Banquette seating has gained popularity over the past several years, as homes have become more casual. But, what exactly IS banquette seating? Read on to find out…
Banquette seating refers to the built-in benches often found in restaurant seating. While booths and banquettes have always been a cozy way to dine, they have now moved into the residential arena and are showing up in kitchens and family rooms everywhere. These built-in benches enable homeowners to maximize their kitchen eating space while minimizing the footprint of the area, making them ideal for tight spaces. Because you don’t need room to walk behind the seating on one or more sides of the table, it enables you to fit a dining table into a space that may be too crowded with a stand-alone set of table and chairs.
Banquettes can be made into a corner breakfast nook, as in the photo above, or they can be created with a bench seat on just one side of the table, as seen below. Often, the bench seats are upholstered for maximum comfort, but sometimes a simple bench cushion is all that is required.
Although eat-in kitchens are often the place you’ll find banquette seating, these little nooks can also work well in family rooms or bars where a snack area is desired. And, if a built-in bench simply won’t work in your home, you can also create a banquette with furniture, such as these modular banquette benches from Ballard Designs:
Besides being cozy and very efficient with space, banquettes also have another benefit. The benches can be built with lift-up tops or drawers to accommodate additional storage – a huge bonus in a small kitchen.
If you are considering banquette seating for your home, make sure to consider a couple of tips. First, pay attention to the location of any chandelier or light fixture over the table; you may need to move it if you slide your seating area into a corner or closer to a wall. You could call an electrician to accomplish this task, or you could simply add a hook to the ceiling and swag the light over to the proper location.
Also, be sure to choose your dining table carefully. A pedestal or trestle table works best, since folks will be sliding along the bench to sit at the table; tables with legs at each corner make this more difficult. In addition, you want to be sure that your table allows people to get in and out of the bench seat with ease. If you choose one too large, there will not be enough room to easily get in and out. This is especially important when the bench is built into a corner or other nook. The shape of the table is also important; rectangular or oval tables work best in some cases, while round or square tables fit nicely in others.
Whether your home is a modern masterpiece or a traditional gem, banquette seating can work for you – give it a try!