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Emily Henderson

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by Emily Henderson
Mountain House Dining Nook Update1224 Edited

There is a new name for me that I read in a self-help book—I’M SORRY I GUESS WE SAY “SELF-IMPROVEMENT” BOOK—a “pre-crastinator.” I pull triggers almost too fast, making seemingly rapid decisions perhaps without all the information. No one is shocked here. It’s one of the secrets to my success and how I get so much done, but it also has produced mistakes, waste and thus anxiety. Using the mantra “if it’s not a hell yes, it’s a no” has helped a lot, but right now we are gearing up for the huge shoot at the mountain house, 6 weeks away and 2 of those weeks I’ll be in Atlanta. So most of the long lead stuff HAS to get done ASAP and decisions have to be made. Today’s big decision: the dining banquette.

My dreams of having the world’s most comfortable dining banquette are coming true. After thinking that we needed to “use the space properly” with the dining table floating in what is obviously the dining area, we realized that we really just want to be sitting by the window on basically a sectional sofa. This nook will get so much conversational use, in addition to the typical “eating” that it’s worth changing it all up.

Here’s how it was:

Emily Henderson Mountain House Dining Room Rectangle Table

We put that dining table outside now, and we brought in the obviously too-small Tulip table while our custom table is made by Ross Alan Reclaimed Lumber.

But the question is about the cushions:

What style of cushion? Do we have a back cushion? Which fabric? Leather? Vinyl? Poly-linen? Do we have piping? Do we do something hip and cool (okay grandma) or something simple with more flexibility?

So let’s check out what we are working with here:

Mountain House Dining Nook Update1223 Edited

First off, the base and the table will both be built by Ross Alan, experts of the most wonderful reclaimed wood in LA, possibly the world (they did all that gorgeous wood you saw in the kitchen reveal from a few weeks back). In continuing with our seamless look, we basically designed the built-in seat to be continuous from the floor, in the same wood.

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We have flip-top storage for seasonal things or boring things like extra cleaning supplies, but for now, the kids are hiding in them which I can’t blame them. We don’t really need the storage but seems crazy to not have the option.

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If you are worried about the person in the middle, against the window, who will be trapped by 3-4 people, don’t be—we will choose only those with the largest bladders or willingness to crawl under the table without complaining. Listen, we know that this is going to be annoying for some people the few times that we have a large group, but we are choosing this anyway. The cozy, comfort is worth it to us on a day-to-day basis. It’s like how we chose a wall of windows versus the typical work triangle in the kitchen, it’s all about what you value and by the way, that is also not annoying at all and was totally worth the two more steps I have to take to get ingredients.

Stylistically, I want to do something cool and interesting, obviously, why not? But I’m kinda running out of time to design something that we’ve never seen before and I also don’t want to do something too trendy. But I’m inspired by the below:

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image source | design by giancarlo valle

How awesome is that? But frankly I don’t know how to do that, nor do I think it’s necessarily right for the space but the idea is that I really WANT to do something amazing. One thing that I’m realizing is making the above slightly cooler is that the cushion isn’t exposed on the side – wood is covering it. Now, we would have to add that because ours isn’t built like that, so it seems kinda unnecessary. I also like how there is no top seam. Interesting…

But that cushion is taking up extra space due to the design and while ours is 24″, I don’t want to give up 8″, to do something like that. Additionally, what I’m compelled by is the two-tone aspect of it, something that I tried to convince my friend of two weeks ago while we were up there with fabric swatches, but that was before we found this inspiration shot…

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image source | design by biasol

So cool, but lacking the comfort that I want. Now we did think about doing a larger version of this, with a wood frame or a double version of this and if you guys are like “YEAH DO THAT” I’ll reconsider. But it also might look silly and try-hard. It’s cool here because it contrasts so well against the dark wood and the chunky real wood bench.

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image source | design by ware malcomb

Now this trend is still huge, but due to the height of the windows we don’t have the space for it, nor do I think that designing a hanging back cushion is right this late in the game (I still really really like it, but it’s certainly been seen a lot lately so seems silly to start now). But I DO like that once again, no top seam!!!

You really have to stare and analyze photos to figure out what exactly you like about them. It’s not just the hanging back, it’s not just the two-tone, it’s the lack of seams and that the bench cushion is floating in a bit and not too chunky.

image source | design by nam dang-mitchell design
Mountain House Dining Nook Update1231 Edited

Let’s just say we forego the back cushion in favor of pillows. When we were up there, I threw a bunch down and it was so cozy and allowed for a lot of flexibility.

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image source | design by amber interiors

But am I as wowed by that idea? Not as much, but there is more opportunity for texture and pattern and styling and comfort. We made it deep enough that we can have large pillows to help anchor.

photo by tessa neustadt | from: griffith park sunroom reveal

We could also do what we did in this Griffith Park house: a big bolster in the back and then layered on more pillows. We could even do a version of this that is a tapered triangle pillow that leans back but adds some support.

I LOVE the one below, but fear that if we tuft it like that, it’s not washable, but maybe it is?

image source

That’s my issue with the French mattress style, too—I want to be able to zip off and wash.

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image source | design by cm studio

So let’s talk fabrics that we are thinking about:

Leather: We would need a lot of hides and I’d likely only fall in love with the most expensive leather out there. The pros of leather include durability but as my friend David (from MidcenturyLA) just disclosed to me, the pretty matte leather actually stains REALLY bad and any oil becomes a very noticeable stain. Yes, it will patina but it might take years. The leather that wipes up really clean is really shiny. ALSO, we don’t think we want dark. My initial idea was a forest green leather but Brian Henderson nixed that hard and fast saying “dining banquettes are already kitschy, so doing it in a green leather could look really dated.” I don’t necessarily agree, I think he needs better inspiration references, but I like when people take things OFF the table. Once I put all the light tones up there I realized that I do want it to be relatively light, and I just can’t picture a light leather. That sounds scary to me, but maybe a light gray? So right now unless I found the perfect leather that I can afford, we are leaning away from leather.

Est Living William Smart Interview Regent St Dining Anson Smart
image source | design by william smart

This is so pretty and even the light brown leather on the wood could be SO PRETTY. Oh no. I think I might have just convinced myself to at least shop for leather.

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image source | design by marc houston

Vinyl: I mean, how rarely have you found a vinyl that you LOVE? Sure, it can absolutely be so functional and simple and therefore not bad, but it doesn’t feel totally right and not something that I’d love.

Vegan leather: Looking for sources and researching about options. If anyone knows anything about this— durability, cost, etc.—please weigh in in the comments.

A textile with pattern: Nope. I don’t really want a busy pattern to hide grossness. I want simplicity and calmness, at least for the base.

Est Living Interiors Myra House Los Angeles 1
image source | design by gordana golubovic

A poly-blend stain resistant fabric like Crypton or others: I have a whole box of Crypton and have even made a few selections that are a medium gray with enough texture to hide a bit. Then we’d do the back pillows in a mixture of lights and mediums whites, grays and blues.

Jeremiah Brent Nyc Apartment 05
image source | design by jeremiah brent

There are just too many ways to skin a cat, especially when you are kind of in a rush. The simplest thing to do is to get the medium toned gray (with texture) stain-resistant fabric that is really pretty and cozy and have a bench seat made without the top seam, out of a cushy foam and feather mix (so it has some give and isn’t that really TIGHT look). Then play with a ton of pillows to see if A. that looks good (or just messy) and B. if it’s comfortable enough. I can alway ADD a back cushion later. Either way, I’d make it washable with a zipper. I’m even debating getting two sets made to have seasonal options and because I’M A CRAZY PERSON.

I’m new to the banquette world. I’ve never had two kids and a banquette before. Am I crazy to not splurge on leather that will be durable at least for the bench? Or is a washable stain-resistant slip covered fabric in a medium tone good enough? And will the pillows annoy me with the necessary daily styling or will they bring me comfort and joy because I actually love styling?

Please weigh-in. We have to at least have the design/style chosen by Thursday before my schedule gets insane for 2 weeks and I think that per usual you guys are full of ideas I haven’t thought of or at least some banquette experience…


Sincerely, Emily “Pre-crastinator” Henderson

  1. Ah! I LOVE the term pre-crastinator. I am one, too, currently living in Sweden and buying up the entire country via their craigslist (called blocket) because one day we will move back and I need…..x…y….z…..for our next house. I can’t wait to tell my husband I’ve got a diagnosis!!! (Sorry I’m no help in the dining department – that’s a tough call for sure!)

  2. Do a back cushion, for sure! I have always found that much more comfortable as opposed to always having to constantly readjust the pillows at your back to get the right support… plus it sounds to me if you are going for a calming look, then a single fabric which contrasts with the seat is the way to go.

    1. Agreed. Too many loose pillows would drive me bananas.

      1. Definitely a back cushion! Otherwise it won’t look as ‘built-in”. But I still like the idea of throw pillows layered on top of that all in calming colors so it’s not too much. Very Hygge.

    2. 100% agreed!

    3. Agree completely! Having to constantly adjust pillows is so annoying!

    4. I have pillows and all I do is adjust them all day. One person sits at the table and I roll my eyes like they have personally wronged me somehow. Ha! I need back cushions!!!

    5. Agree! Have the banquet fade away and concentrate on what’s out the windows!

  3. I’m very excited for your banquette! The last picture, with the slightly angled back cushion looks both comfortable and beautiful with a neat profile. Regarding material, I think something washable and durable is key with kids. I’d hesitate to use leather, not just because of the difficulty to remove greasy stains, but also for scratches. On benches people tend to slide in, and I have wooden dining benches with deep scratches due to items in back pockets like keys or even the little metal snaps on jeans! You’d be crushed if you pretty buttery leather had long gauges. A banquette bench is used differently than a couch or chair and should not be too precious. For the budget of leather maybe you could instead have washable/stain resistant fabric Winter and Summer edition cushions that you’d love? Can’t wait to see what you and your talented team come up with!

    1. I second this. I really like the look on that last picture and I think it goes with what you already have done on the banquette. All your inspiration pictures are amazing, but those last two seem to best capture the vibe I see on the mountain house.

      1. I agree as well. Love the last picture and the idea of fabric which is way more cozy and washable than your other options.

      2. If you upholster the back vs. only loose cushions the back could be leather – hard to stain something on the wall, right?

        1. You don’t know little kids. They make messes in 360 degrees.

          1. they really do … NOT TO BE TRUSTED.

      3. I agree!

      4. I agree too. That last pic is interesting and not trying too hard. I don’t love all the loose pillows, especially when multiple people are moving around in and out.

    2. Love this thought too, could you do two tones with washable stain resistant fabrics? It just adds so much dimension.

    3. I agree. I like the back cushions in the second to the last photo because they’re taller and would be so comfy to lean back on. It looks like you’d have the space to make them come up to the bottom of the windows. And I’m for throw pillows that you can change for the season. Or just to change colors from time to time.

      1. Yah, you are probably right. was hoping for something SUPER COOL so i’m glad you guys are on board with just comfy, classic and simple.

  4. You turned the awkward wall into a window, like people suggested! It makes all the difference, looks so purposeful and symmetrical!

    1. great catch, you’re so right. the window is a huge improvement! it looks so natural in the space, i didn’t even clock it at first glance.

      1. GAH! I forgot to mention it! it was one of those things that Julie mentioned to my contractor and we honestly didn’t even fully confirm the design but all of a sudden it was done (and we LOVE it). Great job, guys. That’s due to you … xx

    2. What about a dark gray/almost black stain resistant fabric for the seat cushion and a nice camel leather for the back cushion? I think it’s the best of both worlds! You get the durability on the seats where you need it and the beauty of the leather on the back where it is more visible, plus it would give you the two toned look you like. I think the darker colors would contrast nicely with all the white and wood you have going on and tie in with your black hardware and lighting. Also, while I love the idea, I think the loose pillows would drive you CRAzy and it would be a constant struggle to not have it look messy. Two simple cushions upholstered in solid contrasting fabrics would give you the calm mountain scandi vibe you’re going for IMO.

      1. that’s a great idea. We definitely considered an almost black linen for the seat and liked it….

        1. Dark seats will show every crumb. I have 2 boys, and the 14 year old to this day drops as many crumbs now, as he did at age 4. Luckily his bench seat is an Oak church pew (no cushion) which is easy to wipe, and the floor stays cleaner. Consider this “wipeability” for your seat cushion fabric. Even if you use a dust buster, it’s not that easy to pull crumbs out of a thicker weave.

      2. I love this idea. Dark seat and leather backrest. It will tie in nicely with your kitchen island. Also, nooooo to throw pillows. They would get really annoying scootching past, and would need constant rearrangement.

    3. Yes I noticed that too! It makes the room seem to float almost? Love it.

  5. Save a piece of whatever fabric you use, hem the edges, and wrap/tuck that around the cushion(s) the kids sit on. removes easily for washing, adult dinner parties, and photo shoots but gives a pretty seamless look plus kid protection for day to day. (My mom has a much less beautiful but similar banquette area in the kitchen and we all- including the grandkids- have named it “the cozy corner”. Seriously, it’s the best seat in the house!)

    1. this is genius! ^

      1. YES. doing this!

        1. Better yet – sew velcro to the bottom of the seat cushion and piece of removable fabric so the removable fabric doesn’t slip and slide around when the kids do! So excited for this banquette btw – I’d do light grey so the banquette just fades into the windows / highlights the gorgeous table!

  6. Wow, I can see how this is an overwhelming decision even without the timeline you’re on.
    I can’t say much on material. I think the high contrast can be visually interesting without being busy.
    As far as function day to day, especially with kids crawling side to side (because they will), having loose pillows will be annoying. They’ll fall under the table, dirty hands will touch them…

  7. Vinyl and leather scream Denny’s and IHOP to me. I love that second to the last two pictures with the back cushion. In any event, you’ll wow us!

    1. Ha, that’s what brian said Re Ihop. As if he doesn’t secretly just want to eat exclusively in diners anyway. You’d think he would be DOWN. Happy to take leather/vinyl off the table. Wasn’t feeling it anyway 🙂

  8. of the photos I like Griffith park, triangle back in any material that breathes and that legs won’t stick to! Sticking to vinyl is the worst.

    Pillows would frustrate me bc with kids they will ALWAYS be on the floor among the crumbs, so I’d opt for one piece cushions that are cozy without pillows.

  9. We have a similar banquette in our mountain house that sits under a bay of windows in the kitchen/dining area. It has storage, a very comfortable custom bench cushion, and tons of pillows for back support, and it’s the most popular seat in the house. When we’re not eating the pillows make it easy to use the area for lounging and create more versatility in its function. I know it’s not as original or risky design-wise, but I think there’s a reason that look is the classic.

  10. Alright, I vote for leather bolster (or half bolster) on the wall with the French mattress style cushion. Can’t someone conjure a French mattress style that is actually tiny pillows in between each of the seams? Perhaps a bit laborious to wash, but washable, nonetheless. Y’know what I mean? I might even say that a larger cushion, made of the same cover material, below the French mattress would be nice.

  11. I really like the last picture as well – I think you would definitely want back cushions and could put a few decorative pillows sprinkled around, but having so many as to fill up and go around the whole banquet does not seem to fit the clean. Scandanavian aesthetic you are going for. I love Pillows, but that just seems like a nightmare of fixing and straightening and picking up off the floor in a place that you want to be more relaxing.

    I love the leather ones too, if you could find the right beautiful and durable option!

  12. I did a similar banquette for a client a while back and have regretted it ever since. It’s super difficult to get into the middle and no one ended up using that portion of it. But maybe you will have better luck. 🙂

  13. I Love banquets and am so excited you are doing one! My choice is a contrast seat and back cushion in a durable washable fabric

  14. Just finished the process of adding a dining banquette in our kitchen/dining area. With 3 boys under 5, I went with a high performance faux leather vinyl……sounds awful, I know, but there were actually a lot of really great options that look and feel like leather (and are not shiny!). It’s proven to be really durable (the kids use it as their new jungle gym) and easy to clean off greasy hand prints. I think it would drive me nuts to not be able to just wipe the whole thing down. As for matte leather, our couch stains horribly….even water leaves a mark.

    1. Can I please have your fabric sources? I have 3 girls that are rough and tumble and our banquette is taking a beating. Faux leather vinyl is what we need, but I couldn’t find non-shiny stuff.

      1. Duralee, Robert allen, cf stinson. Lots of options in cryptons and vinyls that are soft matte faux leathers. We use the vinyl for many high end commercial applications and it fools a lot of people while being nonstainable and wipeable.

      2. Ours was ordered through an upholsterer, so unfortunately I’m not sure where he sourced it from, but it was called the Symphony Collection – Persuasion line. There were also lines under that brand called Unagi and Vintage that had great options.

  15. I have L banquet with removable padded seats and pillow backs. Pillows are always being adjusted by those in center seats. Recommend padded back cushions plus few pillows for style and comfort. Get two sets of covers to change out on whim or necessity.

  16. I guess being the cleaner in the house, the idea of trying to clean sheepskin and a dozen or so pillows every time a toddler eats there just stresses. me. out. I’m guessing there are some leather experts out there who could chime in on leather that doesn’t show oils as much as another. Or maybe you could find an old distressed leather couch and repurpose. Mandi from Vintage Revivals did this for some project or another. And what about outdoor fabric? Is it pretty enough?

    1. The crypton is basically even better than outdoor fabric so it would work. Oh and yah, NO sheepskin. I just threw that up there, but hell no. 🙂

    2. Thanks for mentioning Mandi. I’ve bookmarked her!

  17. Yes to a back cushion. Also, think about comfort. The constructed benches don’t seem angled for foot and knee comfort so you may want the cushions to be angled to make up for this issue.

    1. Yes this. To be most comfortable you needed to have the front of the bench extend slightly farther forward than the base to allow your heels to have room. I agree having a cushion extend beyond the edge of the bench might help solve this problem.

      1. I agree that having the seat somehow extend over the base would make it much more comfortable for long sits! My MIL has benches like these that go straight to the floor, and I always accidentally bang the backs of my heels against them because I guess I naturally enjoy sitting with my feet somewhat tucked underneath. Most of the above inspo images have some foot room underneath, but not all of them, so maybe an extended seat cushion will remedy! And per your question, I’d go with a faux leather that’s easy to wipe up (they make some so nice looking these days!)

        1. OH man. I didn’t even think of this. hmm.. we’ll think about it and see if we have room to adjust. thank you!

          1. You should be able to just create larger box lids to the banquette boxes (Eg less than 6 inches extension) and the base will support the addition extension but provide the “kick your heels back” space”. Gets a little interesting around the bends but I’m sure the carpenter can figure it out.

  18. Love the banquette and doing one in my house too. I say crypton fabric all the way! It washable, beachable and more comfortable. I would think the streamline clean look of a back cushion is more Scandinavian in asthetic but there’s nothing saying you can’t add pillows if you have a back cushion. Mandy Moore’s (designed by Sarah Sherman Samuel) builtin in couch is my inspiration for the banquette I’m building. I want total cush. I plan on spending long mornings reading in the morning light while my hubs makes waffles. Also maybe consider having the table on hidden casters so you could roll it out of the way for easy access to storage and cleaning.

    1. That’s what I was thinking! If the table is on casters you could also push it out a bit for people to get in and out. You may or may not ever actually do that, but why not have the option? And it’s a GREAT idea for being able to clean and access the storage. I vote for faux leather if there’s a good looking option. I vote for bench and back cushion with throw pillows that you can add or take off if they get annoying.

  19. All those back cushions seems like a nightmare to me. Kids will be wiping their hands on them and throwing them all over the place.

  20. I don’t understand all the “top seam” talk. What is this?

    also, I love all these inspiration pictures so much! I want a banquette now!

  21. My parents had a custom banquette with upholstered seat cushions and throw pillows for the back at their last home. My kids loved it, but scooting in and out made the cushions slide (which annoyed me that they had to be adjusted all the time). The kids ALWAYS moved the pillows, and my daughter was small enough that she needed to sit on her knees to reach the table. I agree with the folks who say no to the leather seat – would look beautiful, but would generate too much stress with stain worries. (Banquette seats aren’t very accessible for quick cleaning in case of a spill.) Older guests and those with back trouble loved the throw pillows to give them adjustable support. I look forward to seeing the final product!

    1. Oh I had forgotten how annoying it was to have those seat cushions slide around too!

  22. This is what I used for a bench seat cushion with a mix of throw pillows up top:

    custom cushion by sarasamdesign on Etsy http://etsy.me/2wbp6ko

    It has worn well, considering daily constant abuse by two active kids and a dog. But it is thin and comfortable!

    Since you have storage and no toe kick I would pay a lot of attention to dimensions that will enhance comfort ie: something that will give the proper back angle/support and even a bench cushion that will not be too fat so your legs can’t reach the floor, etc, especially once you have a larger table. I think too many throw pillows will make it a lot less functional (although will look pretty for a photo shoot as a short term solution, but not for daily use). The first thing anyone does is remove the throw pillow, then seat themselves. Just some food for thought.

  23. Love the banquette. I’m building out on myself. I think krypton is the way to go. It beachable, washable and wears well; plus they have beautiful textures even velvet. I think the back cushion not only goes better with your Scandinavian aesthetic but is would be more comfortable. You could have pillow with a cushion too! my inspiration is Mandy Moore’s built in couch designed by Sarah Sherman Samuel. https://thedigitalbrandarchitects.com/case_study/sarah-sherman-samuel-x-mandy-moore/ I want mine to be so comfortable that I could lounge there for hours upon hours reading and watching my hubs make me breakfast. Also I would suggest putting the table on hidden casters so you could more easily roll the table out for easier access to storage and for cleaning.

  24. A sunbrella or crypton fabric with zippers that is washable while kids are little. When they grow big enough to WIPE their hands – you can always reupholster. With leather or silk for that matter. NO fabric is forever in a kitchen. Just pick something for the next 5 years and move on….

  25. That banquette looks amazing! What about a high performance suede like sensuede? Comes in pretty much every color, and it’s stain/water resistant so it’s perfect for kitchens & has a softness that you cant get from vinyl.

  26. For the dining table, would it be possible to do two tables so you could have an opening down the middle? That way guests sitting along the back wouldn’t have to scoot so much. And the tables could be pushed together for photos as needed.

    For the banquette fabric, I have a commercial space with banquettes (it’s an event space so loads of eating and drinking) and we used two fabrics- a Pindler vinyl for the back and matching velvet for the bottom. We wanted monochrome color with textural interest and we chose to put the cozy fabric on the bottom where your legs might touch it. The vinyl has held up perfectly for 4 years. We did have to replace the original velvet with a Crypton velvet which still looks great after 18 months of use.

    1. Yes! I’ve seen a banquette table that had access to the back seats with a fold down table leaf.

  27. Do upholstered wall mounted cushions under each window with no seams on the top (I’m picturing almost like… mini headboards?) and then one long connected bench cushion with as few and flat seams as possible for crumb control in a heathered gray for minor stain hiding but still that light look. Good luck! Can’t wait to see what you end up doing.

    1. I second the wall mounted cushion suggestion! And I think you can get the vibe of your favorite in the first picture this way if you do a dark bench cushion and a lighter wall mounted cushion. I have a banquet that came with our house. It is vinyl and though I hate the look of this vinyl, it is so easy to clean. A clean banquet, even if ugly, is more welcoming, than a banquet with a bunch of pillows slipping around and crumbs hiding everywhere. Recently I have sat on really buttery, leather-like vinyl at a few restaurants and we are looking into reupholstering our banquet with that. Love Mondays at the Mountain House!

      1. I agree too – my grandmother had banquette seating for the breakfast nook in her kitchen, loose cushions slide around, fall on the floor, hard to get them to give you enough support, etc. You can have a few in one washable color for those who really need it but day-to-day I’d rely on essentially upholstery.

  28. We spec faux leather all the time for high-end corporate and hospitality projects at my firm. There are so many really great options these days and you can’t beat the look, the price point or the animal-friendly aspects. Check out Mayer Fabrics “Antique Leather” and “Antique Leather II” or Steelcase’s “Brisa” line.

  29. Go with the gray-hides-everything fabric over leather – bc while a light leather banquette is super gorgeous, a soiled leather banquette is super disgusting. You will NOT be happy with the result of sticky hands and you just don’t want to think about that when you’re lounging in your light, you know? My two cents.

  30. Kinda digging the Griffith Park look / combo the best.

  31. Ugh–having to order a custom slipcover a sofa on a tight deadline myself–anyone have sources for washable fabric? The stain resistant ones I’m finding seem to be dry-clean only…?

    Good luck with the banquette! If you are in the hugest rush, grab 3 cotton quilts, wrap them around seat cushions with Velcro on the bottoms. Soft, washable, effortlessly casual, any color you want. Temporary if you like, but can but also look v. cool (and cozy).

    1. Tonic Living has a high performance fabric that you can clean red wine and permanent marker off that’s not dry clean only – https://www.tonicliving.ca/search?type=product&q=high+performance.

  32. We have a banquet in our kitchen and two small kids. For the time being I have not had any cushions made. We just have a variety of pillows I made covers for to lean against. Our kids spill so much food/milk/paint on those seats that I can’t bring myself to pay for the cushions yet. Maybe when they are teenagers I will get around to it.

    1. Same and we don’t even have a banquet- just a beautiful vintage dining set from my parents with horrible stained upholstery on the seats from my kids just being normal kids. I am waiting until they’re teenagers to re-upholster in something beautiful because I don’t trust them for the next 10 years.

  33. 100% back cushion! Pillows look so traditional and add unnecessary volume. Personally love the two tone look with darker backrest from the first inspiration photo. Very strong contrast will act as the “eyeliner” for your windows. I think it’s also worth investigating vegan leather or vintage leather options (How cool would be a modern linear leather patchwork? Is anyone doing this?). Can’t wait to see the full room reveal. Good luck!

  34. Love the light linen look but sticky handed little ones… more durable and leather looking this a commercial grade material that feels buttery soft, is breathable, wipeable, and available in so much colors


    1. Also if there is a way to incorporate a large scale plaid, maybe only for cooler months but… gives all the cozy feels!


  35. NO real leather!

  36. I like the style of the one in the last picture. Clean lines and yet looks comfortable.

  37. Leather or faux leather in a neutral colour (is go for tan or brown) on the seat and wall. You want to be able to wipe up spills and crumbs with a sponge. And a bunch of throw pillows with washable covers and throws to change up the look from season to season. Easy.

    1. Totally agree, Mary! Seeing forest green leather in my favorite New Zealand shoe shop…lovely. But if that’s off the table, buttery blue/gray? Cushions always slide off. Nice to have a tight cushion.

  38. Love the French mattress inspiration picture and think it best captures the Scandi-style. You could do a similar thin & cushy attached bench cushion in a cleanable fabric (doesn’t necessarily need to be French mattress even though I love that style it might be too much of a crumb collector 😂) with a leather attached wall cushion with a few throw pillows/skins for everyone to use for different tastes in comfort and support. Also, a moveable table would make it even easier to get in and out of the middle seats.

  39. I think you are planning on this being your main family gathering place eventually/sometimes, for the long-term. Please do consider sufficient back support or at least some comfortable chairs on the non-banquette end for your older guests. All is well and good with short bolsters/random throw pillows until you are age 50+ and/or have any back issues at all. Then your cozy, hang out table becomes a dine and dash location.

    1. This. I’m not even old and this whole setup looks like a back support nightmare. The only one pictured I think I would enjoy sitting on for any length of time is the William Smart.

      Do yourself a favor and go sit on something approximating your desired setup for 2+ hours – then decide.

  40. I would say absolutely a wall pillow and not all those throw pillows (it’s so annoying to place them and the first thing people do is move those around and away), it’s just not a clean look. I just replaced my white linnen chairs for two black leather ones and it was the best decision ever. Black leather (or faux leather) as the seat cushions (no stains will be seen) with a lighter back cushion will be gorgeous. Can’t wait to see how it turns out.

  41. When I had my banquette cushion made, I found this fabric that looks 100% like distressed leather (taupe) now that it’s installed. I have no idea what it is though. It’s not vinyl or vegan leather. It’s actually pretty thin (which is how I could tell the difference IRL), so I was worried about durability, but the manufacturer assured me it was virtually indestructible. Two years later it looks exactly the same. I don’t have kids, but I do have two dogs who like to jump on the bench when the table is in desk mode (versus dining mode). Long story, but moral is… keep looking.

    Also, please don’t leave the bench bare. Nobody wants to sit on wood for more than 20 mins. But I think the sheepskin plus throw pillows looks mighty cozy. And it’s more flexible for people of different sizes than a built in back cushion.

    1. Btw, I think wall mounted back cushions are just as uncomfortable as no back cushions when they aren’t angled. You need a 12 degree angle to be able to lean back.

    2. Your fabric sounds like a heavily distressed and wax-coated canvas… I had entirely forgotten these exist and they’re AWESOME.

      Also, I see a bunch of comments asking for the difference between vinyl and vegan leather. I have a big box of them in my samples library right now and the technical difference is (ready for it…): better PR. It’s doves versus pigeons. They are both engineered, fabric-backed leather imitations, most often made from PVC. Something that’s bothering to market itself as vegan leather is more likely to be a higher-end material, possibly made with earth-friendlier materials, but there’s nothing that guarantees it. Two terms for the same jimmy-jam.

      Vinyl can be quite high-quality and low- or zero-VOC, depending on the content, but there are a lot of bad associations for people with the term. Companies that are making a higher-quality product now want to keep their customers open minded, so they rebrand. It’s smart, because the higher-end stuff really truly is a different beast! There are some fantastic options out there, all of which are less expensive than leather. Also, because they come on standard size rolls, it’s much easier to cover a large item like a banquette without seams. Leather can only go as big as the cow was. If it’s overall better for the environment… that’s complex, and depends entirely on the content, but it is certainly friendlier to cows.

      I think naugahyde is technically a brand name, but the term is often used generally to mean a faux suede.

  42. The last inspo pic has my vote 🙂

  43. I like the Amber Interiors seat cushion best. Is a dark very thin leather seat cushion like hers really out of the question…? Black would look great there and you can keep everything else light. I’m sure it wouldn’t add too much visual weight if kept thin and it’ll be obscured by the table in parts too. And tie in with the thin black lines of the lighting and art. I would also PROcrastinate on the back cushion so you can reassess once the seat cushion and table are in. That’s if it doesn’t drive up the price too much to separate the job

  44. As a confirmed pre-crastinator, I feel all this. Brian is right–some of these images do look dated but could be ok? I would be afraid of running that risk. Personally, I think of the logistics involved with tons of pillows. Where do they go when you’re eating? In the banquette? What if someone is already sitting down? And you have to move the base cushion? Also–tons of throw pillows with kids eating in the same area seems like mess and trouble to me. I think I’d do a leather base and nubbly textured grey back cushion like the barred and belted image above but without the bar and the leather strap. That back cushion will get dirty, and the option to wash it appeals. Good luck. I can’t wait to see what you decide!

  45. just a random thought and i have no knowledge of costs of leather (which i love) but there’s gotta be some lonely leather couch cushions out there that you could find and re-purpose. But the time frame would be an issue, i guess. I do love a cozy banquette! something durable and washable would still be fantastic! Cant wait to see what you decide!

  46. My 2 cents as an upholsterer with a home studio: Upholster the bench seat (ala: the Amber Interiors photo above) instead of creating loose covered box cushions. That expansive curve will require several box cushions and that can be a pain with people sliding in and out. Use the linen blend to resist stains. For the back, upholster back rests, but mount them simply without the leather straps. I think you’ll be happiest with a carefree set-up here so you can focus on a beautiful table.

    1. Yes to an angled back cushion and love the point made above about avoiding seams on the seat. Yes to crypton fabric in two-tone which would mirror the kitchen. I like the idea of black linen look. I also can’t help but picture adding some cushy oversized (to avoid the twee) pillow cushions as a winter look or when there are fewer people in the house. They can store in your bench area when not in use, but could be a warming, styling touch for seasonal changes. But when there are many people, its summer and kids – adjusting pillows will just be annoying. If you don’t angle the back cushion then maybe a bolster style cushion can provide that lower back support? Again, something that can be stored when you want. Can’t wait to see what you do.

  47. I think this might be a moment for two looks- the first is everyday, easy care, mom doesn’t have to lift a finger for it to look put together, and the second is layered over the simple base for photos shoots, parties, etc. I would begin with the zip off, stain resistant, medium tone fabric seat cushions. Could you do a cushion like the leather strapped versions, but anchor to the wall without the strap, like the bolster? I love the look, but agree it’s trendy and been done already, but so has the bolster (remembering Brady’s headboard among others). Morphing the two would give you the seamless look, without the fuss. For days that call for more styling, you could layer in like you did on the benches flanking the fireplace in the old house. It’s an opportunity for a little weird when you want it.

  48. My mom has a super comfy banquette in the kitchen. It lived well and unstained for years. And then I had kids. And now they are completely stained. She’s waiting until they grow out of wiping hands on the cushions age to recover them, but yeah. I feel bad. Maybe just accept that what you use now isn’t going to be the “forever” option.

  49. I pre-crastinated the other day buying a large antique credenza sight unseen from a designer in SF that hadn’t disclosed alllll the issues/ damage it had. Thankfully, they refunded the sale but I still had to foot the bill for the movers I paid to get it to my house. I found someone on Craigslist to come pick it up for free (having listed off the laundry list of problems that made it much more of a project than originally described). I am only an hour from SF so should’ve just made the trip up and seen it in person but I was wrapped up in to-do’s. ALAS! It can be such a dance. Good luck choosing a solution!

  50. The only comment/worry I have for you is not focusing enough on comfort – the function you want here, the way it’s laid out, is to be uber comfy – I think if it is, you will have family/friends hanging around this table for hours and it will feel cozy, like no one wants to leave – which I think is what you are going for. If it isn’t comfy, everyone will THINK they want to do that when they see your dining room, but folks will get backaches and have to stand up, and folks will move to other rooms, it will become a dead corner in your mountain house! #sad So Focus on COMFORT!

  51. It sounds like you’re a Quick Start! 🙂 There’s a test that’s fairly popular in the entrepreneur world called the Kolbe A Index. It essentially tells you your instinctual way to solve a problem and take action on something. Most entrepreneurs (including me, and you it sounds like!) are Quick Starts, which means that they take action on an idea really quickly, sometimes without a clear plan in place.

    Whenever I hire new people for my company, we have them take the test because certain positions do better with a certain Kolbe test result. For example, it’s not great to have a project manager who is a Quick Start. You generally want a PM to be organized and systemized and to calm the Quick Start crazy of the CEO/entrepreneur haha, so well look for someone with a higher “Follow Through” score, which means their instinctual response to problem-solving is to create a system or game-plan.

    Anyways, I just wanted to share that it sounds like you’re a total quick start, like most entrepreneurs. 🙂 It might feel like a double edged sword because sometimes you make decisions that you later need to change, but you also take action on your dreams a lot more quickly than most people who might do nothing at all, so I think it’s often a really beautiful quality. 🙂

  52. You can put a rug pad under the cushions to keep them from sliding so don’t worry about that. I wouldn’t do leather for this particular banquette because I’m worried it will end up looking like a diner booth. Crypton fabric will be the most Scandinwith a few pillows for pops of color. I’d keep it simple. Remember you’re trying to go minimal not eclectic. You’ve got to fight against your impulse to be eclectic in this situation. Cozy, clean, simple and inviting. That’s it. It doesn’t need to be a big wow factor. Cozy and inviting will make it wow.

  53. leather or pleather–you want to be able to eat with no stress (and without the extra work involved in laundering cushion covers)!

  54. http://www.jhinteriordesign.com/amagansett Jessica helgersons built in seating is the perfect inspo in my opinion. Especially with ALL that wood you are going to have. Keep it simple.

  55. what about old school ultrasuede–the thick kind. My aunt has a modular modern sofa covered in this in a neutral oatmeal color for 40 years and she has removed the cushion covers and washed them regularly and the thing looks terrific (and the piece still looks modern as well). It’s had all sorts of kids and pets on it over the years.

  56. That last photo as layout inspiration for re-creating your first photo! Black leather seat cushion (no need to worry about patina, easy clean up) and there are lots of black leathers to choose from, so you should be able to get the no seam look without selling one of your kids. Natural leather for the back wedge…you get the patina, even if it takes time and has dark spots, pillows will cover it all :).

  57. Last picture for sure. You will regret not having a back cushion, I guarantee it. I wouldn’t want many loose pillows, but that last picture is selling me on it a little bit, and you wouldn’t have to use them for everyday with the kids if you have the back cushion, but you could style them if needed or for when adults are over.

  58. I love that first pic with the wood in the middle of the cushion. I am visualizing that less the back part of the cushion. As in the pretty round top but no cushion on the back portion. Make sense? I also love two fabrics like the “leather” on the bottom and tweedy wool on the back. So mountain chic. I too think you can find a nice matte pleather 🤷‍♀️ for now. Start the napkin training now 🤪(kidding)

  59. We have a banquette in our house in front of a big sunny window. Depending on your light, you also need to consider how any fabric will do with sun exposure. Leather may not be your best choice here, especially since your kids are small. They can stain it at the table, and if they are outside at the beach (with sunscreen all over them), then come in and jump up on your leather banquette…just imagine the stains from the sunscreen there!!

    Do not do any piping!!! It is just a crumb catcher. And the whole loose pillow thing…well, they will also get very dirty and the look is not as minimal and elegant as you may want.

    My vote (at least for a few years) is Crylon.

  60. the last two options with the base cushion and wall cushions is the best! You can switch it up so much by adding more texture but the base comfort layer will always be there 🙂 Good luck! I can’t wait to see what you and the fam choose. xo

  61. Don’t do leather, you’ll be recovering it within a year. I love the idea of the last photo with the back cushion, and I think something like sewn together vintage rugs/fabrics (google Hilary Duff’s stair runner) but in lighter tones could be a knock-out here. I don’t like the look of the tons of pillows, I think it can easily get over styled…and you have kids so you would be wiping those pillows down forever and ever.

  62. I love the idea of the bench and cushions, not pillows. There is nothing more annoying than sitting on a couch or cushion and having to fight pillows to get comfortable. Some people think they help with comfort….I don’t. I like the look of the leather, but it is difficult to keep clean; however, there are saddle soaps and stuff to keep it conditioned. I grew up around my dad’s saddle business…nothing is prettier than leather. I liked the look of the cushions with the black rail, minus the black rail. It’s just too much. Part of design is keeping it useful. There is no need for the rail when you just attach the cushions to the back of the banquette. It feels trendy and a bit over styled. You could consider a triangular cushion on the back in leather and a nice treated fabric that’s washable on the bottom. It would offer back support and versatility. Either way, I know you will choose the best design as you always do. Remember that we as readers love your designs, but we also love them because they are achievable and timeless, not just the next trend.

  63. Do a back cushion that is comfortable!! It can still look great and you’ll love sitting there which is the whole point. I would love to see you buy vintage fabric for this!!! My issue with vinyl is it is a terrible off gasser and toxic.

    It already has great bones with the wood and windows!!

  64. Please make sure there is room for your feet tucked in on the floor like a toe plate
    Otherwise it is so uncomfortable to sit on

  65. If it’s not too late, I’d add wheels to the table legs so you can move the table as needed to allow people access to the back of the U curve banquette.

    For the cushion, a solid with texture. Maybe make the cushions in segments that fit together so you can wash the covers individually when spaghetti spills, rather than having to wrestle the entire cover off for one small spill.

    Definitely back cushions, maybe a wedge so lower backs can be supported?

  66. I think I would look at practicality and comfort first. I’d prefer something easy to wipe clean and something I don’t have to fuss with (I see kids moving the pillows constantly) from a practical standpoint, and I think some version of a wedge for the back from a comfort standpoint. Are there restaurants that you go to that you enjoy the comfort of the booth? My only concern about the wedge is access to the storage. Stylistically I agree that the rounded top is nice and both the darker greys and the warm natural leather stood out as lovely colors. With an amazing table I wonder exactly how much you’ll notice the bench. Maybe let it (the table) be the star?

  67. I totally agree that you should keep it simple! And agree that a back cushion would be nice. Have you seen these indoor/outdoor performance-grade linen fabrics from Schumacher? Really interesting and pretty: https://www.fschumacher.com/Collection/ViewCollections/linen-outdoor-capsule-collection

  68. My vote is to just keep it simple. A washable cushion fabric on the seat, a slim matching back cushion and a few pillows and call it a day. No to the exposed wood on the end, no to two tone, no to the hanging back, no to colored leather – it all seems like too much. I feel like the beauty of the mountain house is gorgeous simplicity.

  69. We had a banquette with loose pillows and it was kind of a nightmare, honestly. Pillows tossed to the ground, shoved behind people’s backs in weird positions, etc. also the sliding was difficult with a cushion. Why not care wood for the seat?

  70. All the options sound cool, but I just don’t like vinyl. I don’t like it at all. It’s not natural, and (I’m sure with a few “green” exceptions) I actually don’t want those toxins in my house.

    Love everything you do!

  71. I had a banquette in my last house. I chose a beautiful ikat fabric and then had it plasticized (not sure if that is the right word). The company is based in North Carolina, I believe. I went through Calico Corners and they shipped my fabric to the company and then once it came back they made the banquette cushion for me based on my measurements. It is extremely durable and super easy to clean up. I have 3 small kids so needed something pretty hearty to stand up to their messes. I highly recommend and it does not look cheap in the least.

    1. I have seen this done, it’s brilliant!

      my vote (I have 2 very messy children as well as a husband who can’t be bothered with Being Careful of The Things) would be this, or crypton, or faux leather…I had an armchair upholstered with white ostrich faux leather over 10 years ago and it looks great and is worry-free!

      Also – it may be too late to consider, but I’ve seen a pic (though I can’t recall where) where they had a large banquette and 2 dining tables to make the middle banquette seats more flexible. It looked great and was very practical.

  72. Really like the idea of seat cushion And back bolster in the center area with pillows on the ends. I was able to find (about 5 yrs ago) a really nice oat color faux leather in a pebble grain that I used for chair seats as well as a headboard (w nail trim). It was also available in a rich tobacco color which I Loved.

  73. Think about how stressful meals will be if you feel like you need to constantly be monitoring the kids (AND the kids of all your friends!) for EVERY SINGLE MEAL.

    Instead of having a relaxed and cozy vibe, you’re going to feel super tense. Meals are going to become stressful instead of a time to connect.

    As amazing as a matte leather would look, it would be a stress inducing object in the real world. Think of it this way: would you take an amazing leather hide and have your kids sit on it for every meal? Imagine the stress!!

    With a couch you can set some boundaries around eating or drinking, a couch is doable. You can’t do that with the banquette.

    Get the best stain resistant fabric you can and style out the back for comfort. I bet you’ll find it’s the place where everyone gravitates towards on weekend mornings – and think about how lovely that will feel.

  74. What about continuing the reclaimed theme with reclaimed leather. The distressed nature will hide things. I can imagine it being a bit mix and matchy, but in the same brown/taupe/gray/black family of your choice. Have built-in back cushions, for sure, if you have time.

  75. Shinier leather is not just easier to maintain, but makes it sooo much easier to scoot in and out if you are the person sitting in that middle seat. I vote for a little bit of back cushion with a few throw pillows that you can switch out to keep things fun. Only using a bunch of throw pillows is messy and harder to arrange for comfort.

    1. I was going to say the same. The smoothness of leather/vinyl actually makes getting way in the middle much easier. You could do a faux leather for the seat and then crypton fabric for the backs. I’m usually the last person to suggest faux leather over real but in this case it would make a lot more sense than the buttery soft leather I usually love. Definitely do a real cushion back vs. throw pillows. The throw pillows are way too busy, slide around, and will end up on the floor as people scoot toward the middle.

  76. I love the look of the tufted bottom cushion, but would use that style without the tufting and add a zipper for ease of washing. I like the small triangle in the bottom photo for the back. Bottom cushion in a dark gray or washed black crypton style fabric to coordinate with the island and other dark elements. The triangle in something more neutral and maybe leather to add some coolness to it. IKEA has large hides for not much money that you could have made into what you need. When you get down to it, it’s really all about how you want to live in the house so cool yes, but easy and comfortable too, right?

  77. Leather/leather-like materials seem like they may be a bit “sticky” against bare legs when you’re sliding across them to get in the middle. And loose pillows are beautiful, but for function, aren’t great. You’d be adjusting and readjusting them every time you moved.

    So, I advocate for a durable fabric material (washable with zippers for removal) with a fixed backrest. You can accessorize with pillows for style, but the function and comfort would be there 100% of the time.

  78. Having lived with a storage banquette (and messy grandkids), for the love of all that is holy, please pick stain resistant and bullet proof fabric and go with pads. Not every inch of your cabin needs or wants to be STYLED. Can’t we just agree to style the table top?
    Could you do two tables that sit side by side so the middleman or middlemiss can slip out without forcing half a banquette bench to slide out? Unless they’re kids in which case they want to crawl underneath…

  79. Hard to say without seeing the dining table, but I like green leather with tan leather straps, as a back cushion only.

  80. Would definitely vote for a ‘slick’ seat cushion….easier to slide in/out + cleaning.

    Good back cushion support to + a few lumbar throw pillows for each person to adjust to their needs.

    ….that said too many lose pillows could be a pain to work around and constantly fluff.

  81. I disagree, I’ve met plenty a vinyl that I LOVED. My BIL had an awesome mid-century club chair that I gave him re-done in vinyl and it is fabulous. I think you’re short changing yourself to not include vinyl. So many of the new vinyl is a lot like leather, but less expensive and far more durable.

  82. I’m a shopping pre-crastinator!

    So many choices here. I don’t like loose cushions on a banquette. They slide around, and if you sit there long enough you are always readjusting them. Annoying. I LOVE the French mattress style — it’s the most comfortable — but I hear you about cleaning them. With little kids, you’ll probably have more mess than spot cleaning can handle.

    That olive green is GORGEOUS. Too bad Mr. Brian thinks it’ll date. I don’t think it will. Forest green or something approaching Kelly green WILL date. Personally, one of my dreams is a Jacobsen Egg Chair in olive green leather. Sigh.

    I don’t like the pale beige leather. It has an icky 70s vibe to me.

    I know there are some good vinyls now, but I haven’t researched it myself. If you can find one you like, it’s probably a good choice. Cheaper than leather, so you won’t feel too bad about replacing it down the line.

    I would go with fixed back with a THICK seat cushion.

  83. Oh man the leather is the prettiest option but understand so not practical. what if you added leather throw pillows instead so you still the effect without the commitment and risk?

  84. I had a banquette built in mine – a couple of problems I didn’t anticipate – if you have the flip top, you have to take off the cushions and pillows to get into storage- wish I had made front/end opening ones to be able to get to things faster. I opted for pillows for the back because I wanted everyone to feel comfortable. Also, beware of table legs on the corners of the table as they can be difficult to get around when getting in and out of the banquette. We had to have our table legs removed and replaced with a center pedestal. That way, no one got tangled up in the table legs! I used dark brown and green for the cushions and the pillows and bought 3 different patterns and the seamstress mixed and matched them. Piping a definite yes! It turned out so cute. I also did a monogrammed pillow in the middle to tie it all together. I had the seamstress also make the chair cushions to go in the chairs.

    1. I have to agree on the storage issue. I would have had pull-out drawers which would have also solved the mudroom storage issue. Would have been perfect for boots/shoes/gloves and hats. Fliptops are not convenient for storage at all. We have a window seat with that kind and not only does it never get used, I have no idea what I put in there several years ago.
      Seems like this would have been an obvious consideration, but like always I am astonished at some of the practical choices being made by Emily. I guess this one looks better? Wouldn’t most of us choose functionality over looks though?

  85. I think a wedge-shaped back cushion is a must-have comfort wise. You said nope to a pattern but I bet you a whole dollar that’s what you end up with for the bottom cushion. The really nice soft leather, like on Anthropologie pieces stain like crazy AND scratch in not a good way. Can’t wait to see what you choose! You go, girl!

  86. I love the last picture! We have a similar built in banquet in our kitchen and it is always a favorite spot! Crypton fabric is wonderful. Holds up very well to typical food etc with kids. I put rug gripper under cushions and they do not slide. My kids are teenagers now, but I used to pull a cushion off for them to sit on the wood when they were doing really messy arts and crafts with paint or dying eggs etc. otherwise the cushions did well with food, drink, play doh, crayons etc.

  87. I have 2 kids very close to your kiddo’s ages. I have fabric chairs and I let them eat on them because I like the look and ya they get stained, but I am choosing overall comfort and style over perfectly clean chairs all the time.

    Tow things. 1 – Leather sounds like a stresser (you can’t wash it and isn’t not comfortable to sit on with bare legs) 2 – Stop making ALL decision because they need to be the most amazing idea the internet has ever seen. I know you are trying to create content – but if you are living there and using the space then make it comfortable and easy for YOU!

  88. Forgive me if others have already suggested, but what about waxed canvas? I love a paperbag-brown color in this for it’s leather-like quality, but gray is also awesome as seen here: https://www.remodelista.com/posts/indoor-outdoor-waxed-canvas-and-leather-sectional-furniture-from-casamidy-in-mexico/
    I don’t have a ton of experience with it, but it seems like you wipe it clean with damp rag or spot clean with castille soap. AND it gets a cool crease-y (not greasy, hehe) patina with age!

  89. What about doing the cushions in one of those indestructible Sunbrella fabrics? Something easy to keep clean. Or maybe just some neutral machine-washable canvas or duck cloth covers for the cushions? It’s a beautiful corner. You don’t have to fancy it up with fabric. The view and the banquette itself provide the beauty.

    I’m ready to enjoy my morning tea in that banquette. 😉 Can’t wait to see the table!

  90. This is not responsive to the question you asked (so feel free to disregard) but can I make an art suggestion? What would you think about moving that 4-piece series elsewhere? I just feel like with those 4 square framed pieces plus the 4 square (or maybe rectangular?) wood-framed windows plus the rectangular benches, I’m just seeing square and squared-off corners everywhere I look in this space. What about mixing up the shapes and bringing in a single circular or oval-shaped piece of art for that side wall? Or even a textile? That could really warm and soften things up. I’m no artist but my mom is so I’m channeling her in writing this comment (because I know it’s one she would make if this were my space). 😉

  91. Think about an outdoor fabric, like Sunbrella. If you get a lot of sun with the windows anything other than that will fade. We have a lake house with constant sun. The Crypton fabric hasn’t held up as well as the outdoor fabric.

  92. I’ve been thinking about adding a banquette for awhile now and while I haven’t settled on the base, I’m pretty sure I’m going to used waxed linen for the fabric. I love how it looks in this kitchen: https://houseandhome.com/video/design-timeless-bistro-kitchen/

  93. I have a C shaped kitchen booth all with painted white woodworking. The backrest has been left solid wood (no panel details), and the seats have Crypton fabric cushions in a taupe-ish weave. I also have a 7 year old, so I can relate to so much of your design dilemmas. (We’ve been living here for 2 years).
    First, don’t worry about the back of the booth being inaccessible. Is it a bit of pain to slide around? Yes, somewhat- and fabric does make that sliding more difficult than say, slick leather. However, we assigned my kiddo the back seat, and he gladly ducks under the table to get out. (And it benefits teaching kiddos to stay in their seat during meals because they can’t easily escape! ha!) Also, when we we’ve had guests over, I’ve taken the back seat as well, and then I’m off the hook for playing waitress! 😉
    Stay away from light color leathers or vinyls- especially if you wear dark wash jeans. The jeans will transfer color, and while it can be cleaned off, it’s just another thing to need to clean. Our white wood seats hang over slightly on the ends, and they constantly have a blue smudge on the edge from swinging your legs to get out of the seat. (I also have lighter leather car seats that get the same color transfer on them- maybe I need to start wearing lighter washes!)
    Which brings up another note- make sure your table is extremely heavy/sturdy, because folks will use their elbows or forearms to press down and scoot around the table. A lightweight table will tip.
    Our Crypton fabric has held up well- and does have zippers to wash (washes really well too btw). We made sure the cushions could be flipped too- because it’s easy to do a quick flip over if you notice a spot while setting the table for your guests who are due to arrive in 20 minutes 😁. We have 2 Crypton covered pillows in the corners as well, and they’ve held up well. Do they get spots from grubby hands occasionally? Sure, but they wipe clean most of time and can be washed if it’s a big stain. We don’t mind not having a back cushion at all. Our wood back does have a slight angle to it, which may help.
    Also, we keep a basket on the backside with books and pencils, because we do live in that booth. It’s central to our kitchen, and our lives. It’s for homework, reading with coffee, sharing stories over ice cream, so much! Oh, and if you can get an electric outlet as close as possible, I’m amazed how often it even becomes a destination for work, and having an outlet for a charger is really handy! Enjoy the coziness of a built in booth- we certainly do!

    1. Thumbs up for your entire comment!

    2. Yes jean color transfer is a real issue. We have bad transfer a fabric chair and it was never something I considered when we bought it.

  94. Tapered triangle! Backs that are too straight, or worse, bulge out too high like that weird white one above, are sooo uncomfortable.

  95. I’ll put in my vote for back cushions or at the very least angle the back of the nook. Even better – angle the back cushions for maximum comfort. A collection of loose throw cushions for the back will never look orderly with daily use and especially with kids will end up on the floor most of the time (at least they would in my house) where all the crumbs are. Those bench seats that you posted for inspiration with the thin linear padding at the wall don’t look comfortable at all. As far as fabrics for the seat and back, maybe a Sunbrella fabric, leather or man made alternate, something easy to keep clean.

  96. Wow. Love that the suggestion of enclosing the half wall to look like a window was put into action. Looks really great. As for banquettes….I would go for the structured seat cushion in a removable stain resistant fabric. Not leather because a) damages and stains and b) diner vibe is meh. I would have a lumbar supporting back cushion because a) comfort b) don’t need to re-adjust every time you get up or sit down and c) Scandi minimalist vibe. Colors would be soft and calm but with hits of black to complement the black island and accessories. To appeal to your styling needs, some throw pillows which can be removed or added to for seasonal, holiday or functional needs. Great storage for these would be right under the seats!

  97. The more I look at the picture the more I feel like the banquette may have been a premature decision in response to having rectangular table.

    It seems quite difficult to design a banquette that’s ergonomically comfortable for EATING. This one in particular doesn’t have space for feet and is too deep for back support when sitting to eat at table.

    What I think this space actually needed was a BIG ROUND TABLE with normal chairs.

    Maybe just the banquette hater in me. But I think it’s kind of illustrative about maybe jumping to a solution before thinking about really the nature of the problem. I don’t recall anyone mentioning big round table in the previous post about the space.

    Now that it’s here, in the event you don’t want to/can’t undo, I would do everything possible to make sure it is comfortable ergonomically. May need to consult some furniture design resources about that. That will vastly overshadow what kind of upholstery you choose. FWIW I have a light gray semi-anniline leather on my dining chairs and it’s stood up to kids decently well.

  98. I did our banquet with ultraleather for the seat and a Perennials for the back. Had the back upholstered with lumbar support because I wanted it to be comfy! It is a place where we hang out after meals or play games. Loving it!

  99. Quick note about faux leather/vinyl! I recently ordered this faux leather to reupholster some stools for our kitchen and it is AMAZING. The pictures on Amazon do not do it justice. It has a great creamy color with a lot of natural-looking variation in color and grain, and that buttery feel. I’ve only done one stool so far, but it’s holding up well to my toddler and her messes.

  100. Forgot the link! This is the faux leather I was just gushing about –


    Great color variations/buttery feel, and holding up well to my toddler. The photos don’t do it justice.

  101. Back cushion and please not that cushion bar across the back!

  102. We built an L shaped banquette a few years ago and I do love it still. The key is a pedestal table base so knees are not knocked as you are getting in and out. I based our design on this picture which is absolutely gorgeous and might work for you as it is also under a window and a very clean look –


    I bought a cheap pad and loose pillows as my kids were young and I am now planning to replace it with a thicker custom pad so this post is very timely! If you choose to add just a base, please talk about the thickness and type of filling you will be using. I have been wavering between a sunbrella fabric and a waxed or vinyl but my kids vetoed the vinyl as they wouldn’t be able to slide across – especially in shorts. As my banquette back is angled without a pad, I would love to hear more about adding an upholstered “headboard” type piece for added comfort.

  103. I had a banquet made at my house in Southern California. It had the same open top storage yours does. The only difference was that I had an angled back made (which also was storage), and a four inch ledge between the window sills and the banquet back. I LOVED it! At the time I had a one year old boy and a seven year old boy. I made the cushions out of mouse gray, (the color I tried to resemble), velvet. It was killer. The velvet was comfy, forgiving and sooooo pretty. Even with my boys and their sticky hands — and their friends! Wiping up the velvet with a damp or wet cloth, made it catch the light all the more once it dried. Since then, every kitchen I’ve had HAS to have a couch in it at least. The banquet was great for my tiniest because he would just stand and eat and then sit back down on his booster seat. He would turn around and look out the window as he ate piles and piles of fruit. You and yours will love this. Guaranteed. I miss that banquet. I paired it with my prize white tulip table.

  104. Love the last picture. No leather. Scratches and stains. Treated fabric. You can also get fabric treated with a kind of vinyl like treatment to really protect. It looks great. Don’t know what it is called

  105. Really hate loose pillows, really love streamlined cushions. I like your idea of two covers, I’d choose a sunbrella-ish light gray for summer and a slightly warmer gray in wool for winter. Both would clean beautifully. Simply cut, thick, sweat and back cushions.

  106. Those last two pictures really seem to embody “Mountain House” to me! All the others, while pretty and interesting, felt like they were trying too hard for this space. The mountain house is easy, comfortable, and beautiful in a simple and quiet way.

    Especially love the tapered back cushion on that last picture. It adds a tiny bit of interest, but most importantly seems like that would make it extra comfortable to sit on.

  107. I really like the look of the bench cushions with rolls, accented with a few decorative pillows. I’d go neutral on the main cushions so you could change out the accent ones seasonally (pale blue in summer, dark green at the holidays, etc). Would give you more options for styling/content down the road.
    My first instinct is to go with a Crytpon/treated fabric. If you want some good options for vegan leather, I used to work with a line called Brentano out of the Donghia showroom at the PDC (don’t work for them anymore but still like the product). You’re looking at about $55-60/yard but they usually have really good stock. If you go the treated fabric route, Brentano does another fabric (https://www.brentanofabrics.com/?s=atlas) that reads like linen but wears like contract.

  108. If this bench is really 24 inches deep, no one’s back is actually going to touch any back cushion if they are seated so they can eat at the table (knees bent at 90 degrees off the front of the bench). I think it may be worth rethinking the use of this space? Are the guests going to lounging here like a sectional? Or eating meals? Because I don’t think its possible to create a perfect space to accommodate both uses- when people lounge, they usually pull their feet up and want more space to recline. When sitting for a meal, you want to be closer to the table and your back won’t be near the back cushion. My suggestion would be to reconsider the use of this spot; maybe instead of a dining table here, you put in a coffee table for more casual gatherings, and have a more formal dining table elsewhere. Also, a table in this space will be massive and that will also make it hard for people to access food as they are passing things around- I feel like stuff will get pushed to the center of the table and then no one will be able to reach it without standing up and leaning over.

  109. Do a cushion, not pillows. The pillows end up being on the floor or in a pile or just a mess. Do you really want to be rearranging and refluffing pillows for the banquet?

  110. Can someone please explain the difference between vinyl, vegan leather and something my mother used to call naugahyde? Love, love, love the first image, both the leather and the two toned look. Definitely a fan of the back cushion and not a funny bolster that never hits the short person in the right spot.

  111. What about really leaning into the seam in a big way, like on the bench cushion of this cool sofa? https://www.sixpenny.com/sofas/neva-sofa

    It has the casual/ comfortable look of pillows but lends itself to more structure that you’ll probably appreciate in such a big seating area.

  112. Your kids are hiding in them already…it will drive you up the wall if you are constantly scooping pillows and cushions off the floor to put back on the bench. The hanging back seems ideal because it won’t be knocked to the floor, and I assume the cushions could be removed to wash the covers.

  113. OK, just from previous experience – I don’t like a large seat cushion. If you are going to actually use the storage beneath, it’s easier to move a smaller cushion about the size of the door on the unit. If you put a cushion on the back, you can always use the strapping you like but just put it on the front of the banquette under the cushion, over the front of the cushion then over top of the cushion, attaching the straps with washers and bolts. One on bottom, one on top. You are not hanging them from a rod, but they can stay in place or be removed for washing. You might get the look you would like. Whatever you do do the back cushion, more comfort. Believe me, you want washable material. I like the Crypton, as long as it can be washed or cleaned somehow. Oh and have you heard of pillow fights? They happen in the dining room too, trust me. With food on the table. Yeah.

  114. I’m so grateful to you, Emily (and also your team!) for sharing your thought process as you develop the mountain house. I’m developing a kitchen and eat-in area for my own home, and being able to listen to another team work things out is so helpful.

  115. I’d go with the gray Crypton fabric for the bench seat base, and pillow for the back. Like you said, you can always get back cushions made later. Maybe even in leather? Not sure how that would look, but you wouldn’t get the stains on the back that you would the seat.

    OR, try some leather pillow mixed in with your grays whites and blues! I’d totally do that, then you get your leather fix!

  116. “Stain Resistant” fabrics are among those now known to have carcinogens. You could be a great influencer in the switch to healthier fabrics for our furnishings and clothing.

  117. I’m not sure if anyone has mentioned this yet but have you thought about POLYURETHANE? there are options with a good green story pvc free that feel buttery soft like real leather and are wipeable even with sharpie. We have been using them in restaurant and office design for a few years now and they get better and better. Momentum Textiles and Designtex are some of my favorite manufacturers for this stuff. Ie Momentum’s Canter.

  118. I have redone mine 3 times! Currently I have a wonderful textured grey sunbrella 4 inch thick, but firm, bottom cushion and a back cushion that is about 18in high and 2 inch thick. I go through phases of it clean. Or with pillows, or fur, or throws. Currently love it.
    Things I’ve learned: thicker cushions you can’t play with as much. Not enough room. And faux leather was sticky in the summer or when damp from swimming.

  119. We had banquette seating in our old home with 3 small kids. Your top priority needs to be stain resistant or easy to wash. But really something that you can wipe off is best. EVERY SINGLE MEAL will leave food on the bench. Oh, and get used to them never sitting down for a meal until they turn 5/6. They will be up and down all through the meal. But despite all that my banquette was the cutest part of my home and made meals very cozy. Enjoy!

  120. Definitely back cushions – throw cushions are going to end up sliding around and all bunched up weird. That would drive me crazy. If there’s a washable suede that would be a great option. I’m wondering about the fabric on the tops of the back cushions getting faded if they go up to the edge of the windows. I love the suggestion of having more than one cover for the cushions – whether they’re seasonal or just having another cover in case of a big spill so that you don’t have a bare cushion or have to remove the cushion entirely. Speaking of spills – how do you handle the inevitable cup of milk tipped over onto a cushion? Are there waterproof barriers for the foam under the cushion cover? I grew up with a green vinyl U-shaped kitchen nook (hello 70’s!), which I loved, and you didn’t have to worry about spills. Casters on the table is another great idea that I saw in the comments.

  121. Sunbrella fabric in a bright, happy pattern. Definitely seat and back cushions that are rectangular and hit just below the windows. Use velcro strips if worried about backncusions staying in place.

  122. I think leather or vegan leather is a good option for the ease of people sliding in and out of the middle seat. Fabric adds friction that increases the difficulty of getting into that position. Just another thought!

    1. Or you could do a coated linen or something!

  123. I like the flat cushion with bolster roll + pillows in one of the example photos. How is vegan leather different than high-quality vinyl?

  124. As a material engineer and mom of young kids, the only one of those options I recommend is Crypton. Unless the vinyl or vegan leather (polyurethane) fabric is specifically designed to resist heat (will degrade at 95F), household cleaning chemicals (no alcohol or mild acids like you’d find in natural cleaners), and has some sort of durable coating to make it more difficult to form cracks, it’s not going to look good for long as you’d hope. Leather requires so much maintenance to keep it looking good (speaking from experience with beautiful leather & walnut wood bar stools) when you consider that scrubbing/wiping food/spills off removes the protective finishes way faster than normal. Love the practical angle of the Jeremiah Brent design! Those backrests won’t get in the way of storage access either! To keep seat cushions from slipping, I’ve always just thrown some grippy shelf/rug liner on under those and called it good. Works well! Good luck! Hope that helps!

  125. I would say no to the loose pillows for sure. Also, your dining table looks way too small for this space with the banquettes built in.

  126. Perennials fabric options.

  127. But I would love black or dark brown leather cushions in your space. I think it would help the banquette to be more “sporty” or paradoxically more light and it is so practical! And I would combine it with interesting pattern on the narrow back pillows. There is lot of possibilities of beautiful grain leather on the market, that is not expensive.

  128. Yes for sure on numero uno! The perfect mix and comfort to boot!

  129. I’ve had banquettes in my last 3 AND my current home. Plus have a gigantic family and married to Party Boy, who loves to entertain multitudes at the drop of a hat.
    A roundabout way of saying our cushions get a lot of use and abuse.
    In house 1, we had a dark grey tweedy textured Sunbrella, over foam. A few throw pillows for comfort. Awesome! The best of the four.
    House 2, beige Crypton, over foam, with welting and fixed back cushions. Don’t do welting. It gets snagged and catches on bare legs.
    Back cushions were always in the wrong spot/angle. I wouldn’t (and I haven’t) do them again.
    House 3, perennials outdoor in a medium gray and white tweed, over foam, no back cushion. So sophisticated and nice. Current house, light gray twill over foam with throw pillows. Shows a little more dirt than I like but not fatal. Cleans easily.
    No leather. It will wear out in weird ways and stain like nothing else. Get a leather throw pillow!

  130. Off topic but I’m going to suggest rehanging the art work (which is beautiful!) Once the seat cushions in place the art is going to be too close, and visually your eye wants the art to be in line with the windows.

    1. Ha! I made an art comment too. Those four square pieces right next to those four big windows and squared off built-ins is really distracting to my eye.

  131. I have made a banquet with windows behind like yours and here are my thoughts:. You really need sloped back support for it to be functional and comfortable. The pillows will be a nuisance. Not leather, please, it won’t stay looking good. A washable blend in something you love that zips off easily to machine wash. It will be a child in that middle area, as adults will avoid it..trust me. If it is not comfortable it will not be used.

  132. I have made a banquette with windows behind like yours and here are my thoughts:. You really need sloped back support for it to be functional and comfortable. The pillows will be a nuisance. Not leather, please, it won’t stay looking good. A washable blend in something you love that zips off easily to machine wash. It will be a child in that middle area, as adults will avoid it..trust me. If it is not comfortable it will not be used.

  133. Pick a fabric and vinylize it. I have this on my bench seating and it is perfect. I got my beautiful patterned fabric, had a company put a vinyl coating on it…voila! I live in Portland OR. Not sure where mine was vinylized but it is awesome. You might not have the time to accomplish this……. We do not have a back cushion due to similar window situation but I have a few throw pillows on the ends in case someone wants to get comfortable.

  134. So many solid options- and I’m gonna be on this post like white on rice. I have a built in dining bench that I’ve needed to add a cushion to since we built it a year ago 😫. If you end up doing something on the pricier side please please please show us a less expensive option or two. Preferably one that I don’t have to sew myself… and I can’t deal w the the possibility of constantly picking up throw pillows of my kitchen floor.

  135. Your solution is perfect. Definitely need something to sit on. Stain resistant whatever color you like. With pillows but not necessarily huge.

  136. Another vote for definitely YES to a back cushion. The ones with just pillows don’t look as inviting or comfortable to me.

  137. Definitely the 1st picture. ….Or the french mattress.
    Ps Always love reading your articles. Thank you EHD

  138. I think leather will be a mistake the second a mug of hot chocolate tumbles off the table. Find a sunbrella ish fabric that’s machine washable. I think the round bolster looks amazing. Maybe incorporate some leather by anchoring the bolster to the wall with some leather straps? I love a table everyone is comfortable to linger at for hours.

  139. I think you could adapt the Brady tufted headboard trick for the backs.

  140. I love the look of the leather and if you can find one you love and can afford I say go for it! That being said, the fabric idea seems more doable on a small timeframe. I would say to do a back cushion, because I can imagine guests trying to slide into the banquette and having to maneuver around the pillows would be annoying.

  141. I’d separate the commercial inspo photos from the residential inspo photos. If you ask me, I would NOT want my dining area to look like a restaurant or hotel.
    Your kitchen is pretty minimal, so I’d add some color to the banquette with pillows. Your impromptu version looked pretty good to me. But I mean, according to what I read, you seem fine with two small kids sitting on a sectional sofa to eat…! I don’t have kids, but I can imagine crumbs and whatnot…I make enough of a mess myself.
    Once I saw a house in a magazine (I think it was in Sweden) that had a platform built along the walls…it was very rustic. And, the platforms were covered with a bunch of big cushions. They were VERY colorful, but the rest of the house was minimal. I’m talking marimekko fabric and indian bedspreads–that’s my style–more boho than EHD, but those platforms with the cushions have since been my dream.
    I had to laugh at your being a “pre-crastinator.” That is my husband to a T, whereas I am the opposite. Do we average out to be one normal person? Probably not!

  142. First, function. As others have said, if you want this to be used and central to life in this house, it MUST be comfortable. I think some research into the ergonomics needs to happen quickly. Then that information can inform the rest of the design other than the fabric choices.

    The second part of the function point is cleanability. Lots of these ideas LOOK great, but real life with real children makes most of them kind of silly. As others have said, it will all get dirty very quickly. You are going to eat and drink here daily! Food will fall DAILY, liquid spills will happen, the kids WILL wipe their hands on all of it. Even the adults will make messes. It needs to be as easy to clean up as the table and the floor.

    So there are a lot of practical considerations that really trump fabric choices. Make it sensible, practical, simple, and EASY to use. That will all fall in line with the clean-lined sensibility of the entire home.

  143. I have three kids who sit on an upholstered bench from Jayson home for every meal. It was originally linen, it got predictably trashed, and I just had it recovered in a beautiful, inexpensive faux leather/vinyl from Kravet (it was just the book that my upholsterer had!) that i can wipe clean. It is a dream. It doesn’t feel sticky or stiff. It’s soft and buttery. DO NOT HAVE PIPING. Crumbs get stuck, and especially with a thicker fabric, it’s hard to flick them out. I’ve had both. A smooth edge is key for cleanup.

  144. Tiger Leather makes a whole line that’s intentionally rugged and has that wonderful worn look and feel. They also have a lot of options with their Integra finish which is stain resistant and (I believe) bleach cleanable. I LOVED the tan leather on the wood seats!

  145. Ok, I am a big NO on multiple throw pillows. With two small kids, they will mostly be in the floor. Also, it’s almost TOO cozy, if you know what I mean. It doesn’t seem to fit with the vibe of the kitchen. So here’s a thought: remember Brady’s DIY wall-to-wall headboard? 🤔

    That, in the same green, would be amazing. BUT…

    You want it washable…and you mentioned you are kinda liking a hanging situation. What about two different colored hanging bolsters? You can have seasonal covers made (because you are a crazy person) and wash the covers…

    And leather on the bottom. Black patent leather, with cream and tan above. 😍

  146. I love the look of the end in the first inspiration photo—can you kind of faux that wood look at the end since It’s only two spots? I agree you need fabric that will hold up to LOTS of sliding and scooting. I would LOVE if you found some awesome vinyl. Kids are freaking messes and do you want to be spending time washing those cushions while you’re up there? There was a house in Domino way back they put clear vinyl over their Schumacher chaing Mai dragon fabric dining chairs. That’s level 5 Italian grandma made super cool + functional

  147. Ivory leather!!!! Or a creamy colored stain resistant fabric. I love gray and know it’s super trendy but think that a warm ivory tone will be more timeless and allow for lots of pillow changes over the years that gray won’t allow.

  148. I’d say take any option with a million pillows off the table. When you are trying to slide around the banquette they all move and then slide around when you are eating as well, unless you sit very still, and it is SUPER annoying. Like literally, if I was invited to your house for dinner 💁🏼‍♀️ and you had the million pillows option, I would make an excuse to go to the bathroom or something until everyone was seated just so I wouldn’t have to deal. It is that annoying. That said, enough back support that you can relax is important too, so I understand the dilemma!

  149. Having never understood the appeal of the “sleekness” and “lines” of the styles of modern, mid-century-modern, old-century modern or even the Jetsons modern (but appreciating that we all have different tastes), I love the very last pic. You’re right to think ‘comfort,’ especially with two kids. The style is chunkier, cushier, cozier and just better. Have kids? …Think comfort. No kids? Comfort. A self-masochist? Comfort for the win. Pretty/sleek/stylish over comfortable, however, is not what you want with your morning eggs.

  150. A couple thoughts:

    1) The bottom cushion needs to be attached somehow to the base so it doesn’t constantly slide out from under you when you’re leaning back

    2) As someone with low back pain, I REALLY cringe at how most of those benches look. They have ZERO lumbar support! If you do a back cushion, at least leave room for someone like me to squish a bunch of pillows down at the lumbar area. OR consider doing a sloped back (15 degrees is a very comfortable lounging angle).

    3) I agree with Mr. H that the forest green leather looks SUUUPPPER kitchy.

    4) Did that pony wall become a window? Because that’s awesome

    5) The first hanging-backrest photo speaks the most to me. Not because of the actual hanging backrest, but because of the interesting, subtly textured two-tone fabric

  151. I’ve been thinking for *years* about how to make something tufted and removable. The only thing I’ve come up with is having really strong snaps on the underside to keep the “tufts” in place when the cover is on.

    I’m kind of digging the idea of a modified version of the biasol design… elongate it to be more of a half-ellipse than a half-circle shape (er, cyclinder…. you know what I mean) to make it more comfortable, and mount it on the wall so you have neither straps nor a top seam! Then you could put a low profile seat cushion for more comfort.

  152. My aunt had a similar situation for her kitchen table when I was growing up. She custom build her house and put the table in a turret with banquette-style seating. It was awful when the whole family was there because it you got stuck in the middle, you were actually stuck there until the end of the meal basically. It looks really good but definitely not practical for more than 3 people maybe I’d it goes around more than half the table.

  153. Leather bench cushions like the cm studio picture above, done. timeless but different enough. don’t get crazy. and pillows as a back are so annoying (speaking from current experience).

  154. Gah this looks amazing so far! Could you share the sources for the three chair you have there now? Thank you! 🙂

  155. You will love the banquette! I did ours in a light yellow vinyl, cheap, inexpensive and on-budget. 8 years, 2 kids and 2 dogs later it still looks great. Pillows for comfort and fun. Glad I went with the vinyl after my beagle decided to eat the gingerbread house all over the banquette one day. Dog slobber and sugar were totally wipeable :). I would recommend a wipeable surface if you want to enjoy the dining banquette.

  156. Definitely cushions bottom and back! You like comfort! And- while dining, you won’t be sitting back as deeply as on a sofa, so I would measure how far back your back will be while eating and make a cushion that intrudes into that just a bit. There are a lot of fantastic outdoor fabrics now that look and feel good- that would be really practical for an eating place, with kids. There were a bunch of them shown in the most recent House Beautiful. The cushions could be removable so you can take them off when you want!

  157. I absolutely love the idea of banquettes in the right space, and this is a great, bright space for one! I love the two-toned cushions and agree that cushions over pillows will be far less of a hassle (especially with little ones)!

    On a side note, I am LOVING these huge, glossy photos like in the two-toned banquette (first pic) and the third from last (Marc Houston design).

  158. I love the look of leather for your banquette. Try looking into contract-grade vinyls, particularly from Architex (www.architex-ljh.com). They have so many good ones that really mimic the appearance and feel of soft leathers and they are resistant to nearly every stain, including ink.

  159. The best choice I ever made was to re-cover my fabric dining chairs in laminated cotton after we had kids. I am a slave to style as much as anyone who reads this blog, but wiping up spills and not worrying about liquids soaking in was a complete relief. For a table that you plan on using with children, take a cue from restaurant banquette seating and use a heavy vinyl that will be impervious to food and liquid.

    LOVE the inspiration photos, so excited to see what you come up with!

    1. EM!
      This may sound extreme. . .
      -Remove the (2) End Sections of your Banquet. (I KNOW…)
      -Create the Leather Cushion Adult Comfort Zone of Your Dreams on the Back (3) Banquet Sections. Include Your Back Cushion.
      -Funk up the Former Banquet End Sections with Funky Stools that you can kick under the table or use to kick up your feet while relaxing in the Banquet.
      -Finish with your vision for a mix of fun kid proof chairs. . .
      -(Also, your sweet kids will love to do homework, read books or nap in the Comfort Zone, but steer them toward their personal chairs for dining.)
      Good luck. I love your style!

  160. I’d go with stain resistant, but washable fabric for the bench and loose pillows for the back that can be easily changed up as the season or mood dictates!

  161. I hate, hate, hate being asked to eat and enjoy a long meal with a stack of cushions piled up behind me. A solid cushioned backing is key to me for the dining aspects. If you really want to do pillows, I might consider doing that only on the very center bench.

  162. This may sound extreme. . .

    -Remove the (2) End Sections of your Banquet. (I KNOW…)
    -Create the Leather Cushion Adult Comfort Zone of Your Dreams on the Back (3) Banquet Sections. Include Your Back Cushion.
    -Funk up the Former Banquet End Sections with Funky Stools that you can kick under the table or use to kick up your feet while relaxing in the Banquet.
    -Finish with your vision for a mix of fun kid proof chairs. . .
    -(Also, your sweet kids will love to do homework, read books or nap in the Comfort Zone, but steer them toward their personal chairs for dining.)
    Good luck. I love your style!

  163. I also like the last image, just not the seems of the profile.

  164. EM!
    This may sound extreme. . .
    -Remove the (2) End Sections of your Banquette. (I KNOW…)
    -Create the Leather Cushion Adult Comfort Zone of Your Dreams on the Back (3) Banquette Sections. Include Your Back Cushion.
    -Funk up the Former Banquette End Sections with Funky Stools that you can kick under the table or use to kick up your feet while relaxing in the Banquette.
    -Finish with your vision for a mix of fun kid proof chairs. . .
    -(Also, your sweet kids will love to do homework, read books or nap in the Comfort Zone, but steer them toward their personal chairs for dining.)
    Good luck. I love your style!

  165. Turning out sooo nice! I like how the wood on the sofa made the window frames look brighter somehow.

    So my vote would be:

    Medium toned brown leather, thick cousins, no seems on the bottom would be sooo pretty and very EH imo. And then a built wall attached cushion in a contrasting colour and fabric. Cord for example would look awesome!

    Not a fan about loose cushions. Looks too messy. Also not a fan of grey textile. Feels dated to me.

  166. I like this promo beacause very good.

  167. I have a cozy banquette in my kitchen and there’s a back cushion different color than seat. It’s the way to go. Also have just three throw pillows because without them would be too bland. Really just for show most people probably think they’re comfortable but not necessary when they sit there. I however disagree. They are very necessary. Wish I had the option of changing out per seasons love that idea. I have vinyl and can wipe off easily. Don’t absolutely love color but it works. If I had kids or really any choice to redo would use a crypton fabric for sure. They don’t just get dirty from food but dust and dirt from the windows.

  168. I know it’s too late in the game to copy this entirely, but it’s just too cool not to share: http://www.houteninterieur.be/nl/projecten?1&id_projecten=34

    I really like the angled back pillow in the very last pic of your post. It can be uncomfortable to have a straight back to lean against, so I’d go for something like that. The wood is stunning, and I can’t wait to see it all come together!

  169. The bench has no space for legs to tuck in, love how it looks but it’s not going to be functional. Love inspirational pictures. I am all about comfort and functionality, so for me back cushion is a solution.

  170. Trapezoidal back cushions. You can style it with scatter pillows. Fading will be an issue, be forewarned as previously commented. Piping gets wonky if the seat gets a lot of use. I like a washable option. I personally have a denim cushion but it did fade in the sun and bleed on the wood and walls a bit.

    Our sunny window “banquette” gets a lot of traffic. No regrets.

    You might want to consider the fabrics from

    Pendleton by Sunbrella. Right up your style alley!


  171. I suggest using a slippery fabric/leather for the bottom cushion. Nothing worse than going to a restaurant with velvet bench and your dress is half off you because it’s still stuck at the other end. It’s hard to slide around a bench, too, when the fabric is super textured.

  172. The inspo images are amazing! I find the last image to be the most comfortable-looking and practical-seeming but probably the least WOW from a design perspective. Doing the last option in a great (cough, cough) vegan leather might be a way to make the cushions more of a moment? Then adding throw pillows and a killer table (which it sounds like is in process). Part of being comfortable is not worrying if a kid makes a mess or a grownup spills coffee or wine, so that practicality would make me lean away from leather. (Ha, literally and figuratively!)

  173. I think I am way too late on this post but does that banquette need to go all the way around? Seems like the last 2 boxes might not be necessary and will really box you in? Something charcoal would look great here in terms of fabric. And I still love a pattern.

  174. We’ Putting a banquette in our kitchen and I’m beyond thrilled!!! So happy to see a post about them.

  175. Emily, Take a look at “faux” leather performance fabric. It looks like leather but is thinner than the real stuff. Don’t be put off because it’s not real – manufacturers are making great innovations in the performance fabric category. Use it in a dark to mid range neutral on the seat and then a lighter performance fabric (not faux leather) on the back cushion. I’d extend the reclaimed wood up vertically on the wall from the base of the seat to a line somewhere under the window. I hate cushions against a wall! This will make the banquette look like a unit and give the 2tone wood/fabric look you like in the inspiration photos.

  176. We have a very large three sided banquette in our vacation home and the “inside seats” are the most prized! Lots of “while you are up, would you mind….?”😉

  177. Thinking of the person in the middle- what if you had 2 tables? Just a wild thought as I was looking at that beautiful large banquette!! I’m not sure it would look good or make sense, but it might be fun to explore. 2 smaller round tables, maybe with drop sides that you could drop and push together for one large table?

  178. My advice would be to keep with your Scandi-Style and keep it simple and cozy by using cushions and pillows. I would not use leather because it is not (in my opinion) comfy for that particular setting. Don’t get me wrong, I love the look and feel of leather but I think restaurant banquette, even with the examples you gave. Fabric is just more intimate and personal to me. I know I’m probably in minority when it comes to pillows, but I love the look and I never mind fluffing them.

  179. I know you are leaning away from prints, but wish you’d consider the very Scandinavian Josef Frank textiles. Would be such a fun and gorgeous addition to the Swedish country house you’ve built, and give you a convo piece like the amazing bed from your old house!

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