If your kitchen feels cramped and cluttered, a wrap around bench may be the clever solution you need. This innovative seating creates a cozy breakfast nook while maximizing every inch of space. Learn how a wrap around bench can transform your kitchen into a warm, inviting area perfect for dining and conversation.
A wrap around bench, also called a corner banquette, utilizes wasted space by fitting seamlessly into corners. The continuous bench wraps around the corner of a table, typically in an L-shape. This layout provides more seating than traditional dining chairs, and the built-in bench keeps the floor clear of furniture legs. The result is a kitchen that feels open, yet snug.
What Exactly is a Wrap Around Bench?
A wrap around bench is a long, upholstered bench that neatly fills one or two corners of a kitchen or dining area. The bench wraps around and hugs the edges of a table on adjacent sides, usually forming an L-shape. However, a wrap around bench can also continue along three sides of a table in a U-shape for even more seating.
Wrap around benches are typically built from wood or wood composites and upholstered for comfort. Many feature storage compartments underneath the seat, accessible by lifting the bench lid. This hidden storage is perfect for tucking away linens, kitchen gadgets, or cleaning supplies.
Why Choose a Wrap Around Bench?
Compared to a standard kitchen table and chairs, a wrap around bench offers many advantages for the right space.
The continuous bench provides seating for 3-5 people, depending on length. More chairs can be added on open sides if needed. This allows you to accommodate larger gatherings without cluttering up the room.
A wrap around bench maximizes unused corner space that typically just collects dust. The lack of bulky chairs also opens up floor area. This helps make a kitchen feel more spacious, while still offering plenty of seating.
Many wrap around benches feature ingenious storage inside the seat itself. Simply lift the hinged lid to access secret compartments for storing items conveniently out of sight. Popular bench storage uses include:
- Table linens
- Placemats and napkins
- Kitchen gadgets
- Cleaning supplies
Cozy Corner Nook
Wrapping seating around two adjacent sides creates a cozy breakfast nook perfect for casual meals. The enclosed feeling makes the dining experience feel more intimate yet still open to the rest of the kitchen.
Considerations for Installing a Wrap Around Bench
While a wrap around bench can be a wonderful addition, take time to consider a few factors first:
Make sure you have adequate space for the bench, table, and circulation around them. Measure carefully and map out traffic flow to prevent bottlenecks.
The table must be properly positioned to align with the bench. Leaving adequate leg room under the table is also crucial for comfort.
Upholstery fabric should be durable, stain-resistant, and designed for high-traffic areas. Leather or vinyl may be easier to clean than cloth.
Hiring a carpenter to custom build and install a bench ensures proper fit and finish. But a motivated DIYer can also tackle this project.
Choosing the Optimal Spot
Placing a wrap around bench requires some strategy. Here are tips for picking the best location:
- Corner areas often work well.
- Near kitchen windows lets diners enjoy nice views.
- Allow 3-4 feet behind bench for circulation.
- Keep walkways open for traffic flow.
- Consider existing lighting and electrical outlets.
Try out different arrangements with painter’s tape outlines before committing. This allows you to assess traffic flow and spatial relationships.
Customizing for Style
Wrap around benches present numerous stylish possibilities. You can customize your bench to match any design aesthetic or decor theme. Some fun ways to make it your own include:
- Selecting colorful, patterned upholstery fabrics
- Painting or staining the wood base
- Mixing bench heights and shapes
- Adding coordinating throw pillows
- Attaching a light fixture above the table
- Planting greenery around the bench perimeter
Let your creativity run wild to design a bench that showcases your personal style!
Maximizing Storage Space
One of the biggest perks of a wrap around bench is the built-in storage it provides. Here are some storage solutions to consider:
Inset drawers underneath the bench seat offer discreet, easily accessible storage. They’re perfect for smaller items.
Hinged bench tops flip up to reveal larger storage cavities inside. These are ideal for bulkier items like linens.
Bookshelves or cabinets placed strategically around the bench provide even more storage capacity.
Baskets Under Bench
Baskets or bins that slide neatly under the bench keep items organized yet within reach.
Before You Build: Key Planning Tips
Embarking on a DIY wrap around bench? Keep these tips in mind:
- Choose quality wood like oak or maple.
- Plan cuts to minimize waste.
- Allow ample time for upholstery.
- Incorporate storage early in design.
- Recruit help for lifting.
- Factor in wall reinforcement.
With careful planning and some carpentry skills, you can create a customized wrap around bench perfectly suited to your space. Just take it one step at a time.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much seating does a wrap around bench provide?
It depends on the length, but generally 3-5 people can comfortably sit on an L-shaped wrap around bench.
What’s the best size for a wrap around bench kitchen table?
The table should be about 42-48 inches wide to match the depth of most bench seats. Length depends on space, but 72-84 inches can seat 4.
Is a wrap around bench difficult to install?
For DIYers with carpentry skills, it’s a manageable project. But reinforcements may be needed behind walls, so professional help is recommended.
Does a wrap around bench work in a small kitchen?
Yes, it’s a great option for small kitchens! Just be sure to measure carefully and account for table and traffic flow.
What’s the best upholstery fabric for a kitchen bench?
Durable, stain-resistant vinyl or leather. Avoid porous fabrics that could absorb spills and odors.
By transforming wasted space into comfortable bench seating, a wrap around bench injects function and style into your kitchen. Just be sure to plan carefully for the best placement, traffic flow, and upholstery. With a bit of creativity, you can install an L-shaped bench that becomes the perfect gathering spot for family and friends.