Mock-up first for a perfect banquette, Round 1

Banquettes, or built-in diner-style seating, can be a great solution for seating in a small area. Before you make the commitment, consider these factors:

  • One person on each side will be pinned-in. Just like when you are at a restaurant, when the person next to the wall needs to get up for some reason, the person on the open side will have to move.  
  • The pictures in magazines can make uncomfortable seats look appealing.  
  • A custom-built banquette is an expensive item, so you need to get it just right.  

Common design mistakes include:

  • hard seat backs that are not sloped
  • window sills that press against your spine or neck
  • seat bottoms that are not deep enough to be comfortable
  • too-hard seat bottoms
  • too-small tables
  • table legs in the way of maneuvering in & out
  • not enough knee space

There are some guidelines for banquette seating, but the most important thing is to get it right for YOU.


Mock-up first for a perfect banquette, Round 1
A tiny table, barely big enough for two, became impossible with a little one came along. The table was too small for basic place-settings, and the third person's chair would be far away from the table because there is no knee-space at the open side of the table.


Mock-up first for a perfect banquette, Round 1

Using a piece of 32" x 42" sheet of foam-core (available at art-supply stores) and chairs borrowed from the dining room, this mock-up allowed the homeowners to try the idea out. They determined that the basic idea was comfortable and functional, the table would be better a little longer (44"), the seat height is just right, and the subtle slope of the seat back works well. They also decided that a custom bench could be a little wider than the width of the two chairs together.