The actual definition of a banquette is... an upholstered bench along a wall, especially in a restaurant or bar. While they are common in commercial settings, they are also popular for fun seating solutions in everyday kitchens! There are many versions of banquettes ranging from built in benches with comfy pillows to free standing benches to upholstered benches with backs. What type of banquette would work best for you and your family? It all depends on the space you have, style preference and a few other questions to ask yourself below.
#1 How big is your family and how many people sit at your table on a daily basis? How many chairs can you fit around your table in addition to the banquette?
#2 How much space do you have for a banquette and what shape are you thinking of? Straight across, L-Shape or maybe U-Shape? The U-shape bench can be a little trickier to climb in and out of so make sure to have a little extra room around the table.
#3 Are there windows directly above your bench and if so how high are they from the floor? Most banquettes sit at 20" tall so make sure your windows are at least that high. If you add a bench seat cushion, that will add another 2-3" of height. As for the glass, it doesn't seem to be an issue as you will most likely have throw pillows and most people sit upright when eating anyway. Fingerprints could be an issue if you have young children but one day you will miss those!
#4 What sand height table do you have? Most dining tables are 30" high and some have a side ledge underneath. Calculate this when selecting the best height for your banquette. You want 10-12" of clearance to comfortably be seated and get in and out.
#5 Can you add drawers or top hinges to your banquette to maximize storage space?
I recommend designing your banquette to be around 18-20" deep to include storage and for comfortable seating depth. You can either add drawers or top hinges in the seat for access. You should definitely take advantage of the extra room to store seasonal items. If you opt for drawers , be sure use flat hardware that doesn't project out too far.
#6 Who will most likely be using the banquette? In most households, it's the kids! So be sure to select a stain resistant or indoor / outdoor fabric that can be easily washed or use a vinyl like you see below. I would also recommend using washable, stain resistant or indoor / outdoor fabric on the throw pillows or spray them with Scotchguard. If you have really young children, maybe those nice, clean pillows go into the bench storage at meal time!
Benches set against walls can be a great space saver! There is also a trend to design them against kitchen islands for the same reason. Happy designing and share your photos of your kitchen banquette or your favorite inspirations!
Hope you enjoyed this! If you haven't heard my new FB group Kitchen, Baths and Mudrooms by Design is growing! Each week one member's design challenge is solved on a FB live for the whole group to see. Get in early for your chance at free design advice.
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