Last year I helped my sister redo her kitchen. One of the projects I did in there was to take an IKEA Kallax bookcase and repurpose it to be the base for banquette seating. I did half of the project and her husband did the other of that. Because of that, the IKEA hack bench seat tutorial was good, but I’ve been wanting to add more details. Here’s an updated DIY banquette seating IKEA hack.
how to make a DIY banquette seating IKEA hack
Let’s start with the video tutorial so you get an overview on what I did. Then, I’ll dive in with more details below:
If the video doesn’t work here, you can watch it on YouTube here. I’d be over the moon happy if you subscribed to my YouTube channel! Videos are actually released on YouTube first (usually the night before they’re published on the blog). Thank you!
Kallax Bookcase $50
Piano Hinge $12
2 yards Marine Grade Vinyl mine was a light grey. I don’t see the exact color online $40
Spray Adhesive $10
Router– only needed if going around an outlet
I estimate that I spent $190 in supplies to make this bench. I had some things on hand (like the screws and paint) and already owned all the tools. This can also be made for less money with cheaper fabric and no decorative molding.
Start by building the Kallax Bookcase and lay it on its back. You could also lay it on its sides so the storage is in the font. I like the idea of having hidden storage. These are a little over 15″ high, when you add in the cushioned top it makes it perfect for dining seating!
By using the bookcase for the base it saves SO much time! Sure, you could buy wood and build your own base, but this saves money too (thick wood would cost as much or more than the bookcase). And it makes it so that even a novice DIYer can make this too.
Each space will be different. For our dining room, we had an outlet terribly placed so the bookcase couldn’t sit flush with the wall. To deal with this, my husband used a Router to cut out an outlet cover sized section of the bench.
We put child proofing covers over the outlet. It no longer accessible. We have another outlet on the next wall, so this isn’t that big of a deal. One day, I might add a furniture outlet to the bench if I do end up missing this outlet.
So what if you have a heater vent on the floor where you want the bench? If you’re fancy, you can extend the duct and put the vent in front of the bench. See this blog post for a tutorial. I had this issue in my last house and the solution I found was to use an open bottom bench so the heat still comes out the base.
Also, I should note that that bench came ready made with storage and a cushion. It was $300.
Next, I used the anti-tip brackets that Ikea includes with the bench. Then I used long screws to anchor the bench to the wall with the bracket. I didn’t attach the bench to the floor, but you can if you’d like.
Next, add the piano hinges to the bookcase. Mark the center of the bookcase and then line up the middle of the hinge onto the mark. Use the screws that came with the hinge to attach the piano hinge to the bookcase.
Note, as you can see, I installed the hinge at the front of the bench. Why? Because if I would have done it the other way, I would’ve had to make the bench cushion 3-4″ shorter in the back so there’d be clearance for the bench to swing towards the window. I don’t like that look, so I prefer this way.
If you do a bench cushion that’s not attached, the hinge can be placed on the back.
Cut the plywood with a table saw to the same size as the top of the bench- 16 1/2″ x 57 7/8″. Sand it smooth (I used this sander). Paint the back of the plywood white to match the base. This way, when you open the bench you have a nicely painted surface. It’s just another way to make this look more professional!
You can see how perfectly it fits on top of the banquette seating! Next, use matching baseboards with the rest of the room to build the bench into place. I used my Brad Nailer to attach the baseboards.
Now it’s time to upholster the bench! To do this, use spray adhesive and spray the plywood and the foam. Sandwich them together.
Note, I got my foam from Home Depot. I ordered it online here (my Home Depot didn’t have any in store). The foam was $25 for 3″ foam. For bench seating, you want 3-4″ foam. I thought 3″ was the perfect height so I’m glad I went with that option. Joann also sells foam, but for the same foam, it was $50. So save yourself some money!!!
There will be some excess foam. Use a serrated bread knife to cut the foam to the same size as the wood. Try to do it smoother than I did- lol! Though, most of those bumps will get smoothed out later with batting and fabric.
I next stapled vinyl fabric to the top. I failed on this part and want to tell you what NOT TO DO before I show what worked. Here’s it looked when I first thought I was finished.
But after a few days, it looked like this- terrible with loose fabric.
Avoid my mistakes! Here’s what NOT TO DO
Do not fold your vinyl when storing it for this project. Mine developed creases which didn’t come out (roll it instead). If using fabric, iron first.
Do not skip the step to use batting between the foam and the fabric. This will smooth everything out, make it more comfortable, and look more polished.
Last, make sure to pull as tight as possible when stapling on the fabric. You want it taunt!!! It can’t be pulled too tight.
Because of my mistakes, I had to remove the old fabric and I started over again.
Here’s what worked when upholstering the bench cushion. Do this!
Start by putting batting over the foam and wood base. I cut mine so that it only covers the top and sides. I didn’t want any bulk on the bottom so I cut it at the base of the wood.
Next, I used scissors to cut off the corners. Again, I was avoiding bulk to make for a professional looking finished product.
I bought marine grade vinyl this time. And I made sure to roll it up when storing it. Although I love white, it just wasn’t practical with a little kid. So I choose a beige-grey color.
Then, I used spray adhesive to attach the sides of the batting to the foam.
It was finally time to put the vinyl over the bench seat I cut it 3-4 inches bigger than I needed it to be. You can see that even with rolling the vinyl, it still had marks in it. They weren’t as bad as last time and since I pulled much tighter this time, they came out.
Then, I started stapling the fabric onto the cushion. I began on one side. Then I started on the second side. This is where I pulled as tight as I possibly could before stapling down the vinyl.
Once the sides were done, I did the ends and finished up the corners. I folded them like a present. To complete the cushion, I stapled all along the fabric and then trimmed off excess fabric.
To finish up this project, we attached the bench cushion to the hinge with the screws that came with the piano hinge.
I was asked if a piano hinge is important for this project or if the bench cushion can just sit on top of the bench. I think the hinge makes opening and storing items in the bench much easier. We had the top just sitting on the base for a few weeks while I figured out the upholstery. It was a pain to use the storage and I just threw things in.
In my opinion, it’s worth $12 and 10 minutes of work to add the hinge.
To finish up this project, I filled the silver holes with wood filler and painted them white. I also painted the baseboards white after filling those holes and caulking the trim to the bench.
Lastly, I used construction adhesive to attach a decorative molding to each end of the bench. I also used a few brad nail to secure it on. And now it’s done!!!
DIY Banquette seating IKEA hack after
Here’s the finished bench! It feels so good to have this done. I’ve worked on it for weeks, but I’ve dreamed it for almost a year. I knew this was what I wanted in here for both looks and functions (yay for extra storage!). And because my son likes a cozy spot to eat.
Plus I think it’s so pretty!
I was asked if it bothers me that the bench isn’t the width of the window. To be honest, I thought about that a lot as I was building the bench. It might look better if it was longer, but then I couldn’t open the little cabinet next to the table. And I wouldn’t get that much more use out of it (two people can already sit at it). So I’m totally fine with it being the length it is.
how to make this ikea hack rental friendly
If this was for a rental, I’d skip the step of adding baseboards and push it as close to the wall as possible. I think it’d still look and work great!
how much weight can this hold?
I estimate that this can hold up to 300-400 lbs easily. My husband and I sit on it together (we probably weigh 300 together) and it’s still super sturdy. I’ve stood on it a lot as I’ve done construction in here. Of course, I can’t guarantee that a DIY will support a certain amount of weight, but wanted to add my thoughts since I get that question a lot.
In my sister’s kitchen, I used this same IKEA hack. Here’s the differences- We did an L shape. The cushions were removable so the hinges were on the back. If you’d like to see that tutorial, click here.
I hope you liked this fun DIY! Let me know if you have any questions. I’m happy to answer!
**Updated** Here are some pictures of the bench in the finished kitchen!
This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
If you love it, pin it!