2x4 Upholstered Banquette Seat

Submitted by Ana White on Wed, 01/02/2013 - 11:58
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How to build an upholstered banquette seat. Free step by step plans.

Happy New Year!!!



We are hoping you had a wonderful Holiday with family and friends, as we did!  Thank you for giving us a much needed week off to rest and relax and spend some time together as a family.  You'll never hear me be anything but ridiculously thankful for an opportunity to share what I love, but I very badly needed a little time off to do things like clean house, bake cookies, hold babies and watch Hallmark movies ... and maybe a little DIY.


With all the Holiday visitors popping over, we had to make Gracie a new hiding spot.




Grandma's here!  Quick, hide!



Don't tell her where I am!



Shhhhh .....!



Oh, the things we do for our kids!


The building part - as we all know - was the easy part.



I built the frame from 2x4s in about half an hour using scrap 2x4 boards.   Don't worry about pretty here.  We'll get to that in a bit.  I've detailed the building steps for the frame below in the plans for those of you heading to the saw.


I choose not to do a plywood box because I like to tuck my feet under my chair when I sit, and wanted some space for my heels.  And I also thought it could be convenient to tuck things like turkey roasting pans or empty canning jars or pressure cookers under the bench for storage. It's cheaper with 2x4s too.


I also decided to leave the top open with a floating cushion so you could just remove the cushion to access the hidden storage compartment. 




To the 2x4 frame boards, I stapled 1/2" thick upholstery batting.  I did this to soften up the boards and because the batting helps fill in the fabric, softening edges and corners up.



Ready for fabric!



For the upholstery, I simply sewed a skirt for the frame.  I added box pleats and an extra band to give the bench more of a custom upholstered look, but the reality is you could just take a long strip of fabric, hem one edge, and staple on.  I definitely recommend some gathering or box pleats (as I did on the corners) to make the skirt hang loosely and allow for feet to tuck under the bench.


I started stapling in the front middle



And worked my way around to the back.  I choose not to put a back on mine just because the upholstered banquette bench has a permanent home against the wall and the back will never be seen and my fabric was $$$.   



Because I only upholstered three sides, I stapled the ends of the back to the back as well.



Next, I sewed a botttomless box cushion for the seat itself.  On a piece of 1/2" plywood I spray adhesives 4" thick high density foam (the green stuff - use a 50% off coupon at Joann's to make it more affordable) to the plywood.  Then I wrapped the foam in 1/2" thick batting to fill corners and soften the cushion, and stapled the bottomless box cushion over top.  



And it just sets on top of the frame.  



Done deal!


Now on to the back.



For the back rest, I repeated the same steps as the seat cushion, spray adhesive 2" foam to the plywood.


And then wrapping in the batting.


For the back, I did not sew a box cushion cover.  Instead, I just took a piece of fabric and neatly stapled it over the back.  



I had intended to attach the back to the wall with a french cleat but it doesn't budge from it's spot.  It's just resting there.



The banquette seat is super comfortable and we love it too!  Getting all the stripes to match was super painful (don't do stripes if you can help it!) but one dinner sitting at the bench, leaning back on the cushions, and I forgot all about the sewing.


The banquette is the first part in our dining room finishing and we'll be getting to the cupboards in a bit as well so stay tuned for those plans.  But if you need an upholstered bench, look no further, plans follow!


4 feet wide x 2 feet deep back is 12" high


Shopping List

3 - 2x4 @ 8 feet long 4 feet of 4" thick high density foam 4 feet of 2" thick high density foam 2 yards 1/2" thick upholstery batting 3 yards 54" wide home dec fabric (for direcitonal or patterned fabric, you may need additional fabric) Staple gun and 3/8" staples Spray adhesive 2 1/2" screws and wood glue for building frame 1/2 sheet of 1/2" thick plywood Sewing notions and thread

Cut List

FOR BENCH FRAME 2 - 2x4 @ 48" 3 - 2x4 @ 21" 4 - 2x4 @ 14" (can be made longer or shorter for different height bench seat - standard seat height is 18") 1 - 1/2" thick plywood 48" x 24" 1 - 1/2" thick plywood 48" x 12"

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Circular Saw
Drill Bit Set
General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!


Step 1

Build the frame using 2 1/2" screws countersunk and wood glue.

Step 2

Add the legs to the insides. Attach legs from both sides to strengthen your corners and square up the bench.

Step 3

Follow directions in diagram for sewing the upholstered bench banquette skirt.

Step 4

Follow the directions in the diagram for sewing bench cushion top.

Step 5

Step 6

Layer on top of the plywood back piece (48" x 12") foam and batting. Cover with fabric and staple on back side. Attach to wall with picture hanging kit if necessary (mine doesn't need it - it stays upright and in place on it's own).

Step 7

For me, the bench back just rests in place. You can attach it to the wall with a french cleat or heavy duty picture hanging kit if needed.

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth.

It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.
Help Improve This Plan

We apologize if there was an error in this plan. Please help us out and report any errors here.

Project Type


PattyMac (not verified)

Sun, 01/13/2013 - 14:30

I want to be you! I found these plans while researching how to rebuild a couch. I'm in the process of taking mine down to the "studs;" taking off the arms; refinforcing the back; and then replacing all the padding, cushions and fabric. The result will be more of a banquette, so your plans are very timely. I have two questions, though.

Have you had any trouble with an odor from the foam purchased at Joann's? I purchased a small piece of foam last summer to re-do a chair seat and ended up throwing it out because of the chemical odor. I tried leaving it out in the sun and hand washing it with a gentle detergent but the smell (I guess some call it off-gassing) would not go away.

Second, I'm worried about instability with the seat simply resting on the base and the back resting on the seat. Is it possible for the seat and base to slide out from under a little one (or a not so little one for that matter)? Do you have any ideas about how to secure the seat to the base? I read a horrible story about a woman who lost a three-year daughter when a dresser that had not been secured to the wall tipped over on her. Not that this piece would inflict that kind of damage, but the story made me much more aware of everyday hazards.

Thanks for all you do.

Soozan (not verified)

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 06:50

I'm new to the DIY world and haven't made a single thing yet. I'm inspired by your blog! I can't wait to purchase a Kreg Jig and get started and this looks like the perfect project! Is there a way to modify these plans and also be able to make a large ottoman coffee table (without the backing of course)? Thanks, Ana!

Milca (not verified)

Fri, 01/18/2013 - 10:58

You could staple a row of 2" velcro to the wall and glue a strip on the back of your banquette back if you notice that it does budge a bit. Its inexpensive and doesn't leave ugly holes in your walls :) The 3M or velcro brand stick-on velcro sticks very well.
P.S. you don't want to stick the other half to the wall as it will rip off with paint and drywall, much easier to reposition using staples such as T-50 cheapo stapler.


Thu, 02/14/2013 - 02:41

I love how compact this type of seating is but I would like to add something that may improve on the design.

Because the size of this chair is fairly awkward to relax on it would be better if a hinge was added with a fold out arm so that it could transform into a slightly bigger piece of furniture like a clic clac sofa bed. Maybe an idea for one of your future plans?

It is cute and compact but impractical, therefore, adding features similar to a sofa bed would make it a more valuable piece of furniture in this kind of arrangement in my opinion.



Mon, 03/25/2013 - 10:02

I did this to soften up the boards and because the batting helps fill in the fabric, softening edges and corners up. Last week during brustverkleinerung Behandlung mit plastic session one doctor did the same to soften up the boards.