Adding DIY Banquette bench seating to our dining room was a great upgrade to our space. Learn how to make a built in bench, how much it costs to build a banquette and the changes that we’ve added to our space since we built this a few years back.
First off, let me say that we built this bench in 2015 and have, since then, improved it a bit with trim along the kitchen banquette front and leather cushions instead of upholstery on the bench. I’ll make sure to share how each of those additional projects added to the bench and our space.
DIY Banquette Seating (What to Expect)
Depending on how large your built in bench is going to be (ours was around 10′), you can make the dining banquette for around $150 for the wood and construction supplies.
Like I mentioned up above, we changed a few things around over the past few years on the upholstery. When I originally did this project, I upholstered fabric to the top of the banquette seating. I bought discount fabric and the padding, foam and fabric came to around $100.
A few years ago, the fabric needed to be upgraded so I splurged a bit and had leather cushions made for the banquette. Leather is expensive and sewing leather is rather challenging so if you wanted to go this route, I would expect to pay around $600 or so for this part of the project.
In all projects like this, you have to consider how big of a space you are working in. Like I mentioned, I was working with banquette seating that was around 10′. If you had a smaller area, then of course, you’re price would go drastically down. Just something to keep in mind.
A slight tweak to our build that you could do to save money is build your back support of the bench on the wall. We knew we were replacing the flooring so we wanted our built-in to be moveable. But, you could definitely save money and time by attaching the back to the wall.
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Kitchen Banquette Supplies Needed
NOTE: These measurements are what worked for our kitchen. Sizes will vary.
- (4) 12ft 2×4’s
- (2) 8ft 2×4’s
- (2) Sanded/finished plywood pieces, cut to 62″ x 24.5″
- 2″ wood screws
- Hitachi C10FCE2 15-Amp 10-inch Single Bevel Compound Miter Saw
- Circular saw
- Tape measure
- Wood clamps
- Kreg Jig K4 Pocket Hole System
- 3/4″ particle board 24″ x 133.5″
- Air compressor and nail gun
- Wood glue
- Trim (if you want the more finished look)
- Primer and paint
- Foam (best price ever on foam!)
- Stapler (if you are stapling fabric down instead of making a banquette with cushions)
Alright, now that you have your supplies… let’s get started!
DIY Banquette Bench
Step 1: Cut the 2×4’s for the bench frame
Measure your wall. If you do not have a bump out or any irregularities, then cut (4) 2×4’s to 1 inch shorter than your wall length. *We have a bump out so our back pieces (2) were cut to 123 (1 inch shorter than our wall of 124 inches) and our front 2 pieces were cut to 133.5 inches (about one foot shorter than the front span of the area).
Step 2: Cut Upright and Bottom Supports
First things first, decide what height you want your bench to be and make sure to account for wood and foam.
How High Should Banquette Seating be?
If you have a table and chairs and like the chair height (our chairs were 18.5 inches) then take the chair height and use that height to start with.
Our measurements were: 2×4 (actually 3.5 inches) + 9.5 inches (2×4 supports) + 2×4 (3.5 inches) + 3/4 inch particle board + Batting + 3 inch foam. Our bench height ended up being 20.5 inches.
We cut 12 (six for the front and six for the back) 2×4 supports at 9.5 inches. We cut 6 floor supports at 20.5 inches.
Step 3: Attach Supports
Attach your floor supports first. You can drill in from the long 2×4’s on each side to make this easy. We eye-balled the spacing.
On each of your upright supports, use the Kreg jig to make holes to attach the screws on the support to the bottom 2×4. It’s also good to use wood glue on these because the slanted screws (from the Kreg jig are not as strong as vertical screws would be). See below.
On the 2×4’s that span the wall, mark where your upright 2×4’s hit and use the Kreg jig and wood glue again to attach the 2×4’s together.
Once you’ve attached the bottom 2×4 to the upright supports and then the top 2×4, this step is completed.
Step 4: Cut Top Supports and Attach
Cut 6 more 2×4 supports at 20.5 inches. Attach with Kreg jig and wood glue. Screw into the supports from the outside on both sides. Again, we eye-balled the placement but it was very similar to the flooring supports.
Step 5: Measure the Top and Have It Cut
Most hardware stores will cut wood for you. We measured for the top (it was 24 inches by 167) and had the particle board piece cut in-store. Attach by drilling wood screws down into the frame.
Step 6: Troubleshoot Bump-out and Attach All Pieces
Once the top piece was on, we still had to troubleshoot the bump-out piece. Luke made a cardboard template of the space and then used a jig saw to cut it out of the particle board.
We placed a few screws in the particle board to attach it firmly to the 2×4 frame.
Step 7: Upholster
Now is a good time to upholster the top if you are going to go that route. If you are going to have a banquette with cushions (which is what I’d recommend, then skip this step).
We placed the foam down first and then used the cardboard template from step 6 to get the foam piece for the bump-out.
Lay the batting over the foam and staple.
Trim up any excess batting.
Lay the fabric over the batting and staple (making sure to pull tightly as you go along).
Step 8: Finish Front and Side
Using 1/4 inch plywood, cut it to size for the front and side panel. Prime and paint. Attach to the front and sides with a nail gun.
Fill any nail holes with nail filler, let dry, sand and paint.
We stopped here when we did this back in 2015. Here’s how it looked:
In 2017, the upholstery had lived its life and needed to be replaced. I knew that I loved leather and wanted to go that route. You can read about the leather bench seat in detail if you’d like but here’s a synopsis of what I did:
I took the foam pieces and the leather to a local upholstery shop and they sewed the cushions for me with zippers. 4 years later and they are still going strong!
Around that same time, we decided to trim out the front of the bench seat with some simple all-purpose trim. We ran it on the top and bottom of the front and then had one seam down the middle. To attach, we just used a nail gun. A little wood filler and paint, was all it took to help make the banquette look even more polished.
I really love how the DIY banquette turned out and it’s so functional. If I could change one thing, it might have been to go with a little better quality front/sides. When the sun is in full-force in our kitchen, you can see variations in the paint. But, really that’s being super picky. Otherwise, I really adore it.
What’s your take? Would you do a bench seat in your kitchen?