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How-To Make a Banquette for Your Kitchen

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.

Updated: 7/15/2019


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.

Kitchen banquette DIY with colorful painted 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.

How to make a Kitchen Banquette
How the banquette in my kitchen looked for the first few years after it was built.

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

Constructing 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. 

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View of the banquette seating 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 to the base.

Custom made built-in banquette in kitchen
Banquette years later with new fabric covers and cushions.

Since I can only sew simple items, I had two cushions made to place on top.  

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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.

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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.

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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.

DIY Home Improvement projects

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

supplies needed:

  • 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. 

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  • 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.
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Construction of the base frame.

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 banquette seating

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:

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Underside view of the top.

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.
Side view of the top.
  • I made two tops that are joined on an angle where the two sides of the banquette meet in the corner.
How to build a Banquette for your Kitchen
Bird’s eye view of the top joints.
  • 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. 
Kitchen banquette in kitchen

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.

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.

image showing finished banquette with copy on it that says - reasons why you need one

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93 Comments

  1. Hi Diane, I am living full time in my 2004 Jayco Jayflight RV. It’s in great shape for its age, but I’m having to make some modifications to cabinets & such to add to the storage possibilities. I have stared & stared at the built in dinette, wondering how I could modify it to take up less space yet still provide some storage options, & when I saw this post, I thought – wow! This is it! Since I recently discovered your blog, I’ve spent more time on it, than all my other favorite redecorating & remodeling resources combined, & I just wanted to say thanks for sharing your ideas & information. I currently have about 15 open tabs of content filled with organizational content I found on your pages, that I can’t wait to dig into. Thanks so much, for generously sharing your ideas & inspiration with the world.

    Sincerely,
    Leah Claunch
    Future owner of perfectly decorated & organized RV.

  2. How much did this cost you to make and if I don’t have a saw of any type where can I take the wood to be cut? I am up for the rest, just can’t cut the wood or can I do that with a hand saw? Do I need any other fancy tools? I have no tools but can get the basic tools like nails, hammer, paint etc.

    1. Hi Christine –

      You can cut any wood for a project with a hand saw, but it will take longer and require a lot of muscle. If you take measurements, you can pay to have your wood cut to size at Home Depot or Lowes. They rough cut it, so you will have to sand the edges to make them smooth.

      The type of wood used will determine how much making a banquette will cost. Basic pine plywood would be the less expensive. Poplar wood be the most, but will give you smooth hardwood. I can’t say exactly how much it would cost with today’s wood prices, but at least a few hundred dollars if making it large like mine. If you want to create a smaller banquette, it may cost less. Sorry I can’t give you an exact figure. the best way to determine this would be to take measurements of the size banquette you want and head to the home improvement store to find out the prices of plywood and 2 x 4’s or 2 x 6’s.

      You will need a sander, screwdriver, screws, finishing nails, nail punch, bubble level, and wood glue.

  3. This is so pretty! One question: Was that a heat/AC floor vent under the one bench? I don’t see it at the base of your banquet seat. Did you decide not to use it? We are looking to build something just like this and we also have a vent to incorporate into the design.

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

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

  5. 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!

    1. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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

  8. 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!!!

    1. 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.

  9. 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!!

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

  11. 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!

  12. 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!

  13. 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

    1. 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.

  14. Diane,

    I just came across your blog. This looks spectacular. Thanks for the detailed instructions.

    We just purchased a 4 season cottage with a wonderful nook perfect for banquet seating. I *hope* I have enough height under the windows to do this as it would look spectacular in our space. You’ve inspired me.

    Just wondering if your kitchen table is a 42″ or 48″ round.

  15. Wonderful job!!! Just made this in our kitchen but having a hard time finding the right crown moulding. What size did you use?

    1. Hi Kesha-

      I used 4 1/2″ Ornamental Molding Brand crown molding. They sell it at Home Depot and I think Lowes has it too. It is a bit more decorative than regular crown molding.

  16. I am so impressed with what you have done and appreciate your well-written instructions and building tips. All I can say is “Wow”. Well done and thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Anne –

      It was about 10 years ago that I made the banquette. I wasn’t blogging then and didn’t keep a record of it. The Poplar plywood was expensive – now a days it runs about $90 for a 4 x 8 sheet. I needed 2 sheets. It was a bit cheaper 10 years ago. You could use a lesser grade of plywood to save some $$$ and it would still look good. My dad helped me design it and he insisted that I use Poplar. :) The wood on the underside and outer edge was nominal. The molding I used from Ornamental Molding runs about $20 for an 8 ft section. I used 2. You could use much cheaper crown molding,also and save some $$$, but I like how beefy the Ornamental Molding brand is. Baseboard/ HVAC venting: $30 The primer/paint – $25.

      Approx: $325 without the cushions.

      Cushions I had made by a friend who does upholstery. The foam and labor are expensive. The fabric I got at a discount place for under $20. Total for the 2 cushions: $225 included fabric, foam, and labor. If you can sew- huge savings for you. :)

      I hope this helps. Enjoy your weekend.

  17. Michael,

    What she did was reinforce the bottom with the 1x stock around the sides and middle. I didn’t get it at first, but she explained it to me, and then it made sense. this picture shows it: https://inmyownstyle.com/images/old/6a0120a5bbeb10970c0120a87094bf970b-500pi.gif

    That picture is if you’re looking at the underside of the plywood top. It has the 1x edging, and braces connecting them. Once I did that, I put edging around the whole thing to make it look nicer. The thicker top feels a little better too.

    Hope that helps,
    Robert

  18. Hello Diane, my wife has been wanting me to build a banquette table since we have no room in our kitchen at all, I was wondering if you doubled up on the plywood for the top since you had said that it was 1 1/2 in thick I saw what Robert wrote but didn’t find a replay.

  19. Thanks Diane! Your article was so helpful in building my own. i attached the top from underneath (which wasn’t easy), but made it so there weren’t any nails or screws on the top. also, at the Home Depot, they have pre-rounded MDF strips that are 1 1/2 inches wide, which worked perfect for the edging. i had a router i was going to use, but happened to have the strips already, so that was easy.

    here’s my flickr set that has pictures of what i’ve done. http://flic.kr/s/aHsjtNpnPY

    Thanks again!

  20. I’m curious about the top. You said that you used 3/4 poplar plywood, but then also say that it’s 1 1/2 inches tall. Did you double up the top?

  21. I’m just wondering if you could post some more measurements–like how long each leg of the bench is and how wide your table is. You mentioned that you can seat 9 around the table–I can seat that there is seating for that many but is the table big enough? It seems like you would need a bigger table if 9 people were all going to sit here for a sit-down meal. I’m trying to design an in-kitchen eating space for 8 in a small kitchen and thought a banquette would be the most space efficient way to go. It will be the only dining area though so I don’t want it to be cramped. If I know what your measurements are then I can increase mine proportionately. Thanks! I like that this is simple and looks classy. Many others I’ve seen use fridge cabinets to make a bench but, as you mentioned, this doesn’t give you the calf room for the most comfort.

  22. I have been dying to do just such a thing in my kitchen “nook.” Thank you thank you thank you for the inspiration and instructions and permission not to hire a contractor!

    Maggie :)

  23. Hi !
    Your website is inspiring !!
    I like you banquette and wanted to make one similar in my kitchen, but i’m wondering about the dimension. The wallspace I have is about 5′ x 6′ and I think that with the space needed for the knees I could sit only 3 persons on it…
    Could you let me know what is the size of yours and how many people can sit ?
    Thank you very much !

  24. I’m concerned with the height of the bench. Didn’t you find it too high for the table after you added the cushion
    This is So helpful, Thank you!

    1. Hi Susan-
      The bench with the cushion is at perfect height. The cushion makes it 1″ higher than the chairs that are around the table – the chairs have no cushions. If I added store bought cushions for the chairs all the seating would be the same height around the table. When you sit down on the bench the cushion gives a bit also. The nice thing about building your own banquette is that you can customize it to your needs. If you are considering a banquette I would find out what the chair height you plan to use around the rest of the table is and use that as your measurement. What I find the most important measurement to consider is to provide enough space (4-5 inches at least from the outer edge of the top) for your legs to kick back. The base should be narrower then the top. Without this your bench won’t be comfortable to sit at.
      I hope this helps.

    2. We followed S. Susanka ( the not so big house architect) directions for a banquette and at the last minute decided to raise it one inch to clear an electrical outlet inside the bench frame.
      Big Regret. The height of the bench -including cushion – is really important. Everyone is different, but you back into a bench seat and if it is higher than your knee you’re going to find yourself having to hop up a little and may find your feet swinging. I suggest measuring the height of your favorite upholstered chair and using those measurements.
      We ended up putting in a copper foot rest (Piping) across the bottom to help make it more comfortable. It ended up looking great but……always function over form. Our base with lid was 16″ with a 3″ cushion. It’s great without the cushion. I may still change the cushion to down to help lower it a bit more. I totally agree about the 5″ kick back.

  25. I found an 8’x6′ “L” shaped seating bench at my local Habitat For Humanity Resale store for $148. It once was used in a local chain restaurant and they had donated a bunch of them when they remodeled. I had it reupholstered in a highend fabric that I found on clearance. Total cost was about $500 and it is fabulous. Added some throw pillows in unique colors and refurbished something headed for the land fill. My grandkids love sitting around the table for meals now. With my refurbished chandelier (from the same resale shop for $7) and booth seating they feel like they too can go to a five star restaurant.

  26. New follower here. Just wanted to say thank you for posting this. You’ve motivated me (well, not ME exactly) to do this in my breakfast room.

  27. Hi there,
    Love the banquette. My wife and I are about to embark on the same project for our kitchen remodel. Do you have an idea of total cost for materials? And how hard was it to move the electrical outlet from the wall to the front of your banquette?

  28. looks fantastic. did you bring the electrical outlet forward? Where is the table from? Great size. Thanks!

    1. Hi Dahlia-

      Yes, I did bring the electrical outlet forward as well as the heating vent. My husband helped me with that, but it was very easy. We bought what we needed at Home Depot. The vent is on the right side facing the kitchen cabinets. The outlet is about 6 inches from the corner of the bench. So many people have e-mailed me about the table. I got from the JC Penney catalog about 8 – 9 years ago.

  29. I have wanted a banquette in our bay window for years! You made it look like a project my husband could do. I am saving this to show my him. BTW…..You did a great job! Thanks for sharing!!

  30. Wow! What a great job! It’s awesome! :) Thanks for sharing in the DIY Show & Tell (sorry I’m so late!)

    ~Roeshel

  31. I’m LOVING you blog. I just went through every post.
    I have been wanting to make a banquette corner seat ever since we moved in almost a year ago. It seemed so difficult, but you make it sound pretty simple. How much were supplies all together? That will be my decision maker. =) Sooo excieted.

  32. Wow!!! What a beautiful job! I have wanted to add a banquet to our new house and just haven’t been brave enough. You have inspired me and given me the best visual to show my husband! Looks fantastic!

  33. I have been SEARCHING for a banquette that was cheap and pretty. FINALLY I found yours on link up page I think through DIY…anyways, Im so glad you made everything so detailed..I will be having my dad and my husband make this for me! I cant wait! We have a small house with a great room and there isnt alot of space for a table with 6 chairs so Im extatic about this! Thank you
    lacey!

  34. Stopping by to say hello with Friday Follow. Hope you have an amazing weekend with your family and friends.

    Felissa

  35. You did a great job. I’ve been wanting to do this for some time. Maybe I can talk my husband into helping me with this project.
    Thanks for the help.

  36. This is so wonderful!! We have a kitchen that is on the smaller side and I think a banquette would be perfect! I must tell the idea to my hubby! Plus we might be able to use the bottom for extra storage space…

    I found your blog on a SITS list on Twitter of people who are attending the Bloggy Bootcamp in Baltimore! I just signed up as well. I wanted to come by and say Hi! Looking forward to meeting at camp!

  37. Hi Mom, I’m taking a study break and visted your site. I made the picture of the kitchen table and bench my background for my laptop! It makes me feel closer to home! See you in two weeks! xo Mandy

  38. Oh wow, we need a banquette. I had no idea where to start. Now I do. I love yours, it’s perfect! Thank you so much for sharing!
    Lynea

  39. I have been so wanting one for my home. Will you please come and build me one? {smile}

    It turned out fabulous! Thanks for the inspiration!

  40. That is awesome and I had never thought of doing anything like this! This would solve my seating woes also. Thank you for sharing!

  41. Hi Diane, I stopped back this morning for a better look around. You are a very creative gal and I am totally impressed that you painted your kitchen cabinets. One question, do you remember the color of white you used and did you use semi or gloss paint? I’m considering doing mine they really need a touch up, unless you like that chippy look.
    I have found that using a semi gloss on the ceilings is an amazing way to reflect the candlelight on the diningroom table around the room. The effect is amazing and I am considering repainting the livingroom and hall ceilings with a butter colored white in semi gloss but I really dislike doing ceilings.

    Preparing for another 12″ of snow! See you after the storm.
    ~ ~Ahrisha~ ~

  42. Hi, all you wonderful commenters.
    Thanks for all the blog love. I love reading all your comments and visiting each of you if you have a blog.
    Ann- send me a picture- I would love to give you some ideas on your playroom shelf transformation.
    Diane

  43. awesome. excellant job. I have always wanted one myself. Hint to husband…lol…mishelle

  44. holy cow!
    you did an awesome job. you should be so proud. you are a pro! it looks like it was built-in with the rest of your room. everything matches perfectly.

    what an inspiration piece for the home & YOU are an inspiration for doing it yourself.

  45. This was the next thing on my to-do list… before we found out about the move.

    I thought it would be a good place to sit and talk/blog while Hubby made dinner ;)

    I looks so nice in your kitchen. You did a good job!

    I’m glad I found your blog.
    Talk to you soon ;)
    Bunny Jean

  46. Love this!!! I will put Husband on this project as I don’t like to know too much about this end of stuff- he has hobbies too. I will do the custom cushions. Just tonight, I had expressed an idea about tearing out some low bookshelves in the playroom and putting in a long window seat with lots of storage and new full sized bookcases on another wall. Wish you were in Dallas so you could give me your great ideas! I’d love to know what you think.

  47. wow! great job. It looks really nice. I love that you used bed pillows… probably a lot cheaper than the alternative! (foam) :)
    thanks for sharing!
    gail

  48. I love your banquette! How cool you shared all the details. If my huge deep freeze ever goes out I would like one there. Lezlee

  49. Fab.u.ous! I soooo want to build one of these for my dining room now that I have the kitchen nook table under control.

    Thanks for the detailed how-to’s. I’ll be bookmarking this post for future reference :)

    Glad you could Mi4M!

  50. Hi Dianna and Cha Cha-

    If I ever move from this house, I know I will have to build a banquette in the next one. Sometimes when I am tired, I lay down and fall asleep on it. It is very comfortable. Trax, my cat and Schnizel, my dog – love laying on it too. It gets sun all day until about 2:00. Thanks for the nice comments.
    Diane

    1. How much did it cost to do the bench alone? Excluding cushions etc…
      I am preparing to build one myself! Looove yours!

    2. Love the detailed directions. I have one question, how much longer should the banquette be than thee table? My table will be 36×68 inches, is a straight 84 in banquette long enough to get in and out? Thank you!

      1. Hi Camille – The banquette can be as long as you need. I wanted the wall to be filled by the bench on each side and just went with that length. My table is round so there is plenty of room. The table moves easily if someone can’t fit in, but I have never had to do this. If your table is rectangular, then I would suggest making the length a bit longer on each side. It will look more inviting.

  51. No way, I have been dreaming of one for my kitchen. We have a bay window and I want to build into it. You inspire me, I think we may have been seperated at birth. I am keeping this info. for when we can try to do ours, your the best.

    Cha Cha