Banquette seating, essentially, is built-in bench seating for your dining table. You often see banquettes in bistro-style restaurants as it maximizes seating space without taking up a lot of real estate.
Some banquettes are upholstered, some are not. They can be straight along a wall, or they could be wrap-around, such as if you had a booth-style eating area in your kitchen. In short, they can be as simple or as fancy as you like.
The one thing that banquettes are not, however, are moveable. Since they are installed in place, they will remain there.
Banquettes For Small Or Challenging Spaces
We have designed a few banquettes to provide seating around a kitchen island, so the banquette would be on one side and loose chairs on the other. We would do banquettes in an eat-in kitchen as opposed to a dining room, but that’s not a hard-and-fast rule. However, it likely wouldn’t look as great in a formal dining room.
In rooms that are a little challenged for space, banquettes can give you a lot of extra seating without taking up too much room. If the area is too small, or too odd-shaped, to put a table and chairs in, we might suggest two facing banquettes with the table in the middle. It’s a huge space-saver.
In one example, a customer of ours wasn’t going to have room for a separate dining room; but, they wanted their dining area to feel more separated, and they wanted to have seating for several people. In the end, it was still part of the kitchen, but it presented as a less formal dining room space.
Additionally, a banquette can give you some extra storage beneath the benches or with drawers installed in the ends.
Banquettes: Cost And Design Considerations
As stated, banquettes can be very simple and understated, or they can be quite fancy. Where you’ll see a higher cost is in the finishes you choose, for example, the padding and upholstery fabric, installing custom inset drawers, or doing elaborate trim work.
You’ll also have to panel around it to make it look like it’s built-in. Depending on the décor in your home, this could also drive up the cost.
Getting the slope on the backrest can be a little tricky too. You need to get it right to ensure it’s comfortable to sit at.
Banquettes are perfect for spaces where, typically, if you had a table there, you probably wouldn’t have space for chairs. You can be right up against the wall, or the corner, and have your table a lot closer than you would with loose chairs.
Think about a restaurant. The tables you see floating in the middle tend to take up more space than the booths along the edge. They can push the tables right up to the banquette because they don’t need extra space to push the chairs out – they have that separation.
Also, if you have a tight space that backs up to a set of stairs, for example, putting chairs too close to the stairs might not be practical or safe. If someone were to push out their chair to get up, it might fall down the stairs, but if you have a banquette, you would be sliding out one end so it wouldn’t be such a hazard.
Banquette Design: Summing Up
Banquettes can really define a kitchen, make it more interesting. Though people don’t often ask for it, we generally suggest doing a banquette if the space is small and they want to make the most of the space they have.
However, there are cost concerns, and choosing to go this route will definitely be more expensive than it would if you already have a table and chairs in the kitchen. It’s like custom cabinetry, and it would need to match the cabinets you already have in there.
There is also the issue of permanence – even the upholstery, you won’t want to have to change all that once you have put it in, so you’ll have to make sure it’s something you can live with for a while.
In conclusion, a banquette can be a space-saving, beautifying, and practical feature in your kitchen. If you are getting ready to remodel your kitchen and looking for ways to maximize your space, adding a banquette is a great way to go.
Reach out today to learn more about banquette seating and to find out how we can help.
Brittany received her interior design degree in 2010 and recently earned her kitchen and bathroom certifications. She sees her job as much more than just picking out pretty colors and materials – it also involves exact measurements, plenty of planning, and determining how to have a space accurately reflect the lifestyle of its occupants.