Banquettes can be a fun and attractive way to make an informal space feel comfortable. Recently, we’ve received many requests for custom-built upholstered banquettes. With each one we do, we learn a little more about how they work best and, most importantly, all the things one must think about before starting to build.

Banquette with colorful pillows.

Very colorful and functional room for children.

We just finished this beautiful banquette which was designed for a children’s central gathering space. The area is a wide hallway that is open and central to the children’s bedrooms and they needed a fun-and-functional place to flop around and play. There were aseveral different professionals involved in seeing the project through from beginning to end, and it was important that all of us worked together to make sure everything worked as seamlessly as possible.

Some things we’ve learned in making banquettes:
•Talk to your carpenter about the specifics of the piece and how it will be upholstered
•Think about the use of your banquette. For example, if it is in a kitchen nook, you might consider wipe-able fabrics for easy cleaning.

• For this banquette we used:

Duralee “Meadow Stripe Velvet” fabric number 36062-245
Duralee “Peacock – Solid” fabric number 14405-23
Duralee “Dark Brown – Chenille” 180909h-104

Lee Jofa LTD 2002205. 7.0
Lee Joffa LTD 2008102.5
Shumacher Fabrics “Reflex” 54770Colorful pillows on banquette.

When making this banquette, first the designer worked with the client to decide on what the banquette would look like, what function it would serve, and so forth. She chose fabrics for the cushions and throw pillows and then referred the carpenter to us. We then worked with the carpenter to go over the particulars of how the banquette would be upholstered and what he needed to do first so we could do our job second. This is the most important thing we’ve learned when working on this type of project. It is important, for example, that if the carpenter wants the final measurements of the seating area to be 18 inches off of the floor, that he takes into account the 4 inches of foam cushions that we will be adding on top. A common mistake  is to overlook how many inches the back-support cushion will take away from the total depth of the seat.
For these reasons and others, it is absolutely best if the carpenter and the upholsterer can discuss the process from beginning to end before the project is started. We were lucky enough to do this.  the carpenter worked out all the measurements accordingly and then gave us the long pieces of plywood that went under the seat cushions of the banquette. We upholstered them, and sewed up all of our cushions. Then we had a great amount of fun making lots of brightly colored throw pillows and two very long bolster pillows for the final touches.
The effect was wonderful! We had transformed what was once a blank wall into a comfortable and colorful place for the kids to relax and play. And the fabrics we used were a dream: the green you see as the main body of the piece feels like a corduroy lamb’s ear.