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Built-in booths, window seats and banquettes are great space-savers that offer somewhere stylish to sit. Is there space for integrated seating in your kitchen?
As barriers between cooking, dining and living dissolve, a functional and comfortable seating area has become an essential requirement in today’s kitchens. Integrated seating is more relaxed than a formal dining set, and can work for rooms of all sizes. Even in a large room with a table and chairs set up for entertaining, you might also want a more relaxed addition for weekend breakfasts or homework. And, in a compact kitchen, built in furniture offers a streamlined and space-saving solution.
A window seat is a spot for guests to perch while you cook, possibly including extra storage below. Where space allows, a booth or banquette with dining table is a more generous set-up. Booths tend to be enclosed – either two seats facing, U-shaped or circular – while a banquette usually refers to a linear or L-shaped bench attached to a wall. But designs vary – a banquette can back on to an island, and a window seat hugging a bay window teamed with a table becomes a booth.
Built-in seating is a great way to utilise every inch of a room, turning tricky architectural features into creative opportunities. Booths and banquettes gravitate towards corners but there are other options. In a large room, a popular idea is to run a banquette along the back of an island, with the cabinetry forming the backrest. An L-shaped island that surrounds the seating area is a smart option. Banquettes also work well as a low wall, zoning the kitchen and living areas. However, if space is tight, opt for a single booth seat or a corner design. Long, linear islands and peninsulas can be broken up with small cut-outs or seating nooks.
Consider how many people you would like to sit around the table – experts recommend a minimum space of about 60cm per place setting. Be aware of table heights, too, – ensure it is complementary to the seating height or vice versa. On average, allow a height of between 61 and 73cm for knee space.
SENSE OF STYLE
Integrated seating should blend seamlessly with the rest of the kitchen, and be unobtrusive in terms of design, colour, lines and heights. Upholstered banquettes, benches and stools will add greater comfort to a snug seating area. Choose practical, user-friendly fabrics such as faux leathers, washable suedes, heavy cottons and canvases, and treat with a tough stain and water-repellent protection. Your upholsterer or interior designer will advise on the amount of fabric required.
Take a look at some design ideas…
1. Island and benches combination
This kitchen features an island combined with a fixed bench, table and chairs.
Kitchen by Smallbone of Devizes
2. Cut-out nook
An island flows seamlessly into a this nook with a lowered table area for working or eating.
Kitchen by Leicht
3. Circular island booth
This circular booth is attached to the island unit of this kitchen.
Kitchen by Charles Yorke
4. L-shaped booth
A booth sits snugly inside an L-shaped island unit in this scheme.
Kitchen by Mowlem & Co
As you can see, kitchen dining furniture can be so much more than a simple table and chairs. Banquettes like these are fantastic space savers, and just the thing to give your room the edge.