What is banquette seating?
Banquettes are a type of seating, which look a bit like an elongated chair. They are also commonly referred to as “booth seating” or “bench seating”.
Most commonly, you will see them built against a wall, or fixed with their backs to each other to create multiple inward-facing seating areas, each with an enclosed and private feel.
Where is banquette seating used?
The versatility and allure of banquette seating makes it a viable solution in residential, commercial, as well as public spaces.
You will most likely have seen banquette seating used in cafes, bars, restaurants, clubs, pubs, hotels, and other similar venues. They are a practical solution in the hospitality industry due to their space-saving qualities and ease of cleaning.
Recently, we have seen banquettes making their way into our modern home environments; usually in the kitchen, though they are also an excellent choice of window seat and can also be utilised in family rooms or living areas.
What are the material choices for banquette seating?
Typically, in a hospitality setting, the obvious choice for upholstering a banquette is a material that can easily be wiped clean of spills from food and drinks, such as vinyl. Many establishments also opt for a patterned fabric, which will hide stains much better than something plain.
The choice of upholstery, for those not so concerned with high levels of frequent grime, is relatively limitless: We have seen many stunning banquettes finished with velvet, leathers (real and faux), chenilles, as well as all sorts of tweed, patterned and plain fabrics.
Part of the beauty of this style of seating unit is the ease of which you can design something unique, so when it comes to upholstering a banquette, the real limit is your creativity!
Is banquette seating expensive?
As with most things, the price of this quirky feature can range, depending on the materials, design elements, size, and finish. You can estimate in the realm of $1,500 - $8,500+, but with so many variables, anyone considering a banquette seating solution should do their own research.
For example, buying a second-hand banquette and re-upholstering it will generally be much cheaper than contracting a skilled carpenter to design and build one from scratch. There is not really a “one size fits all” when it comes to this item of furniture.
Does banquette seating save space?
In many circumstances, banquettes are a fantastic and functional use of small spaces. Having the back of the seating against a wall in a bench-style will often result in more room for more people to fit – for example, where 3 people could sit on a banquette, 3 chairs may be inconvenient or unable to tuck into the same area.
Other considerations when opting for banquette-style seating
What other factors should influence your decision?
Think about what the seating area would be used for, by how many people, how often, and for what activity. For example, if the purpose of the banquette is for 2-person dining, it may be more practical both space and design-wise to have a small table and chairs instead.
If you are aiming to make the most of a small space for group dining, it may very well be the best solution. However, dining is not the only reason to install such a seating feature. Cyclic, outward facing banquettes can be an impressive focal point of a space which has columns, trees, or other features that could be encircled. You may have seen something similar in a large foyer of a hotel.
Banquettes also look great in a small reading nook or along a hallway, and they can add real character when built into the corner of a room.
A banquette seat is often an eye-catching detail of any room. It oozes cosiness and comfort, something that can be used to the advantage of private residential and commercial premises alike.
A huge benefit of booth or bench seating is also the endless design possibilities; from fluted backs, to roll backs ad button backs, settee style box arms, panel arms, plinths, legs, bespoke stitching options and more – you really can create a piece that is totally unique and in keeping with any space.
Whilst most items are made to order, which can incur a hefty price tag, there are more wallet-friendly options out there for some savvy shoppers. Check for second-hand seating and you might just find a bargain.
Opting for a professionally done refurbishment or re-upholstering of the item means you can have a new-looking piece for a fraction of the cost, whilst still being able to put your personal touch on it through material selection.