15 Reasons Your Kitchen Needs A Banquette
Flip through an issue of House & Home and a beautiful kitchen banquette is bound to pop up. They’re a popular addition in today’s kitchen, and are loved by designers and homeowners alike. So, what makes bench seating so special? Here are just a few of our favorite things about banquettes.
They make room for a crowd. Have a big family or piles of friends who love to drop by? The most obvious benefit of opting for a long bench, as opposed to a series of chairs, is that there’s room for everyone to congregate (or squish!) around the table.
They’re fairly simple to add in. Bringing a bench into your kitchen and topping it with cushions is an easy weekend project. (Prefer the look of a built-in piece that’s custom-fit to your space? Prepare for a longer timeline and greater investment.)
They can inject a shot of color. H&H senior design editor Joel Bray went with green velvet cushions on this kitchen’s generous, U-shaped banquette. A leafy hue like this really enlivens an otherwise neutral room.
… or a hit of pattern. Use a banquette as an opportunity to layer prints, like homeowners Kenny and Michelle Gemmill did in their cheerful family kitchen. We love how they paired nautical-striped throw pillows with exotic, ikat-patterned seat cushions.
They provide hidden storage. Go for a banquette with drawers in its base to keep special-occasion linens, seasonal accents and serving pieces neatly tucked away. Here, designer and former H&H editor Sarah Hartill used simple cabinets from Ikea.
They turn dinner tables into homework zones. For longer study sessions, plush benches are much more appealing than dining chairs. They’re also great for collaborative craft projects, letting kids work comfortably side-by-side.
They’re casual enough for the cottage. Designer Heidi Smith’s cottage dining area is perfect for laid-back entertaining with its quirky blend of lighting and seating. A couple mismatched pillows tossed on the L-shaped banquette enhance its relaxed look.
…but they can also look luxe. In this elegant kitchen, designer James McIntyre brought in a long, curvy sofa and sculptural pedestal table to create a banquette-style breakfast area. The effect is equal parts chic and comfortable.
…or deliver retro charm. Homeowners Merle Alexander and Tamara Napoleon, pictured with son Elijah, love their charming diner-like banquette. Walls of subway tile and classic bistro chairs play off its throwback style.
Vinyl versions are easy to clean. If wiping up spills is a daily occurrence in your household, consider a vinyl–upholstered bench. Here, designer Andrea Armstrong selected a handsome leather-look vinyl, and paired it with equally durable polypropylene chairs.
They can double as bookshelves. We love the idea of stashing dog-eared titles in niches under open benches, like designer Carl Lapointe did in his peaceful country house in Quebec. (Just be sure to place the books deep enough under the seats so they don’t accidentally get kicked.)
They draw the eye to statement windows. Designer Sam Sacks made the most of the bay window in this light-filled kitchen, having a bench custom-built to fit the niche. Creating a banquette-like dining area is simple for the young family: Just remove a couple of chairs and shift the table toward the bench.
They can offer the sink-in comfort of a sofa. We’re not sure we’ve seen a banquette that looks quite as inviting as this this one designed by Philippe Beauparlant. Velvety seat, back and throw cushions look seriously sumptuous.
They can be built to suit smaller spaces. In this family kitchen, a long upholstered bench makes the most of available square footage. A set of deep, built-in drawers makes the design even more practical.
…or help define large, open-concept rooms. It’s important to create zones to keep open living spaces from feeling cold and cavernous. We love how designer Erika Floysvik added a small banquette in her large city condo, nicely delineating her dining area.