Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

With all the perks of this eat-in kitchen update, choosing it is a no brainer.

When it comes to your kitchen, it’s not always possible (or fiscally responsible) to renovate the space every time a new trend becomes popular. That’s why we’re such big fans of the classic white kitchen—it’s timeless and will likely start falling apart before it falls out of style. That said, it’s still fun to give your hard-working kitchen a little refresh every once in a while to make it feel new and contemporary again. So, if you’re thinking about renovating your kitchen for 2019—or even just doing some low-lift changes—the number one trend we’re anticipating seeing is the banquette dining nook. The built-in bench seating for a dining area is not only a practical solution and efficient use of space, it’s also an attractive feature that gives your kitchen a custom, high-end look. Just look at how this built-in banquette seating transformed a bay window into a cozy yet chic dining area that’s as perfect for after-school homework as it is a 6-person (at least) dinner party.

Photo: Ngoc Minh Ngo; Styling: Ed Gallagher

The rise in popularity of these types of dining nooks in our kitchens makes sense as we’ve changed how we use the rooms in our houses over time. Curbed recently reported on a study that found Americans are only using a fraction of the square footage in our homes—and the rooms we’re using least frequently? Our formal dining and living rooms. Homes are evolving with our desire for a more casual lifestyle and also with the trend in downsizing. Even if you still have and occasionally use your formal dining room, most of us still want a more casual alternative in or near the kitchen itself that can seat your whole family for breakfast and regular weeknight dinners. This built-in banquette dining area is the perfect solution to that—and more.

WATCH: Making a Custom Banquette

Banquette dining nooks are an extremely efficient use of space: A dining table and accompanying chairs would feel cramped and crowded when pushed against the one free wall in your kitchen. With a built-in bench, the placement feels natural, and while someone will have to slide to the middle seat, there won’t be any squeezing past the backs of chairs and asking people to scoot in. You’ll also likely be able to fit more people on the bench than you would with dining chairs anyway. Using a corner turns an even worse situation with your table and chairs into an exceedingly better alternative for the banquette.

Erica George Dines

Plus, the built-in bench gives your space a custom, high-end feel that’s hard to get exactly right with just a table and chairs. Once you’ve added an appropriately sized table, hang a pendant light over it to define the space. And despite having an expensive appearance, DIYing your own bench seating is a project you can tackle this weekend. Want to take it a step further? You can incorporate storage into your bench with a lift-up top or built-in drawers, giving even more function to this dining solution. We could go on and on: There simply are only positive benefits to incorporating a banquette dining nook into your kitchen, and adding one might just solve problems you didn’t know you had.