Whether you’re sliding into a cozy breakfast nook or hanging out with friends in the living room, there’s nothing better than banquette seating. Yes, we’re talking about that uber-cozy, restaurant-style seating that makes you want to slide in and never leave.
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Robert Natale, Chief of Design at Sixpenny, describes banquette seating as “offering the casual coziness of a sofa or sectional, but with details intended for a dining environment…Think of the elegant upholstered booths at a beautifully designed restaurant, or the long running cushion-y bench seating along a café wall. Banquettes offer warm, “scootch-in” comfort, in an elegant, often customized or built-in-looking layout.”
So, whether you’re looking to utilize banquette seating to create restaurant-quality comfort in your dining space or cozy yet intentional seating in your living area, we’ve compiled eight looks to take inspiration from, along with advice from our team of experts. Let’s dive in.
When designing a living room, many forget that built-in seating is an option. In fact, according to Rob Natale, “building seating into a space, versus just adding it among a space, is a gorgeous way to elevate a room and make it feel intentional.”
The above custom banquettes create purposeful seating while further tying the space together through matching colors and identical shades of wood.
2. Give Your Space Purpose
Often, in extra rooms within the home that don’t have a clear purpose, we’re left wondering what to do with the space. This translates to guests when they come over as well. The best thing to do in these situations is to designate the room to a distinct task. Will it be an extra seating area for guests to socialize over coffee or tea? Will it have another purpose? In the space above, built-in banquette seating helps clearly delineate the space as a seating area.
3. Create a Cozy Corner
There’s nothing quite like sliding into a cozy nook– in the comfort of your home. According to Rob Natale, “bay windows and dining nooks scream for a banquette, but they can come in all shapes and sizes. It can be just as nice to create a wall or corner of cozy banquette seating in your dining room.”
Additionally, banquettes create space for unlimited seating, giving you the opportunity to set out more placemats should you have a few extra guests at the table.
4. Elevate Your Dining Space
Minimalists love utilizing banquette seating, as it can give spaces with well, minimal, decor a bit more of an interesting look. This is exemplified in the room above, where banquette seating adds texture and interest while working with the minimalist lines and light color palette already present in the space.
Additionally, the straight lines the banquette brings to the space allows for the curved lines present in the table and dining chairs to add personality without taking over the room.
5. Add Personality
While this space might seem simple, upon second glance you’ll notice character in every piece. The banquette seating in this room serves as a functional piece, as it creates unlimited seating on one side of the table, while also tying the soft, whimsical curves present in the table legs with its own curves and round pillows.
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6. Pair Curved Seating with a Round Table
To maximize seating around a round table, try a corner banquette. In the above space, the L-shaped corner banquette pairs well with the round table while creating a cozy corner when pushed against the bookshelf— perfect for casual dining.
7. Create a “Booth” Feeling
There’s nothing cozier than that “booth” feeling you get while eating at a restaurant– but in your own home. Nikki Klugh uses banquette seating in the small space above to create a cozy seating option that meshes perfectly with the aesthetic already present in the space.
“Banquette seating is a seating option that can be built into the wall or detached,” says Klugh. “The biggest characteristic is the "booth" feeling that comes with the higher back and bench style.”
8. Add Bold Color
There’s nothing quite like the bold color and texture that upholstery can bring to a space. In this dining space, the red velvet upholstered banquette adds bold color and texture while providing unlimited seating.
Additionally, the gold present in the chandelier contrasts perfectly with the red and blue of the seating upholstery, creating almost effortless contrast.
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How Does a Banquette Differ from a Traditional Sofa?
You might be wondering, how does a banquette differ from a sofa? We chatted with interior designers about the differences between the two.
According to Rob Natale, the biggest differences are dimensions and firmness. “Banquettes are taller and shallower than normal sofas to allow for comfort that still ensures you’re seated in an upright-ish, dining-ready position,” says Natale. “And since lounging at the kitchen table isn’t exactly the idea, banquettes offer more support in the seat and backrest so you’re sitting on top of and not in your seat cushions.”
Elizabeth Ryan agrees, adding that “a banquette sits higher and more shallow than a sofa, making the dimensions ideal to pair with a dining table.”
According to Nikki Klugh, the advantage of banquette seating is that it “can be used as a way to add seating without taking up a ton of space in your home.” For example, “if your dining area is within your kitchen, a kitchen banquette can be used to provide ample seating without encroaching on the flow of the room.”
Sasha Weilbaker is a freelance writer with bylines in Thrillist, Business Insider, and The Vegetarian Times. She's particularly interested in the intersection of sustainability and materials. In the wild, she can be found cycling around New England, scouting coffee shops, or obsessing over new podcasts.
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