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Building a Dining Room Banquette

Building a Dining Room Banquette

By Pegi Amarteifio     Jul-01-2021
Building a Dining Room Banquette

I always have a household project on the go and often spend my leisure time mood-boarding interior ideas for friends. In the first of a series of home décor blog posts, I'll be sharing some of my own interior projects with you, starting with my dining room banquette.

I renovated the ground floor of my house four years ago. At the time, the kitchen hadn't seen an upgrade in years, and the dining room was bland, lifeless, and only ever used for a quick meal, after which we'd all reconvene in the equally tired living room.

Fast forward four years, and our dining room is now the centrepiece and most used space in the house. We've had countless dinner parties, cocktail evenings, lengthy (and brutal) monopoly sessions, home-schooling and even afternoon naps, all in this one room.

I'm continually inspired by everything around me, particularly some of the gorgeous hotels and restaurants I've visited over the years and spend my days looking at (in my day job working in luxury hospitality). Those said places, where, after the night ends, I'm reluctant to leave because I'm far too comfortable. Be it the ambient lighting, well-appointed seating, the flow of space, inspiring views or general atmosphere; it's that magical cosy feeling that I wanted to recreate. It was after a lovely dinner at The Ampersand Hotel's Apero Restaurant that I decided to incorporate banquette seating in my décor, largely to accommodate more bums on seats, when hosting.

Apero, The Ampersand Hotel
Architect Drawing

Working with an architect, I set out to maximise every last corner of the room. I knocked out the existing chimney breast (it was never used) and created a layout that would suit my family's needs.

I needed the banquette to fulfil many purposes: take us from a six-seater dining setting (in the old dining room) to a 12-seater; have built-in storage under the seats; house a radiator; and have floor to ceiling shelving, built with power sockets to serve the space. Finally, I wanted the above space to be a feature wall, so I incorporated panelling and dimmable strip lighting hidden in each shelf.

Working with a talented carpenter and upholsterer, I managed to tick all the boxes. The upholstery is made in premium faux leather and a comfortable filling, making it good enough to sleep. I then decorated with a striking yet subtle paint colour and furnished it with pendant lights from Industville and an extendable antique dining table from Jasper Road Antiques. I currently use two antique chairs from Jasper Road Antiques and bring out some Ikea stools when we have guests, as I'm yet to find the perfect dining room chairs for the space.

It's a fantastic hub for my family, and it came even more into its own during lockdown. A few people thought I was overly ambitious when designing it, but I had a vision and wanted to do away with any limiting beliefs of what 'it should look like'.

-   Carpenter – Caithness Carpentry

-   Upholstery – Croydon Upholstery

-   Paint – Valspar 'Passageway' for banquette, Farrow & Ball 'Blackened' colour mixed by Valspar for rest of room

-   Pendant lights – Industville

-   Dining Table and chairs – Jasper Road Antiques

-   Flooring – Ted Todd

-   Strip Lighting – Teucer LED

-   Radiator grill – B&Q

-   Basketry - Kinkahe