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Get The Look: A DIY “Built-In” Banquette For Two Budgets

Diving into the design world can be discouraging. Some of the most striking interiors are the result of huge budget projects done by dedicated professionals. Trying to mimic that level of decorating work – let alone coming up with something equivalent on your own – can be incredibly daunting. But even if you’re a decorating newbie, good design isn’t out of reach – or beyond your budget. This breakfast nook by Renovation Planning & Interiors is bold, striking, and on-trend. But, importantly, the banquette itself almost completely free-floating, which means you won’t need a contractor to pull it off yourself.

Building a beautiful banquette doesn't have to mean calling in a designer, contractor, and your financial guy - you just need to choose stylish, DIY-friendly components (Design by Renovation Planning & Interiors, photo by Keitaro Yoshioka Photography)
Building a beautiful banquette doesn’t have to mean calling in a designer, contractor, and your financial guy – you just need to choose stylish, DIY-friendly components (Design by Renovation Planning & Interiors, photo by Keitaro Yoshioka Photography)

Why It Works:

Banquettes have been coming back in vogue for a few years now. Some of that is part of the big, open kitchen craze, with homeowners installing extensive built-in seating for huge, bigger-than-a-booth style breakfast nooks. But more frequently I’ve seen people foregoing the built-in aspect and DIYing the look from freestanding pieces. And trust me, the latter is much, much easier. Instead of having new cabinetry built from the ground up, you can simply shop an L-shaped chaise or sectional to fit the corner you want to convert into a breakfast nook. Then, add the same table and chairs you would otherwise, and accessorize to customize the look.

Get The Look:

This breakfast nook in particular isn’t as striking as it is because of the seating or table choice, it’s in the colorful and unusual accessorizing. In fact, the banquette itself is dead simple to replicate. A modular outdoor sectional is your best bet for the seating; it’ll be leaner and less expensive than an equivalent sofa (and will keep it from looking like you just put a living room set in your kitchen). Plus, weatherproof upholstery is easier to clean, which will give you a diner-like level of spill protection and ease of cleaning. If you have an odd-shaped space, you can splurge and buy your set piece-by-piece rather than as a sectional; this will probably be a little pricier, but will allow you to get a better fit for your space.

The table is a good place to either splurge or save. A wood-topped table with dark metal legs will lend an industrial feel to your space even if you don’t blow your budget on it. Then again, a similar piece made with quality materials is a great investment. Bold leather chairs like these will cost you, but they’re definitely the star of the space. A colorful plastic alternative will cut it, but the chairs are where I’d splurge, for both style and comfort. Once the basics are in place, hang some floating shelves and accessorize. A quality wine rack will makes a great statement, but you can build your own with a few basic parts and a power drill. Finally, top it off with a distinctive sconce. You’ll need an electrician to install it, but it’ll be your crowning piece and ensure the whole setup is in the best light.

Trying your hand at interior design isn’t easy, especially when it involves a big up-front investment. But hopefully this template encourages you to give it a try. After all, even the biggest project is only the sum of its parts!