A smart configuration will make your banquette a comfortable place to gather for meals and other family activities. Learn how to design your perfect banquette with these planning tips.

By Jessica Bennett
Updated November 11, 2020
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Because the seats will need to slide in and out, a set of table and chairs isn't always the most efficient way to furnish an informal eating area. If dining space is at a premium, consider a banquette. This option occupies less than half the floor space a table and chairs require yet seats the same number of people.

Banquettes are appealing in homes for the same reasons some people prefer booths in restaurants. They provide more privacy, intimacy, and opportunities for camaraderie than a stand-alone table and chairs. Besides the standard restaurant booth setup, banquette design options include U shapes, L shapes, semicircles, and hybrids that combine bench seats and chairs. Although box seats work especially well in recessed areas, you can build a banquette flush against a wall, too. Check out our planning tips for designing an attractive, functional banquette.

Credit: Lincoln Barbour

Important Measurements for Designing a Banquette

For banquette seating, the standard table height is 30 inches with an 18-inch-tall bench, which leaves 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.

When designing a banquette, consider how many people it will need to seat at one time. Allow a minimum of 21 inches of table and seating width per person. You should also allow 18 inches of seating depth, not counting the back support.

For U-shaped banquettes, allow at least 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.

Credit: Joyelle West

Banquette Design Tips

Another simple way to avoid knocking knees is by pairing a pedestal table with banquette-style seating. This configuration makes getting in and out of the bench easier by taking table legs out of the equation and leaving space open below. Additionally, a round pedestal table offers the flexibility to pull up an extra chair or two.

Credit: Richard Leo Johnson

Apart from eat-in kitchens and breakfast nooks, banquette-style seating also works well in a separate dining room. If you want to relax the atmosphere in a formal eating area, for example, consider introducing a casual banquette into the design. The comfortable seating option 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. A banquette offers versatile seating and makes a great choice for small dining rooms.

Credit: Erica George Dines

Conversely, if you want to add more elegance to a banquette area, consider a rounded bench shape. A pedestal table works especially well with a curved or angled 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. For a better fit, choose a table with a pedestal base and a top that matches the curve of the bench.

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