Pros and Cons of Banquette Seating
When you go to a restaurant, do you request a table or a booth? Without a doubt, my friends and I are booth people.
There is something so cozy about sitting in a somewhat enclosed space where you aren't having anyone bump into your chair or walk past and listen in as you have a private conversation.
Banquette seating refers to benches and other furniture that is often tucked against a wall and may be built-in. Booths in restaurants would be a perfect example of banquette seating.
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Banquette seating is something we have seen hotly debated by couples during our kitchen remodels.
Clients often have strong feelings one way or another about incorporating banquette seating for a breakfast nook or other dining space into their homes, and we can understand why.
There definitely are pros and cons of banquette seating, and both sides have strong points.
Are you trying to decide if banquette seating could be right for your home?
We hope this information can offer perspective on both sides as you make a decision for yourself.
Pros of Banquette Seating
1. Banquette Seating Can Be Functional for Small Spaces
In our experience, there can be cases where this type of seating was the only real option available.
In many older homes, kitchen space is often limited and giving up work space and storage for a dining table is not an option. Being able to tuck the seating area against a wall adds functionality to the space.
With kitchen space being a hot commodity in older neighborhoods, having a larger kitchen can add significant value to a home.
As a result, people may even expand their kitchen into their dining room space, which means the dining area shrinks.
Having a bench or other banquette seating against a wall instead of being centered in a room means the kitchen can expand but still allow for a dining area that can be both attractive and comfortable.
2. Banquette Seating is Cozy
Many people may want banquette seating in their homes for the same reason people request a booth at a restaurant - it's cozy!
The seating can be much more comfortable when it is tucked close to a wall as no one is bumping into you as they walk past.
Banquette seating can offer more width for larger people who may feel crammed into a chair with arms.
There is also an intimate feeling to banquette seating that makes it a warm addition to many homes.
3. Banquette Seating Can Offer More Seats than a Table and Chairs
The average individual chair would need at least 24 inches or more in order to have space to pull it out, push it in and comfortably sit.
The addition of benches allows more seating flexibility than individual chairs.
This is especially true for families with children as one bench could seat three or more small children as opposed to having one to two chairs per side for a dining table.
4. Banquette Seating Can Add Beautiful Design and Woodwork
Built-in banquette seating is often a seen as a unique feature in a home.
As it is generally custom-built for a space, it can showcase beautiful detailing and custom features like storage in the benches, bookcases above or below, or special trim accents.
The features that can be added to custom-built banquette seating will truly make the space your own and increase the functionality exponentially.
Cons of Banquette Seating
1. Banquette Seating Can Be "Specific"
If banquette seating isn't essential to making a space functional, and is custom-built into a space, it can sometimes not be an asset to a home's value.
Especially if you are planning to sell, building in custom seating can be seen by potential buyers as limiting them to a certain style or design for the space.
In this case, if you love banquette seating, purchasing a furniture set that does not get built in is often a wise move.
It will be less expensive than custom banquettes and can be easily removed if the next homeowner doesn't love it.
2. Banquette Seating Can Be Too "One-Size-Fits-All"
If banquette seating is custom-built, it will often be created by or for the person who wants it.
If the creator is taller, shorter people may suffer; if it created by a shorter person, taller people may have a difficult time fitting into the smaller space.
Other things to consider are: bench seating without a back may not be ideal for some people, others will think hard wood benches are uncomfortable to sit on, but fabric cushions may get dirty easily or even torn.
3. Custom-Built Banquette Seating Is Expensive
Having banquette seating custom-built can cost a pretty penny.
This is especially true when it is done by a skilled carpenter or craftsman.
Depending on the materials used, features added, and the finish, banquette seating can cost anywhere from $1,500-$8,000 or more.
This can be significantly more than buying a banquette furniture set or traditional table and chairs.
4. Banquettes Can Be a Waste of Space
If you only need space for two to three people, a petite breakfast set with a table and a few chairs may be a better use of your space.
Many small tables can also be pushed against a wall, or would take up less room when not in use than having a full set of banquette seating.
The functionality of a banquette vs. a dining table will depend on the homeowners: how often they use the space, and how they use the space when not having a meal.
Banquette seating can be a beautiful, cozy addition to any home. It can add functionality and be a unique design feature.
It can also be limiting in many ways as built-in seating is specific to the person who builds it and may be costly to install or remove if it does not fit the next owner's needs.
Keep in mind, if you love the look of banquette seating but can't commit to having it permanently built-in, there are tons of beautiful banquette sets that will give you a similar look for a much better price and less commitment!
Now that we covered some of the pros and cons, which side are you on?