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In these crazy times, it seems the ultimate luxury is a chill night at home—so it’s really no wonder that the latest craze in kitchen design echoes our cravings for comfort and informality. Enter: the banquette dining nook. This cozy setup has absolutely skyrocketed in popularity in recent years. Why? Not only do they exude casual, contemporary polish, they’re also a brilliant use of space, allowing for flexible seating and extra breathing room in your layout. We asked our design-savvy friends for their best banquette-spiration

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FILL A WINDOW

We swoon for the cozy, custom vibes of a banquette built into a window well. For this intimate configuration, Jessica McClenden of Glamour Nest recommends tables with pedestal bases because “they make the space visually cleaner while allowing for easy ins and outs.” 

EXTEND YOUR COUNTERS

As seen in this polished space by Abbe Fenimore of Studio Ten 25, adding a banquette in the same hue as your cabinets can visually extend the lines of your kitchen. (Bonus: You gotta love that seamless prep-to-entertaining flow.)

INFILTRATE THE LIVING ROOM

Open concept floor plan? Adding a banquette in a corner is a great way to unify the room. In this cozy Santa Barbara cottage designed by Taylor Anne Interiors, a lounge-adjacent nook serves as both dining and work space. Double win. 

FILL A FORGOTTEN CORNER

With their cuddled up footprint, banquettes offer a great dining solution for small or otherwise awkward crannies. Example A: This snug, sophisticated dining nook by Mia Jung of Ike Kligerman Barkley

ADD A STORAGE FEATURE

Another pro in the banquettes > chairs debate? You can add storage drawers beneath it. (We mean, who doesn’t want more storage space?) The design team at Studio Gild recommends adding color and texture via pillows and upholstery for a feature that reads both functional and super chic. 

CONSIDER A COFFEE TABLE

Banquette nooks aren’t limited to dining configurations either. We love this inventive kitchen-to-coffee table setup by Tom Stringer, which looks absolutely ideal for a cocktail party. 

KEEP IT SIMPLE

White walls + backless benches = serenity. Designer Uma Stewart swears by the banquette setup for its ability to visually cleanse and simplify a room: “Chairs can seem busy but a banquette creates a strong visual impact by consolidating seating and working with the horizontal lines of a table,” she says.  

FILL A WALL

With a built-in window seat, you have the option of totally tailoring size and scale to fit your space. At the end of this Studio Life.Style kitchen, a wall-length banquette makes a dramatic (and comfy) statement. 

GO LONG

One of the best parts about a banquette? They hold more tushes than single chairs. Just imagine how many guests could cozy up for a dinner party in this fabulous space by Vanessa Alexander. One note: “A custom bench is a must to get the scale just right!” she insists. 

SECTION OFF THE KITCHEN

Love the idea of a banquette nook placed right in the action of the kitchen? Swap a traditional island for a cozy dining area instead—à la this genius layout by designer Anne Hepfer

USE YOUR PONY WALL

If you have a clunky pony wall  (aka half wall) on your hands, make lemons with that funky lemonade—and turn the walls into bench backs. Then simply add a great pendant lamp to highlight the space, as designer Elena Frampton from Frampton Co did here. 

CONVERT A FOYER

Designer Courtney Thomas always advocates for extra walking space—like in this room, where a banquette allows for more space between the wet bar and doorway. A hot tip from Thomas: “Plan for at least 24" of table space per seat and 24" of 'push-back' clearance behind each chair. These are good rules-of-thumb for deciding how many chairs can fit at a table and how big a table you can get away with in each space!” she says. 

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