Creating Custom Built-in Storage for Banquette Seating

Need additional seating at your kitchen table but you can't quite fit in another chair? Construct a banquette bench to accommodate more people around the table in a smaller space. This do-it-yourself seating bench opens up, providing extra room to store items like those occasionally-used small appliances.

1. Prepare the Area

Eliminate the baseboard and/or any other existing trim pieces where your bench will be installed. Then locate and mark the studs in the wall.

2. Begin Framing

For a corner bench, commence with the lengthier side. To obtain the precise measurement of the length, measure from the corner to where the final edge of the bench will be, then deduct 1” to accommodate the plywood and trim. Cut two 2x4s to that size. We made the depth of our bench 17-1/2”. Therefore, we cut two 2x4s to 14-1/2”, positioned them inside the longer 2x4s which added the additional 1-1/2” per side. Secure all four pieces together. Then construct an identical rectangle for the upper section of the bench.

3. Construct the Box

To create the four vertical parts of the frame, cut four 2x4s to 9-3/4”. Screw them vertically on each of the four corners. Place the second rectangle on top of the four vertical pieces. Screw all the pieces together to form a box. Slide it into position.

4. Frame the Second Side

To determine the size of the shorter side of the banquette, measure from the edge of the first framed box to where you desire the final edge to be, then deduct 1” for plywood and trim. Repeat the steps for constructing the first box using this length instead. Slide the short box adjacent to the long box and secure them together. Push the frames back into the corner and screw them to the wall. Be certain to screw into the wall studs and utilize a level while screwing to ensure the frame remains straight and even.

5. Strengthen the Framing

Cut seven 2x4 x 14-1/2” pieces and six 2x4 x 9-3/4” pieces to utilize as horizontal and vertical reinforcements. Install these supports where the two pieces intersect and also halfway from the end of the bench to the corner intersection (Image 1). Install the seventh 2x4 x 14-1/2” piece on the inside corner of the longer box (Image 2). This supplementary piece is necessary to attach the corner benchtop.

6. Facial Frame With Plywood

Cut two 17-1/2” x 16-3/4” pieces of 1/2” plywood, pre-drill, and fasten them onto the ends of each box. Cut one piece of 1/2” plywood 16-3/4” tall and the length of the long facial surface of the bench from the inner corner to the edge including the end piece of plywood you just installed. Fasten this piece onto the long facial surface. Measure and cut a 1/2” piece of plywood to cover the remaining shorter facial surface and install.

7. Mount Trim

Cut the 1/2” x 3-1/2” primed trim into eight 16-3/4” pieces. Pre-drill and fasten them vertically onto each edge and corner of the facial surfaces of the benches (Image 1). Measure and cut eight trim pieces to fit horizontally between each of the vertical pieces. Then cut two 9-3/4” pieces to put vertically in the middle of each bench facial surface (Image 2). Pre-drill before fastening to prevent the wood from splitting. Sand the top edges of the benches to smooth out any unevenness, this will help ensure the benchtops will sit flush (Image 3).

8. Prepare Covers

Cut a 17-5/8” x 17-5/8” square piece of 3/4” plywood and fasten it down onto the corner of the bench (this piece will be stationary). Measure and cut two pieces of 3/4” plywood for the benchtop/covers. Each piece will be 16-3/8” x the length (the edge of the bench to the square piece in the corner). To make the stationary piece of benchtop that will go against the wall, rip a 1-7/8” piece lengthwise from each of the cover pieces and fasten them face down along the wall on each side of the bench. Lay the remaining larger pieces of the covers face-up on the bench. Leave a 1/16” gap between the plywood pieces for the hinge. When the cover pieces are set, use a pencil to mark where you will need to cut a diagonal notch from the inner corners of the covers so they can close without overlapping.

9. Install Hinges

Center the piano hinges on the inner edges of the plywood covers, fastening them in by hand (Image 1). Start with the center screw so you can attach the hinge and then properly align the edges before inserting the remaining screws. Then lay the covers in the open position and fasten the other side of the hinges to the 1-7/8” piece (Image 2). Close each cover to make sure everything is aligned.

10. Prepare and Paint

  • Utilize a sander to eliminate any jagged borders both internally and externally. Make certain to sand the fronts of all individual pieces of molding so they appear to create a unified surface. Thoroughly clean the surface by vacuuming and then wiping it to eliminate any dust. Fill up all screw openings and narrow spaces with a wood filler that can be painted over. Apply paint according to your preference.

11. Conceal Possessions

Use your fresh storage unit to liberate some space in your culinary area. Enhance the comfort level by placing cushions on the benches and relish your personalized kitchen nook.

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