GOING BONKERS FOR BANQUETTES
An old seating solution is winning new fans as a stylish design option for any room, writes Chelsea Clark
Once the domain of Mid-Century design, 1950s-style diners and up-scale restaurants, the banquette is fast becoming a must-have in modern homes.
Versatile and space-saving, it can work in virtually any room but is most popular in dining spaces which include the rising star of contemporary interior design — the breakfast nook.
“Our culture is heavily centred on entertaining and social gatherings,” architect Alex Roth says. “This, mixed with our obsession with the refined and the ‘multifunctional’ space, makes us seek architectural and interior elements which allow for many uses for a variety of people.
“The banquette seat is a great example of mixed and multi-use objects and is both a functional tool while being a fun and aesthetically pleasing piece.”
In fact data from online interiors inspiration site, Pinterest, suggests the design industry’s growing obsession with banquettes isn’t just anecdotal.
Year on year, the number of people searching the term ‘breakfast nook’ has increased by 210 per cent, while people looking for instructions on constructing their own banquette has risen 100 per cent.
Less space, better designed
Interior designer James Treble says banquettes are popular in our ever-shrinking floorplans as they take up less floor space than conventional seating such as stand-alone chairs or benches.
“They work well in difficult-to-furnish corners or narrow spaces where tables and chairs would be simply too tight to work efficiently,” he says.
And it’s not just in dining spaces this versatile seating alternative can shine.
Alex says: “While you generally link banquettes with the dining space of the home, I believe that they can be adapted to work in many areas of a house.
“Examples of this are outdoors spaces where you can create exterior seating and entertainment areas. Creating a cabana or luxury seating around your pool is also easy to achieve by using banquette seating.”
Do your own thing
If you’re thinking of doing it yourself, James says to first consider what you want from it.
“Depending upon your level of DIY skills, a banquette can be a homemade job for the handyman or handywoman around the home,” he says.
In this space by The Designory, storage is a key part of its design. Picture: Tom Ferguson
An upholstered seat and back in this space by Brett Mickan Interior Design makes it the best seat in the house.