Kitchen banquettes or breakfast nooks — however you refer to them, they have one thing in common: a delightful, cozy charm that invites you to sit and take five. But what gives these areas their easygoing appeal? Maybe it’s the combination of relaxed seating paired with the sociable kitchen location, or maybe it’s their association with casual restaurant diners.
Whatever their attraction, kitchen banquettes offer an easy and versatile seating solution for many spaces that otherwise couldn’t accommodate a table. Check out this selection to whet your appetite.
Focus on family time.
An alcove is an ideal spot for a kitchen booth, as the side walls can be used as the backs of the benches, with the table in the center. For a relaxed, family-friendly look, decorate the walls with photos and drawings. The benches can also be built for storage.
RELATED: 10 of the coziest breakfast nooks
Segue from casual to formal.
For a multipurpose booth that covers all your bases, pair an elegant dining table and chairs with casual bench seating, so you can dress it up for a grown-up dinner or keep it relaxed for a quick breakfast.
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Tip: Make sure the built-in seating is standard dining chair height—and factor in the height of any cushion that sits on top.
Likewise, this setting is both chic and laid-back, thanks to a free-standing bench alongside a majestic dining chair at the head of the table.
Make it tea for two.
A breakfast nook is a great idea for compact kitchens that can’t quite squeeze in a standard table. A narrow bench fitted to the wall can be paired with a similarly narrow table to offer a brilliant space-saving solution. Cozy up the bench with pillows to make it even more appealing.
Carve out a cute corner.
A round table gives this simple setup contemporary appeal. An upholstered bench sits snugly in the corner, making use of every inch, while dining chairs can be used on the other side of the table for more seating when necessary. It’s the perfect solution for a tight space.
Similarly, this tiny nook tucked into the corner makes the most of an unused spot. Extending the bench backs high up the wall creates the illusion of more space and adds a punch of bold color to the otherwise neutral decor.
Kitchen-dining areas are the hub of activity in most homes, so it pays to decorate them with homey appeal, just as you would your living room. Tie in the colors and textures you’ve used in the kitchen by selecting matching pillows and window treatments for a cohesive feel.
Create a friendly focal point.
If your kitchen lacks a focal point, a banquette can bring instant impact. Pair a comfortable bench seat with a robust dining table and sit it against the backdrop of a blackboard wall to create a family-friendly, usable space that grabs attention.
Aim for intimacy.
Keep the chaos of the kitchen out of view by building a tall back for your bench seat. Not only does this create a cozy dining space, it also provides plenty of back support that can be softened with pillows.
Introduce low-level seating.
Make the most of garden views by keeping the bench seating below windowsill level. The space below the benches can be maximized with cubbyhole storage — ideal for shoes, books and backpacks.
Slice the end off a galley.
Slender kitchens can prove tricky when it comes to creating an eat-in space, but sacrifice one end of the room and you’ll achieve a fabulous dining area that will make all the difference. Wrap bench seating around the compact corner, team it with a small table and hang a striking pendant to draw the gaze.
Sink into some pillows.
To keep your booth super casual, display an abundance of plump pillows along the benches and use low stools to continue the relaxed, pull-up-a-perch look.
Work in a slice of Americana.
Take a cue from retro diners and install 1950s-style banquette seating, maybe in sugary-sweet pink or pistachio. Continue the stylized look with a period pendant and black and white flooring. Now all you need to do is whip up a milkshake!
Go big with custom seating.
Highlight the drama of a stunning window with tailor-made, wraparound banquette seating. Choose a tufted back for a classic effect and stick to a neutral color, so you can change the look with pillows when the seasons shift.
Make it elegant.
Nothing shouts luxury and style more than tufted seating in a sumptuous fabric. Heighten the glamour with chic pillows and accessories, but stick to a simple palette.
Factor in folding chairs.
In open-plan rooms where space is limited, a booth with foldaway chairs will tackle the issue of entertaining head on. Choose the same pale palette for the backdrop and bench so the room remains light, bright and airy, then opt for chairs that can be packed away when not in use.
Celebrate a contemporary mix.
Bold pendant lights are a surefire way to give a kitchen banquette a sense of containment and intimacy. Hang the lights low to bring attention to their design and choose an odd number for more visual impact.
Go sleek and slimline.
You might be leaning toward a sharp, minimalist look, but make sure your nook still offers plenty of comfort by fitting the backrest cushion at an angle to create support.