website(1,) How to Build a DIY Bench Seat for Kitchen Table

How to Build a DIY Bench Seat for Kitchen Table

Crafting Comfort: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Your Own Kitchen Bench Seat

Choosing the Perfect Bench Design

Building your own bench seat for your kitchen table can enrich your dining area and personalise your space, injecting a touch of farmhouse style into your eat-in kitchen. ​

Whether you're replacing old dining chairs with a dining bench or creating a cosy kitchen banquette for your corner bench, it's vital to look at various bench plans and consider functionality and design to choose the perfect kitchen table bench seat

The first step is to consider your space. Will the bench be situated at the end of the table or at its side? Maybe you want a built-in kitchen bench that nestles snugly into a corner, creating a homely nook.

Take note of your existing kitchen and dining room décor to ensure your DIY bench complements your style. 

  • Length: Ideally, your bench should fit comfortably under your dining room table. Adding about 60cm (24 inches) to the length of your table top will give you ample space to seat extra guests.
  • Height: A comfortable height for bench seating typically falls between 45cm (18 inches) and 50cm (20 inches), which accommodates most adults comfortably.
  • Depth: Bench seat bottom should be deep enough to sit comfortably. Rule of thumb is around 40cm-50cm (16-20 inches).

The design of the bench legs also plays a significant role in your eating area's overall look.

Simple square legs offer a clean, minimalist look, while turned legs lend a more traditional, farmhouse dining table vibe. You could even consider a trestle design for an unconventional look. 

In terms of storage capacity, a built-in storage bench can be a godsend in a fledgling household. It's an excellent spot for storing tablecloths, placemats, and seasonal centrepieces. This design offers a dual-functionality making it a great addition to any dining area. 

The next step is to decide on the kind of wood and finish you want for your bench top. Hardwood like walnut wood offers longevity and a rich colour, but it's pricier than softer, more affordable woods such as pine.

When choosing the finish, ensure it complements your current dining room table for a cohesive look. 

Last, but not least, think about comfort. Cushions can add a colourful accent and provide extra comfort on your banquette bench. Moreover, if you're opting for a corner bench plan, consider creating an L-shaped cushion arrangement for added seating comfort. 

In summary, carefully selecting and executing your bench plans will have you well on your way to harmonising functionality and style, and truly making your dining area your own.

Embrace your inner DIY guru and let's move onto the next step: building that bench frame for your bespoke dining experience.

Designing a Built-in Kitchen Bench

Your next step in creating your own bench seat is designing a built-in bench that will both enhance your dining area and provide added convenience. This task can seem daunting at first, however, with a clear plan in mind, it can be quite straightforward.

Haywood Graphite kitchen with built-in Bench Seating around Kitchen Table
Haywood Graphite kitchen with built-in Bench Seating around Kitchen Table

Start by measuring the length and height of the space where you want to install your kitchen table bench seat. Ensure to take into account the positioning of the bench in relation to the dining room table, especially if you plan to have dining chairs on the other side. 

  • For a comfortable seating height, aim for something around 45cm (18") from the floor to the top of the bench seat.
  • The length should be measured according to the size of your table top. Keep in mind that you may want a bit of space at each end of the table.
  • Your farmhouse style bench plans should include a backrest for comfort— you could even consider incorporating a kitchen banquette design for that cosy, eat-in kitchen vibe.

For the bench top, consider using wide, sturdy planks of oak or walnut wood - perfect for achieving that farmhouse feel. Conversely, you could opt for a more modern aesthetic with plywood or MDF. 

When it comes to the base or bench frame, you have a couple of options. You can create a box frame for a solid, chunky result, or go for an open-frame design for a lighter appearance.

Whichever you choose, remember to make the width of the bench frame slightly narrower than the bench seat top, to ensure a comfortable sitting position. 

Material Characteristics
Oak Wood Renowned for its great strength, durability, and beautiful grain, Oak is an excellent choice for a solid and sturdy bench seat.
Walnut Wood Hard, dense, tight-grained wood that polishes to a very smooth finish. It is resistant to warping and shrinking.
Plywood A versatile material that is resistant to warping, cracking, and twisting. It is more affordable than solid wood.
MDF Medium-density fibreboard (MDF) is an inexpensive, smooth, and easy-to-paint material. However, it's not as robust as solid wood or plywood.
Plasterboard This isn't typically used in bench building due to its susceptibility to moisture damage and lack of structural integrity compared to wood.

Your built-in kitchen bench can also double up as a storage bench—a clever, space-saving solution for compact dining spaces. To do this, simply raise the bench seat top on hinges or use a lift-up mechanism. 

Regardless of which design you choose for your DIY bench, the most integral part is ensuring it is structurally strong and safe to use.

Powerful wood glue, reinforced with wood screws and parallel clamps can do much in this regard. Later, any imperfections can be tidied up with wood filler for a seamless finish. 

As a final step in the design phase, consider how your bench will look as a whole within the dining area. Will it complement your dining room benches or farmhouse dining table?

Or will it be a standout design feature in contrast with your other furniture? Whatever your vision may be, planning ahead is essential.

Combining the Bench with Dining Chairs

One of the most delightful factors about constructing your own bench seat for the kitchen table is the opportunity it provides to combine seating options.

Marino Painted Alabaster Kitchen with timber framed kitchen bench seating.
Marino Painted Alabaster Kitchen with timber framed kitchen bench seating.

Introducing bench seating to your dining area doesn't mean you need to dispense with your beloved dining chairs; they can work together to create an exciting blend of style and comfort.

1. Farmhouse Style 

If you're aiming for a farmhouse style dining area, pairing a bench seat with chairs can be extraordinarily appealing.

Begin with creating a farmhouse dining table, and coordinate it with a kitchen table bench seat, perhaps made from walnut wood for a warm, rustic feel. The mismatched seating can enhance the casual farmhouse vibe we crave. 

2. Eat-in Kitchen 

For those with a petite eat-in kitchen, implementing a combination of a bench and chairs saves spaciousness. By situating the bench on the side of the wall or by the window, you will have more room to manoeuvre.

The blend of a bench seat and chairs fosters an inviting atmosphere perfect for Sunday morning brunches. 

Here's a small guide on how to combine benches with chairs for the best aesthetic results: 

Combination Styling Tips
Wooden Bench with Metal Chairs Maintain cohesion by choosing chairs with wooden seat tops to match your bench top. This concoction provides an industrial chic feel.
Fabric Bench with Leather Chairs Keep the colour palette consistent. This blend offers an air of opulence perfect for formal dining areas.
Storage Bench with Foldable Chairs A perfect choice for small spaces. Select chairs that can be stored away when not in use.

Your next step is to ensure the bench seating integrates flawlessly with the dining room table. The bench top should be about 30cm (12") lower than the table top for optimal comfort.

Positioning the bench at the end of the table also provides ample leg space.

The last step to this process is to make sure your chosen chairs contrast but complement the appearance of your bench – this can be achieved through marrying similar materials, designs or colours. 

So, whether you're leaning towards a farmhouse style, yearning for a modern dining area or operating with a compact kitchen, pairing your dining bench with a set of chairs can elevate your space.

Next, let's move on to constructing a corner bench for those who want to optimise their kitchen's nooks and crannies.

Utilising a Corner Space with a Bench

Corner spaces are often overlooked in a dining area, but they offer an ideal spot for the built-in kitchen bench you're contemplating. By placing your bench seats in a corner, you maximise space efficiency.

Millwood Conifer Green kitchens with built-in Corner Bench Seating around Kitchen Table
Millwood Conifer Green kitchens with built-in Corner Bench Seating around Kitchen Table

The first step is to measure the area accurately, noting the length of each wall and the angle of the corner. This will shape your bench plans. 

Designing a corner bench seating requires some additional considerations. The bench seat top and bench seat bottom may need to be cut at an angle to properly fit in the corner.

You can use a mitre saw for this step. It's also necessary to ensure there's enough room for anyone who'll be sitting at the end of the table. 

Building the Bench Frame 

The next step is to build the bench frame using sturdy hardwood such as walnut wood for a farmhouse style or perhaps pine for a more traditional style.

The frame should include a back and sides to support the bench top. Don't forget to measure and cut holes for your bench legs as well, ensuring they're aligned with the dimensions of the table top. 

Securing the Frame 

Now it's time to assemble the bench frame using wood glue and wood screws. Parallel clamps and F clamps are extremely helpful during this process, ensuring everything stays aligned while the glue dries.

Additionally, you may want to consider strengthening the structure with half-lap wood joinery. 

Adding the Bench Seat 

The final step involves attaching the top piece to your bench frame. You'll want to use wood glue and bar clamps to secure the top of the bench seat.

The clamps help ensure even pressure and make it easier to align everything perfectly. Once the top is attached, wipe off excess glue and leave it to dry overnight. 

Step Materials Tools
Measure Space Measuring Tape N/A
Cut Wood Wood for Bench Top and Frame, Wood Screws Power Saw, Screwdriver
Assemble Frame Wood Glue F Clamps, Parallel Clamps
Attach Bench Top Wood Glue Bar Clamps

Well, you're now one step closer to enjoying your own bench seat in your dining area. This DIY bench will surely add character to your eat-in kitchen or dining room table.

In combination with some well selected dining chairs, your farmhouse dining table will be the focal point of your dining room benches set.

Gathering the Necessary Tools and Materials

Your first step towards crafting your own bench seat for your kitchen table is gathering all the necessary materials and tools. Spending a bit of time to assemble everything beforehand will streamline the process and make the next step an easier task. 

  1. Wood screws: You'll need these for fastening the bench frame and securing the bench seat top to the frame. Opt for corrosion-resistant versions as they will stand the test of time.
  2. Bench top and bench frame: According to your bench plans, choose a suitable type of timber. Walnut wood is often a favourite for kitchen table bench seats, providing a perfect balance of strength and attractiveness.
  3. Wood glue: This will help to hold your wooden pieces together. Be sure to have enough as you do not want to run out halfway through the project.
  4. Half-lap wood joinery: Regular bench legs can be used, but for a more solid and sturdy bench, using half-lap wood joinery might be suitable, especially if you're going for a rustic farmhouse style.
  5. Wood filler: Wood filler is needed for covering all the cracks and screw holes, providing a smooth surface for your top piece of the bench seat.
  6. F clamps and Parallel clamps: these are required for securing parts together while the wood glue dries.
  7. Bar clamps: These clamps are a vital part of the construction process, ensuring stability and secureness of your bench frame whilst it dries.

Now that you've assembled all the necessary tools and materials, you're ready to set about your DIY bench creating project with gusto.

Remember, it's all about taking joy in the process, and of course, the eating area in your dining room will soon be graced with a beautiful piece of handmade furniture.

Measuring and Cutting the Bench Top

After gathering all necessary materials and tools, our first step begins with measuring and cutting the bench top. Start by deciding on the desired width and length for your kitchen table bench seat.

Burwood Conifer kitchen with built-In Bench Seating
Burwood Conifer kitchen with built-In Bench Seating

For a standard dining room table, allowing 60cm (24") per person is generally recommended for comfortable bench seating. Remember, precision is essential when measuring to ensure a good fit with your dining area. 

To proceed, lay the walnut wood on a secure surface, marking your measurements clearly. Then, using a high-quality saw, carefully cut along the marked lines. Safety is paramount, so always wear appropriate protective equipment during this step. 

Tip: To ensure a straight cut, clamp a straight edge guide to your wood before beginning the cut with your saw. You can use F clamps or parallel clamps for this!

Next, smooth the edges of the bench top using a sander. Do remember to apply enough pressure for a fine finish. This will produce a top piece that feels sleek and comfortable under your arms and fingers. 

Half-Lap Wood Joinery 

The next step is to join your wood pieces together to form the bench seat top. One popular method is using half-lap wood joinery. This technique creates a strong, flat connection and is ideal for our bench plans. 

  1. First, mark the locations of your half-lap joints.
  2. Next, set your circular saw to the depth of one half of your wood's thickness.
  3. Make multiple parallel cuts into the marked section of the wood.
  4. Then, use a chisel to remove the excess wood, creating a flat, recessed surface.
  5. Apply wood glue to the joint, then place the joining piece of wood into the recess. Clamp the joint together and leave to dry.

This joint will form a strong, flush connection between your wood pieces, ensuring your dining bench is sturdy and ready for the final touches. You're one step closer to that incredible farmhouse style in your eat-in kitchen! 

Fact: Half-lap joints provide a large gluing surface, making them exceptionally strong and ideal for weight-bearing structures like benches and tables.

Creating the Bench Seat Bottom 

After preparing the bench seat top, let's move on to the bench seat bottom. Repeat the measuring, cutting, and sanding process.

But this time, ensure your bottom piece is sufficiently larger than the top piece. The last step here is to join the top and bottom pieces using wood screws.

We're then ready for the final step. Yes, you're almost at the end of the table when it comes to building your own bench seat.

Creating the Sturdy Bench Frame

The strength of your kitchen table bench seat lies heavily in the bench frame.

The creation of a sturdy and resilient frame depends on meticulous measurements, the proper use of tools, and careful assembly.

You don't want your dining room benches wobbling in the middle of a hearty family dinner, do you? 

  • First step: Choose a durable and sturdy type of wood for the bench frame. The farmhouse style generally calls for materials such as walnut wood, which is both robust and versatile. This choice promises long-lasting bench seating that can bear the brisk traffic of an eat-in kitchen.
  • Next step: Using precise measurements, cut the selected wood according to your bench plans. Remember that the measurements must also accommodate the bench legs. Keep in mind that the legs must be of equal length to prevent wobbling and instability.
  • Final step: Arrange the cut pieces to form the frame. It's best to use half-lap wood joinery here for a firm fit. Secure the pieces together using wood screws to ensure the solidity of the frame. Reinforce this connection with copious amounts of wood glue for that immovable farmhouse table strength.

Extra points for detail: To ensure even support for your kitchen table bench seat, you might want to consider adding an additional bench leg in the middle of the bench frame.

This addition will offer more balance, especially for lengthy dining room benches. 

Once you have the frame secured and reinforced, it's time to test its stability. Apply a little pressure to different parts of the bench frame to make sure it withstands strains.

If it passes this vital check, congratulations! You've just taken a solid step towards actualising your dream of a farmhouse-style dining area. 

Worried about gaps or minor mistakes in your assembly? Fear not. Applying some wood filler can often resolve these hiccups and smoothen your bench frame further. Following that, your next step will be readying the bench seat top.

Or maybe you're already looking ahead to the last step, envisioning the entire family gathered around your DIY farmhouse table...

The dining chairs filled, table top laden with food, and the built-in kitchen bench crowded with loved ones — we're getting ahead of ourselves, aren't we? That's the charm of a DIY project after all.

The result? A staple piece of furniture that adds aesthetic appeal and functionality to your dining area. By following these tips and techniques closely, you'll find your bench frame is ready in no time! 

The Perfect Constructed Bench Frame is Key to a Successful Kitchen Banquette 

The perfect constructed frame is pivotal to any banquet bench, forming the foundation and shaping the aesthetics. Therefore, it's vital to invest your energy, time, and focus into this DIY project.

After accomplishing this task, not only will you have your custom-built and charming corner bench, but a sense of deep satisfaction that comes with creating your own bench seat. Keep going; the final step is near!

Applying Wood Filler and Sanding the Bench

Applying wood filler is the next step you need to consider. Next to wood glue and wood screws, filler is another essential product for perfecting your DIY bench. 

Begin by checking for any visible gaps or imperfections in the bench frame or bench seat top. Apply a good-quality wood filler, smoothing it over with a putty knife.

Remember, it's better to apply too much than too little. The excess can be easily sanded away in the next step. 

  • Ensure you give the filler enough time to dry fully before proceeding with sanding the dining bench.
  • To sand the bench, we would suggest starting with a rough 80-grit sandpaper to remove the excess filler then moving to a finer 220-grit sandpaper to smooth the surface.

Note: If you are creating a kitchen table bench seat in the farmhouse style kitchen, you may not need to completely smooth the bench. Rustic bench plans often include leaving some texture for that authentic farmhouse feel. 

Once sanded, dust the bench off using a dry cloth or brush, ready for the final step of finishing touches such as staining or painting. 

Safety First 

Always remember, while working on your dining area masterpiece, to prioritise safety. Keep the working area clean from dust and debris.

Be sure to use a mask during sanding to protect yourself from inhaling any particles. Safety glasses can also prevent any wood splinters from getting into your eyes. 

Pro tip 

Did you know that you can make your own bench seat bottom look like it's made from walnut wood or any other type of high-end wood?

Just by mixing your wood filler with a bit of stain, you can create a custom colour that will camouflage any imperfections perfectly.

Finishing Touches: Staining or Painting the Bench

Once your bench frame and bench seat top have been successfully assembled and the wood filler has been applied and sanded, the next step for your own bench seat brings an element of creativity into the process: staining or painting your DIY bench. 

Staining offers a more naturalistic look, enhancing the grain and texture of the wood. It's particularly beautiful on oak or walnut wood, often used in farmhouse table plans for their rustic appeal.

To stain your bench seating, follow these simple steps: 

  1. Test the stain: Different woods react differently to stains, so it’s a wise idea to test the stain on a small inconspicuous area or offcut piece before committing to the entire bench top.
  2. Prepare your tools: You'll need a brush for application, lint-free cloths for wiping off excess stain, and gloves to protect your hands.
  3. Apply the stain: Brush the stain on liberally, making sure to cover every nook and cranny of the bench legs, the top piece, and the bench seat bottom.
  4. Wipe off excess: After about 5-10 minutes (check the manufacturer’s instructions on your stain can for precise timing), use your lint-free cloth to wipe off any excess stain that wasn't absorbed into the wood. This step helps to prevent a sticky finish.

If you fancied a more vibrant or modern look for your kitchen table bench seat, then painting could be the way to go. Bear these points in mind: 

  • Start with a primer: A primer prepares your wood for paint, sealing it and providing a base that will help the paint adhere better and last longer. Moreover, it gives a consistent backdrop against which your colour will pop.
  • Decide on a type of paint: From matte to semi-gloss and full gloss, the type of paint will depend on your preference and the style of your dining area.
  • Apply multiple thin coats: Instead of trying to cover everything in one go, aim for many thin and even coats. This approach offers a smoother finish and avoids the risk of drips or pooling.
  • Consider a protector: Particularly for lighter shades, you may wish to apply a thin coat of a non-yellowing protector to keep your dining bench looking sharp and fresh.

Whether you decide on staining or painting, the last step is always to allow your bench plenty of time to dry before moving on to the next step.

The final step before your DIY kitchen banquette is truly ready to serve your eat-in kitchen is attaching the bench seat to the frame. More on that in the following section!

Enhancing Comfort: Cushions and Pillows

Now that you have your beautiful kitchen table bench seat assembled, it's time to add the cherry-on-top: comfort!

Kitchen Bench Seating with custom terracotta cushions
Kitchen Bench Seating with custom terracotta cushions

While the walnut wood of your dining bench may be inviting, adding some accessories, like cushions and pillows, will catapult your bench into the realms of unprecedented cosiness. 

Choosing Cushions 

When choosing cushions for your dining room benches, keep in mind the farmhouse style you've so meticulously crafted. Opt for elements that complement your dining room table and the eat-in kitchen theme.

Fortunately, the beauty of this style is its versatility, so feel free to mix and match patterns and textures! 

Cushions offer comfort, but also provide an excellent opportunity to inject colour and individuality into your dining area. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes - from small and square, to large and rectangular.

Remember, your comfort is paramount, so choose cushions that beckon you to sink into them after a long day. 

  • Always measure your bench seating before purchasing cushions to ensure a perfect fit. Standard seat cushions typically measure 40-50cm (16-20") in width and depth.
  • For added comfort, consider cushions with ties to prevent them from sliding off the bench seat top.
  • When selecting cushion fabric, consider your lifestyle. If you have children or pets, opt for durable, easy-to-clean fabrics.

Selecting Pillows 

Pillows, like cushions, grant added comfort to your built-in kitchen bench. However, they serve a slightly different function.

Arranged on the side of the bench, pillows offer support for your back and arms, transforming the bench into a veritable paradise of relaxation. 

Opt for an assortment of pillows in different sizes and shapes. Much like cushions, pillows give you the creative freedom to integrate your personal aesthetic, too. From elegant monochrome designs to lively, vivid prints - the choice is yours.

Summing Up

 filling your dining area with a homemade warmth and charm, you can take pride in showcasing your kitchen table bench seat. Your DIY bench with its farmhouse style subtly suggests an inviting, relaxed dining atmosphere.

Everyone will appreciate your built-in kitchen bench, and it's enhanced functionality with the added bonus of storage space beneath the bench seat bottom.

The walnut wood or any wood of your choice, after careful sanding and the application of wood filler, featured so prominently in the farmhouse dining table and matching bench exudes an earthy, organic appeal that's incomparable. 

Note: Your homemade furniture not only saves you money but also scores high on sustainability. You get to recycle and reuse, lower energy consumption, and reduce harmful effects on the environment.

To recap, the first step involved drafting your bench plans, carefully delineating the bench frame and table top, and considering how the bench seating would interact with dining chairs in your space.

The next step was the procurement of tools and materials, followed by meticulously measuring the bench top dimensions. 

The highlight of your kitchen banquette is, of course, the precise application of half-lap wood joinery to secure your bench, end to end. The assembly phase came next, with the bench frame crafted and reinforced with wood screws and wood glue.

The top piece was then attached, followed by the final fill and sand process. The last step involved applying the finishing touches, such as stain or paint, to your DIY farmhouse table and banquette bench. 

Step Action
1 Create bench plans
2 Procure tools and materials
3 Measure the bench top
4 Apply half-lap wood joinery
5 Assemble the bench
6 Apply wood filler and sand
7​ Finish with paint or stain

In conclusion, whether you opted for a corner bench to maximise floor plan efficiency or decided to replace dining chairs with a cosy bench seat at one end of the table, your new kitchen bench lends itself to relaxed meals and endless conversations.

Don't forget - the charm lies in the little hitches and quirks that make your bench uniquely yours!

Looking to start a your own DIY kitchen project? Find your dream kitchen or get a kitchen price today or browse our kitchen units here!

Ardene Stoneman 16 November, 2023
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