No, no, not baguettes, those tasty French crusty long loaves of deliciousness… Banquettes!   Ever since I was young I’ve been intrigued by banquette seating.  I’m really not sure why as they aren’t the easiest to navigate, especially when they are upholstered in fabric.  Ever slide into a restaurant banquette and have your skirt do a complete 360 on your body?    Usually this happens when the upholstery is fabric rather than leather or a faux.  Not all banquettes are ergonomic either.  Since they are being placed against the wall, correct proportions are paramount. If the proportions are done correctly, great.  If the proportions are done incorrectly, they’re completely uncomfortable.  As banquettes are usually custom built you can ensure a good fit and sit with your designer before ordering.  Banquettes are tremendously advantageous when space is at a premium or you have a dead corner to furnish.  They are also tres chic.  Let’s look…

An odd shape space proves no problem when banquette seating is created for a dining room.

Drooling over French designer Penny Drue Baird’s clients’ dining space.  How fabulous is the fringe trim on the banquette!   The cafe chairs are a nice touch and the color palette sings.   C’est bon!

Kit Kemp is one of my favorite designers.  Endlessly creative with an artists touch, her design for the Brasserie Max in The Covent Garden Hotel in London is splendid.   Love the banquettes!

Brasserie Max – Kit Kemp design

Pairing a 19th century painting, unframed, with contemporary furnishings creates a moody atmosphere in Brasserie Max.  Had the painting been framed, it would take on a whole different vibe and dominate the space.

Ye Olde Banquette seating.  Once you get in you can’t get out.   Interior Design A to Z, 1965

Full disclosure:  not into tufted seat cushions, I find them uncomfortable.

A leather covered banquette ensures your entry and exit slide will be smooth.

Nice custom touch giving each back cushion a unique embroidered plant/floral motif.   The turned chairs add lively interest in this dining room by Katie Ridder.
A round table makes this corner easier to navigate in interior designer David Kleinberg’s Manhattan kitchen.  Minimalist chic!

More of David Kleinberg’s Manhattan apartment can be seen in this article here.  I love his sense of humor, respect for design and refined style.

Working around tricky corners.  The wall is covered in mosaic tiles.  Under drawer storage is a plus.  Katie Ridder design.

Vibes from India, Venice, Turkey, and France inspired the design of this pool house.   I imagine some sort of smoking goes on in here.  The walls are hand-stenciled and the custom tile floors, after those in the Taj Mahal, were fabricated at the owners company, Studium.

Nice deep banquette cushions.  Total chill room, turn on Netflix and binge watch away!

The pool house reminded me of Elsie de Wolfe’s famous rooms at the Villa Trianon.    Elise de Wolfe is known for being the first American interior designer and lived a most interesting and colorful life.

Elsie de Wolfe
Solution for an awkward corner – love the pop of green.  Designer unknown.
A Manhattan townhouse layout makes good use of banquette seating.  Jeffrey Bilhuber design.

Jeffrey Bilhuber’s book “Design Basics, Expert Solutions for Designing The House of Your Dreams” is a great resource from an immensely talented designer.   Any book that showcases floor plans gets a top rating from me.

A petite breakfast room off the kitchen shown below.  The kiddos will have to sit under the shelves.  Betty Robinson designer.

Another view of the breakfast room from the kitchen.  Love how personalized this kitchen is from the antique tiled floor to the pot filler on the wall above the ceramic vessel.

A cozy breakfast room off a kitchen I would love to cook in.  Betty Robinson designer.
Another awkward corner made fabulous with the addition of a banquette.  Love the Parisian feel of this apartment by David Kleinberg.

If you love framed artwork – really love it – hard – like the resident below – this is the room for you.   The art and books give me visions of ivy climbing up the side of houses and covering everything.

In the Turkish fashion, bolster pillows and fringe.  Filled with my favorite things – art and books – I could hang out here for hours!  Kenneth Jay Lane

This antique settee would be perfect for banquette seating or as textile inspiration.  The textile application is well executed and the combination of patterns is divine.

Great pattern mixing.  Muriel Brandolini interior

So if you think a banquette would work for you there are a number of quality manufacturers who make semi-custom or custom ones.  Contact your interior designer as they will have the best resources.   Working with an interior designer ensures you get the best fit, fabric, and fantastic personal look you deserve.

  1. Banquettes, some neat & comfortable fitting into small or large spaces, others like the Pool House and the Turkish with the big bolsters, soo warm and cozy.

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