In this video, we show a time-lapse recording of a dining room banquette being built. This provides a good indication of what is involved in a project like this. We've added some tips to help with the project if you're planning to try it out yourself. If you have any questions on this build, please leave us a comment below and we'll get back to you asap.
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Step by step:
1. Measure the size you want the bench to be and mark your baseboards. Cut your baseboards at this point so you can remove them. If you don't have a took to cut them, you'll have to remove the whole baseboard and then cut it. I used a rotary bit tool and a chisel to cut mine in place.
2. Remove the baseboards and set them aside for reinstallation later.
3. Measure and cut 2x4s for the wall portion of the bottom frame. Remember to allow 3/4" for the plywood panels. Screw the 2x4s directly into the studs and wall footer. Use spacing behind them if necessary (I had to in order to match the wainscoting depth).
4. Cut the 2x4 spacers for the depth. I made ours 21" deep so our spacers were 21" - 3" (two 2x4s) - 3/4" (plywood panel) - 3/4" (trim/baseboard) for a spacer length of 16 1/2". Screw these spacers into the back part of the frame.
5. Measure cut and install the 2x4s for the front part of the lower frame. You may have to leave a space for a vent as I had to do in the video.
6. Measure and cut 2x4 risers. I wanted a 20" total height, including cushions without compression (this decision was based on a table height of 30 1/2"). We made 4" cushions so our bench is 16" total height. This made our risers 16" - 7" (two 2x4s, long side) - 3/4" (top plywood) for a riser length of 8 1/4".
7. Tack the risers in place. I had a spacer on each corner and never left more than a two foot gap anywhere on the frame. This should be sufficient to support the weight of the bench.
8. Measure and cut the parts for the top of the frame. Your spacer length should match that of the bottom. As with the risers, I never left more than a two foot gap with the spacers. This gives added support to the seating as the top plywood will rest on these.
9. Measure, cut, and install the plywood panels. I measured mine up and had them cut it at Home Depot when I bought the plywood. For the top, I put a two inch piece across the back of each section, along the wall. This gives a surface to attach the piano hinges to.
10. After the panels were on, I drilled 1" diameter holes in the top to allow for lifting.
11. Install trim on the bench. My trim extends up to cover the edge of the plywood on the top so when the benches are closed, the top sits down inside.
12. I added wainscoting to the bench at this point.
13. I routered all the exposed edges, then sanded everything.
14. Finally, I cleaned everything up and added the primer.
We made the cushions by sewing heavy-duty fabric. We cut the foam from an IKEA foam mattress using an electric knife. We had underestimated the cost, time, and effort involved in making the cushions. This is something to keep in mind if you`re considering this project. We didn`t record video of the cushion work, but we still have one piece of foam left and may record a demo video to give an indication of what`s required.