Thursday, May 16, 2013

Tutorial Thursday: Build in Banquette

Many of our new home designs have the option to add a bay window in the nook or master bedroom. This area can be perfect for a simple seating arrangement or just a little more space for the dining room table. Another great way to utilize a bay window is to add a built-in banquette. This DIY project takes some time and a few tools, but the result is fantastic. All for less than $200. Here's how:

Step One

Remove the baseboards and built a sturdy 2x4 frame. The boards can be nailed or screwed directly into the studs on the walls.

Step Two

Cover the frame with MDF or plywood. Here we used some 3/4" cabinet grade plywood that we had from another project. We nailed it in using finish nails and our nail gun. As you can see, we also cut a small hole for an air vent because our heater vent would now be located inside the bench.

Step Three

Add 3-1/2" wide MDF to create a panel look. Don't worry too much if the pieces don't fit together perfectly, this can be fixed with caulk.

Step Four

Cut your top using thick MDF. We used 1-5/8" MDF (also from another project). We cut the top in three pieces. First the middle piece, which we wanted to use as a hinged lid for storage access. Next we used butcher paper (you can also use newspaper) to create a template for the two side pieces. I was worried that if we just tried to measure all the angles we wouldn't get a good fit. The paper template method worked like a charm. We just traced our template onto the MDF and then cut along the lines. We also used a router to add a nice finished edge. Nail your top to the 2x4 frame.

Optional Storage Lid

If you want your bench to also work for storage, you will need to cut about a 1-1/2" piece off the entire back length of your middle top piece. Nail just the thin piece to the 2x4 supports then place the rest of your top in place and use a piano hinge (sold at Home Depot etc.) to attach the two pieces back together. As seen in the photo below (part of the 1-1/2" piece is covered by our back molding, but you can see how the hinge attaches).

Step Five

Caulk and paint your bench with a nice semi-gloss finish for easy cleaning. There is a great tutorial on caulking that I like on Remodelaholic.

Step Six

Add a cushion or some throw pillows and enjoy your new banquette!

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