Essential Tips for Designing a Banquette That Fits Your Space and Family

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.

Because the seats will 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 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 and intimacy than stand-alone tables 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. Check out our planning tips for designing an attractive, functional banquette.

open kitchen dining area
Lincoln Barbour

Necessary Measurements for Designing a Banquette

The table for a banquette should be 30 inches high. An 18-inch-tall bench for seating leaves 12 inches from the top of the bench to the table surface. A 3- or 4-inch table overlap makes for the most comfortable seating. 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 will need to be seated 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.

breakfast nook with built-in banquette and white table
Joyelle West

Banquette Design Tips

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

yellow themed dining room
Richard Leo Johnson

Apart from eat-in kitchens and breakfast nooks, banquette-style seating works well in a separate dining room. If you want to make a formal eating area more relaxing, consider introducing a casual banquette into the design. This comfortable seating option works well if you use your dining area as an occasional office space, a children's homework station, or for game nights. A banquette offers versatile seating and makes a smart choice for small dining rooms.

Nook dining area with booth seating and wooden table
Erica George Dines

Conversely, consider a rounded bench shape if you want to add more elegance to a banquette area. A pedestal table is the best choice for a curved or angled bench. Choosing a table with legs might prevent the table from fitting snugly against the bench, making dining uncomfortable. Table legs can also sit too close to the seating, making it hard to get in out of the space. For a better fit, choose a table with a pedestal base and a top matching the curve of the bench.

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