Banquette from Bookshelves

I’ve wanted a banquette in my kitchen for as long as I can remember. I’ve worked in the restaurant industry for long enough to know that almost everyone prefers a booth. I almost managed to get a real restaurant booth for free. It was in terrible disrepair, and luckily my tactful husband talked me out of it. Still, pictures of banquettes kept haunting me from the pages of magazines. Seriously, those things are everywhere. I had to have one. Cheap and fast preferably. I figured if I could find some old cabinets or something at a thrift store I might be able to rig something up. I searched high and low. I even went to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Nothing. Just when I was about to hang my head in defeat, I looked over at a set of bookshelves that I’ve had in my kitchen forever. They were part of a Target furniture set that I got for a steal at a thrift store many years before. In a fit of inspiration, I pulled everything off of them and turned them on their sides. Unbelievably perfect. I just needed to haul out the jigsaw and paint. I cut off their legs (cruel, I know) and some trim around the top to level all the sides to make rectangular boxes. Then I painted everything that would show from the outside with a coat of glossy white. I thought I might have to put some feet on them to make them an appropriate chair-level. Fortunately, after comparing them with my kitchen chair measurements, they were right on. After the paint dried, I put them into place. The only step remaining was making a cushion for the top. I had another stroke of luck that the shelves had a 2 inch inset along the sides. I’d just need to get a 3 inch thick piece of foam cut to fit and upholster it and it would slide right in. If this hadn’t been the case, I would have just used a piece of foam wide enough to cover the entire surface area and maybe attached it with Velcro. Because most of my cushion would be covered by the wood inset, I didn’t waste time with making a cushion cover as I probably would have if more of it would show. I simply got out the glue gun and attached the fabric right to the foam. I made a few long pillows to put along the wall and added a few extra throw pillows I had to cover the corner seat. The only cost was foam and fabric – around $65. With some thrift store bookshelves, this project could still come in under $100. The best part is, I gained some much-needed kitchen storage as well. The old shelf openings back up to the wall. All I need to do is pull them out. Voila! The banquette of my dreams.


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