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. This banquette was built a long time ago – way before blogging. I never imagined I would write about it one day on a blog.
This post is an overview of the process, build diagrams and what you will need to make a banquette for your kitchen.
A banquette built around your kitchen table not only adds architectural detail to the room, but it creates more seating without the need for a lot of chairs.
Another advantage of building a banquette in your kitchen is 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 wood 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 studying it for awhile and seeing how it was made, I decided I didn’t need a back. I could simply make the base. The base was nothing more than a box with a top on it.
Breaking it down in my mind, I realized I could probably make a banquette with a little planning for my own kitchen. I didn’t have a pattern or directions to follow, I just based it on the banquette design my friend had. I gave my dad all my ideas and he helped to design and build it.
Overview of How to Build a Kitchen Banquette
Here is the finished banquette without the cushions on it.
- The top measures 23″ deep.
- The base 18″ deep.
- It is 18″ high.
The difference in width between the top and base allows you to kick your feet back for more comfortable seating.
View of the banquette seating TOP. I rounded the corners to save everybody’s knees.
Side view: I added crown molding, baseboard, and quarter round as finishing trim to the base.
Since I can only sew simple items, 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. This is a must if you have little kids.
Since I didn’t make a back for the banquette and needed something to cushion the wall, 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 use to entertain in my dining room, but this has become our go-to spot now. It is such a cozy conversational area.
The table is 47-inches in diameter.
How to Build a Kitchen Banquette
When I built the banquette with my dad, I asked him how he thought the top should be constructed and I went with 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.
I was happy to find the photo I have of it being constructed. It is the only one, but helped me remember enough so I could write the post. The drawings I made below are what I remember.
How to Make a Base for a Kitchen Banquette
- 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.
- 2 x 4’s
- Lag bolts
- Trim molding
- Drill, table saw, miter saw
- Paint, rollers and brushes
The base of the banquette is nothing more than a frame of two by fours.
- The back wall has 2 – 2 x 4’s mounted to the wall. One on each side. They take most of the weight of the top when people sit down on the banquette. The base is not attached to the floor in any way, it simply sits on the floor.
- I used poplar plywood to cover the front and sides. There was an electrical outlet on the wall which I had my husband move 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.
Above is a simple sketch to show how I mounted the 2 x 4’s to the wall with lag bolt screws.
The top of the the 2 x 4’s 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 to Make a Top for the Banquette:
The hardest part of building the banquette was the top.
I wish I could ask my dad to help me clarify it, but he is sadly no longer living. I wanted to simply place two pieces of thick plywood on top of the base and attach it with screws.
My dad said that would warp eventually and perhaps even sag. He enjoyed woodworking and made the top so it would last forever. :-)
Break down of how the top is constructed:
The top is nothing more than a box with a plywood bottom, top, and trim on the sides to enclose supports that are lined up inside.
- I trimmed the sides of these top “boxes” with molding where the edges and corners were smoothed with a metal wood file and a sander. You could use a router to do this.
- 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 than I had to choose from 18 years ago.
- I made two tops that are joined on an angle where the two sides of the banquette meet in the corner.
- We chose to angle the corner joint. You could also just make two square tops. That probably would have been easier. We wanted it to look as professional as possible so we made a decorative edge with 3/4″ thick piece of molding that was 1- 1/2″ high.
- The outer corners with rounded with a sander so they would not be so square and dig into someones knee.
How to Make Cushions for a Kitchen Banquette
To make the cushions for the banquette I bought 2″- high dense foam at the fabric store. I cut a piece to fit on each side of the “L”
- At first I had a professional seamstress cover the foam for the cushions with fabric and cording.
- After a few years, I had new cushion covers made that had lamination over them. The company I used was called, Custom Laminations, Inc.
- It cost a little more do add this, but I figured with kids and food I would be saving money by having the fabric protected.
When I tired of this fabric after a few years, I covered the cushions using fabric drapery panel fabric using a no-sew technique.
The pillows that line the back of the banquette are bed pillows that I made no sew covers for.
Links to posts to see how I made the No-Sew Covers:
If you have any questions about building a banquette, please ask by leaving me a comment on this post. I will try to get it answered within a day or two.