How to Make a Banquette Seat


Banquette seating is ever popular and is a great way to seat a couple of people or many people without the hassle of needing extra chairs and the space they take up. Since a banquette or bench seat is simply a wooden box with a comfortable seating pad attached to the top, it's one of those projects that woodworkers of any experience level can undertake successfully. There are no complicated joints, intricate sewing techniques or tricky measuring tasks to master and the final design can be adapted to fit into any décor.

Things You'll Need

  • Two-by-four timber
  • Nails or screws
  • Hammer or screwdriver
  • Plywood or MDF sheets
  • Thick foam padding
  • Glue
  • Upholstery fabric
  • Paint
  • Cut your two-by-four timber into four long pieces and eight short pieces. The length of the long pieces will be the finished length of your seat, while the length of your short pieces will be the approximate finished height and width.

  • Nail or screw these pieces together to form a frame. Use nails or screws which are a minimum of 1 inch in length, but no more than 2 inches to avoid splitting the timber.

  • Cut four pieces of plywood or MDF big enough to cover the four sides of your frame with an extra two inches at the top of each piece to allow for the seat padding later on.

  • Nail or screw these in place to the sides of your frame so that the bottom of each piece is level with the bottom of the frame and the 2-inch excess protrudes from the top edge to form a lip.

  • Cut a fifth piece of plywood or MDF for the top of your seat which is slightly smaller than the top of the frame to allow a recess which the seat will fit into once padded.

  • Measure and cut your thick foam padding to the same size as your seat top.

  • Glue in place and leave to dry.

  • Place your fabric across the seat pad and fold the edges underneath it.

  • Nail or glue the fabric edges to the underside of the seat so that the fabric on top is smooth and taut.

  • Paint the outside of your banquette seat in your chosen color and leave to dry.

  • Drop the seat pad into the recess of the banquette seat for a snug fit to your finished item.

Tips & Warnings

  • Simply dropping the fabric seat top in place rather than nailing it will allow the fabric to be changed much more easily in the future.
  • Decorative moldings can be added to the exterior of your seat such as panels, kick boards or architraving.
  • To fit your banquette seat into a shaped area like an alcove or to create a window seat, measure the area in question and cut out the timber frame to the same measurements.
  • The thickness of foam padding used will determine the final height of your finished seat, but remember to allow for compression once the seat is being used.

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  • Photo Credit wooden bench image by Lars Christensen from
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