Nov 1, 2018

ORC 5: Building a Banquette

What is harder than the One Room Challenge timeline itself? Waiting to share!!!  Last year’s ORC taught me the value of professional photography. In order to get the photos edited in time we had to bust out a one week-early completion date.  I am thrilled to report that this baby is DONE!

New quartzite counters installed.

Upper cabinets constructed.

Cabinets have been sanded and painted & adorned with new bone handle & aged brass hardware.

Bar Nook cabinetry removed & area refreshed.

Backsplash tile has been installed from counter to ceiling.

New shelving is up.

Wallpaper is up.

Art is hung, and final decorative layer placed.

While I not-so-patiently await the photography, lets dig in to one of the most asked about features of our kitchen.  The banquette.

Who doesn’t love a sunny breakfast nook? A built-in bench allows your kitchen a bonus design layer. It provides a moment to bring in color, and adds soft textiles via pillows and cushions. A soft cushioned seat in the kitchen promotes a space that feels like a true living space.

Our banquette before re-styling it for the kitchen renovation…

(photo: Joyelle West Photography // design: Palm & Prep)

The design of this banquette is my husband’s brain child.  I’ve asked him to walk me through his process.

  1. Plan Ahead.  Collect inspiration imagery.  Sketch your Design.

  1. Determine your Measurements.


Height:  We had to specifically accommodate a wide moulding that he wanted to incorporate from another part of our historic home.  Normally you need a height of about 17” if you are adding a cushion.   If you are not adding a bench cushion, about a 19” height will be comfortable.  Make sure to check leg space with your table, as you may need to tweak your height slightly based on this.  Lean on the side of lower v. higher if you are debating the height.

Depth: We built ours at 17”.   I’d like a couple more inches to lean back comfortabley, and would recommend a seat a little deeper at about 19”.

Length: Our bench is 5ft on one side, and 7ft on the other.  Obviously the length will be based on your space.  I like bench seats that extend a little further than the table itself.


  1. Materials: 2x4s, nail gun with 3” nails, 2” brad nails for exterior moulding, decorative moulding, tape measure


  1. Construction: Essentially you are building two boxes.  For ease of travel and convenience, we buy 2×4’s that are 8ft in length.  You want to plan out enough to build your two boxes based on your length, height, and depth.


Build the end cap box square x 2, connect rectangle board x 2 on both sides.

Tip: Most floors are uneven, so he built the boxes in the garage.  Before adjoining them in their place, he used shims to level the two boxes.

Cut plywood the length and width of the box to create the bench seat.  He added a 1/2’” lip to the top of the seat for an intentional overhang.  Be sure to include the depth of your decorative moulding when determining the depth of the piece.

Add decorative moulding with brad nailer, caulk.

5. Paint!

6.  Order bench cushion based on your measurements.  I am a big fan of Brooke Christen’s (Nesting with Grace) gorgeous banquette. I ordered our custom cushions from Cushy Touch based on her recommendation.

(photo & design: Nesting with Grace, Brooke Christen)


We love the whole crew at One Room Challenge. Thank-you to the amazing team at ORC for organizing, and sponsors Better Home & Gardens, and Home Love Network.  Such an honor to be playing amongst such creative industry pros.

Cant wait to catch you all next week with THE REVEAL!!











  1. Marci says:

    This is going to look SO beautiful! I love the banquette around your table!

  2. Julie says:

    I wish I had someone to build a banquet for me!

  3. This is soo soo good! Can’t wait to see the reveal photos!

  4. oh i so can’t wait to see this kitchen and that bench cushion, I will have to order one too for my next condo (will have an outdoor bench and it’s exactly what I am looking for!)!

    i am still getting mine done this weekend and photos will happen on monday. wish me luck!