Ways to incorporate banquette seating into your kitchen

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.

Banquette

For extra storage, think about incorporating drawers around the bottom to keep dinnerware close to hand or hide away toys. This bespoke seating solution was created using Herringbone Kitchens’ Rye pantry range. Herringbone Kitchens schemes start at £25,000.

Go big

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.

Long banquette

This extra-long banquette by Harvey Jones, priced £2500, makes use out of the spacious kitchen.

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.

Booth

This design by Martin Moore has been tailor made to fit the space. Customise the upholstery to suit your interior style. Martin Moore bespoke seating starts from £3000.

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.

Corner banquette

Add extra storage underneath to stash tableware or items you don’t need that often, like in the Humphrey Munson’s Petworth project. A similar design by Humphrey Munson would cost from £1000.

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.

Cost banquette

Think about upholstering the seating in a material to match the colour on your walls, or alternatively, choose user-friendly fabrics such as faux leathers, washable suedes, and heavy cottons to keep the area looking clean – they are hard-wearing but also comfortable. You can also treat it with a tough stain and water-repellent for protection, if needed. The Hartford kitchen in Lithadora by Tom Howley starts from £20,000.

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).

Statement banquette

This bespoke booth by Ashley Jay Kitchens has been handpainted to complement the Dekton Trilium worktops. Ashley Jay Kitchens schemes start from £25,000.

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.

To boost comfort and style, dress it up with a mix of cushions and throws so guests can casually chat and stay seated for longer. Roundhouse bespoke furniture starts at £5000.

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.

The New Deco kitchen from Martin Moore includes an island banquette upholstered in a hardwearing fabric with the base clad in marble. Martin Moore kitchens start from £35,000.

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.

A similar bespoke design, which has a lot of structural elements, would cost around £3850.

You may also enjoy: How to plan a kitchen: Your essential guide

Featured image: U-shaped island with an integrated banquette from Sola Kitchens.

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