How to Build a Banquette / Built-in Kitchen Bench

9 Materials
3 Hours

Built-in seating -- or a banquette -- is a fantastic way to add seating and storage to a dinette or breakfast nook. Here's how I built my own bench to fit my eating area...
Looks difficult? Not really ...
This was one of those projects that was surprisingly simple. I build this banquette for around $150 in two afternoons of work.  It fits with my farmhouse round plank table (which you can see how I built here) and keeps the kitchen walkway open.
First, find your studs and mark them along the wall.  This tool was very helpful (so was my son who thinks this is the latest and greatest thing). 
Next, figure out your bench size and cut your pieces.  I'm have a 42" round table here, so I wanted one side of my banquette to be 48" L, the other was limited by a vent, so was a little shorter on the side under the window. 
Keep in mind:
Standard seat height is 18", I'm using 3/4" plywood, so all my pieces needed to be cut at 17.25".
Standard seat depth is about 15", this is my other dimension.  This allows for lots of storage without a big footprint.   
Then, screw your 2x4 supports into the studs on the wall, then begin building out from there.  I secured the 3/4" plywood to the studs using my nail gun (I rarely do a project without this tool).  You will need one cleat along the back of the bench - this was just a piece of scrap wood I screwed into the stud. 
Once the bases were built, I measured for the top.  I wanted mine to have hinges so I cut a 3" strip down the back and attached hinges.  (If you don't need extra storage, you would simply nail the entire top to the base along the edges.)
I trimmed the edges for a finished look.  I like to use 1/4" lattice for trim, it's easy to use and work with.  I just kept the design simple and made a box.  Then I filled in any nail holes or gaps with Bondo. 
Once the building is complete, the fun part is the painting!  I mixed a custom color using General Finishes Driftwood and Snow White Milk Paint to match my tuxedo-painted kitchen cabinets. My full blog post has the mix and steps for painting this bench.
Now, step back and admire your work!  Yay!  It's not perfect, but I built it, and I'm pretty proud of that!  Now the table can be pushed back into that corner a little closer, which gives us more space.

I *may* add cushions at some point, but the first dinner we ate sitting at the bench there were little spaghetti finger prints all over it - so to save this momma's sanity, it may just be wipe-able painted wood for this season of life with no cushions.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Jenni Ingram

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


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2 of 4 comments
  • Linda Abate
    on May 12, 2019

    Nice job on your banquette. These are so practical especially if you hinge the top for extra storage of some of the larger pans that get used a couple times a year. Something that can be dressed up with paint or stain, adding stenciling to it or a pretty cushion or toss pillows. A job to be proud of.

  • Krafty Mrs.K
    on May 13, 2019

    I remember those sticky finger prints days. I reupholster a bench with a heavy vinyl table cloth to match my daughter's curtains and linens. You could have a wipeable cushion to match a table cloth.

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