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How To Build A Banquette Bench With Storage

I have absolutely LOVED my built-in banquette bench with storage in my breakfast room. Since I live in such a tiny home, any extra storage is a definite bonus. And I love that the seating and table take up less space than would a table with four chairs, which would be more centered in the tiny little space.

And the best part…it wasn’t difficult to build at all!!

Here are the steps I took to build my banquette bench with storage.

How To Build A Bench Seat With Storage

First I measured the width between the cabinets where I wanted my seat. It measured 55″ wide. So I started with two 1″ x 4″ pieces of lumber cut to 55″ long. Then I wanted my seat to be around 18″ tall, so I had five pieces of 1″ x 4″ lumber cut to 16 1/2 inches long (so that when placed between the two 55″ pieces, it would equal 18″ tall–see the pictures below for more detail).

With these pieces, I assembled the frame for the front of the seat.

Assembling the frame for the front of the banquette seat

Using wood glue and screws, I started at one end and attached one of the 16 1/2″ pieces to the end of the 55″ piece.

I fastened these boards with wood glue and screws.  Now that I have a brad nailer, I would definitely use that instead of screws.

I attached another 16 1/2″ piece on the other end and then spaced out the other three pieces at (somewhat) even intervals between.

At this point, the frame looked like this.

Next, I attached the top 55″ piece, also using wood glue and screws.

When the frame was finished, I wedged it between the cabinets at the front of the seating area.  I used my level to be sure the frame was level and then used screws to secure to the frame to the cabinets.

**If you’re not building your banquette seat between two cabinets or walls, then you will simply need to make two additional frames for the sides in the same way as the front frame was made, and then secure the front and side frames with screws and wood glue.

Using MDF to cover the front of the banquette bench with storage

To the front of the frame, I attached a piece of MDF cut to 55″ x 18″.  I secured it with wood glue and finishing nails.

Attaching the MDF top piece of the banquette bench with storage using a continuous (piano) hinge

Along the back wall, I measured from the floor 18″ and marked in several places.  This was my guide for placing the back brace.

This back brace was another 1″ x 4″ piece of lumber, cut to 55″ wide.  Again, I secured it directly to the wall with wood glue and screws.  (You’ll notice I had to cut out a notch for the electrical outlet.)

On the ends, I cut a piece of 1″ x 4″ lumber to fit perfectly between the front frame and the back brace.  I attached with wood glue and screws inserted at an angle.

I then took my top MDF piece, cut to 55″ wide by 22″ deep and cut a strip about 3″ from the end.  These 3″ pieces were glued to the front-to-back brace I just attached.  The main middle piece was only attached to the back wall with a continuous hinge (also called a piano hinge).

**Oooookay…now let me explain why I did this, and why you probably won’t need to if you build your own banquette bench with storage.

My banquette seat is placed between two cabinets, and each cabinet has a butcherblock countertop that extends 1 1/4″ past the cabinet.  So, in order for the top of my storage seat to open fully, it had to be able to clear the countertops.  Soooo, I had to cut the ends.  Got it?  More than likely, you won’t have the same scenario, so you will have no need to make these cuts.  Instead, the top on your seat will be one solid piece.

This gives you a better view of the seat in relation to the cabinets and the countertops.  You can see why I had to make the cuts in the top of the seat…right?

The inside can be caulked, primed, and painted.

My finished banquette bench with storage (it still needs paint, of course!)

Once you have your basic banquette seat built, you can trim it out with any type of molding, in any design, that you like.  I chose to keep mine pretty simple.  I attached a 1″ x 2″ piece of MDF to the front of the seat top to make it look “beefier”.  I then added a two pieces of 1″ x 4″ MDF at the floor.  The first one I attached about 1″ from the floor, and the second one I attached right against the floor.  There really wasn’t any rhyme or reason to this.  I was just trying to create an interesting design.  Now, if I ever get my flooring finished, I’ll finish this off with quarter round at the floor.

Pretty easy, right?  I promise, it is.  Just think of it as a big box…first you need a frame, then you cover the frame with pieces of MDF, and finish it off with decorative moulding to make it pretty.  Easy peasy!!


This project was for my condo breakfast room makeover. Click here to see the whole before and after of the breakfast room makeover.

Or click on the thumbnails below to see other DIY projects that I did for my condo breakfast room makeover.



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18 Comments

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Susan
    February 1, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    You make it look so easy – I love the look of banquette seating. I can totally see doing something similar as a built in bed – I'm a huge fan of built in bedding 🙂

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Anonymous
    February 1, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    NICE! I'd love to do this in my tiny breakfast room. I always second guess how things would look in my spaces though! Thanks for the tutorial!!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Cyndi
    February 1, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    Awesome! Thanks for explaining. You are so inspiring! One question: How does the piano hinge attach? I guess it has to attach to the wall (vs the supporting board) and I assume with nails?

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Kristi @ Addicted 2 Decorating
    February 1, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Hi Cyndi~~The piano hinge comes in a package that includes tiny little screws. It was a bit frustrating trying to hold those little screws, while resting the lid on my head and trying to keep it positioned just right. You'll definitely want to have an extra set of hands to help you. Oh, and use one of those magnetized screwdriver bits that will hold the tiny little screws on the bit while you're trying to get everything positioned just right. But once you get a couple of screws in, the rest is pretty easy.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Deena
    February 2, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Oh my goodness Thank you!!!!!! I have been dreaming of adding some built in seating in a corner of my kitchen but was unsure how to do it and fear i'd have to hire it out. You made my day! 🙂

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Bella
    February 11, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    Now tell me how to make these all pretty around a bay window???? I had someone attempt to make a storage seating area but HATE the way it turned out, YIKES<,,, I need help!!!

    Bella 🙂

  • ← Reply To This Person
    edmcatee
    December 18, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    Looks great! I’ve built the box in my kitchen-

    What do you think the weight capacity is? I’m looking at it and that back brace seems a little conspicuous. I’m wondering if it would be worthwhile to put in some 1″x4″s under the back support to brace it a bit more.

    • ← Reply To This Person
      Kristi
      December 18, 2011 at 8:11 pm

      If the back brace is screwed into studs, it should hold quite a bit of weight. But if you’re concerned about, it never hurts to add more support!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Jenny Whiting
    January 4, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    Hi, this is my first time to see your blog and I love it! We are wanting to build a banquette in our eating area and I was searching online and came across your tutorial. Thank-you! This will help us a lot as we design ours. Your whole kitchen and breakfast room are amazing and so beautiful. It is very inspiring. I saw the post on the headboard that you used here, but I was also wondering about your cushion for the bench…did you write about that somewhere on your blog? Did you make it yourself and did you use vinyl like you did on the headboard? Thank-you!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Anat
    February 11, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    Hi Kristi,
    a question: how did you attached the MDF front board to the top edge: did you cut it 45 degrees? do you use screws or a glue for MDF joints?
    it’s gorgeous, and very Vintage. thank you for sharing. I’m planning to build one.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Erin
    March 12, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    Thanks for this tutorial! I am looking to do something similar and I had a question. Do you find that it’s difficult to get into the banquette with the cabinetry on either side. Based on the dimension of the table I have and the cabinets I’d want on either side, by banquette will need to be exactly the size if my table, not longer like I had originally planned. What are your honest thoughts after living with yours for a bit?

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Erin
    March 12, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Thanks for this tutorial! I am looking to do something similar and I had a question. Do you find that it’s difficult to get into the banquette with the cabinetry on either side?Based on the dimension of the table I have and the cabinets I’d want on either side, my banquette will need to be exactly the size if my table, not longer like I had originally planned. What are your honest thoughts after living with yours for a bit?

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Erin
    March 12, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Hi! I am looking to do something similar and I had a question. Do you find that it’s difficult to get into the banquette with the cabinetry on either side?Based on the dimension of the table I have and the cabinets I’d want on either side, my banquette will need to be exactly the size if my table, not longer like I had originally planned. What are your honest thoughts after living with yours for a bit?

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Kirsten
    July 14, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Did you do the cabinets as well?

    • ← Reply To This Person
      Kristi Linauer
      July 14, 2013 at 8:06 pm

      The cabinets are stock cabinets from Home Depot. I did install them myself and then build the cubbies over the banquette. 🙂

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Amanda Cobb
    June 26, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    Kristi! Again, you make this seem so easy! I followed your master bath renovation and still love it a year later! Thank you for that! Now I am going to build a banquette seating in the kitchen as an L-shape. Looking at the finished project, I see that you have hung wall sconces above the bench. Are they hardwired to the electrical system or did you run the wires down to the existing outlet inside the bench? I am scared with it comes to lighting/electrical projects. That’s why I still haven’t done the undercabinet lighting yet.
    Thank you for any advice!
    A. Cobb

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Joel lebel
    December 17, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    I am a professional cabinetmaker with over 20 years experience and I like the simplicity of your design however I have one small change I strongly suggest you make. A kitchen floor is subject to mopping on a regular basis. For this reason mdf should never be used against the floor. Mdf will soak up water like a sponge and ruin all that nice work you have done. Plywood for the face and solid wood for the baseboard and this piece will last as long as your kitchen. At the very least, if you really want mdf for the face, hold it off the floor a inch and the solid wood baseboard will cover the gap.

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