banquette without anything on it. The top measures 23″ deep. The base 18″ deep. The difference in width allows you to kick your feet back for more comfortable seating. It is 18″ high.
View of the top. I rounded the corners to save everybody’s knees.
Side view – I added crown molding, baseboard, and quarter round as finishing trim.
Since I can only sew something simple, I had two cushions made to place on top. If you want to protect the fabric from spills you can send your fabric to a company that will laminate it before sewing. The company I used was Custom Laminations, Inc. It cost a little more then I wanted to spend but I figured with kids and food I would be saving money by having the fabric protected. My friend, Karen who made them told me with the lamination and the length of the cushions, she felt like she was sewing 2×4’s together. The lamination adds a slight sheen to the fabric.
Since I didn’t make a back for the banquette I covered six bed pillows ( I sewed them, really simple) in various colors of fabric to add cushioning and interest.
I can sit a lot of people around the table now. I used to entertain in my dining room, but this has become our go-to spot, as it is such a cozy conversational area. The table is 47-inches in diameter.
Without this handy little table saw I would not have been able to make the banquette myself. My husband and I found it when a home improvement store near us was going out of business. It cost us about $70.00. It was the best tool we ever bought. It is small and simple to use. Nothing complex about it to scare you from using it.
This is the only picture I have when I was constructing it.
How I Made the Base for the Kitchen Banquette
The base is nothing more than a frame of two by fours. The back wall has 2 – 2×4’s mounted to the wall. One on each side. They take most of the weight. The base is not attached to the floor at all.
I used plywood to cover the front and sides. There was an electrical outlet on the wall which I had my husband ( I don’t do anything electrical) move for me so that it could be mounted on the banquette. I created the hole for the outlet with a jigsaw. I added crown molding under the top and baseboard and quarter round to the bottom to finish it off.
Construction of the base frame.
My simple sketch to show how I mounted the 2 x4’s to the wall with lag bolt screws. The top of the the 2 x4 should be placed on the wall at 16 1/2″ from the floor. When the top which was 1- 1/2″ high was added the total height of the bench was 18″
How I Made the Top of The Banquette:
The hardest part of making this was the top. I made the banquette a long time ago – way before blogging. I never imagined I would write about it one day on a blog. In hindsight – I wish I had written the whole process down.
To break down how the top is constructed:
I used wood putty to cover all screw holes and then sanded them smooth before painting. I used crown molding I bought at Home Depot under the top to hide the joining of the of the base and the top. It is purely decorative and is not used for support.
A trip to the lumber aisle may help you better visualize what wood and moldings to use. There are many more options now then I had to choose from 18 years ago.
I made the top with 3/4″ poplar plywood. I didn’t want any warping so I got the best plywood the Home Depot had. I chose to angle the corner joint. You could also just make two square tops. That probably would have been easier. I wanted it to look as professional as possible so I made a decorative edge with 3/4″ thick piece of molding that was 1- 1/2″ high. I rounded the corners with a sander so they would not be so square and dig into someones knee.
Underside view of the top.
Bird’s eye view of the top joints.