Do you have a little extra space under a window and don’t know what to do with it or perhaps you always run out of seats when guests come over? Built-in banquette seating might be the solution you’re looking for. Comfortable, stylish and multi-functional, plus great space savers where room is tight, a banquette (I really like saying that word) or two could create a cool dining area, reading nook or work from home spot in your kitchen.
No matter the size and layout of your kitchen, banquette seating can be built within an island or under a window, or along a wall instead of dining chairs or a bench. An extra bonus is that you can utlise the base as nifty storage – whether it be boxed in under the seat cushion or open shelving (or even drawers). Storage + extra seating spots – sounds like a winner to me. Plus, some people prefer this style of seating over a tall breakfast bar as it could be more comfortable than perching on stools. Ask your kitchen designer, builder or local joiner to see if they can help create integrated seating in your space.
Let’s see some banquette seating ideas shall we…?
A window bench
If you don’t have space for a large banquette seating area, a built-in window seat could be a stylish alternative. A good way to make use of the room underneath the ledge, the kids can perch while you cook – and outside of mealtimes, it can easily be converted into a cosy reading nook.
Do you have a large family or lots of friends? The most obvious benefit of opting for a long bench, as opposed to a series of chairs, is that there’s room for more people to squish in and congregate around the table. Add a pop of colour by painting it in a stand-out shade or choose a neutral like shown below to add a bit of Scandi style.
Create a booth
You may have noticed this look while eating out at an American-style restaurant or trendy bar – but it’s also become a popular choice in our homes. This design is a great option if you have a long galley kitchen, as you can fix your seating up against a wall so there is more room to walk along the aisle. Not only do booths save you space, they tend to be more comfortable than seating options such as wooden chairs or benches, too, thanks to the padded seats and backs. I can picture myself and my laptop there already.
Tuck it into a corner
Corner banquette seating is a great way to fit extra places around a small table, especially in more compact spaces. While this kitchen-diner may only fit four dining chairs, with an L-shaped bench it can comfortably seat five, six or even more guests. Built-in seating can utilise every inch of floor area, turning tricky corners into creative opportunities.
Do the island bolt on
Even small banquette seating designs can provide more space for you and the family to sit than standard dining chairs and make good use of a neglected area – great for practical, informal dining or breakfast space. Plus, it can also double up as a spot for the little ones to do their homework – this way, you can easily keep an eye on them while you cook. Oh, and as mentioned above, this could be a more comfortable alternative to a breaakfast bar and stools if you’re sitting for longer periods of time.
Make a statement
Why not make it more of a standout feature? If you have a large open-plan kitchen, think about attaching a circular design to the edge of your island, with a comfortable high back to provide a sense of privacy. Incorporating curves can help draw people around or into a space, guiding them to their seat and away from the central kitchen area (or away from the biscuit drawer).
Add storage. The more, the better
This design by Roundhouse offers additional space built underneath the seating area. Pull-out drawers help keep extra dinnerware and crockery away from main cabinets but still within easy reach when needed. Think about choosing a lift-up seat to get easy access to countertop appliances that may be difficult to store elsewhere.
Include seating in an island
A good house party always ends up in the kitchen, right? By extending your island outwards, with comfortable seating attached to the back, there’s enough room for your guests to sit while you prepare the food and drinks. You can add a sense of flow into the kitchen, too, if you choose to paint the banquette in the same shade as your cabinetry, for example, or choose a contrasting colour for impact.
Add a summery touch
This stunning hand-crafted banquette by Create Bespoke sits right at the heart of the spacious kitchen-diner. It is designed to be floating so that it didn’t block one of the key features of the kitchen – the flooring. If you love to entertain, this bespoke design can seat up to 20 people! With help from an upholsterer, you can add a summery and tropical touch through palm-effect cushions.
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Featured image: U-shaped island with an integrated banquette from Sola Kitchens.