Question: I have a tiny dining room and struggle to have enough room for guests. Do you have any suggestions for accommodating more seating in small spaces?
Phoebe’s Answer: This is something we come across frequently, especially in small city pied-a-terres and beach condos. Banquettes are an ideal solution, and something I use all of time. They allow the dining table to cozy up to the bench seat and don’t require the space behind the banquette to push back (like you need with chairs). But, sit more than two on the banquette and someone will be really stuck in the middle, so keep that in mind! Also, using a pedestal dining table gives even more leg room and makes it easier to maneuver in and out of the banquette. There is also something so incredibly comfy about banquette seating, which makes a smaller dining room seem more cocoon-like in the very best way. And in the tiniest of the spaces, the table can be pulled away and the banquette can serve as a small armless sofa for a cocktail party. Take a look at a few of the banquettes I have designed. Some are entirely custom and others were ordered through our vendors. It all depends on what the space requires! Good luck with your room.
A banquette in my Atlanta apartment dining room. We have had so many fun evenings around this table.
This dining area is in a family home. Lots of people pile around this table and the banquette really accommodates the room needed.
This is the dining table of a vacation condo for a client. This banquette is bigger than the two above and the corner really helps fit in even more seating.
This u-shaped banquette was entirely custom designed by my husband Jim for our (former) home in the Hamptons. We moved the tables and chairs all around in numerous configurations. No matter how many people were at the house, we could always cram in here.