How would you describe your kitchen (or your dream kitchen)? Cozy, classic, modern, eclectic…? Maybe just dirty? 😉 Anything goes depending on your style, and one kitchen feature that is both classic AND popular right now is a corner banquette (or an anywhere banquette, if you don’t have a corner that works). A banquette bench helps maximize space, give some character, and add some storage space (if you choose). Our guest today built her corner banquette bench from scratch:
Built-in Banquette and Shelf | Grey Dog Designs featured on Remodelaholic
Built-In Breakfast Banquette from Recycled Cabinet | Accessorize and Organize featured on Remodelaholic
Corner Banquette | via Better Homes and Gardens
Eclectic Cottage Banquette Nook | via Apartment Therapy
Build a Custom Corner Banquette Bench
by Chelsea the Pinterior Designer
Hi. I’m Chelsea and I’m addicted to DIY. Right now, I’m imagining you all responding with the cliché choral response of “Hi, Chelsea.” It’s true, though. I am addicted to DIY and I’m not afraid to say it. I write a fairly new blog called Pinterior Designer where I share how to’s and stories about how I’m slowly upgrading my builder basic house one project at a time. Unfortunately for my husband, Nate, I DIY on a whim so he’ll often come home from a trip or a long day of work to coated counter tops or a repainted guest room with a faux picture frame design. I’ve learned that I can’t control the crazy, so I’m just embracing it. I’m not quite sure if he feels the same way…
We have a larger kitchen, which I’m not complaining about, there’s just a lot of open space and our hand-me-down table was looking a little lonely. I came up with the genius idea (my opinion, not his) to build our own banquette to fit into our space perfectly. At first, he wasn’t too sure about it, but when I showed him the ideas I had collected from Pinterest he quickly jumped on board. From there, I drew a quick sketch and made some measurements of what exactly I was envisioning. We went to Lowe’s to gather our supplies. We weren’t 100% sure what all we needed, but decided we’d just keep looking till we figured the project out. I think that’s the secret to this whole DIY thing. We’ve accepted that we’re not experts and that we will most likely run into problems along the way. Keeping that perspective in mind helps us accept the fact that we will mess up and our projects won’t always seem perfect at first, but not to give up. We left Lowe’s with a car full of supplies
Here’s what we purchased:
- 2 sheets of plywood (we had Lowe’s rip the boards in half so we could fit it in the car)
- 1 sheet of veneer plywood to use for the front of the bench
- 2 1 x 10 x 8 boards (for the top of the bench)
- 10 2 x 3 studs for the frame
- 8 1 x 3s for the trim and supporting the headboard
- Metal brackets + nuts and bolts to attach the headboard
- Power Sander (or just sand paper)
- Miter Saw Nail Gun + Air Compressor (we wish we had a finish nailer for this project though)
- Circular Saw
The first step was to remove the baseboard and build the frame. If you can build a box, then congratulations! You can do this project!
Use a miter saw to cut your 2 x 3s to the correct measurements. We cut our boards to a length of 76 inches long and the width of the support pieces were 17.5 inches. If we could redo the banquette, I would have done this part differently! I am the literal worst at measuring. We should have made the support pieces only 15 inches long because our banquette is a little too tall once you add the 1 x 10s and the cushion. You win some, you lose some.
Because we didn’t have the correct tools, we made way more work for ourselves. So frustrating. Every time we attached 2 x 3s together, we held them in place with a brad nail, then went back with the drill and secured them with 3.5 inch wood screws. We had a finish nailer in our cart at Lowe’s but decided not to pull the trigger (pun intended) on the purchase. After hours of drilling, we were kicking ourselves for not biting the bullet and just buying it.
Once the first frame was built, we repeated it for the other side of the banquette, but only made the length 70 inches long to fit in the space we had. The next step was attach the 2 frames together with the wood screws.
From there, we added the front of the bench which was a veneer board. Cut the board using a circular saw and attach it to the front using a brad nail gun. Since the veneer is so thin, that’s all it needs to stay in place. We decided not to finish the back side of the banquette because no one would ever see it. Why do extra work for no reason?!
Next up was adding the trim. I wanted to keep the trim modern and coordinate with the board and batten we have in our dining room. We cut the 1 x 3’s using the miter saw and attached using the nail gun only. First, we added the outside border of the trim, then we went back and added the vertical pieces which were 12 and 6/8 long. The end pieces were 14 inches across by 18 inches long.
Next up we attached the headboards which were also custom-made. I scoured Pinterest for inspiration and ended up with a belgrave shaped design. I drew my design on a piece of poster board and traced it on each side. Using the circular saw, we cut out the pattern. The headboards sizes are 76 x 25 and 70 x 25.
Next, I adhered 1.5 inch foam from Joann’s with spray adhesive. Cover the entire headboard with batting and attach with a staple gun.
Then, upholster the headboard with fabric. I used a faux vinyl-like clearance fabric from Joann’s that cost about $12 per yard. I bought 4 yards just to be safe and I have plenty left over. This was one of my first times trying to upholster anything and there was a ton of trial and error involved. Brooke, from All Things Thrifty, has a ton of great tutorials so I wouldn’t have been able to complete this project if it wasn’t for her great instructions.
To attach the headboard we used 2 different methods. For the left bench, we used metal brackets that we bought from Lowe’s. We chose the brackets because the bench needed to sit flush against the wall and this allowed there to be almost no gap between the bench and the wall.
Before upholstering the headboard, Nate drilled a hole for the bolt, stuck it through, and screwed the nut on to keep it in place. Once it was time to attach the headboard, we simply removed the nut, slide the bolt into the metal bracket which we attached to the bench, and screwed the nut back on. Sorry I don’t have any pictures of this part.
For the right bench, we worried about the window right behind the headboard. We didn’t want anyone to accidentally break the window by leaning too hard into it. To add more stability, we attached 3 1 x 3s to the bottom of the bench. We then screwed the 2 x 3s into the headboard using the same wood screws as the frame. Next cut and attach the 1 x 10s to the top of the bench frame with wood screws.
From there, it was just finishing work! We sanded down all of the trim pieces to make them look connected. I caulked all of the seams, spackled then sanded nail and screw holes, and then prepared to paint.
I painted the bench Ultra White by Valspar in semi-gloss which is what I use on all the trim in our house. I had to be super careful around the headboard and I really wished I would have painted it before I attached the whiteboards.
To create the bench, I used the same process as the headboard. I cut a piece of plywood using the circular saw, attached 3 inch foam using spray adhesive, covered the whole thing with batting and stapled it down using a staple gun, and finally covered it with black fabric. I can’t remember the name of the fabric, but it was just a basic black cotton that cost less than $5 a yard. I chose simple black and white colors because I wanted to have a clean backdrop to pair with holiday table settings and patterned pillows. I wanted to be able to accessorize the table any way I wanted without having to worry about matching the banquette.
The project took us one weekend to complete with plenty of breaks in between. There was definitely a learning curve involved + WAY too many trips back to Lowe’s, Joann’s, and A.C. Moore to pick up extra supplies. Hopefully this tutorial will help spare you some of the problems we encountered along the way.
The total cost was about $250, which Nate and I were pretty pleased because when you think about it, we now have a piece of furniture that fits perfectly, maximizes the space we have, and works perfectly with our design style. I’d call that a win!
Thank you so much Remodelaholic for having me!
Thanks for being our guest, Chelsea! Love the banquette!