Cramped for seating space in your kitchen? Try installing a banquette

If your dining area is on the small side, experts say to consider installing a built-in banquette. Banquettes can maximize seating while adding a cafe-cool vibe. They also offer comfort and flexibility, and can even include storage underneath the seats. They can fit snugly into a corner or stretch along a wall for more expansive seating.

Urban dining

In an open-plan space, which must accommodate a kitchen, living area and dining space, a sense of refined modernism and space can be maintained throughout by squeezing in a fitted banquette along one wall. In this sleek city penthouse designed for a busy bachelor, there are a number of custom-built elements, including the built-in banquette along a recessed wall seen here.

Refined tastes

Even though many associate a built-in dining space with the old-fashioned kitchen nook, sophistication can be brought to the forefront when there is a consideration of materials. Here, the banquette’s cream upholstery is supported by a wooden base, adding elegance to the eating zone. While the dining suite makes a strong statement, it’s beautifully complemented by the room’s seriously stylish artwork, lighting, wallcovering and accessories.

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Retro diner

Pure white makes a small space seem larger, and this banquette with a semicircle shape adds a retro-inspired diner feel, making it more casual in the minimalist space.

Crowd pleaser

When the dining area has an angled ceiling, creativity is required to make sure no space is wasted. Setting the banquette seat forward means guests won’t need to bend when they get up, and the unit behind the seat can be used as a handy storage space.

Best (window) seat in the house

A banquette seat under a window is both stylish and space-saving. Here, the area can be used for dining, and there’s enough room to include a built-in bookshelf. With a setup like this, if you feel like spreading out, you can move the table away and have a perfect spot to lie back for an afternoon read — or a quick nap.

Kitchen corner

With the banquette seating placed back to back with a comfy sofa, this small space has been well utilized. The banquette continues under the windowsills so everyone can fit around the unusual quarter-circle table, and the view is uninterrupted when only a couple of people are dining. The upholstery follows an ocean-inspired color palette, and the wooden legs have been painted to match the walls and ceiling.

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Tight but right

In this tight space, guests would have been frustrated if the dining table had been positioned in the center of the room. It would be hard for them to get past one another, and the door wouldn’t fully open. Adding a banquette seat and moving the table to one side has made the space completely usable. Plus, the pristine white of the banquette works superbly with the interior’s Hamptons-inspired look.

Eat and run

When the dining area is right beside an entrance or a hallway, it’s essential that the thoroughfare is uninterrupted with no dining chairs sticking out. This corner banquette provides an elegant solution and has enough room to seat six people.

In the round

A curved banquette allows more guests to squeeze in around the table. While this area is quite small, it’s possible to comfortably seat six, with plenty of space for people to move around the room.

Cozy and cool

Tartan upholstery is a bold move, but it not only makes the space cozy, it also sets the color tone of the room. The wall-mounted lighting adds direct illumination over the table while looking like a structural artwork. This banquette allows the room to utilize all of its space efficiently and provides the perfect spot to gaze out into the courtyard.

Long and lean

Here, the banquette seat is much longer than the table, giving it a more casual feel. The seat sits perfectly under the window, creating symmetry, while the built-in unit provides handy yet discreet storage. Additionally, the table can be moved out of the way to offer flexible seating for party guests.

Real simple

If you have a penchant for midcentury design, a banquette seat can look right at home. Here, the rather traditional striped upholstery of the banquette is a nice counterpoint to the modernist Saarinen table, Eames chairs and Poul Henningsen pendant light. As a bonus, the banquette pulls double duty with discreet built-in storage.


Flexibility is key here. The banquette fills the space and provides a handy dining zone at one end. The area can also double as a casual lounge. There’s space to lie down, kick back, enjoy some music or read, or it can be turned into a handy workspace.

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