As you know, the laundry room One Room Challenge is wrapping up this Wednesday (stay tuned for that big reveal!), which means we’ll be focusing our attention back on finishing the kitchen and eat-in dining room. I’m so excited to knockout two spaces in one month that have both been a long time coming. One of the last items to cross off the list is designing a custom banquette cushion for our breakfast nook. Click through for a sneak peek of our eat-in dining area, as well as a behind-the-scenes look into my design process…
As you guys already know, I designed the cabinetry and all of the millwork is custom in our kitchen– including the bench seat in the dining area. Having a small, open concept space limited our eating area to a breakfast nook and I’m pretty into the idea of getting cozy and comfortable during each meal we’ll share here. That’s just part of living in a small house. However, for being a tiny space, the breakfast nook required A LOT of planning. Part of that planning included upholstery.
It would be a shame to go to the expense of having beautiful custom cabinetry that was specifically designed to maximize and fit the allotted space, only to buy a readymade cushion that didn’t fit quite right. Luckily, one of my design clients told me about Cushion Source as we were wrapping up her living room project that included two custom window seats. She highly recommended them and they did such a wonderful job on her project, I decided to use them for my own.
I thought it might be helpful if I walk you through my process… in the instance that you also have an area that could benefit from a custom cushion (window seat, outdoor bench, hanging swing, odd shaped nook, etc). Hopefully this will come in handy!
For starters, I knew I wanted to use an outdoor fabric for the bench seat for durability reasons (see my favorite options above). Being under a bright window in a spot that receives a ton of natural light, using an outdoor fabric will keep the cushion from fading. I opted for an acrylic Sunbrella fabric called Sunbrella Shift Spotlight Pebble (pictured below). It’s actually rated indoor / outdoor and has a nice heavy hand that won’t stretch or warp with time and use. The outdoor fabric is also really easy to clean, should someone spill food or drink on the cushion during a meal…. and let’s face it- that’s bound to happen. We also have pets that think they own the place and will probably try to jump up from time-to-time.
Next, I determined the size and shape of the cushion. I wanted a plain and simple box cushion, but to dress it up a bit and make it feel tailored- I added a contrast welt. For those of you who aren’t super familiar with sewing terms… it’s also referred to as a piped edge. It’s just a little contrast detail that outlines the shape. I went with a lighter acrylic Sunbrella fabric for the welt, so that it was equally as durable, yet monochromatic.
In regards to the cushion size, I wanted the height of the cushion to be 3″ tall because of the dining table height. Here are a few measurements you should know (and pin for later!)…
- Benches or banquettes typically have a seat height of 14 – 17 inches (ours is 16″).
- A standard dining table height is around 30 inches tall.
- Allow 10 – 12 inches of negative space between the seat of your chair and the tabletop.
- If your banquette has an arm on the end, allow around 7 inches between the arm and the bottom of the table.
I know that’s a lot of math, but these dimensions will help to calculate how tall your banquette and cushion should be. Planning pays off! All of this to say… that’s how I landed on a 3 inch thick cushion, if you were wondering.
After nailing down the important details, I got to have fun with the project and add fun elements like bolsters and throw pillows. Want to see some of my inspiration images? There are a LOT of good window seats and banquettes out there, folks…
First up, I love the bolsters on the sides of this seat found in the Style Files studio. I definitely wanted to cap each side with round bolsters, and after chatting with Cushion Source, that’s another product they offer… after all, everything is custom. Those will be made of the same fabric.
From the above image, designed by the talented Mindy Gayer, I really liked the way there were a few throw pillows tossed into the corner of the bench seat. It feels welcoming! It’s also super similar to my own dining area, as it sits directly under a large window. I added a few square cushions to my wishlist after seeing this photo.
Lastly, I found this image from Emily Henderson’s Griffith Park sunroom reveal and immediately knew I wanted to add a little pattern to the vignette as well. I ordered some patterned swatches from Cushion Source and they didn’t disappoint! These were my top 3 patterned choices (they come in a variety of colors)…
Although I don’t want to give too much away just yet, I can tell you the reveal is coming very soon and I’ll share every single detail then! Right now my biggest decision is sourcing dining chairs and deciding if a window treatment is necessary or not for this space. Decisions, decisions. Feel free to weigh in or ask questions in the comments below!
*This post is sponsored by Cushion Source. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that allow us to create unique content while featuring products we actually use & enjoy!