How to make a dining banquette for kitchen or dining room
The holidays were busy this year with family and friends popping in. I realised that it would be nice to have a place in the kitchen where friends could sit and chat, or sit down for a casual meal. The banquette has been around for many years and has been in and out of fashion many times, but it still manages to rise to the occasion as the most popular option for dining in a small open plan kitchen-dining room, or in a larger kitchen where there is no dining room.
If you like the idea of an eat-in kitchen or don't have the luxury of a dining room, fitting a dining banquette in a small corner or against a wall allows you to seat up to 6 comfortably without taking up valuable floor space.
What's really nice about a banquette is that it fits into a small space yet still provides plenty of seating, and even more if you add chairs to the mix.
No matter what style of banquette you want to build for your kitchen or dining space, it all starts with a basic frame. You will need a frame that is sturdy and won't fall apart on you when guests sit down, so work out the length of the space where the banquette will be situated and divide this into partitions of about 500mm wide. This means that no matter how long the banquette, there will be supports at 500mm intervals along the total length.
A combination of PAR pine upright and cross-supports will provide a strong framework onto which you can apply 6mm or 9mm MDF panels for framing the front and sides, and a 16mm MDF top. You will find a selection of PAR pine at your local Builders and 20 x 69mm planks will allow you to construct an affordable banquette. The construction of a freestanding frame allows you to move the banquette around if required, or take with you if you are renting, and also hides screws. The lighter MDF panels can be glued onto the frame with Pattex No More Nails and panel pins.
Building the banquette onto a basic frame also allows you more freedom to choose the style of banquette you want for your kitchen or dining room. You can even mount hinges onto the seat to provide extra storage space inside the frame.
Mix it up with a rustic solid wood table and contemporary chairs and create a comfortable space to dine with family and friends. You can easily make your own dining table using PAR pine or Meranti, or popular hardwoods such as mahogany, oak and teak.
Once you have the framed bench sorted, all that's left to do is to make your own upholstered seat cushions. And it's not that difficult if you have a sewing machine and basic sewing skills. Take a look at how I made the upholstered seat cushions for my outdoor sofa - and I'm terrible at sewing!