Kitchens have long been the central gathering place in many homes, and
A banquette paired with an ample dining table and chairs easily accommodates a large crowd in a smaller kitchen. Photo courtesy of Susan Serra, CKD.
homeowners are always looking for fresh ways to improve the flow and atmosphere of these treasured spaces. Banquettes, or upholstered benches used for dining, are a popular addition to many of today’s most stylish kitchens.
First made popular in the 1930s and 40s as a space-saving solution in “modern” kitchens, banquettes have become popular with today’s homeowners who are looking for added storage and a comfortable spot for family gatherings. Not only can they accommodate a varying number of people, they also provide an efficient use of space in the dining area, create an intimate feeling during meals and conversation, and provide a large amount of storage under the seat.
Dave Alderman, CKD, owner of Alderman Cabinet Inc. in Chesapeake, Va., has
A wide banquette installed near a window provides a prime spot for bird watching, working on a laptop or napping. Photo courtesy of Susan Serra, CKD.
crafted custom banquettes for 28 years and has recently seen an upswing in requests for built-in seating. “I like banquettes because they add an element of coziness,” he says, “people like the feel of them.”
Although some people consider banquettes accessories for quaint country-style or traditional kitchens, they can work in any style and size of home. “Even the most modern of kitchens can have a banquette—they are not just for a traditional home,” says New York designer Susan Serra, CKD, who writes a blog about kitchen trends. “After all, we are human and we have certain needs and those can be done well with any décor.”
Customizable Creations Large or small, elegant or rustic, homeowners gain the ultimate creative license when planning a kitchen banquette. The built-in look of these furniture pieces adds architectural interest to a space and provides plenty of decorating opportunities. The building materials, size, shape and fabrics can be tailored
This banquette places seating outside of the work footprint of a large kitchen. Photo courtesy of David Alderman, CKD.
for any look. “People are more into built-in, personalized use of spaces in their kitchen,” Serra says. “Banquettes allow you to conform seating to any configuration in terms of height, depth and length.”
Some kitchens don’t have enough square footage or the right footprint for a full dining table and chairs, but these built-in pieces can provide ample seating for a party of two. They can also be super-sized to accommodate larger groups. “Banquettes can be customized for the space you have to work with,” Alderman says. “One of my clients hosts pajama parties for their kids where 16 or 18 kids sleep over and they can stack them in around the banquette for dinner or breakfast.”