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Beyond the Breakfast Nook – 24 Banquette Ideas For Rooms Of All Sizes (+ 3 Rules To Know)

PSA: BANQUETTES ARE NOT JUST FOR SMALL SPACES. I know that maybe that’s obvious to you – and honestly, it should have been obvious to me, a person whose job is literally looking at pictures of houses – but it didn’t really click in my (seemingly) egg-smooth brain until last week. Here’s the deal: when I moved into an apartment with an actual dining room for the first time, I promptly purchased and plopped an appropriately-sized dining table in the center of the room. It’s been three years and it’s held up fine.

But it’s never felt like an awesome layout, if that makes sense. The room is 10′ wide by 15′ long – palatial by LA standards, and still pretty big anywhere else, I think? – but it also has three different doors, a wall of windows, and a 6′ cased opening that leads to the living room. A table in the middle of the room hasn’t necessarily been conducive to the best flow – I don’t love zig-zagging around seatbacks in my frantic attempt to carry 30 bottles of kombucha to the fridge in one trip – and it can feel a little bit cramped when folks are actually sitting at chairs, as the walkways can get closed off.

Enter: THE BANQUETTE.

When it comes to banquettes in larger dining spaces, Big Boss did it best in the Mountain House. (Yes, I do call Emily that name to her face. Yes, I am a very annoying direct report. Yes, Em does have a lot of patience.) And when I thought about it a little longer, I realized that EHD had been singing the praises of banquettes for a LONG time – Bowser has one! Arlyn has one! Anita has one! Bunge had one! Rashida’s building one! Lea’s is coming together as we speak! – and I, finally, have been converted.

Over the past week, I’ve spent a lot of time digging around and trying to figure out the easily-reproducible magic formula that makes banquettes work in spaces of ANY size (shocker, that doesn’t sound like me at all!!!) and I’ve landed on three golden rules (or at least, like, suggestions for you to consider):

Helpful Tips for Banquettes

  1. How wide should my table be? If you’re going with a straight banquette, have fun with whatever width table you’d like. (Lucky.) But if you’re opting for something L-shaped, there’s an easy rule: you want a table that’s just a little narrower than the shortest leg of your banquette. Example: if I buy this three piece banquette – it’s a 48″ bench, a 36″ bench, and a corner piece – the widest I can go with my dining table is 36″. Your tabletop should overlap each bench by 3″-4″, so a 36″ table should look as if it’s perfectly scaled for your banquette setup.
  2. How deep should my banquette be? You want to aim for 18″ of depth. If you’re designing from scratch and want a thick back cushion, keep that in mind – you’ll need to make a super deep frame.
  3. What kind of table do I need? The shape is totally your call, but try to look for a pedestal base. If you’re squeezing a table into a tight space, the last thing you need are FOUR legs in the way. (I’ll point this out in detail in a second.) Beyond that, it makes sliding in and out way easier for both you AND your guests. There are some exceptions here – and I’ve shown a few of those too! – but when in doubt, go for a pedestal table.

As always, I’d love to kick it off with my two recent pieces of inspiration…

HELLO, FAMILIAR FACES. Dabito’s space on the left is actually what got my wheels turning – he created a super spacious dining area that still feels pretty light and welcoming and uncluttered. When you’re rockin’ such a busy wallpaper, it’s kind of brilliant to not have a million table and chair legs also contributing to the visual chaos. This banquette is about 74″ x 74″ (made out of two 48″ bench pieces with a corner bench – yes, I stalked everything in this room) and its been paired with a 48″ table, per the suggestions above. That said, this is a great example of saying “screw the rules” – while a pedestal base would have allowed for more overlap, the impact of this 3-legged table is pretty incomparable. Let this be your daily reminder that pretty looks good next to pretty, no matter what the rules say 🙂

And man, Joy’s space is just so happy and cheerful and on-trend. That fluted base on the seating is great. The pedestal table is great. The chairs are great. The color scheme is a dream, too – it’s bright without being overpowering or loud. (And that brass toe kick on the base of the banquette? Great, thoughtful detail.)

design by cecilia casagrande | photo by sean litchfield | via boston globe

I would like to see about 40 more photos of this home, please. (The client’s sole design request was essentially just “no white,” so the few photos on the Globe’s site are a masterclass in mixing and matching super-saturated tones.) BANQUETTE TALK, THOUGH: I love the traditional profile on these built-in boxes paired with a super-modern (and not white!) tulip table. Also, do you see how the benches extend out a bit past the edges of the table? It makes sliding in and out way easier (trust me on this one, guys).

I know I said “beyond the breakfast nook” – and we’ll get there in a few more scrolls! – but OH MY GOSH, PLEASE LOOK AT THESE CUTE BREAKFAST NOOKS FIRST. I can’t help but think back to all the years I spent cramming illy-sized dining tables and chairs into that weird no-mans-land at the end of my kitchen when I could have been lounging on a sweet lil’ sofa instead. (If you live in LA, you may be able to commiserate. If you don’t live in LA and would like a visual reference, seemingly every kitchen in a pre-1960s building has a “dining space” like Jess‘. She opted for a banquette and it looked DYNAMITE.)

design by chiara de rege | photo by max burkhalter | via architectural digest

This is my favorite shot in the post!!! I WANT TO MOVE IN. These poufs (with back support!) are the perfect scale for this petite table – something with a more traditional profile or geometric shape would have felt too big or boxy in this confined space. (PS. I didn’t cry when I saw the price tag on those chairs, but I also didn’t NOT cry. One day, y’all.)

These are the last two tiny setups I wanted to show you today – both are SUCH examples of how to use really tight spaces. I love how sleek the built-in banquette is on the right, because it really lets that custom table and vintage chairs shine. (Pro tip: this blue tabletop was custom made from MDF, which is a great way to get a high-end look on a budget.)

And, I mean, who WOULDN’T want to relax in this moody nook? So intimate. So luxe. The design here is so good that you totally forgot that red and green scream “it’s Christmas!!!” in literally any other setting, right? Clock those pedestal bases on both tables, too – when you’re navigating close quarters, the last thing you need are four legs taking up SUPER valuable real estate.

design by crystal sinclair designs | photo by sean litchfield | via home adore

I encourage you to click through and peek at all the photos of this room – there’s SO, SO, SO MUCH function in a pretty reasonably-sized living room. The layout is phenomenal and inspiring (like, enough to make me reconsider my entire living room – it’s awesome). The choice to extend the banquette all the way to the wet bar is brilliant, too – like, sure, it provides extra seating, but it also just looks so finished and polished and considered.

Coming in hot with two more leather inspiration shots for all my practical cuties out there!!! Upholstery is obviously pretty freakin’ important when you’re, you know, EATING and DRINKING and SPILLING HAPHAZARDLY (just me on that last one?). If you’re not going to opt for a stain-resistant fabric, leather or vinyl will be your best bets for easy cleanup.

photo by julie ansiau | via marie deroudilhe

Y’all, I pinned SO MANY joint-dining room/libraries when digging around for this post. Is this like, the next big thing? (Don’t vote yet, there are two more below!!!) This one reminds me a bit of Arlyn’s dining room, though – if you’ve struggled at all with your floating dining table taking up too much space in a room, why not try to bring it closer to the wall so you can open up a wider walkway? Banquettes to the rescue!!

TWO MORE STRAIGHT BENCHES FOR YA. Since this is pretty reminiscent of a classic dining setup – like, a rectangular table with seating on both sides – the “opt for a pedestal base” rule (read: suggestion) no longer applies here. Don’t go crazy with your table length and be sure to leave enough space to slide out (on BOTH sides!), but otherwise…the world’s your oyster, baby. Enjoy your unlimited table selection.

design by raphaël le berre and thomas vevaud | photo by stephen julliard | via veranda

I have had this pinned for YEARS and it still hasn’t gotten old. What a freakin’ GENIUS solution for an ultra-narrow, design-agony-inducing dining room!!! I’m not normally a glass dining table fan (in case I haven’t made it clear, I am the world’s messiest eater and I lack the tolerance to handle smudges on an all-glass surface) but this airy table and those neutral oak chairs really let the banquette and wallpaper shine. I can’t help but imagine this as like, a blank box when the homeowners first moved in – I don’t think ANYONE could have dreamed that such a tight spot would one day comfortably fit a dining table for 8+ people. (And before you scroll, peep the Seletti monkey sconce in the back!!! It’s all just so fun!!!)

We have OFFICIALLY reached the ~large and in charge~ portion of the roundup, friends. Both of these rooms could have happily housed a whole bunch of dining chairs…but like, don’t the banquettes just look better? The room on the left just feels so clean and uncluttered; the banquette on the right allows the dining table to line up JUST RIGHT with that doorway (if there were regular chairs instead of this leather bench, the table would have needed to go way further into the room so the person in the middle could reach their seat!).

design by d’apostrophe design | photo by william waldron | via architectural digest

WHAT. A. STATEMENT. Without the banquette, this table and these chairs would have felt dinky and aimless (they’d just be floating in the middle of nowhere, guys!!!). If you’re looking for high impact without a ton of stuff, consider opting for a huge piece of furniture that can anchor your space. Everything here is minimal and quiet, but it also feels finished and intentional. (I could never pull this off – BRB, can’t stop putting color everywhere – and that makes the restraint displayed here even more impressive to me.)

Two more U-shaped banquettes for ya! Notice the return to the pedestal base – if more than half of your family/friends/whoever’s at your house will be seated on the banquette, it may be wise to at least consider getting those table legs out of the way. On the left, please clock those pull-out drawers underneath the bench seating. On the right, please clock another dining library (!!!).

design by beata heuman | photo by simon brown | via living etc

And to think – I allllllmost made it through a post without a Beata Heuman photo. I wrote about this one a little bit when I tried to externally process how to put furniture in front of a window, but I had to share it again here – look how the moulding runs across the base of the banquette! SUBLIME. It’s also pretty fun to see a banquette being used at the short end of the table, don’t you think? (Also, please notice that the outlets on the right haven’t been Photoshopped out, which is not relevant but still VERY COOL!)

And before I let you go, I just wanted to make sure that you felt empowered to go REALLY long with your banquette bench seat. I know that end chairs can feel pretty confusing when it comes to built-in seating – like, “do I need them? Will they look weird if my chair overlaps my bench?” – so let this serve as evidence that your end chairs will look GREAT, no matter where they fall. (And get a load of that third little library vignette on the right!!!)

But now, I gotta know – WHAT SAY YOU? Any pro tips to share with the audience? And maybe most importantly of all – which one of these is your favorite??? (My top 3: the Beata Heuman yellow sofa/pink chair combo, the super narrow dining room with the blue banquette, and obviously the little nook with those $$$ flower poufs.) Let’s all crown a winner…or we could also, like, talk more in-depth about the subject at hand. (Either way.) I’ll see ya down there! LET’S CHAT? xx

Opening Image Credits: Design by Sarah Zachary | Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp

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Kerri
7 months ago

Wow! Best post in ages. I love all of them and now wish I had need of a banquette!

my favorites are the last one (that art, the light, the color of the banquette), the  giancarlo valle one (that bench and that cushion wrapped wood back!), and of course, the flower poufs! i love banquettes and these are all so good.

R
7 months ago

Awesome. Beautiful photos.

Now what about overhead lighting for banquettes? Should overhead lights be centered over the table, I assume? What are decent options for renters to hang lights? How difficult (meaning expensive) is it to have the junction box moved for homeowners?

Cici Haus
7 months ago
Reply to  R

This is where the “trend” of swag lights comes in! We moved our dining table into the former….nothing? room in our new house but the light (fan) was center on the far side with a huge skylight centered on the other half. We were worried we wouldn’t even be able to move the junction box because of the skylight so we just installed a light and swagged it to as close to center as possible without crowding the skylight!

🥰 Rusty
7 months ago
Reply to  Cici Haus

Yesss!👍

Kara
7 months ago
Reply to  Cici Haus

Yes! Also, in the vein of Every Element is a Choice, I’m swagging a light in my kitchen nook, and I got fabric wrapped wire, a wooden bead garland, and a black chain, and I’m going to group them together like layered necklaces. I haven’t decided if it’ll be like a big-medium-large swoop action, or braided together, but I’m pretty stoked about it.

SS
7 months ago
Reply to  R

We are also snagging our light. I think we plan to center the junction box over where a freestanding table could be and then swag it for the banquette. Mostly because I feel like it needs to be swagged enough that it doesn’t just look like it was a mistake :).

Allison
7 months ago

Yes, thank you for this post! I’ve been contemplating doing some sort of IKEA hack and building my own banquette in my small combo living and dining room. I definitely want some sort of storage under there, and I’m trying to figure out the best way to complete this hack. Thanks for sharing these beautiful rooms!

Allison
7 months ago
Reply to  Allison

Oh, and as far as favorites go, the ones by Gachot and Simone Mcewan are just tiny little bits of perfection and make my heart sing. Also really love the ones by Crystal Sinclair Designs and Hadley Wiggins.

mouseface
7 months ago

These are fun but I am hung up on the comfort factor.. a lot of those banquettes look hard and narrow.. plus I get claustrophobic I could never do the middle seat in a banquettes.
No offense against those pouf chairs you love but I’m a klutz, I know I would stab myself on them or break them LOL. I am afraid to commit, I feel like I would do a bench as a fake banquette before a banquette. I actually have an awkward corner dining area that begs for a banquette – but it also holds my once in a lifetime score too big for the space rosewood mid century dining table that I refuse to give up… my emotions are ruining my design….

Angela
7 months ago
Reply to  mouseface

Haha, I share your feelings about the middle seat! Like…I’m anxious just looking at them…LET ME OUT OF HERE PLEASE! 🙂 But I guess there are people who might find middle-banquette to be cozy? I’d prefer a chair, please!

Suzanne
7 months ago
Reply to  mouseface

I put a banquette in bay window of my kitchen, which was great for corralling the kids when they were little (and fitting all the cousins), but now that everyone is grown, it isn’t comfortable. We’re about to embark on a kitchen remodel, and I’m returning to a small breakfast table and comfortable chairs for two. I’m hoping for the ultimate bistro lounge situation. I have a separate dining area, so I just don’t need to devote the space in my kitchen. And I agree if there is a middle seat in the banquette, it’s no fun to be trapped. I do love the look, though.

Meredith
7 months ago
Reply to  mouseface

I had an old boss who went around NYC restaurants measuring banquettes like a weirdo until he had unlocked the ratio for comfortable seats: 18-19” depth seat (for your actual butt: add more if you want lots of cushions), 18” high back, with a 3” slope on the back. It’s DEAD ON. So comfortable, even just in wood. My improvement over the years was to bump the whole thing out by 4” so you can put a little ledge along the back with outlets on it. Great for charging, for resting drinks, for speakers… it’s just perfect. Nothing worse than a church pew while you lounge!

Susan
7 months ago

I put a bench seat and cushion on the short side of my eat in kitchen dining table. It increased the seating but even better I now have a lounge area under the window and I lay there after a long day of work while my better half is cooking. We now have storage under the bench and my dog can lounge there with me keeping an eye on the neighborhood. It increased the comfort and functionality of a small space 10 times beyond what the single chair offered. Plus it allowed me to add fabric and pillows to an other wise utilitarian space and it’s so much prettier. I can’t think of a single con. Only pros.

Amanda
7 months ago
Reply to  Susan

I did the same! A storage bench on the short side of the kitchen table! I have it styled with a throw and lumbar pillow and it is more comfy than any of my chairs for a long sit for weekend brunch!

Suzanne
7 months ago
Reply to  Susan

Banquette on the short end of the table seems like a great solution to avoid anyone feeling trapped in the middle seat.

Jill
7 months ago

I have always loved a banquette! This is great design inspiration and I love the approach of offering rules.

Can we talk about the practicality of large banquette benches? The person in the middle needs to scoot really far over, and every time a person in an inside seat needs to get up, everyone sitting next to them also needs to get up. And a built-in bench doesn’t really accommodate people of different sizes who may want the table at different distances (large adults, kids, etc).

Are there any ways around this? Or do I just reserve the chairs for my aging parents and tall friends, and make my tween nephew be the one who has to scoot all the way to the middle of a large bench?

priscilla
7 months ago
Reply to  Jill

I was once (and only once) invited to a fancy Thanksgiving dinner on the upper west side of NY with a view of not only Central Park, but the sun setting in the west. They had a banquette at their table and I was elected to skootch in. I skootched with all the style and grace I could muster, however, when i first sat to skooch, I caught an end of the table cloth. Yup, as I skootched towards the dreaded center of the banquette the table cloth and everything on it skootched with me. Filled water glasses, plates of food, flowers, they all skootched. I was mortified.

MM
7 months ago
Reply to  priscilla

Oh no, no, no, no, no, no. Ugh! Adding this to the anxiety-filled anti-banquette bucket. Cannot stand to be trapped in the middle and how mortifying to have taken the tablecloth and settings with you. I feel for you, sister! I hope this is a funny story for everyone and that you all got a good laugh out of it in the moment. Ooof!

🥰 Rusty
7 months ago
Reply to  priscilla

Aaaaarrrgggghhh!!! Danged skootching!🤐

Kelly
7 months ago
Reply to  Jill

I had an l-shaped banquette and I just asked for volunteers for the more willing and nimble to be the skootchers! We would joke that the people in the middle should be the ones who went to bathroom most recently so they would be less likely to get up…no it wasn’t 100% easy but we have so many fun memories of squeezing too many people around that table and making it work!

Virginia McGlynn
7 months ago

Incredible post! I have a teeny tiny nook for our dining table, and since we moved in last year I’ve done nothing with it other than shove in our round table and four chairs (it looks so cluttered). I think a banquette is the answer. This post shall be my guiding light!

Tracy
7 months ago

Great post! I would love to hear some reviews of banquets from parents. In real life, do your kids sit down and stay put the whole meal or is the kid in the middle constantly crawling over others to refill their water, go to the bathroom, check if there is a unicorn on the lawn (we try to practice staying put once we start eating but there is always something…). Also, how easy is it to clean under? I assume if you had kids you would opt for the bench to be closed at the bottom, but if you have an L shaped banquet, is the floor in the corner a no man’s land for dropped food? But! I really did love this post!

🥰 Rusty
7 months ago
Reply to  Tracy

🦄

anon
7 months ago
Reply to  Tracy

When I was a kid we had a “booth” which I guess now would be called a free standing banquette? When I was the kid trapped in the middle I would slip under the table and crawl out if I had to get up from the table. I wish I was still that flexible 🙂

🥰 Rusty
7 months ago

While banquets aren’t really my thing, I truly appreciate the vibe. (So much not my thing, that I didn’t buy a house I otherwise loved, because it didn’t have a full dining room).

These pics and collation of spicy innovation rock!!!
Those ‘flower poufs’ are cool! 🌼
You could possibly take a mock-up design for standard circular poufs from a big box store to a trade school (we call them TAFEs in Aussie) and see if they could make the backs for you???
I’m serious!!!!🧐 I used to do partnerships with trade schools in my last job. It’s win-win!
The backs of those in the pic are simply plywood, steam-bent (like old Bentwood chairs)….if you TRULY love them….I reckon it’s a pursuable project!!!
And then do a post and tell us all about your fab partnership with your local trade school and give them some bandwidth.🤗

I don’t think Arlyn’s is a true banquet though…it’s a stand-alone banquet ‘look’ isn’t it?? Which, for a rental, makes more sense to me.

The closest I ever got to anything like a banquet, was almost buying an antique church pew to place agsinst the wall, down one side of my dining table.

Kelly
7 months ago

I feel so seen! It’s been a tough week and I’m not going to lie, when I read this post there may have been some light weeping. Caitlin, you just get me. Like Allison, I have been trying to figure out how to IKEA-hack my way into a banquette. We moved our table out of a combo living/dining situation and into a combo dining/library situation (!), and I’m going to need a super long banquette (!!) to fit under the four windows along the wall. I was leaning toward making the banquette out of some kitchen upper cabinets (like for above a refrigerator) on a box base to make them the right height so I could have storage underneath, but now I’m wondering if I should do more of a bench so there’s room to tuck your feet under a little while you sit? Is anyone annoyed by their heels hitting a cabinet under their banquette?? I’m also thinking about Tracy’s comment and wondering if my two boys will stay put on the bench. This room is actually a combo dining/library/office/laundry so my head is spinning trying to cram all the functions in the space! Thanks for some inspiration, Caitlin!

Suzanne
7 months ago
Reply to  Kelly

I have a banquette, and it was great for younger kids. My kid and all the cousins would pile in for holidays, be it for eating, dying eggs, decorating cookies, or playing games. On the other hand, adult size people enjoy it less. We’ll be removing it in an upcoming remodel now that the kids are teens and young adults.

Jessica Williams
7 months ago
Reply to  Kelly

I think you could still do the box base a little mor narrow then the cabinets and then people wouldn’t be kicking/hitting it with their feet. Like a toe kick in the kitchen!

Jeannie
7 months ago

I have had 2 banquettes/benches and I really don’t like them. I find it much more comfortable to sit in a chair. Benches do increase seating and potentially storage, but I just really prefer to sit in a chair.

Jeannie
7 months ago
Reply to  Jeannie

I feel like I should add that before I actually had the benches, I thought they were going to be so amazing and I was really excited about them. They just weren’t for me though.

Kelly
7 months ago

Love it! I have been dreaming of a banquette in my smallish dining room to help with the pass through from kitchen-living. I found it interesting that so many of the tables were round, which seems inherently challenging with a bench, but oh so beautiful.

Remington
7 months ago

I need a DIY banquette post so much! Please do a post where someone on the team *cough* Malcom *cough* builds one from IKEA or Lowes items.

anon
7 months ago
Reply to  Remington

The Ikea Hackers website has a bunch of DIY ideas.
https://ikeahackers.net/?s=banquette

Remington
7 months ago
Reply to  anon

Oooh, thank you! I’ll check these out!

BeckyB
7 months ago

OMG. So timely. In the middle of a gut kitchen reno, and we just decided to add a banquette a couple of weeks ago. We have the perfect window-flanked corner, and it makes so much sense. It’s a much more efficient use of space. We have 3 kids (10, 8, 4), and we’ll use our existing rectangular table. There will be three chair, and we can easily fit 3 adult bodies comfortably in the banquette seating. It’s not like we have long, luxuriating dinners as a young family, so I’m not all that worried about the climbing-over factor. Plus, that happens at restaurants and it seems just fine to politely ask someone to move if you need to get up. We also have a large island nearby with good seating, and this is going to be plenty for us everyday and with casual entertaining. And in the event that we have a formal, large dinner party, we can pull out another table and reconfigure the space for the event. Love love love all the inspo! Great post!

Karie
7 months ago

Can we just talk about the details of how to have cushions along the backs of banquettes? Does a furniture maker build a small sofa and then install? Does a seamstress make pillows and then how are they secured to the back? I am so curious. Thanks for all the inspiring images in this post! I also love the banquette/library combos!

Susan
7 months ago
Reply to  Karie

Throw pillows at my house.

Kelly
7 months ago
Reply to  Karie

I had an upholsterer custom make a banquette for me that was basically an l-shaped couch with seat appropriate for table height. But you could have a contractor build benches for you and add cushions or have cushions made. Throw pillows for back or there’s a variety of ways to attach back cushions to wall. There are def well studied proportions you can google to ensure it’s comfortable! I suspect a lot of people who don’t like their banquette might have proportions that are off. I found a slope to back, open space underneath, and ample padding on seat and back made mine super comfy!

KL
7 months ago

Can we have a follow-up shoppable-banquettes (and appropriate tables) post, pretty please? I’m trying to find the right table for my semi-enclosed straight banquette space right now and it’s super hard to search for oval/rectangular pedestal tables.

Brigitte
7 months ago
Reply to  KL

This! The only banquet seating I’m aware of is this one: https://www.westelm.com/m/products/novak-leather-banquette-h6618/?pkey=cdining-benches Is there more?
Love this post!

Jen
7 months ago
Reply to  Brigitte
Kyndale
7 months ago

I would love to have a banquette in my kitchen/dinning area. Only problem is, I cant figure out how to do it with out it looking weird in the space. My main floor is wide open to all areas of the main floor. I have tall ceilings and no dividing walls. My dinning area is one large, combined space with our kitchen and morning room. I have one small wall that the banquette could go against but no corners. My thought was to have a u-shaped banquette that opened towards the kitchen but would that look funny and out of place?

Mary Ann
7 months ago
Reply to  Kyndale

(jealous of your tall ceilings) … could you put storage/cabinets — or bookcase/shelves — on the ‘outsides’ of the U-shape?

Tricia
7 months ago

Great post! I always vote for Beata Heuman. I don’t think I could make a banquette work in my kitchen for various reasons. But I LOVE kitchens with comfy seating — an overstuffed sofa, for example, or cozy armchairs. Could y’all do a post on that too? Thanks!

Suzanne
7 months ago
Reply to  Tricia

Yes! I’ve decided I want a couple comfortable arm chairs, possibly swiveling since I have a great window to look out, combined with a bistro table. It’s only seating for two in my kitchen, but we have a large dining room, too. A round up of options and pairings would be great.

Sarah L
7 months ago

Every time we talk built-in anythings, I am reminded of this genius PNW-based maker who does no-hardware-required, tap-together custom furniture at very reasonable prices- you must check them out if you’re in the market cuz they can accommodate your specifications to the fraction of an inch- like if you want a lower back in one part so it lines up with a windowsill they can do that. But no matter where you end up sourcing from, one thing they call out and I totally agree with is, if you want the banquet seating to be comfortable for actual people, make sure the lower part of the base has enough of a set-back from the seat part to tuck your feet under.
Northerly Customs (https://www.northerlycustoms.com and on Instagram)

Karyn Meadows
7 months ago

We built a u-shape banquette into our kitchen when our son was small. The seat is on top of storage that holds large appliances and the u-part of the banquette has the drawer slide out so we can put our Kitchenaid in there and even have room for more stuff on that side. Banquette is very comfy…when the kids were little, they all piled onto the seat and had no trouble staying put there. We could fit 5 of them on it when they were small (plus we had two chairs on the other side of our table for us). It can very comfortably fit 3 adults there plus two on the chairs. Love it in front of our window!!

7 months ago

Feeling very validated with this post! I love a banquette and in a few years, we’ll be creating a multi-functional dining/mudroom/overflow art studio storage/work space in the 10×16 bonus room that is currently my painting studio. It’s right off our kitchen and has 2 doors going to the front & back yards– not ideal for creating big painting messes, as I’m wont to do so once we build a bigger studio in our backyard, we’ll reclaim that space. It’s a good sized space for dining but like you, there are multiple doors and openings so placing the table in the exact center of the room won’t be ideal. Enter the banquette! I’m planning to flank the banquette with 2 antique armoires– one that we already own for coat storage and one for overflow art studio storage.
Hoping it will be so cozy that it will also provide me a lounge-y retreat when my hubby wants to watch action movies on Sunday afternoons..
Adding on to the requests for DIY banquettes and cushion size guidance!

Julia
7 months ago

Brava Caitlin! This post is a wonderful example of why people still read blogs in this era of Insta/TikTok.

Reanna
7 months ago

LOVE this post! Love your enthusiasm! Also very much looking for instruction on pillows vs. building a back cushion (and how that’s done).

Michelle
7 months ago

We must talk about the different seat heights. A majority of pictures I see (including many in this post) of banquette areas, the seat height of the chairs is much lower than the seat height of the banquette. This means that either the chair people or the banquette people are sitting at the wrong height. Drives me crazy that all this money and effort is spent on making it LOOK beautiful but then a lot of people abandon use of it due to being uncomfortable. My stepmother bought a house with a built in banquette bench built right up against the bay windows. There was no back which made it uncomfortable. She ripped it out and opted for chairs and a big round table. We can spend more time around meals comfortably. Chairs and table heights are pretty much standardized. But people who are going to do a custom banquette must really pay attention to all the details, like seat height and comfort, oh, and STORAGE…make that space work for you.

Suzanne
7 months ago
Reply to  Michelle

The bench height is often built at a standard chair seat height, then the cushion is added, making the banquette seating slightly too high. It is a comfort issue. It happened with mine, and I was involved in the design. I thought we had accounted for the cushion height, but by the time I ordered the cushion, I must have gone too think. Custom cushions are expensive, so I haven’t ordered a new one. For the most part it was okay (for 11+ years), because the kids sat there. Now we are about to redo the kitchen, and the banquette will come out. It is really beautiful, so I do agonize over it, but it no longer feels practical.

Emily
7 months ago

Yes, Caitlin!! I have dreams of a library / dining room. My favorite is the top image with the green banquette. Any leads on where one would order such a thing would be amazing. Our space is about 11 ft by 12 ft. I would like to have the banquette go wall to wall on the side of the room that has a window. (Sitting there in the sunshine surrounded by cookbooks on a lazy morning, yes!) However, I don’t know if the spacing would work out to have that, plus chairs on the other three sides of the table. I would still like the table to be centered under our light fixture. I need symmetry! Love the inspiration! Also, a book recommendation: Biblio Style by Nina Freudenberger.

Danielle
7 months ago

I was considering adding a banquette to my rectangular kitchen. I wanted an eat-in island but my husband says there isn’t enough room. So we were thinking about a counter height table with banquette seating against the wall. None of your photos showed a higher built in, could it work? Then you have the added benefit of more counter space/table space in a kitchen. Thoughts?

Tarynkay
7 months ago

I love the look of these, but I don’t love them in practice. The smallest ones seem to work the best. If you just have one (agile) diner slide in on each side and then two diners in the cute chairs, that makes a lot of sense. I really do love the way even the largest ones look though. Caitlin, as always, this was such a fun post and I don’t mean to rain on your design parade here, not at all.

One thing we’ve had a lot of cause to think about lately is accommodating guests with different levels of mobility and of different sizes. I’ve been looking for chairs that are beautiful yet easy to get in and out of, that sort of thing. I would love to see a post about inclusive design. We just renovated and we are about to buy a whole bunch of furniture. I don’t know what to get. If anyone has any resources on this, I would love to hear!

OG
7 months ago

Thank you so much for this post! I love the way you write! So fun! I am considering a banquette in a home we are about to move into because the flow is so awkward!! Should I do a built in our just buy a bench? Should I add a bench between the support beam and the wall? I have never seen someone do this before! I wouldn’t love to hear your thoughts!

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Addie
7 months ago

I’m a fan of banquettes with round or oval pedestal tables — especially window seats with cushions so they also function as a lounge/reading area. The dining/library combo is a great multifunction if you have a big wall. Aesthetically I like a lot of these but my faves are the Celerie Kemble, Barlow & Barlow, Batik studio (such a simple hack for a custom sized tabletop) and Matthew Caughy. Someday I want a banquette so I’ll save this for inspo.

Amy Elizabeth Jones
7 months ago

I think my fave of all time has to be the one Amber Interiors did out of wicker! I mean, a custom wicker banquette? Who even knew this was possible. And so classic. Amazing!

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Noreen
7 months ago

What beautiful banquettes in these pictures! I will say, I have a U-shaped banquette in my kitchen. There are pros (super cozy, opened up more space) and cons (tight getting in/out), but my most important advice is to choose your fabric carefully! I bought a Sunbrella fabric banquette through Ballard and it showed stains immediately. And the slightest effort to get them out just makes them worse! If I could recover it in a Crypton or something tougher, I would, but the reupholstery cost has me wondering if it’s just time to go back to a table and chairs.

Brigitte
7 months ago

New image I just came across that seems on point.

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Emily
7 months ago
Reply to  Brigitte

Thanks for this image, Brigitte! It’s exactly what I was looking for—a way of having a banquette that doesn’t have to be part of the dining table seating. Love this!

NanaP
7 months ago

What a great post! I’ve been thinking of doing a banquette style area near my kitchen and you have given me lots of ideas. You rounded up a lot of variety.

Kate
7 months ago

Ok, we currently have a little banquette in our breakfast nook made from like kids bookcases and I hate it, it’s only like 12 inches deep and uncomfortable and visually just wrong. This post is EXACTLY what I needed to visualize how much better it could look!!! The Mathew Caughey image in particular was helpful in figuring out that maybe adding an end stop or some sort of visual break between the bench and the door that leads to the garage would help anchor us a little better, although every single one of the photos was music to my eyes. Love, love, love.

JeffreyC
7 months ago

We love our banquette. Instead of doing one long rectangular table, we did two square tables that we can push together or pull apart as needed for whatever entertaining we’re doing. We also added small wheels to the legs, so the tables can be gently slide a few inches to facilitate easy entrance and exit.

7 months ago

Love your whole blog! This collection is incredible and now I need one!! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

Deborah
7 months ago

OK I am late to the table, uh banquette, and now after reading this, I think I need one! 🙂 So many good ideas here Caitlin, thank you! I have a wonderful large picture window in my kitchen, but it’s awkward the way I thought I had to arrange the table in my kitchen. Now I can see how a small love seat could go below the window, turn my table 90 degrees and then I can sit there and enjoy the view with a cup of coffee and lounging with my legs up! Thinking either sage green or pink velvet (I only have fur kids) so exciting! We’ll see, I need to take measurements and work it all out on gridded paper, though this is a project I’ll have more time for in the fall, so no rush. Also, I’ll be on the look out for a vintage/antique oval table (round with leaves?) so I don’t run into the corners – I always have thigh and hip bruises from running into stuff – one of my college roommates noted that’s because when I am in a hurry, I seem to want to go through things rather than around, them… Read more »

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