How-To Make a Banquette for Your Kitchen

How to make a Kitchen Banquette

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.

Constructing a kitchen banquette

 

View of the top. I rounded the corners to save everybody’s knees.

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Side view – I added crown molding,  baseboard, and quarter round as finishing trim.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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This is the only picture I have when I was constructing it.

DIY Home Improvement projects

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.

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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″


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 How to make banquette seating

How I Made the Top of The Banquette:

The hardest part of making this was the top. 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.

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Side view of the top.

Bird’s eye view of the top joints.

How to build a Banquette for your Kitchen

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Updated Banquette CushionPost

 How to build a kitchen banquette

 

 

Comments

  1. Maryjo says

    Diane,

    this is truly a dream come true…

    I have a “nook” area that would be so lovely with a banquette such as yours…but i have 4 drawbacks….3 low windows and a women who is not handy one little bit…

    i am so in love with your design that i am racking my brain to try and figure out how to copy your design…

    i just don’t see how i could overcome 3 obstacles and create a beautiful banquette such as yours…

    can you help??

    Maryjo

    • says

      Hi Maryjo-

      One of my friends made a banquette even with her low windows. It actually looks very nice. She has loose pillows along the window that can easily be removed. The bench hides a tiny bit of the bottom portion of the windows, but she can still open and close them easily. If you are not good with DIY, perhaps you can purchase some ready made kitchen cabinets from Home Depot or Lowes that will fit into your space and put a board on top of them. I have seen this done and it looks perfect. Not sure what your budget is, but you could ask around at Home Depot/Lowes to see if they know of anyone that would build one for you.

  2. says

    Beautiful job, Diane! You’ve made me want a table saw and given me the confidence to try making one for my mom’s kitchen. You’re one talented gal!

  3. tkoblondee says

    That’s it- I’m getting a table saw for my birthday in August…even if I have to buy it myself ;) This is amazing! I wish I had half of your creativity!

  4. Dan says

    A table saw is one of, if not the most, dangerous tools in a shop (60,000 injuries and 3,000 amputations per year). Between the propensity to cut off fingers and kickback from a improperly secured workpiece (the blade spins back toward the operator), this is NOT a tool for the casual user. Please get some training before using one or at the least buy a book specifically geared toward table saws and study it very carefully.

  5. says

    I had a professional build my banquette…I think you did a much better job. Dang, wish I had seen this a while ago.

  6. says

    I love this banquette idea!! (More than several others I’ve seen) When I had to completely restore my computer and lost the bookmark on this page, I hunted for this specific blog because I knew exactly how I wanted to build my kitchen seating piece. Thanks for posting such wonderful instructions!!

  7. betsy justis says

    I visit this post regularly b/c it is just what my uncozy 1980s two story box needs to add some charm! My husband can now see what a transformation of our formal dining room into a comfortable sitting area could look like – and has the directions to get started. Thanks for sharing your ideas!!!

    • says

      Hi Betsy – I used to do the same thing, but to my neighbors house – she had a carpenter make a banquette in her kitchen – that is where I got the idea to make mine. You are going to love it – it truly does add more interest to the room while giving you more floor space.

  8. Marsha says

    I. Love. Your. Site.

    This is the first site I’ve been to that has answered ALL my DIY decorating questions without me asking a single one.
    Not to mention given me some absolutely wonderful ideas.
    I am moving to a new apartment and find that your wonderful…and cheeeeeeap… DIY’s are also applicable to renting.

    Keep up the good work…!:-)

    A New Fan

  9. Denise says

    I have been looking for plans to build a breakfast nook, my husband said I shouldn’t just wing it lol. But I am going to following yours! Mine is going to be a little smaller but this gave me some fantastic ideas!!! Thank you SOOO much! I know what I’m doing this weekend!

  10. Rena says

    I was wondering where or if I could get a really clear set of blue prints for this?!?! I haven’t done any wood work since high school and am a little nervous about the little things, like getting nice corners etc. I sent you an email a couple days ago so meybe it got sent to your junk mail…. I am having trouble with the top!
    I would really appreciate your help here if you have a little time to spare!

    • says

      Hi Rena – Sorry for the delay in answering your question, but I get dozens a day and try my best to get every one answered as soon as I possibly can. I made the banquette a long time ago – way before blogging. My neighbor had one made professionally and I took the measurements of hers as the base for mine. When I made it, I asked my dad how he thought the top should be constructed and I went from his idea. I don’t remember exactly what each measurement was and would have to take the banquette apart to measure the parts of the underside of the top. The drawings I made of it are what I remember. To break it down – the top is nothing more than a box with a bottom and a top. Inside the box are evenly spaced supports. The rounded corners are rounded with metal wood files and a sander. You could use a router to do this.

      This is not the only way to make a top – there are many other ways that would work just as well. It could be as easy as a piece of high quality plywood with a piece of molding attached around it and then placed on the base and the back attached to the 2 x 4 on the wall. If you did this, you would have to make the base higher so that it and the height of the top equal 18″. Or if you have a router, you could simply add a decorative edge to the plywood – no molding needed. All the screw holes were pre-drilled and the screws counter-sinked. I used wood putty to cover each 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 front of the base and the top. I hope this helps you. 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 15 years ago.

  11. megan says

    Great innovation and creativity. Loved the Banquette images for Your Kitchen :)

    I think i am gona do it this time :) heee……

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