Banquette as only dining area?

vdinliSeptember 10, 2013

I apologize for starting a banquette thread again but I couldn't find this in my search.

Do any of you have a banquette as the only dining area in the house(other than island/peninsula's?). Do you find it difficult with guests? Does sliding in and out get old after sometime? Does it hurt the resale value? We are very casual people and it is just 4 of us on a regular basis but our parents come for long visits. We don't host formal dinners but we do have friends over for Thanksgiving(no family nearby!).

We currently have a small dining area off the living room and a small kitchen. The plan that functions best(thanks Buehl!) will have the kitchen and dining area switch sides. There is only space for a small table(48") round or a banquette. DH doesn't care for it that much and feels like we will be better off having a proper dining table. For reference our current table is an oval 72X48 and it makes getting by on the sides difficult but we can seat 6 ppl in a pinch. We have talked about getting a smaller one(54" square) with extra leaves so we can expand it if needed but have more room on a daily basis.
Would you give up a dining table for a banquette?

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I would not give up a regular dining table for a small banquette. Daily use might be ok for you, but could the banquette be removed and leave a reasonable dining space when you decide to sell the house? Only having a banquette with no room for a proper table would be a major turnoff for me as a homebuyer.

**I'm a banquette lover. Always have been. We removed one as a casual/breakfast table from the old kitchen and plan to add one back in our new kitchen.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 3:57PM
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The best option if you really want a banquette and have only one seating area is to have some bench and some chair seating.

Traditional Kitchen by Salt Lake City Kitchen & Bath Designers Sheri lermusiaux

Contemporary Kitchen by Boston Interior Designers & Decorators Su Casa Designs

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 4:14PM
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Thanks for sharing your opinion, breezygirl. DH agrees with you too. I have reached out to a local real estate agent to see whether it will hurt resale. I forgot to include the link to my layout thread earlier. The plan by Buehl is about 2/3rds down.
Debrak, those are lovely pictures. Yes, we would have some bench and some chair seating around a table.

Here is a link that might be useful: Layout thread

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 4:52PM
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If you guys are casual, then I think having just the banquette is fine. You can "dress it up or down" depending on your entertaining style at the moment. Also, you can always slide the table out if you have more people sitting in it than normal. You definitely would want some chairs on the perimeter, but I'm sure you have that figured out already!!! I wouldn't worry about resale. Do it how you'd like to see it.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 5:57PM
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I agree with bicyclegirl, do it exactly how it works best for you. Future buyers of your house would have to know how easy it is to remove it and put in a standard table and chairs instead. Not exactly like taking a load-bearing wall or anything -- it's a bench. If it's not to their taste then they can remove it. Just be sure to specify that you want your flooring in place and finished before the bench is built on top of it -- do that and there's nothing difficult about removing it. FWIW, I'd far rather have a banquette than a table with all chairs. I think banquettes are cozy and they slide in closer to the walls helping to maximize every sq. ft.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 6:23PM
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We're planning banquette-only seating in our kitchen (three banquette seats on one wall, three chairs facing them). It works best for the space, we're casual and it's rare I throw a dinner party for more than six people.

We have a large work/utility/hang-out table in the living-room that can be put into service should I do something foolish like have 12 people over for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner ;) ,but for 365 days a year times all but two meals, the banquette will work for us.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 7:57PM
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It doesn't have to be an either-or. Consider installing a well-designed and very comfortable banquette AND chairs, with an expandable table for when more seating is needed.

Just don't design a banquette hard to slide into. Make it on one wall only, for instance. You'll still gain inches in a tight space. Make it look like nice furniture and equip it with inner springs like a sofa (yes! invest where it counts). This way instead of a quick-scrub board seat only used for meals, it'll be an extremely popular extension of the rest of the living room and your guests will already be sitting and chatting there when you're ready to serve dinner.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 8:05PM
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Rosie- I agree with the one wall allows chairs on three sides and is almost like a window seat :)

An L-shaped banquette is great in a kitchen or for casual dining...or if you know you will be staying in the house for some time.

I really like all banquettes (as long as their comfy) but checking with a realtor might be a good idea, if you think you might be moving in a few years.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 8:28PM
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Thanks for sharing your opinions!
Rosie and lavender, what about the one wall banquette makes it more attractive than a two wall one? Becoz nobody wants the corner? Does it read more casual? Could I just use a table with a bench on one side? though I prefer a banquette for its looks and storage options.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 9:31PM
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I'm kicking around this same idea.

I definitely would want a banquette that'd use a bench on one side /chairs on the other, and I'd definitely want it to seat six in comfort.

I think I'm okay with the concept.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 10:03PM
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An L-shaped banquette will be our main dining area in our new house. It will be the kind with springs, like in a restaurant. Anyone who prefers a chair can sit on one of the other two sides. I've talked to a person at one of the local places that makes them and I've read every thread here and collected a zillion photos. It will have to get its final design soon, so that the electrical box overhead can be centered. Sorry I won't have pix for months!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 10:23PM
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We also are planning on having an L shaped banquette these will be for the main dining. Another table can easily be added to the end of the table when more seating is needed. Can you tell me how high from the floor you will have your seat/bench without the cushion on it? We are still planning ours and have someone to build it. I was thinking from floor to bench 15" with a 3" cushion making it 18" from the floor. I would love to hear your dimensions.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 9:37AM
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Glad to hear others are also contemplating having the banquette as their only dining area. If and when we sell, we can always remove it and replace with a small table if that's better.
robinle, I am just planning my layout at this stage-so I haven't thought about the dimensions etc. But, I found this very useful thread that talks about what works best for banquettes. Look for Breezygirl's drawing on Mar5,11 at 14:22. That could give you an idea for sizing.

Here is a link that might be useful: Banquette thread

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 11:02AM
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Vinudev, a one-wall is not necessarily more desirable, and two-wall, or even 3 can be quite nice. It's just that if access is a concern, a one-wall banquette provides the best access for the greatest number, because, as Lavender says, you have 3 sides for chairs, while still saving space over a table. A lot of people with vast areas of space build in very expensive one-wall banquettes just for nice--as Lavender is describing--which give banquette benefits without negatives.

Lots of people also love their 2-wall corner banquettes, which can be extremely functional and allow people to just plop down on the 2 ends any time, not just for meals. Especially if the ends are open, especially inviting to someone just looking for a place to sit if they normally extend past the table.

I like small homes, and designing for flexibility and multifunctioning can often make them function as well as a lot of much larger ones. That's what I'm thinking you might accomplish here with a banquette.

I can't count the 3000+ sqft homes I've seen that hold one standard seating group in the main room, and nothing else. We were at one last weekend. Some of us wanted to stay in sight of others but out of tennis-squeal range, and I ended up perched up on a bar stool, too often cranking sideways and backwards to see the people right behind us on hard "breakfast area" chairs. If ONLY there had been a nice, comfy banquette with no one sitting behind it. We'd have been jostling for a spot. :)

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 11:03AM
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I havent' been able to find my notes, but I think the person at the place that makes them was recommending something like what you are considering: a total of around 18" to allow for the compression as you sit down. But she also said they will work with the customer to fine-tune the seating until they are satisfied (height, "springiness," etc.) Don't know if other places are so accomodating...

I'm also still trying to figure out how much longer the banquette should be than the table. Enough so that you can sit and then slide. Is a foot enough?

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 12:39PM
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The biggest decision in our kitchen / dining room remodel was whether or not to replace our formal dining room table with a banquette. We had these concerns about resale value and whether it was "accepted" to make this change. We did a banquette, and in retrospect it was the best decision we made. It's clear looking back that virtually all of our initial skepticism was based on an outdated view of what is seen as "acceptable."

We had an architect who originally proposed the idea. For us it added a lot more space in our combined dining room / kitchen. The other main advantage is that it made the space much more usable. We went from having a formal dining room that we never used to a much more functional space that we use probably 4-6 hours per day. We also built storage under the bench which we didn't have before.

I've since talked to a couple realtors who have confirmed what our architect said, which was that the most important thing is the overall functionality and usability of the space -- if you dramatically improve that, it will increase the resale value of your house.

With our banquette, we have chairs on the other side of the table so we can seat as many people as before for dinner parties -- the banquette is more like a bench seat. In our case, it's just more informal than it was before.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 1:39PM
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I wanted to bring this thread back up again as we are finally (!) working on finalizing the design for our L-shaped banquette. We had to do a preliminary design way back when in order to place the electrical box for the lighting fixture. But now, we have to really nail down the details, and one of the things I'm struggling with is how much overlap to allow for the table over the seating. I look at photos and come up with 2-3." In a linked post, breezygirl showed a very useful diagram that used a 3" overhang if I'm interpreting it correctly. I'm planning a 42" table, but suppose it could be a couple of inches narrower, if needed.

I just wonder if anyone has any updated info or additional thoughts on the subject. You're not gonna talk me out of the idea, so don't try! (There will be chairs on 2 sides for those who hate booths, so you can still come over for dinner.) The seats will have springs, no loose cushions, and will be designed to be comfortable for hours.

    Bookmark   on Sunday at 12:43PM
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I don't know about the measurements....but I wouldn't dream of trying to talk you out of your banquette :)

1 Like    Bookmark   on Sunday at 3:27PM
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OK, lavender, you are definitely invited over, then!

1 Like    Bookmark   on Sunday at 4:07PM
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So glad to see a banquette thread revived. Our reno is a year away, but a banquette is on my wish list. Eagerly awaiting your photos!

    Bookmark   on Sunday at 4:35PM
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I'm planning on a banquette as my only dining space. You can find TONS of these online, but I'm attaching my inspiration photo.

- Since this is to be our retirement home, most of the time it'll be just me and my husband, so we'll have a 5-6' rectangular table with seating for two on the banquette and two chairs on the opposite side.

- If two people join us, we'll pull up chairs to the ends of the table.

- If more people join us, we'll expand the table with leaves and add more seats on the two sides.

- I think a banquette like this one with three "open sides" will work as an only dining area.

- I love the book cases behind the dining room, but I don't particularly like the color scheme in this picture. Specifically, I don't go for that grey-blue, no-color tone in the seating.

Sorry, I didn't include the photo -- edited to insert it.

    Bookmark   on Sunday at 6:29PM
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I'm not seeing your inspiration pic. I've clipped about a zillion examples so far, but one more is welcome! Although we're doing an L-shape, and I'm struggling with not only the overhang amount, but whether or not the banquette should extend beyond the table edge or line up with it.

    Bookmark   on Sunday at 6:36PM
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