Bespoke banquette seating benches and table in Richmond Park by Origins Design

What is a banquette and why choose one over dining chairs?

Everyone has experienced the disappointment of when all the booth tables at a café are taken. Or when they don’t get to sit on the comfy upholstered bench rather than the dining chair when they approach their table at a restaurant. Banquette seating and dining benches invite you to relax and sit more comfortably for longer. Adding a banquette or bench seat is an easy way to add comfort to your dining space and other areas of the home. If you are considering a custom-made banquette seat or dining bench for your home, we answer all the questions you may have to help you make the most of this popular seating choice.

Bespoke banquette seating benches and table in Richmond Park by Origins Design
Bespoke banquette seating and table at a private home in Richmond Park, London by Origins Design for SLK Interior Decoration Photography by Veronica Rodriguez

What is a banquette bench or seating?

A banquette is an upholstered bench with a backrest traditionally used for dining areas. Banquette seating is widespread in commercial settings such as restaurants, bars and hotels, and is becoming incredibly popular in residential settings particularly in kitchens, dining rooms, family rooms and other reception rooms. Naturally, they are also called dining benches, but a banquette can be designed for any area of the home where people come together to socialise, eat, drink or relax.

Is banquette seating comfortable?

Yes, banquette seating is comfortable. The long seat and backrest encourage people to relax, lean back, sit at a comfortable angle, and spread out. A fully upholstered spacious banquette seat brings comfort to a dining room and especially to a dining space in a kitchen where there are a lot of hard surfaces. Scatter cushions can be added for additional comfort and armrests at each end to promote relaxation.

Bespoke u-shaped banquette seating by Origins Design
A bespoke u-shaped banquette by Origins Design, neatly fitted into an awkward square open-plan space, with integrated power sockets.

What are the design options?

Firstly, a banquette can be fixed to the walls and floor, or freestanding. Typically, a fixed banquette has a solid base where storage, power sockets, heating grills or strip lighting can be built in. A freestanding dining bench will have legs and have a more formal and lighter look, though there will be more options with alternative materials and styles for the legs. Secondly, arms can be added or not at each end of the banquette depending on the ease of access to each end of the bench seat. Finally, the upholstery can be customised to fit the decor with different seat pad shapes, stitching, fabrics, leather, buttoning and additional scatter cushions made – all dependent on the design requirements.

Bespoke dining bench banquette by Origins Design
Bespoke banquette dining bench by Origins Design for this London family home incorporating storage, power sockets, USB charging stations and comfortable armrests.

What dimensions should a banquette be?

Every dimension of a banquette can be selected to fit the space and how the bench will be used. A dining bench or banquette used for eating at a dining table needs a seat height of 480mm when fully compressed. If the banquette is to be used for lounging or relaxing, then the seat height can be lower. For maximum comfort, we would recommend a seat depth of 480mm and deeper if the bench is for a more relaxed space other than dining. The backrest can be any height though we would not recommend going below 400mm unless the seat is being fitted under a windowsill or around a window.

Living and dining area | Kensington Mews | Origins Design
A low-backed dining banquette around this oval marble table doubles up as a sofa when the table is rolled away. Custom-made banquette by Origins Design. Image credit: Photography Flicky Wallace

Does banquette seating save space?

Though a dining bench or banquette may look like a large piece of furniture, the reality is that dining benches and banquettes offer great flexibility and are particularly good for families and entertaining. They are spacious, practical, relaxed, and social, allowing you to sit longer with more people. Banquettes can be designed to fit your space exactly and space saving options such as adding valuable storage under the seats can be added.

Curved banquette by Origins Design built-into a kitchen island
We crafted this curved bespoke banquette upholstered in leather and built-in to a kitchen island to provide additional seating in the kitchen in this family home.

What is the best banquette seating?

The best banquette is one that has been custom-made to fit your space and requirements. Banquettes can be designed to fit your space exactly to make use of a tight corner, add seating to a small kitchen, turn an alcove into a reading nook, fit the curvature of a wall or a table, extend along the walls of a games room or conservatory, fit along a kitchen island or even fit into a bay window. All styles and spaces can be catered for with a custom-made banquette or bench seat.


Bar stools and dining bench at showhouse London by Origins Design
We handcrafted a blue velvet dining bench for this South London show house, softening the look of the formal dining space. Image credit: Coronado Interiors

Why choose a bespoke or custom-made banquette over an off the shelf alternative?

Though you will have to wait for your custom-made banquette to be made, a furniture maker can have much shorter lead times than you would expect. Because they have a certain amount of raw materials ready and waiting for their next commission, a furniture maker can turn things around fairly quickly and often quicker than high street retailers who can have lead times of up to 12 weeks as they are typically importing their furniture from abroad. Buying from a local business such as a British furniture maker keeps delivery times shorter and easier to arrange too. The convenience and immediacy of the high street is also easily outstripped by the ease with which an experienced bespoke furniture maker will understand immediately what you are looking for and how to design and manufacture it. You are consulted at every stage and you get to tap into the valuable and extensive experience of your furniture maker ensuring quality of build. Read our journal post on choosing bespoke over off-the-shelf for more insight into ordering bespoke furniture.


Hopefully we’ve helped answer all the questions you may have about ordering a custom-made banquette or dining bench.  If you want to discuss your or your customer’s vision for a bespoke piece of furniture, our technical design team and craftspeople are ready to discuss your project. Please get in contact or have a look at our Instagram feed to see other timeless bespoke benches and banquettes we have made for our clients.