When You Don’t Have the Time to Construct a Banquette, Go for a Kitchen Sofa
These nine are ready for dinner.
Updated Jan 12, 2024 6:59 PM
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Why should the living room get all of the sumptuous seating in the house? The kitchen may seem like an unusual spot for a sofa, but, really, nestling a cozy couch up to your dining table encourages guests to relax and linger during long dinner parties, provides a comfy spot to sip a cup of coffee, and can fit more people than individual chairs. It’s also an economical choice: There is no contractor involved, so you’ll save time and money on the custom construction (and headaches) needed for a complicated built-in.
We know what you’re thinking: stains. But performance fabrics have come a long way in the past several years, offering superior resistance against spills and incredible softness. (Seriously! Knock over a glass of red wine on solution-dyed acrylic and watch it bead up and roll off.) Performance fabrics are also bacteria resistant and come in a broad range of styles and colors. One last piece of advice: We suggest a single cushion for a cleaner, more modern look—and less little nooks for crumbs to fall into. Still, there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a kitchen sofa. Here’s what you need to consider before buying.
Most dining table heights average around 30 inches, so to sit comfortably (without your knees hitting the surface or feeling like you’re a too-small kid at the too-big grown-up table), you’ll want the sofa seat height to be around 18 inches, though anything between 17 and 20 inches should work.
Because you’ll want to sit upright to eat, look for a sofa with a seat depth around 20 to 22 inches. This gives enough back support—though you could always add in a few throw pillows, too.
You have a couple of options here. You could pair a round table with a sofa about 3 feet longer than the table’s circumference, which will still let you slide in and out easily on either side. Or if you’re tight on space, opt for an armless sofa and couple it with a rectangular table about the same length.
Ready to reconsider your kitchen seating? Here are our favorite sofa options.
Aria Banquette, Sixpenny ($3,799)
You can easily host Thanksgiving dinner around the table with this extra-long, L-shaped banquette. Its armless design makes it easy for that one person sandwiched in the corner to scoot in and out. You can also feel good about kids curling up on this one: The fixed slipcover isn’t coated with any chemicals.
Spruce Street Love Seat, Serena & Lily ($3,118)
With more than 160 fabrics to choose from, you can match this slipcovered love seat to your space’s personality with one click. (If you’re as into the Italian grandma kitchen trend as we are, consider a dark gingham.)
This versatile pick comes in four sizes, three cushion types, and dozens of performance fabrics, which means it’s perfect for almost any space. The proportions are well suited for dining, and the slipcover makes cleaning spots a breeze.
Vernon Love Seat, Target ($500)
Hiring Studio McGee to design your kitchen will cost you a small fortune, but shopping the firm’s collection with Target won’t. This curved piece boasts a sturdy plywood frame and elevates you 18.5 inches off the floor.
Build Your Own – Gideon Upholstered Sectional Component, Pottery Barn (from $989)
You don’t have to ditch the red wine just because you’ve got a white bench. This customizable sectional comes in a variety of performance bouclé fabrics that serve a heavy dose of luxury with dinner.
House of Hackney Willoughby Velvet Sofa, Anthropologie ($2,298)
Kim West, the designer and cofounder of Supply Showroom, once told us: “If you want a bang for your buck, pattern your sofa.” While the print of this House of Hackney piece is anything but safe, you do have to be a little more careful around this pick, given it isn’t swathed in a slipcover or performance fabric.
Marlow Slipcovered Settee, Pottery Barn ($1,199)
While this one’s high seat and low back make it perfect for a dining area in front of a window, feel free to give the back a more substantial feel with a throw pillow or two.
Build Your Own – Shelter Storage Banquette, West Elm ($649)
Technically, this seat is meant to be combined with other, longer components in the Shelter Storage banquette, but it’s also sort of perfect for bringing some comfort to a super-tiny dining area. Did we mention you can lift the seat up and store things in it?
Hicks Grey Upholstered Banquette Dining Bench, Crate & Barrel ($1,449)
If you have light-wood kitchen cabinets, this chunky bouclé banquette will fit right in: The rounded plinth base is clad in ash veneer.
More Budget-Friendly Options
If you’re hoping to spend $1,000 or less, be on the lookout for armless settees with sleek bench cushions, hand-tufted details on the backrests, or simply a fresh pop of color.