Almost everyone loves sitting in a booth at a restaurant—why not have one at home? Aside from providing an intimate, cozy setting for eating, games, or homework, a banquette or booth solves a critical space issue. An L-shaped booth eliminates the space needed to pull out chairs on two sides, plus, it allows children to sit closer together. Three kids can occupy booth space that is smaller than that required for two kids on two chairs.
This project can create even more usable space if you add a roll-out storage unit under the booth seats. This project creates an L-shaped, built-in booth in a kitchen corner. It does not show you how to redirect air vents or electrical outlets. Make sure you take into account the thickness of cushion foam if you plan on upholstering the backs. The plans assume you’ll use 2″ foam for seat cushions and back cushions. Thicker cushions will make the bench too shallow. Booth seating is most comfortable if the seats are 16 to 19″ deep. The total height for the seat should be 18 to 19″ to fit a standard 29″-tall table.
This project is designed to be painted, but if you wish to match your wood kitchen cabinets, you can use veneer plywood. Before beginning to build the booth, carefully remove the base shoe or molding along both walls using a pry bar. Using a stud finder, mark the stud locations along both walls. Use masking tape to mark the stud locations to avoid marking on the wall surface.
Tools & Materials
Tape measure; stud finder; pry bar; circular saw; cordless screwdriver; carpenter’s square; level; Bevel gauge; compass; Jigsaw; hammer; 1/4″ paintable interior plywood; masking tape; 2 × 4 lumber; 1 × 2 lumber; #8 screws (1 5⁄8″, 2″, 2 1/2″, 3″); 1 1/2″ finish head screws; finish nails; edge banding; trim molding; painter’s caulk; wood putty; paint; Eye and ear protection; work gloves.
Cut the kickboards, ledgers, and braces to length. Attach braces at each end of a ledger using two 2 1/2″ screws. Evenly space the other braces and attach. Attach the kickboard to the braces using 1 5⁄8″ screws. Use a carpenter’s or combination square to make sure all joints are squared.
Turn the brace and the kickboard assembly right side up and place against the wall and cleat. Check for level and make sure that the kickboard butts firmly against the cleat. Attach the ledger to the studs using two 3″ screws per stud. Attach the kickboard to the cleat using 1 5⁄8″ screws.
Attach the long bench top using 1 5⁄8″ screws. Center the screws over the braces and not the kickboard. Measure from the edge of the long bench to the outside edge of the brace for the exact length of the short bench. Cut and attach the short bench top.
Lean one seat back against the wall so the bottom edge is 6″ from the wall. Slide the long back cleat behind the back and mark its location. Use a bevel gauge to determine the edge bevel for the back. Remove the back and bevel the edge with a circular saw or table saw.
Attach the cleat to the seat top, using 1 5/8″ screws. Make sure the cleat is parallel to the wall. Apply edge banding to the top edge of the back. Replace the back and attach it to the cleat using 1 5/8″ screws. Attach it to the wall studs using 2″ screws.
Lean the second back against the wall with its base 6″ from the wall. Slide the short back cleat behind the back and mark its location. Use a compass to scribe the angle of the long back onto the short back. Cut along this mark using a circular saw. Attach the cleat and seat back as in step 7.
Place the end blanks against each end and trace the bench profile. Create a rounded or angular bench end that extends at least 1 1/2″ beyond the bench profile. This “lip” will prevent the cushions from slipping off the end. Cut the bench ends using a jigsaw.
Before attaching the ends, use a sander to break the pointed bench ends. Apply wood glue to the ends of the bench backs, kickboard, and bench tops. Attach the ends to the braces and bench using finish head screws every 6″ to 8″. Apply edge banding to the bench ends.
Attach the molding of your choice to the front edges of the bench with finish nails. Reattach the base molding if desired, or use trim molding to create panels, as pictured here. Fill all screw holes with wood putty, and sand smooth. Run a bead of painter’s caulk along the joint between the bench top and back, the joint where the two bench backs meet, and between the bench back and wall. Smooth with a wet finger. Paint with a high-quality wood primer and satin, semigloss, or gloss paint. Make cushions, if desired.