How to Build a Kitchen Paneled Booth With Storage

Today’s blog post is a Tutorial on how to DIY a Kitchen Corner Seating area. Get ready it is a long one this time, or scroll down to the pics first, whatever you prefer. But if you read carefully I mention costs, items used and little tips!

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Our house do not have an “open-plan kitchen” which seems to be the modern trend these days. Au contraire, we have the kitchen and the living room/dining area at the opposite of the house. So we were looking at ways to be able to have breakfast, or light dinner without having to run with plates and ketchup bottles on the other side of the house. This added to the space limitation of our small London home, we decided to think about a bespoke design which would tick all the boxes.

Our DIY corner seat was designed for our small kitchen to make the most of our space
Kitchen Paneled Booth with Storage

Tuck and roll, vertical panels, fluted upholstery seating or otherwise called Paneled booth are often found traditionally in trendy and stylish restaurants or coffee places as they provide a comfortable seating experience and fit neatly in a small space. However, there is no rule about making them at home too! They can fit a modern or farmhouse type kitchen and provide added storage under the seating area. Bonus: They look good too!

Vertical Fluted Upholstery

Size of our bench: 1400 x 600 depth x 900

DIY or let a carpenter / upholster do the work?

Whereas you may consider having the seating booth done by a professional, it may cost you more than £2000 for upholstering alone (if you live in a big city like us!). I was shocked when I received the quote for upholstering the corner bench. Hence why I decided to embark on a DIY mission to create the built-in panelled booth ourselves.

So if you are in the same situation, keep on reading because I am sharing all my tips and tricks to help you achieve your banquette seating project faster. This took us AGES to do and come up with. The content here is valuable in the sense that if we would have read it we would have save a lot of time however it is a physical job if you embark it as a DIY project and two people is the minimum!

My boyfriend did the timber structure and I did the upholstery so it was a team effort for sure.

I mean we are talking fabric, foam and a few staples, right? How hard could it be to DIY? Answer: it’s quite hard but not impossible

I underestimated how long DIY upholstery would take, but eventually got there
How to build a seating bench structure

First things first. Create your bench structure.

Take measurements of your space and design a plan of your future booth. We used restaurants and architecture and space guidelines for seating used in commercial and restaurant venues.

After having an idea of the seating height, back height and seating depth, I created the structure of the booth on CAD (please get in touch if you want one done bespoke for you). This allowed us have a clear vision and to reduce human error. We could easily change and adapt the design and once final, we went to buy the material to build it.

If you plan to externalise the construction of the booth structure to a carpenter, skip to the next chapter about upholstery. Otherwise, keep reading.

My partner who is an engineer (not a carpenter!), made sure the timber used could bear the weight of 4 people sat on the booth.

This is the material and tools we used to build the timber structure:

Cost of Material for this booth structure project: Approx. £110

Structure to Start with
Then we added the plywood back and seat structure
The bottom seat is thicker than the back seat as it will carry most weight. It had to be cut down a few times.

We decided to use the space under the seat bench and therefore made a pull out drawer.

Added drawer rails under the seat and made a pull out drawer
Treated the wood against water penetration, cracking with a Clear Varnish Paint
We went back and used a hand-saw to cut the corner as we preferred a rounded edge for the bench
Then used the Sander to smooth all the edges

Tip: Drill a few holes on the plywood to allow the upholstery to breathe. It will avoid moisture building up in the foam and fabric.

Tools used:

  • Circular Saw to cut the wood,
  • Combi-drill to scew the screws in place,
  • Sander to smooth sharp edges
  • Hand-saw for small details
How to upholster the seating bench
I ordered fabric samples to decide on colour, and here is the finalist!

I debated a long time how thick I wanted the foam to be and what type of foam and most of all, what colour should the fabric be!

I ordered lots of fabric samples and finally decided on a teal green fabric to make the booth stand-out in our otherwise black and white monochrome kitchen.

The big roll of fabric arrived ! Exciting to say the least

It’s important to select a medium to dark colour and resistant fabric if you plan to have the seating located in the kitchen. Indeed we first we have pets jumping on and off the seat with potentially dirty paws (I guess same if you have young children). We have meals while seating there with the potential food splash and finally the proximity to the cooking stove and oven with its inherent smells. An easily wipeable fabric is ideal. I am not a specialist so the best is to check with your fabric supplier and ask the question: Is it a good fabric to be used in the kitchen area ?

Sadly my fabric supplier went bust shortly after I ordered this fabric, but there are others online you can find.

The upholstering technic I used:

Tools and Materials:

  • Staple gun (Ideally Cordless)
  • Staples
  • Superior high-density Seating Foam: 4cm – Cost was £48
  • Memory foam: 2cm (for bottom seat only) – Cost was £32
  • 1x Fabric Glue/Bonding Spray . Cost was £9.99
  • 2oz Wadding for seat which act as a layer between the foam and the fabric. Cost was £7.99
  • 4oz Wadding for back support. Cost was £7.99
  • An Electric Knife to cut the foam. It makes it very easy. I would recommend. Cost was £18.99
  • Back Tapping strip to mark the vertical design – get 10m – Cost was £2.95
  • Fabric to cover your seat. Go larger by 2-3 meters. I ordered 7 meters and I’ve got quite a lot left. Fabric Cost was £190.

First I did the Seat Upholstery and then the vertical back upholstery.

Cost of Material for this upholstery project: £315

The wadding is a must have to use between Foam and Fabric

Let’s do it !

Get all the tools out. I cut the foam in my living room with the electric knife and brought the pieces as and when needed.

Layer the foams and make sure you are happy with how the seating feels
Use the Fabric Bonding Spray to bond the foam onto the seat and between foam, then place Wadding on it and finally fabric
Cut the Fabric about 10-15cm larger than the seat area, then simply PULL, SECURE, STAPLE

Then repeat. We divided the bench in three section but the technic is the same. It’s easier when it is just a single rectangular bench!

The corner was a tricky part but the same technic.
Bottom Bench Complete!

A Few Days Later

I gathered what I needed to do the fluted back bench.

I decided on 10cm wide panels and cut them all to pieces.
Then what you do is, you mark 10cm spacing and place the back tapping strip to guide you through

I did a few panels and decided to call it a day, hence the change of clothing. 🙂

I think I had about 17 panels to secure…
Method: First Staple on the reverse the piece of fabric against the back tapping strip from top to bottom
Then use Fabric Bonding Spray on the plywood and secure the foam as tight as possible to the stapled fabric (my fingers were full of glue by the end of the day)
Then place the wadding on the foam (no need to use bonding spray) and tuck it under.
Turn over the fabric and recover the foam+wadding. Now the fabric is on the correct side! Staple very tight again and feel the back tapping strip as guideline for straightness! Cut away any excess 2oz Wadding
Once all the panels are done, it’s time to tuck in the extremities and SAPLE some more. It’s good to have someone who can check it looks good from the front before stapling.
Some interlock system was created to keep the booth in place (I didn’t do it and wouldn’t know how to explain it to be honest).
Once in place the booth doesn’t move.
I left this one for last as I wanted to add piping fabric. Reproduced the same step but sew some piping to two pieces of fabric first.
And now it is complete !
Now we have a great place to have breakfast and everyday meals
Couldn’t be happier how it turned out !

Hope you found this tutorial interesting.

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