The banquette, made popular in the diner era, has made its way into the home kitchen for good reasons: It's space efficient, it's customizable, and for a family kitchen, it just might be the perfect solution to any issue a child can throw at it.
Banquettes are built-in seats tucked into a corner to save space in a kitchen or nook. They can be designed in an L shape or as parallel benches, and can be used with or without chairs. Whatever configuration you choose, figure on a minimum of 21 inches of seating and table width per person and 18 inches of seating depth.
Architect David Burton recommends allowing a minimum of 7 feet by 6 feet for a comfortable L-shape design with room for benches, a table and chairs. You’ll also need clearance around the chairs for a comfortable walkway.
Burton's firm designed the banquette shown here for a galley kitchen remodel. Built by Mueller Nicholls, it includes a built-in bookcase for homework, art supplies and cookbooks. Because it's located safely out of the cooking area, the banquette serves as a family gathering spot that extends well beyond mealtime. The base is made of standard cabinet drawers that match the kitchen’s alder cabinetry. The seat and back have the same wood in a complementary finish.
How to make it happen. The cost of building a banquette varies depending on many factors. It can be more expensive if it's a standalone job versus part of a larger remodel. Additional storage will add cost, as will higher-quality materials and finishes. Entrusting your design to an architect or interior designer will ensure that it's consistent with the overall look and feel of the space. Then turn it over to a trusted cabinetmaker for the best results.
Its scale makes large family gatherings both manageable and comfortable. Adults get the chairs, while children easily hop onto kid-friendly benches.
Tip: Pillows upholstered in an inexpensive material can serve as boosters to bring smaller children up to a convenient height.
Having easy access to plastic cups, napkins, placemats and silverware within banquette drawers, kids can be tasked with age-appropriate chores like setting the table and unloading the dishwasher. This banquette from Krieger + Associates Architects matches the rest of the kitchen’s pulls and Poggenpohl cabinetry.
Adding a tall, cushioned back akin to the one on this banquette from Savvy Interiors can help keep little bouncers from hitting their heads. The height of the bench's back and a sophisticated pattern on the upholstery add drama and glamour.
Tell us: Is a banquette the perfect seating solution in your house? We'd love to see your photo in the Comments section below.
Photos: Browse more banquette designs
By: Tiffany Carboni (Houzz)
The Ladue House, original photo on Houzz