January 14, 2013

DIY Built-in Banquette Seat

Last time we checked in on the dining room it was looking something like this (minus the stencil art that we added later).

DIY Bench Seat | Cape 27

However, the past few days we’ve been working away at tackling the built-in banquette seat along with wrapping up a few other related, smaller updates. And here’s how she’s looking now!

DIY Built-in Bench Seat | Cape27Blog.com

We decided to do a wood-base along the seat and backside of the bench, and we’ll be adding an upholstered cushion portion to them both. So, basically, we’ve reached the halfway mark on this project. I’m hoping to order the fabric sometime this week and officially right this project off. It’s been a. long. time. coming.

DIY Built-in Banquette | Cape27Blog.com

The entire piece was constructed from Ikea cabinets, a few 2×4′s, and 3/4″ plywood. Once we had the general plan nailed down, the rest was a breeze. Totally a do-able weekend project.

Let’s dive right into the details! The base cabinets started off a little like this.

DIY Built-in Banquette | Cape27Blog.com

They’re Ikea’s 30″ x 15″ Akurum cabinets, designed to go above refrigerators. Which is obviously not what we did with them. Instead, Rick built them up on top of a 1/2″ wood support, allowing room for the doors to open without scraping the floor, and simply nailed them down from the inside to secure. If you’re making the bench seat and don’t plan to add the cushion seat on top, you’ll want to raise the cabinets up quite a bit more. Ideally, seat height is about 18″, depending on your table height. We’re thinking the 12″ cabinet height plus another inch in wood supports, above and below the cabinets, plus 4-5 inches in upholstery should put us right around there.

I’m going to do my best to explain this next part. It’s a simple idea, but we somehow missed taking a photo of the step. On top of the Ikea cabinets we placed a 3/4″ sheet of plywood, cut to size. The front portion is supported by the cabinets, and the back is supported by a 2″ x 4″ piece of wood. Basically, we screwed the 2×4 to the wall studs, and the plywood rests on top of it. Does that make sense?

DIY Built-in Banquette | Cape27Blog.com

You can see in the photo below where the screws are up against the wall. The 2×4 is directly beneath them. The rest of the plywood is screwed down to the cabinets. We chose to leave the edges of the plywood exposed, rather than covering them up with decorative trim. We’re banking on the fact that the upholstered cushion will disguise most of it.

DIY Built-in Banquette | Cape27Blog.com

Once the base construction was completed, Rick moved onto the back support. He started by building the top plate that would serve as a small ledge. There are two separate pieces here. The bottom wood piece is a 1″x1″ (a 1″x2″ cut in half) and screwed to the wall studs.

DIY Built-in Bench Seat | Cape27Blog.com

The second piece (1″x2″) then sits on top of that, with the larger side facing upwards. This second piece is also where you’ll want to cut your angle to fit snuggly with the plywood back support. As far as the angle is concerned, we kind of did a little trial and error here. My best advice is to use a few pieces of scrap wood until you can cut the angle you desire.

DIY Built-in Bench Seat | Cape27Blog.com

So, now that we have a place for the plywood to rest at the top, we then created a resting spot at the bottom of the seat. The 2×4′s that you see below (use what you’ve got) serve as a support for the plywood to rest on and be secured to.

DIY Built-in Bench Seat | Cape27Blog.com

Hopefully this next picture will help sort out any confusions. Rick attached the second piece of plywood to the top and bottom supports. Since the adjacent cabinets have countertops with a little overhang, we chose to end the bench seat just below that. Otherwise we would have created a whole mess of awkward cuts that weren’t necessary.

DIY Built-in Banquette | Cape27Blog.com

We puttied the screw holes with a few dabs of Elmer’s Wood Filler.

DIY Built-in Banquette | Cape27Blog.com

And chalked around the wood seams.

DIY Built-in Banquette | Cape27Blog.com

About an hour later it was ready for priming. Whoop, whoop. Now the real fun begins. I’m designated painter at our house. Ricky builds, I paint. I was in no mood to mess things up, so I opted to use painter’s tape. Everywhere. You guys know my feelings on Frog Tape :)

DIY Built-in Banquette | Cape27Blog.com

Since we were dealing with bare wood, I primed everything first with Sherwin Williams’ Harmony Primer. Not necessarily something I would or would not recommend, just what we had on hand. Although, it is a no-VOC line, so it’s great for projects with the munchkins around.

DIY Built-in Banquette | Cape27Blog.com

You can’t really tell in the photos, but the primer is a bright white and the cabinets are more of an off white. So, I followed up the primer with two coats of semi-gloss paint. The color is the same color we used on all the trim in the house, which matches the Ikea cabinets. If you’re looking for something similar, just take an Ikea cabinet door to any paint store and they should be able to match it for you.

And here she is :)

DIY Built-in Banquette | Cape27Blog.com

We also finally got around to adding hardware to the adjacent cabinet drawers. They’re the same pulls that we used in the kitchen, Ikea’s Lansa pulls. We’re not totally sure what we’ll do with the cabinets beneath the banquette. We’re afraid that even something as simple as a knob might be irritating to the legs when you’re seated. We’ll keep you posted.

DIY Built-in Banquette | Cape27Blog.com

Right now we’re just happy to be one step closer to crossing this bad boy off the to-do list all together. We’re hoping to then move back to the laundry room and finish it by spring time. Just before the addition begins! :) Speaking of, I seriously need to share our in depth plans in that department.

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35 thoughts on “DIY Built-in Banquette Seat

  1. Jen

    Your banquette looks amazing! I saw this idea at IKEA, but not being a wood-worker, I had absolutely NO idea how they made it. THANK YOU for this detailed step-by-step instruction, and for including so many pics along the way. It might even be possible for someone like me to tackle in the future. This is exactly what I’ve been wanting to do in my kitchen for the longest time. Can’t wait to see the banquette with cushions! :)
    Jen

    Reply
    1. Jessie R. Post author

      Good to hear the pics helped! We tried to be as detailed as possible so anyone could tackle this! Good luck :)

      xo,
      Jessie

      Reply
  2. Megan

    I saw the title of this post and did a little happy dance! I’ve been wanting to make a banquette in my kitchen fooooorever! Since we are always broke, we never get enough money to hire someone to do it. I think that we could probably pull this off ourself and save some $$$ along the way. Clever that you bulit a slanted back. Looks great and can’t wait to see it all together!

    Reply
    1. Jessie R. Post author

      Hahaha :) I think this definitely a project for any DIYer. Just a little planning and a few cuts!

      xo,
      Jessie

      Reply
  3. Chris

    Awesome job! We’ve been putting off using IKEA cabinets to create a custom built-in buffet in our dining room and you’ve totally inspired me to get on it! Thanks!

    Reply
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  5. michelle

    Love the idea! But I’m curious what you are going to put into the storage under the bench? Will it be hard to get to?
    By the way I am new to your blog and I am from Cincinnati too! What area do you live in? We are looking to move and I love your house and what you have done with it! Thanks for all the inspiration!

    Reply
    1. Jessie R. Post author

      Thanks Michelle! We’re on the east side of Cincinnati, love seeing locals! We’re thinking the storage under the bench will be for things we don’t need often. Maybe storage to support my home decor hoarding, haha. Definitely nothing we use on a daily basis, since you practically have to crawl under the table to get to it :)

      xo,
      Jessie

      Reply
  6. Pingback: DIY Upholstered Banquette Seat (part two) | Cape 27

  7. Tara

    Can you tell me what type of wood the table is made out of? I love it!! Also, the stain too? Does your Dad have build instructions for this amazing table?
    Lastly, Did you make the shade out of the fabric over the window? Do you instructions on how you made this too? I am totally going to make the banquette seat in my kitchen and attempt to make a smaller version of the island. You are so talented. Thanks for sharing your designs. 8)

    Reply
    1. Jessie R. Post author

      Hi Tara,

      I believe the table is pine, stained in Minwax Dark Walnut. You can follow Ana White’s farmhouse table plans on her blog to make the exact table :)

      I did make the window shade in the kitchen. I don’t have a tutorial of my own, but I followed this one. Hope that helps!

      xo,
      Jessie

      Reply
  8. Jaime

    You did an amazing job! Where did you get the floor cabinets from (the ones on both sides of the bench) ?

    Reply
  9. Amber

    Thanks for posting this! We’re renters so we can’t install anything permanently, but we’re in desperate need of banquet seating for our kids. Especially with the tall back, I think this design will be ideal for us (it’ll keep toddler feet from getting the walls all dirty behind the bench). I just need to know, did you have the cabinets all the way against the wall to start with, or is there a gap between the wall and cabinets underneath of the plywood seat that you added? If there is a gap, roughly how wide is it?

    Reply
    1. Jessie R. Post author

      The cabinets do sit out quite a bit from the wall. This gave us plenty of depth for a comfortable seat. Maybe 8″? You could really make it as deep as you’d like, depending on what your comfort level is :) Hope that helps!

      xo,
      Jessie

      Reply
  10. [email protected]

    Hi Jessie-I love what you and your husband did, great vision! I had a question where did you purchase the white chairs? I can’t wait to see your other projects. Best of luck~Rupa

    Reply
  11. Melanie vidal

    Hello, I love what you did it’s so creative and exactly what I want in my new home. I started searching on Google and thankfully you had this amazing post. I’m a new home buyer so I will be on a budget so I was so pleased to find your amazing diy. We will be doing this the day we get the keys to our new home ;). Hopefully you can help with a few questions I was just wondering what size the 2 side cabinets are and what the tops of those are made of. Any help you can offer would be appreciated.

    Melanie

    Reply
  12. Jane

    Wow. This is incredibly helpful. I was thinking about doing this, but concerned about sturdiness. It didn’t occur to me to use the 2×4 in the back to help support the seating surface. So the bench protrudes out 2″ more than the dimensions indicate, right?

    The 1/2″ elevation bump up I would have figured out eventually, but maybe not before wasting a lot of time.

    I realize this is an old post and you probably don’t have time to respond, but I would be curious to know how sturdy you think the final result is. We are a very tall family with two boys. Their combined weight will probably be over 300 by the end of high school.

    Thanks again for this information. So clear and helpful! And your home looks incredible.

    Reply
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  14. Mary

    What is the depth of the plywood? I know that It is deeper than the cabinets, but I can’t tell how deep. Thanks so much for posting this!

    Reply
    1. Jessie R. Post author

      Hi Mary,

      Not sure of those exact dimensions, now that everything is built, but I’m thinking we scaled the cabinets out at least 4-5 inches from the wall. Sorry, wish I could be more precise!

      xo,
      Jessie

      Reply
  15. Jessica

    Which cabinets are you using on either side of the bench? Are those Ikea too? If so, do you have the link? Thanks!

    -Jessica

    Reply

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