This post is sponsored by Lowe’s.
Every decision we’ve made at our Tree House has been based around the space accommodating six adults. There are six Adirondack chairs around the fire pit. There are four seats on the sofa and two barstools at the kitchen peninsula that form a conversation area for six. There are two twin beds, a queen-size bed and a king size bed – you guessed it – sleeping space for six! When it came to our dismal dining situation, however, our flimsy folding table and four rusty chairs were coming up short in more ways than one. But now, that’s no longer true!
When we first toured Tree House, we always envisioned a custom banquette in the dining nook – yes, even though there was a non-functioning potbelly stove in the corner. Never having built one before, we were careful to research standards in seat height and toe kicks, cushion depth and the just right angle for the recline of the chair back. We drew a lot of inspiration from a favorite local taco spot (and even paid them a visit with an angle finder and tape measure in hand, as one does, with their permission!), and after endless sketches on notepads and napkins, we felt comfortable with the direction we were heading.
Finally, we were ready to head to our neighborhood Lowe’s with our build list in hand! We knew we could find everything we needed at Lowe’s, from beautiful oak boards to primed-and-ready shiplap, to wood screws and adhesives. A one-stop-shop. We then proceeded to fill our trusty Subaru up with everything we needed – and on a relatively small budget!
Here’s how our dining nook looked the morning we started the project. The tape lines represent the rough shape of the finished structure, and you can see we had our electrician add a sconce to the right of the window and an outlet for a television on the larger wall:
Tools + Supplies Used
- 2″ x 6″ x 8′ (for toe kick base)
- 2″ x 4″ x 8′ (for storage boxes)
- 4′ x 8′ oak plywood sheets, cut in half lengthwise
- PrimeLinx primed shiplap wall planks
- 1″ x 6″ red oak boards
- HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams Ultra White paint
- HeadLOK wood screws (for securing into wall studs)
- 2 1/2″ wood screws
- miter saw
- speed square
- construction adhesive + gun
- nail gun (optional)
- caulk + gun
- wood putty (optional)
- foam + outdoor fabric (1 yard per bench seat)
- tape measure
Building and Securing the Base
The first step was to frame out the two boxes that would form the recessed base of the seats. We determined the overall depth of the banquette and subtracted 3″ to allow for a recessed toe kick. Be sure to factor in the depth of your finish materials here – we subtracted about 1/2″ from our desired finished dimensions to allow for the shiplap.
Since our Banquette is L-Shaped, we built each box independently, then fastened them together to form the L. Our speed square came in really handy for this step – we were sure to keep our corners at a tight 90-degrees throughout the process!
Once the two base boxes were secured to one another, we identified studs with our stud finder. We then used 2 7/8″ HeadLOK screws to fasten the whole thing to a handful of wall studs for stability. These were quite possibly the most satisfying fasteners we’ve ever used. The box includes a proprietary bit and they drive soooo nicely!
Attaching the Plywood Top
After the base was fastened securely to the wall, we double-checked the overall depth in a few places and ended right at 18″. We added 3″ to that measurements to account for the toe kick, then ripped our oak plywood down to 21″ on the table saw. The plywood would act as the base of our storage unit.
Note: We can’t fit full 4’x8′ sheets of plywood into our car, so we had the folks at Lowe’s rip sheets in half on the panel saw. It’s free, saves us time and hassle, and it makes life so much easier!
Now that we had the right depth, we cut the lengths on our sliding miter saw.
The plywood was then fastened to the 2 x 6 base, and we were ready to move on to the actual seat boxes! We used high quality 3/4″ oak plywood since it would eventually serve as the visible ‘floor’ of the open storage boxes. It was incredibly nice to work with! There was virtually no splintering and it was very straight and solid.
Building the Seat Boxes
With the plywood now in place, we remeasured all of our dimensions to check for accuracy. Kim then stepped outside to make all of the cuts while I got to building the lower boxes. This process was essentially a repeat of the first 2×6 box, but made out of 2×4’s and repeated twice with the exact same dimensions. Once both boxes were complete, we measured for the proper overall height that would result in a 16 1/2″ seating surface before our foam was added to the bench seats. In our case, we used 10″ vertical supports, which were attached to one box frame, then flipped over and attached to the other.
Here’s how it looked with our storage boxes / bench seating:
A quick note on the ‘floating’ side table: This was added after so many of you suggested that the abrupt stop under the window was confusing. We saw what you meant, and felt that it could use some balance, too. Hence, the floating side table was born! However, Kim was concerned that the overall thickness of the table would be too ‘hunky’ if we left the 2×4’s at full size. After much deliberation, we ripped one inch from them so they measured 2 1/2″ (vertically in this orientation) as opposed to 3 1/2″. As usual, she was right! The thinner depth of the ripped 2×4’s resulted in a finished thickness of 4″ (once the 3/4″ plywood and 3/4″ oak planks were added) which turned out perfect. More on this table in a moment. In the meantime…
Once the upper seat boxes were attached to each other in the same manner as the base, we laid down a bead of construction adhesive to affix it to the plywood. We clamped it into place, then used a few strategically placed screws to ensure that it wouldn’t budge. The top portion of the structure was then fastened to the studs using the HeadLOK screws. This thing isn’t going anywhere any time soon!
Tip: Drywall is rarely perfectly square. We shimmed a few low areas as we attached square framework to the not-square walls. Don’t stress here, since all of the structural framework will be concealed by finish materials later in the process. Also remember, caulk fixes everything!
After all of the framework was complete, we cut down and dry-fitted the plywood tops that would form the seating surface. This gave us the first idea of what the finished banquette would look like!
Installing the Shiplap
We decided that installing the PrimeLinx primed shiplap boards (which we were pleasantly surprised to find in stock at Lowe’s!) would be easiest if we knocked it out prior to the tops being fastened into place. Kim called out the cuts and nailed the boards into place while I handled the cuts on the miter saw and helped make sure everything fit together snugly.
When we reached the top of the structure, we were left with a 1 1/2″ gap between the top row of shiplap and the bottom of the plywood, so we took a few careful measurements, then ripped down a 1 1/2″ strip on the table saw for the perfect finishing touch.
Once the final slim piece was in place, we spackled and sanded all of the nail holes, caulked the seams and hit everything with two coats of Sherwin Williams Infinity paint. We chose untinted Ultra White in a semi-gloss finish for durability and wipability.
The mostly-complete base looked just like this at the end of day 1:
If a space (or preference) doesn’t call for a structural backrest, it would be very simple to stop here, upholster the tops and add some cozy throw pillows as a ‘backrest’. We considered it along the way, but we prefer the look of a full built-in backrest, so onward we go!
Building the Backrest
We started day two by installing ledger boards into studs at the determined height of the backrest. The top of the board measured exactly 12 1/4″ from the top of the seating surface so that our 3/4″ thick top cap resulted in a finished 13″ height.
We also needed to problem solve where our backrest would sit on the bench. Here’s how that went down: The overall depth of the plywood seating surface is 21,” and we wanted to achieve a 17″ seat cushion depth. To get this, we ripped the bench seat tops down on the table saw, which gave us a fixed 4″ deep strip where we could attach the bottom of the backrest supports. You can see that cut below. This will make much more sense in a moment!
Tip: To ensure that our gaps were consistent throughout construction, we used nickels! This particular dry fit ensured that our plywood remained the perfect depth after ripping it down on the table saw.
It was now time to fabricate the skeleton of the backrest. We started by ripping a leftover piece of plywood down to a height of 12 3/4″. We then set our compound miter saw for a 10 degree cut, which we determined to be a comfortable angle for the seat back. We marked our cuts for 1 3/4″ at the narrower top end, which resulted in a depth of around 3″ at the wider base.
A quick note: Our Kobalt 10″ sliding compound miter saw is capable of rip cuts up to 14″. This allowed us to make the 10 degree angled cuts in one pass. This was an absolutely invaluable asset to keep things quick, safe, and accurate!
The supports were then slathered with wood glue and nailed to the ledger board with 2″ finish nails.
At the bottom of the frame, we used scrap plywood to create blocking that would keep the vertical supports from shifting horizontally. Like the verticals, the blocks were also glued into place and fastened with the pop of one finish nail into each.
With the exception of each end of the banquette, the size of the blocking was not important since the entire framework would be concealed by these finish-grade oak boards, the same boards we used on our slim sofa console. On each end, we were careful that each block lined up perfectly with the ledger board above it. However, the spacing of the verticals is important, since this is where we would be nailing the boards that make up the backrest. Because the nails are slightly visible, we were careful to space the vertical supports evenly.
Once the vertical supports were in, we ripped an oak board down to the 2 1/2″ depth we needed for the top cap, which we popped into place with finish nails. You can see that ‘cap’ in this photo:
Since we were using 1″ x 6″ oak boards (which are actually 5 1/2″) to face the backrest, we knew we would have to rip at least one of them down on the table saw to reach our 13″ height. To allow for some visual symmetry we decided to leave the lowest board fully intact since it would lose 2″ of visual ‘height’ once the 2″ tall foam cushions were in place. The upper two boards were ripped down to 3 3/4″ and sanded smooth so our overall height would end up at 13″. Math is hard, but we got there! Custom-sourced nickel spacers came in handy for this step as well – ha!
Wrapping It Up
In order to achieve a perfect corner, we installed all of the oak boards on the long side of the backrest first. We then cut the short boards at a 10 degree angle on the right side. They were then slid into place, marked on the left side and cut at a simple 90 degree angle. No compound cuts were necessary and it turned out perfect!
When it came time to cap off the ends of each backrest, I cut a slightly larger scrap of oak board at a 10 degree angle, then took careful measurements and cut out the shape with a jigsaw. it was a labor of love, but I’m proud of it! Here’s how it looked, before and after:
While I finished up the oak on the backrest, Kim got to work upholstering the seating surfaces. We purchased 2″ thick furniture foam online and trimmed it to fit the plywood seats. The plywood and foam were then flipped upside-down onto this Sunbrella fabric and stapled it in place with a staple gun and 1/4″ staples.
The last step was to skin the floating table with leftover oak. The front and side panels were ripped down to 4″ and the top was covered with 4 1/4″ thick planks for visual continuity. They turned out exactly as we imagined and ended up mirroring the lines of the backrests and shiplap! While it’s not intended to support the weight of more than a few books and a drink or two, we tested the upper limits and stood on it to make sure it was solid. Much like the rest of the banquette, it’s not going anywhere!
Note: We used a nickel to keep the space between the boards the same as the banquette back and shiplap base.
We Have a Banquette!
Jack is obviously thrilled with our accomplishment.
We’re so happy with how this corner turned out! These corner cuts are one of those small details that can easily trip you up (guilty), but once we stepped back and thought about it, the cuts were simpler than we imagined:
We love the way the darker lines of the plaid outdoor fabric mimic the black window frames! It’s subtle, but it really unifies the space.
While our intent was to put the seating surfaces onto hinges with hydraulic lifters, we realized that the bench tops wouldn’t be very easy to flip up and access with those thick, cozy cushions. We ended up nixing the idea of hinges at the last minute, and instead, we opted to simply allow the tops to rest in place. With the fabric and cushions being so snug against one another, they stay put nicely! We have no concerns of them shifting any more than, say, a couch cushions might. Plus, look at all that glorious storage!
All the Numbers In One Place
For anyone wondering, below are the finished dimensions:
- 93″ overall length (long side)
- 54″ overall width (short side under the window)
- 22″ overall depth
- 30″ overall height
- 17″ seating surface depth
- 17″ seat height (before adding our cushion)
- 10 degree backrest angle
- 13″ overall backrest height
- 22″d x 16″w ‘floating’ side table
The final cost of this large corner banquette came to almost $500, which in a large part was due to choosing the beautiful oak boards. Our fabric and foam was an additional $150 for a grand total of $650!
All told, this project took about 50 total (wo)man-hours to complete. As usual, we think we could probably repeat the build in a little more than half that time since we’ve got all of the math and proportions figured out, but hopefully this will be easier for you now, ha! This is probably the woodworking project we’re most proud of to this point.
Now we just have to wait for our dining table to arrive, which is going to be tough. Truth be told, we pulled up our folding table to the banquette the morning after completion to have breakfast, and it really brought the total effect down a few notches. Ha! But we’re so close. Dining area for six plus, here we come!
Thank you to our sponsor, Lowe’s Home Improvement, for supporting our vision for this project! We were able to find all the building materials we needed, in-stock, at our local Lowe’s.
You guys have mad skills. It is gorgeous.
Love it. Would love to see a video of how you managed such great lines on your upholstery corners if one exists…they look so clean!
Also, they are just sitting on the tops without any sort of velcro (or otherwise) anchoring?
Yes, sitting snugly on top! We had grand plans to add hydraulic hinges (we had even purchased them already), but by the time everything was upholstered, it was SO snug that we decided to leave it be. We had our dads test it out – give it your best scootch! – and they didn’t budge. Even still, they’re easy enough to lift off to access games and blankets. :D
I’m asssuming the plan was to have the hinges at the back of the cushion since you mentioned the foam top being in the way? Would it be worth adding them to the front of the seat and having them lift toward the table instead?
That could definitely be an option, but to answer your question, I don’t think it would be worth it. :) Only because, once the cushions were in place, everything was so nice and snug, there was really no need for hinges in the end. It’s not so heavy that it’s a burden to lift, but there’s enough weight to them that they don’t budge. It really turned out to be a happy accident in the end!
I just measured! Because the plaid is large, it was pretty simple. I actually did it fairly quickly while my parents were around and could take Lucy on a walk, haha. That’s why there’s no photo evidence!
You Guys! This looks amazing! Paired with that gorgeous table I saw in IG it’s seriously so perfect for Tree House. Did you finish the oak boards with any poly or anything? Also, the lower shiplap came primed, but did you paint it after? It looks crazy good!
Thank you! Yup, we painted the shiplap with a semi-gloss white and gave the oak boards 3 coats of Polycrylic in a matte finish.????
At what stage in the process did you paint and poly?
You could add blocks to the underneath of the lids to keep them from shifting.
We thought we would, but it wasn’t even necessary – those tops are very firmly in place!
It looks great! I wonder though, why you didn’t just extend it to the end of the window? It may have been longer than the table, but it would only add extra seating, and symmetry. I do love the floating end table too. You are doing such a wonderful job on your wonderful tree house!
Hi JaneS! That was a BIG concern when we first posted about our plans. But we knew it would look silly to have so much extra bench seating where the table wouldn’t extend, because we were limited by the placement of the loft ladder. We dive into that into much more detail here: https://yellowbrickhome.com/planning-for-banquette/
We’ll be sharing the table reveal soon, which should help clear up the concerns! The floating table was a happy middle ground. :)
This turned out perfectly! It’s amazing!
Hi! I’m wondering why you decided to build over the outlets. We’re about to build a banquet and also have outlets right where I’d like them and were going to have them moved but now I’m thinking maybe we don’t have to!
The outlets aren’t covered up or blocked by any of the supports (on purpose), and we wanted to have the option to hide away things that needed to be plugged in – like media center stuff, a subwoofer, etc.
It is so, SO good!
It looks really, really great! I was wondering if you might finish the oak planks (on the back and table)? I love the unfinished look, but I wonder about it’s cleanability (yes, spell check, that’s a word. . . ) so close to an eating area. I appreciate so much the explicit tutorials you post, like these. I recently made a set of <a href=”https://www.facebook.com/Miranda.Gayle.Music/posts/10162011042155142“>floating shelves in my laundry room</a>, based on your indoor workroom and the lake house kitchen posts. They turned out really great, and (as you mention here) I know they went much more smoothly for me, given that you worked out the kinks in the project first! The construction of the banquettes reminds me very much of those (with more finishing touches of course.) Now I’m thinking we may need just such a set in our rehab, perhaps with the peninsula jutting away from the wall to help divide the living room and dining room . . . anyway, thanks again. Great post!
Ohhhh integrated lighting?! Amazing!
We actually added three coats of matte Polycrylic to the oak! It’s nice and wipeable!
Well, you’ve done it. You’ve made me like oak. It’s beautiful.
$650?!?! DOLLARS?! For a DIY with no labor?!?! That is so discouraging :( :( :( It is beautiful though.
At this size, it could easily cost double had we hired it out, especially since we added a lot of custom details (storage, upholstery, angled back, etc). However, keep in mind that we sunk a large part of the budget into oak boards! If you use pine or poplar 1-bys and stain them, you could save on expense that way! Another cost saver would be using pillows instead of upholstery.
This looks beautiful! I have been looking for banquettes for our kitchen, but I have not been able to find anything great. This looks amazing and exactly what we need in our house. Do you have any suggestions for how to find someone to build this banquette? I am located in a Chicago suburb. Thank you for your time!
This is DIY-able! But perhaps you could search for a handyman or woodworker?
Thanks! It is a little big out of our league right now. If it is anything like painting and sanding our kitchen, it would take us 3 months to build! :) Any recommendations on where to find a handyman or woodworker? Any websites you go to to find workers like that?
You could check Angie’s List, but honestly, word of mouth is always the best option. Have you had friends or family work with anyone recently? Otherwise, we turn to Yelp as well!
Love it! At what point in the measuring process did you make sure the top of the cushion would be a perfect height for Jack? I must have missed that in the step-by-step. :)
Don’t you worry – he supervised the entire project.
This looks so great! I’m such a nerd for building tutorials. I love to see how other people choose to build things. Thanks so much for typing such thorough directions. You’re going to make so many fun memories sitting at that banquette!
Thank you so much!
This is really great! I see so many DIY (or even professionally done) banquettes that neglect to consider basic ergonomics. I love that you considered a place for your feet and the angled back, which typically get forgotten about until you try to use it and it’s just not that comfortable.
I am SO impressed! This turned out beautifully. Love your careful attention to detail (as always) – it looks amazing from every angle.
Thank you so much, Marti!
Thanks for sharing this project in so much detail. I’ve been having a lot of trouble with images on your site not loading (going back to the relaunch pretty much). I refresh the page and they still don’t all come up. Even coming back a day or two later doesn’t solve the problem. Some pics eventually show up, but many don’t. I know you’ve done a lot of work to improve your site, so I wanted to share my issue. Thanks for the great content.
Oh wow, this is the first I’ve heard of an issue like this! Are you able to share which browser you’re using? Thank you for the feedback!
I’m in chrome. We are on country internet which is a bit slow at times, but your site is the only one that has this problem for me. :(
This is so insanely good! I cannot wait to replicate! Thanks for such a great post with step by step instructions!
Hey there—what a fun project! Can you share where the wall-mounted hook is from for the hanging plant? I have been looking for one and LOVE the one you chose. Thanks so much!
It’s this one!
Looks great- but I hope that floating table can hold weight – at least that of kids who will definitely sit on it upon at some point! Especially those trying to get into the actual seat from that side. Seems like its placement will make it just as hard to slide in as extending the actual bench, which would have looked more balanced…? thoughts?
With the table, more banquette would have looked odd – more on the table SOON. And I hear your concerns, but that end table is SO strong!! I could literally jump on it, and it makes it easier to slide into the banquette. :)
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How has the fabric held up? We are building a banquette as well and have found a sunbrella print also that we like, but we are nervous with little kids that it will just be stained quickly after all the hard work of putting it together.
Hi Laurel! Sunbrella fabric is pretty incredible. We’ve used is in a bunch of different applications both indoors and out. In the case of the banquette, spills and splatters simply wipe up with a damp rag. That’s it! We can’t recommend it enough!
Hello! I’m going to try and replicate your beautiful banquette! What was your width on the shiplap? 8 ft x ???
I think they were 5”!
Thank you Kim! I don’t have a window – would u make yours taller if u didn’t have the window to limit the height?
That would be 100% personal preference! I recommend measuring the height of a comfortable chair in your home, and then making your banquette back the same. ☺️
Fantastic job!! I am building this exact banquette in my new home next month and using your detailed build instruction. I may have missed it.. but how many of each material was required to complete this build?Certainly, not just one of each :)
2x4x8 – ?
2x4x6 – ?
4×8 – ?
1×6 – ?
Hi Jordan! It’s really going to depend on the dimensions of your banquette, which is why the quantities aren’t listed. It will be different for everyone. We recommend sketching out your design and dimensions, and basing your quantities off of that. We’d love to see a photo of your banquette once completed!
I have viewed hundreds of DIY banquettes. This one is by far the most beautiful I have seen. I am using your idea, thank you so much for posting
Happy to hear!
Did you paint the ship lap and Laquer the oak before install or after? We are in the middle of building this guy, so excited!
After install! I’d love to see photos of your finished banquette!
Love the plans – one concern for me is electric baseboard heater spanning the long wall (72″ radiator / 74″ wall) where I’d like to build mine. Would rather have the heat come from long bench toe kit than have to buy a new wall mount heater. Ideas?
Thanks for the kind words. Unfortunatly, the electric baseboard heaters that were in this home when we purchased it were removed in favor of a brand new forced air HVAC system so we can’t really speak to your question. Depending on the height of the heater and the amount of slack in the existing wiring, maybe the toe kick could be raised to accommodate it?
If we wanted to have the backrest etc in white would we need the high grade pieces of oak? I assume we could go with a less expensive grade if we were painting it.
Correct, you could use primed MDF or aspen wood, depending on what’s available near you.
Did you miter the corners of the ship lap?
Yup! Everything was mitered on a 45.
I have been eyeing this banquette for months now and have finally worked up the courage to undertake my first carpentry project :) Now that you have spent some time living with it, I am wondering if there is anything you would do differently or change if you were to rebuild it? Have you received any feedback from others who have built replicas that could be helpful for a newbie? Thank you so much for sharing measurements and step-by-step instructions!
Hi Kennie! If there’s anything we’d change, we might make the back a few inches taller for a more comfortable lounging position, but that’s all preference. Originally, we planned to add hinges and gas lifter struts to the seats, but we’ve found that being able to remove them completely and slide them out of the way without moving the table is very handy. Hope this helps!
This banquette has been a major information for me and my husband! We just started building our own. The link for the cushion cover material seems to not work anymore. Is it possible to provide another link or the name of the fabric? Additionally, what dimensions foam did you buy from foam factory? Thank you in advance!!
Hi Kyla! Thanks for the kind words. The foam was 3″ thick. The fabric is Sunbrella Paradigm Stone. We purchased it on ebay a few years ago. Best of luck with the project!
Kim and Scott, when you first posted the banquette almost three years ago now (!!!), I bookmarked it immediately for our dining room space. Though it would be nearly that time before we were ready to renovate our dining room, your post inspired the DIY banquette – and cushions – we are so proud of today. Thank you!
Excellent! So happy to have been the inspiration. We’d love to see some photos if you have them!
Very helpful write up! We recreated this but encountered some measurement errors in the process. Specifically, you reported that you attached the top of the ledger at 12.25 and then reportedly ripped the back support ribs at 12.75. They’re clearly the same height in your photos, however. Then, the ribs were supposedly 3 inches at the base and 1.75 at the top. In the online angle calculator this yields a back rest angle of under 5 degrees. Furthermore, I don’t think this is what you guys actually did because it appears that the top width of the rib is definitely narrower than 1.75 inches. My guess is that it was more like 1.25 or even 1 inch at the top. Anyhow, I’m just trying to provide some constructive feedback to elimate these head scratching moments for future builders!
Thanks HEAPS for the build plan and the positive vibes!