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Benches and banquettes - beautiful built-in kitchen seating

Tips for creating the perfect breakfast nook design

Benches and banquettes - beautiful built-in kitchen seating

For us, the breakfast nook is all about Hygee – the Danish and Norwegian word for creating a cosy vibe, with happiness and comfort at the core. In essence it is about helping us to enjoy the simple things in our homes, like morning tea & toast which sets us up for the day. A corner bench and table can create a really special area to cosy up, a place for sharing food and happy times with friends and family – Sundays roasts through the winter, picnic style ploughmans through the summer, and of course those special Birthday cakes shared with our nearest and dearest.

What should you consider when planning a kitchen nook so you can gather round and enjoy that Hygee feeling?

Seating and dining with a view

Ideally choose a corner of your kitchen where you can sit with a lovely view, either of your garden so you get the connection to nature all year round as well as natural light, or of your beautiful kitchen so you can see each other and chat as you make the coffee or prep the dinner.

Layout

Usually two benches would be made to meet in a corner, with stools or chairs around the other sides. If you have a Bay window you could have three benches connected inside the bay which is symmetrically very pleasing. Making a curved bench can also add to the cosy feeling, making it more like a nest, and obviously works well with a round table.

Style & Storage

The most common style is quite a boxy, farmhouse style, perhaps with tongue and groove panelling on the ends. It gives a solid base for seating and also can be an ideal opportunity to add some extra storage - perhaps for the seasonal items, like Easter & Christmas pieces, or maybe for arts, crafts and toys. If you do want to use the space for storage, drawers rather than lift up tops do make access easier as you wouldn’t need to move cushions to get to things. And a lovely idea we saw on Pinterest was to have a small nook on the end for a couple of pairs of shoes to slot into if your banquette is by doors that lead out to your garden.

The design featured in the photograph above, is a custom commission. It includes a stunning piece of Oak which brings a lot of warmth to the room, with a luxuriously dark quartz top cut to a completely unique shape to fit the space perfectly. Although actually quite tricky to make as the table design requires unusual joints and dimensions, it has a sleek and refined look. Made traditionally by cabinet makers, it is about enjoying the natural materials of the Oak and highlighting the grain.

Bench Cushions - Upholstery

Cushions are essential to soften the seats and give that comfortable feeling. Cushions also protect the wood from sauce and wine spills. Whatever material you choose it needs to be hardwearing but comfortable, ideally stain resistant & washable. Think about using pattern if you have small children as it’ll be less likely to show marks.

Preserving original features

The great thing about having furniture made especially for your home is that it can be crafted to work around original features in your new or period property. The owners of this built-in bench with matching table and stools commissioned the furniture to work perfectly with the existing period architectural features & the new kitchen. By having the breakfast nook custom made they were able to maintain original panelling, the stable door and sliding sash window.

Lighting

It’s really important to plan lighting for a breakfast nook. Pendant lights are a great choice as they help to create that focal point, they are decorative and useful as they provide the ‘task lighting’. If possible it’s nice to have dimmers so you can change the ambiance depending on the season and occasion.

We hope this post helps you to think through your breakfast banquette design. It is always a pleasure to make really special nooks – furniture which enables the sharing food & happy times with friends & family. If you are considering a bespoke kitchen, do get in touch. We’re based in Guildford, Surrey and we’d be happy to discuss you project.

Shere Kitchens - Beautiful Bespoke Wood Kitchens