How to Build DIY Kitchen Banquette Seating

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Sharing how we built a DIY banquette bench for our kitchen with this step-by-step tutorial on a built-in kitchen bench.

Adding DIY banquette bench seating to our kitchen has been something we’ve wanted to do since moving in several years ago. Our kitchen essentially connects to a small breakfast area, that is then connected to living room. One long skinny room! The breakfast area and den are separated by a small half wall, which we have kept to avoid little ones backing their chair off the ledge of the den.

Now that our kids are old enough that keeping the half wall wasn’t a necessity, we considered ripping it out. But then thought, why not turn it into built-in banquette bench seating and give ourselves a little more space in this area WHILE adding seating. It just makes sense all around!

DIY banquette bench

It was important for me that this be timeless in our “dining room.” I know there are tutorials out there that utilize treatments and fancy trim. But at the end of the day, I wanted this banquette bench to age well, never go out of style, and blend in to the surroundings with our dining table. So in this tutorial, you will find a very classic DIY banquette bench. Perfect for small spaces and adding some extra seating and charm!

Below, I am sharing exactly how we built our DIY banquette bench!
*To note, this bench is being built onto a half wall, but the same rules will apply minus a few tweaks.

SUPPLIES FOR BUILDING DIY BANQUETTE BENCH:

*To note: This may vary depending on where you are building your bench and your dimensions. Most supplies can be purchased at your local Home Depot.

(1) 2×2 sheet sanded plywood (if bench requires 2 ends, then 2 sheets or (1) 2×4 sheet)
(3) pine panels – (1) 8×16 & (2) 8×20
2x4s (4 to 6)
8 ft. long 1×4
Shoe trim cut to bench length
Baseboards or floor trim 
Liquid nails or wood glue (extra support, not necessary)
Wood Screws:
2 1/2″ Spax screws
1 3/4″ Spax screws (to use on areas that need a shorter screw)
Caulk (if painting) & Caulk Gun
Paint or Stain – We used Behr Cabinet Enamel in Simply White Semi-Gloss.
Kilz 3 Primer 
High Density Roller Brushes
80 grit and 220 grit sandpaper
Orbital sander (or sleeves of sandpaper if you have a lot of grit and determination)
Wood filler
Brad nails 
Table saw
Miter saw (chop saw) or circular saw
Jigsaw
Stud finder
Putty knife
Nail Gun/Brad Nailer
Tape Measure
Throw pillow covers from my favorite Country Road Textiles for extra pizazz !

DIY banquette bench

We chose not to add a pillow or cover to the bench because of this season of our lives. I knew if we had any fabric on our banquette bench, it would quickly be ruined by sticky little fingers! I want this thing HIGHLY wipeable. That being said, I’ve seen some great tutorials for making your own bench pillows if you decide to go this direction!

*We did not make this a storage bench, but you could easily make some adjustments to the bench top it so.


STEP-BY-STEP FOR DIY BANQUETTE SEATING:

1. The first step to building a kitchen banquette is to remove baseboards and trim pieces if present.

2. The next step is to mark wall studs using a pencil and stud finder.

DIY BANQUETTE BENCH

3. Use 2×4’s to build squares for the base. Number of squares, height and depth of squares will vary based on your desired bench dimensions.

4. Mount base squares to wall (at marked stud lines) and floor, using Liquid Nails and Spax screws.

5. Cut birch plywood or pine board panels to height for the front panel. Make sure that whatever you use, the corners are squared.

6. Mount front panel using LN and Spax.
**Make sure to countersink the screws so that you can hide them later.

7. Repeat steps 5 & 6 for the seat section.

8. Cut angled back support beams based on how far you’d like the back to lean. We found 3 inch diameter across the bottom to be most comfortable!

9. Mount beams to stud lines on wall (LN and Spax). Use these as your end caps for the back board, or you’ll have to cut and install extra pieces.

10. Cut and mount the back piece and install at the angle provided by the supports.

11. Install top piece along the length of the bench at the necessary size and desired shape. Because ours ended at the half wall, we simply added a 1x 6 cut to the needed height to cover the space from the top of the bench to the bottom of the new board we installed across the top of the half wall and then applied trim on the other side of the wall.

12. Cut the 2×2 sanded plywood to fit the space at the end(s). Mount using LN and Spax.

13. Fill screw holes with wood putty. 

14. Let dry and sand smooth.

15. Install shoe trim to cover the gap where the back meets the seat.

diy kitchen bench

16. Caulk seams of the shoe trim and any spots where boards meet or boards end on the wall. “Paper towel trick” for larger gaps (we have learned that when there are large gaps, we can fill majority with paper towels and then caulk over that). Don’t judge, it works! LOL

17. Sand everything with a high grit sandpaper disc. We used 220 discs with the orbital sander.

18. Install desired baseboard or trim around the bench. We chose primed pine 1x4s instead of quarter round or standard baseboard.

19.  Apply at least 2 layers of Kilz primer. Don’t skip this part! Remember, this thing is going to live some life, so you want the paint to be as chip-proof as possible! This also helps a TON with cover knot holes in the wood. We used a smooth to semi-smooth surface 3/8″ roller brush for this step.

20. After primer has dried, seal with paint! We chose to use the same paint we used on our kitchen cabinets – Behr Cabinet Enamel in Semi-Gloss Finish (color matched to Simply White by Benjamin Moore to match the warm white of our walls). We did 2 coats of this, but allow the first to fully dry before painting the second coat.

We used a high-density foam roller to apply this for the smoothest coat possible!

This paint gives such a quality finish. I chose semi-gloss finish for an easier clean-up because, well, kids.

diy kitchen bench
diy breakfast bench
diy banquette bench
DIY banquette bench

All of our throw pillows are from Country Road Textiles on etsy. I had the good fortune of meeting this sweet family at a craft show and fell in love with absolutely everything Nancy makes. Everything is of the highest quality, so beautiful, and the products are made by the sweetest of people. Cannot recommend this small business highly enough!

I am SO glad we went ahead with this project. I sat on it for too long, and now I have no idea why. The kitchen bench added immediate classic charm.

I hope this post helps you on your own DIY banquette bench journey!

Until next time (and good luck!),
Courtney


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