Why did it take so long? Well, because I have actually been working on two big projects for a while now. In addition to this beautiful bench, I’m also growing a baby! Yep, this mama is pregnant! Unfortunately, my beautiful bundles of joy come with some serious morning sickness. I only had it the first trimester with Kael, but I’m not so lucky this time. So over two and a half months of weekend nap times and I finally finished our DIY dining bench. A few more weeks and I’m finally getting around to sharing it with you!
I love our home. The main area of the home is one large open space that is great for day-to-day living and entertaining. However, this open concept sometimes left the dining area feeling a little lost in the shuffle. It just wasn’t a well defined area. Our tiny 4 person table was perfect for our previous apartments, yet somehow seemed too big AND too small for our new home.
I spent MONTHS trying to figure out how to arrange the dining room so that we could eventually get a 6-8 person table in there, but it seemed useless. I tried different shapes and sizes of table including a fun triangular one, different arrangements of chairs. Nothing worked…until a blog gave me inspiration.
I came across Chelsea from Pinterior Designer on one of my regular blog reads, Remodelaholic. She was being featured for her DIY Dining Banquette. BINGO!!! My problem wasn’t the space, or even the table (though we will need a slightly larger one to fit 6-8), we were running into so many issues because of the chairs! Replace them with a L-shaped dining banquette and we were as good as gold! After reading the guest post, plus a more detailed post on her own blog, I set to work on my own version.
The bones of the dining banquette were very much the same as Chelsea’s: 2×4′s and some plywood. We pretty much used her tutorial. If you want to attempt this project, I would recommend you do the same. We did make a few changes to meet our own needs though. We ended up using a more veneer plywood since we weren’t going to upholster the backrest and the back on one side of the L-shape would be visible. We also added hinges to the top of the dining banquette seats since we were going to use the interior of the bench for some much needed storage. Finally, while I had initially planned on doing a similar decorative box molding on the bench, we have decided to keep it basic for now and add it a little later (aka…when I’m not preggo)
1) It is MASSIVE. Seriously heavy. While the dining banquette is only anchored into its position at three areas, this baby isn’t going anywhere. Since we have concrete slab foundation, we decided to NOT drill into the ground and only connected the bench at a few points along the wall. Even this might have been unnecessary, but it did make attaching the back board MUCH easier.
2) The actual seats are large. Roughly 24″ in depth on each leg. We did this to increase internal storage AND so I could increase my throw pillow count. I have an unhealthy obsession with decorative pillows and my husband has given me a strict limit to how many I can own. Since they will provide ALL the back cushioning and support, that limit was doubled…almost tripled…YAY!
3) The fabric for the dining banquette cushions is from JoAnns. It’s a grey and white outdoor fabric that is a beautiful cross between a damask and vine/scroll print. It provides some pattern, but is neutral enough for me to bring excitement in with the pillows. The outdoor fabric is a bit more durable, and has some additional resistance to fading, moisture, and staining. We also ScotchGuarded the crap outta that thing. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the actual name of the fabric and I cannot find it on their online store. Sorry friends! We did watch the sales to get these items for cheap, especially the foam for the cushions. Even at 60% off, the cushions were close to $100.
4) We splurged on paint and I’d recommend you do the same. We looked for a paint that we could scrub at without damaging the paint. Choosing a gloss paint helped, but we wanted something so scuff marks, food splatters, and other signs of use would erase with ease. We purchased our paint the same week Lowes launched their new Valspar Reserve line boosting a 40% increase in durability and 65% increase in stain resistance. We chose a light grey called Bay Waves. Thus far, we are happy with our choice. It was thicker than some paints I’ve used, but it’s true to color and went on very easily. I’ve already used some of the extra on a few small projects around the house.
5) This project is NOT finished yet. Honestly, it isn’t even close. In addition to doing the decorative molding (eventually), and getting more pillows for the back rest (hopefully sooner rather than later), we also need to get an appropriately sized table and I’d like to get 2-3 side chairs. I’m also considering a rug underneath but if that happens it will have to be post kid-throwing-food-phase. However, the addition of the dining banquette has already made a HUGE improvement to the space.
Have you ever had a project (small or large) that completely transformed a space? Sure, the table itself still seems a bit awkward, but the room actually seems defined and large enough to host the dinner parties I’d always imagined! That is a HUGE success! I love opening that window to let in some of the natural light, and just sitting in the corner reading a book.
I want to hear from you!
- What is the largest home project you’ve even taken on?
- How many people does your current dining table seat?
- Have you ever considered dining banquet seating?
- Are you addicted to throw pillows