Because chairs need to slide in and out, a table-and-chairs set isn't always the most efficient way to furnish an informal eating area. If space is at a premium, consider a banquette. It occupies less than half the floor space a table and chairs require yet seats the same number of people.
Plus, banquettes strike our fancy for the same reasons we choose a booth in a restaurant: privacy, intimacy, and camaraderie. Besides the standard restaurant booth setup, banquette options include U shapes, L shapes, semicircles, and hybrids combining bench seats and chairs. Although box seats work especially well in recessed areas, you can build a banquette flush against a wall, too. A booth for four with fixed seating can fit into a 42x60-inch space.
For banquettes, the standard height for the table is 30 inches and for the benches is 18 inches, leaving 12 inches from the top of the bench to the table surface. Let the table overlap the benches by 3 or 4 inches on each side. For more legroom, set the benches back a few inches and add a "heel kick" on the floor below the table overlap.
Allow a minimum of 21 inches of table and seating width per person. Also allow 18 inches of seating depth, not counting the back support.
For U-shape banquettes, allow 54 inches for each leg of the U and 78 inches for the rear bench. U shapes need more generous dimensions to avoid knee-squeezing corners.
Avoid knocking knees by pairing a pedestal table with banquette-style seating. This configuration makes getting in and out of the bench easier by leaving space open below, plus it makes room to pull up an extra chair or two.
Decorating a Banquette
Here, banquette-style seating tucks into a formal dining room. If you want to relax the atmosphere in a formal eating area, consider introducing a casual banquette into the design. The comfortable seating is especially appealing if you use your dining area for multiple purposes, such as occasional office space, as a children's homework station, or for game nights.
Conversely, if you desire elegance in a banquette area, consider a rounded bench shape. A pedestal table works especially well with a curved bench. Because this table is anchored at the center, it more easily fits within the curve of the bench. Table legs might prevent a table from fitting snugly against the bench, making dining uncomfortable. Also, for the table to be close enough to the seats, the table legs might be too close to the bench, making it difficult for diners to get in and out of the banquette space.
More for You
Imagine the possibilities for your breakfast nook. Whether you want casual comfort, modern elegance, or another chic style, these ideas will inspire you.
Check out more banquette design ideas that add panache to any dining niche.
See how your dining space can become a multipurpose gem in three simple stages.