How to Build a Banquette
Alyssa Rosenheck; Design: Mel Bean + Bailey Austin
Fancy a surprisingly simple weekend project? Believe it or not, you can make your own bench from stock kitchen cabinets, two by four, and a comfortable cushion. Complete the look with an assortment of graphic and solid color cushions.
See below for step-by-step instructions from Allie Mann of Case Architects & Remodelers to start your bench.
The necessary materials
- Speed square
- Mesureing tape
- Nail or screw gun with nails or trim screws
- 2×4 timber (the amount will depend on the size of the bench)
- 1×4 wood material (the amount will depend on the size of the bench)
- 1×2 wood material (the amount will depend on the size of the bench)
- Window sill material
- ¼ ”thick birch plywood
- ¾ inch thick birch plywood
- Construction glue
- Circular saw
- Original wall cabinets, 12 ”high and 12” deep, width depending on space.
How to build the bench
- Determine the desired size of the bench seats (the storage cabinets come in 3 ” increments, so if you intend to use the bench for storage, keep that in mind). Cabinets should not rest tightly on walls. There should be a filling or piece of trim between the cabinet box and the wall to allow the door to open.
- Frame the bench platform using the 2×4 wood material.
- Frame a knee wall or partial wall at cabinet height to secure the cabinet using 2×4 wood material.
- Attach the bench frame to the wall, with the knee wall and the cabinets, using a nail or screw gun.
- Cut the ¼ ”birch plywood on a circular saw to wrap the kick space (this will be painted later).
- Cut ¾ ”birch plywood on the circular saw for the wooden top. When measuring the plywood top, leave a ¾ ”overhang in front of the cabinet door; it would be a 1.5 ”overhang from the actual cabinet box.
How to build the bench seat trim
- Then measure, cut and apply a piece of ¼ birch plywood to the wall – the length of the bench – using your finishing screws and glue. The plywood and bench must be 48 inches above the finished floor, so the piece of plywood is approximately 30 to 32 inches tall.
- Then apply a horizontal 1×4 piece to create the rectangular box above the bench at the top and bottom of the plywood piece.
- Measure, cut, place and fix the 1×4 vertical components on the plywood with a screw or a nail gun. Make sure that the paneling rectangles mimic the same width as those of the bench furniture, if possible. These rectangles you create on the wall will likely be 18 to 24 inches wide.
- Finish the top of the paneling rectangle with window sill trim material or 1×2 lumbar support (measured, cut and nailed in place).
- Caulk and glue joints, gaps, filling holes, etc.
- Sand, prime and paint the plywood.
A version of this feature appeared in the July / August 2020 issue of Good Housekeeping.
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