A banquette is sometimes costly, but you can make one with a custom look using kitchen cabinets found in home improvement centers. Choose upper cabinets that are approximately 18 inches tall and 24 inches deep, as some upper cabinets are too tall or too shallow to work for this project. Banquettes should be fastened to the floor. Take this into account when choosing the location for yours. You may need to trim carpet away from where the banquette sits or install it on a hard floor that will accept screws.
Things You'll Need
- Upper kitchen cabinets, 18 inches tall, 24 inches deep
- Measuring tape
- 2-by-4 boards, 6 or 8 feet long
- Circular or hand saw
- Medium-grit sandpaper
- 2 1/2-inch wood screws
- Power drill with Phillips bit
- 3-inch wood screws
- 2-inch wood screws
- Wood shims
- Utility knife
- Finishing nails
Tap along the wall lightly with a hammer where the banquette will sit. Mark the location of each wall stud with a pencil. Studs are found where tapping produces a sharp or hard sound.
Set the cabinets in a row on the floor with the doors facing out.
Measure the depth of a cabinet from back to front, not including the door. Measure across the row from the left end of the left cabinet to the right end of the right cabinet. Measure the thickness of a 2-by-4-inch board. It will be less than 2 inches.
Measure along a 2-by-4 to the cabinet depth measurement, less the thickness of a 2-by-4, and mark it with a pencil. Repeat to mark an identical length on the same board. Cut the boards straight across at the pencil marks with a circular or hand saw.
Measure along a 2-by-4 to the row length measurement and mark it. Repeat on another 2-by-4. Cut the boards straight across at the pencil marks.
Sand the rough ends of the four boards with medium-grit sandpaper.
Stand one long board up on a long edge. Butt the cut end of a shorter board against the back side of left end of the long board, forming an L shape from the two. Insert two 2 1/2-inch wood screws, equally spaced, through the front side of the long board and into the end of the shorter board, joining the first corner of the banquette platform. Use a power drill with a Phillips head bit instead of a screwdriver. Fasten the other shorter board against the back side of the right end of the longer board in the same manner.
Rotate the assembly and fasten the remaining longer board to the ends of the two side boards the same as before, completing the rectangular platform.
Set the cabinets on top of the platform. Mark the front edge of the platform at each seam between cabinets and remove the cabinets.
Measure and cut a 2-by-4 to fit front to back inside of the platform as a support for each seam between cabinets. The length of the braces should equal the space between the front and back boards of the platform. If you have two cabinets, you will only need one brace.
Set a brace front to back inside the platform with its width centered at each pencil mark. Insert two 2 1/2-inch screws through the front of the platform and into the end of the brace. Insert two more screws through the back side of the platform and into the other end of the brace. Repeat to fasten a brace inside the frame at each pencil mark.
Move the platform against the wall into its final position. Drive 3-inch screws, spaced 4 inches apart, at an angle through the interior side of the platform and into the floor around the frame.
Set the cabinets on the platform and open the doors. Insert two 2-inch screws, equally spaced, through the sides of the cabinets at each seam, fastening each cabinet to the next in the row. The screws should be as close to the front edge of the cabinets as possible, just inside the cabinet doors.
Set a level across the top of the row of cabinets. If the bubble is not centered, the banquette is not level. Tap wood shims between the platform and the cabinets as needed until the bubble is centered. Level the cabinets back to front in the same manner. If the bubble is centered, no shims are needed.
Insert two 3-inch wood screws, equally spaced, through the back of the cabinets and into each wall stud. Insert 2 1/2-inch screws, spaced 6 inches apart, through the bottom of each cabinet and into the platform. Cut off the excess shim material with a utility knife.
Set a sheet of 3/4-inch furniture-grade plywood on top of the row of cabinets. Trace the cabinet outline on the underside of the board. Cut the plywood along the traced outline and sand the edges.
Apply construction adhesive along the upper edge of the cabinets and set the plywood on top. Hammer finishing nails through the plywood and into the cabinets. Wipe off excess adhesive with a rag before it dries.
Tips & Warnings
- Conceal the 2-by-4 lumber platform by covering it with stock kitchen cabinet kick-plate materials or use 4-inch decorative trim.
- Add decorative trim molding around the cut edge of the plywood seat, and around the seam where the platform and cabinets meet.
- Stain and seal the plywood to match the cabinets.
- Add a purchased bench cushion to make the bench seat more comfortable or add several loose cushions.
- Wear eye protection when using power tools.
- Photo Credit Jack Hollingsworth/Photodisc/Getty Images