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14 May 2024

Seating Ideas for Small Restaurants

Seating Ideas for Small Restaurants

In the world of small restaurants, where every square foot counts, maximising seating capacity is a constant battle. But fear not, fellow restaurateurs! You don't have to sacrifice comfort or atmosphere in the pursuit of more tables. Enter banquette seating, a seating hero that seamlessly blends space efficiency with style.


Why Banquette Seating Reigns Supreme in Small Restaurants

Beyond the obvious space-saving advantage of eliminating chairs on one side, banquettes offer a plethora of benefits:

  • Traffic Flow Magic:

    Gone are the days of servers struggling to navigate a maze of chairs. Banquettes create a clear path, ensuring smoother service and happier customers (and servers)!

  • Intimacy for All:

    Whether it's a romantic date night or a lively get-together with friends, banquettes foster a sense of enclosure and privacy, allowing guests to relax and truly enjoy their conversation.

  • Design Chameleon:

    Forget a one-size-fits-all approach. Banquettes come in a dazzling array of styles to match your restaurant's personality. From classic buttoned backs that exude timeless elegance to sleek, modern lines with a contemporary touch, there's a banquette out there for every vision.

  • Versatility is Key:

    Customise your banquette seating to perfection! Choose from a variety of shapes, sizes, and upholstery options to create a seamless integration with your overall design theme.

Banquette Seating is a game-changer for small restaurants. They not only maximise seating capacity but also offer a multitude of benefits. From creating a smooth traffic flow for servers to fostering a sense of intimacy for guests, banquette seating is incredibly versatile.

With a wide range of styles, sizes, and upholstery options to choose from, you can find the perfect banquette to seamlessly integrate with your restaurant's unique design and create a space that's both functional and inviting.


Small Restaurant Seating Design with Banquette Finesse

Now that you're sold on the magic of banquette seating, let's delve into crafting the perfect seating plan for your small haven:

Single or Double Trouble?

The answer lies in your square footage. Single banquettes along one wall are ideal for restaurants with a narrow layout, while double banquettes facing each other create a charming, communal atmosphere in wider spaces.

Cornering the Market:

Don't let those corners go to waste! L-shaped banquettes tucked into corners provide a cosy nook for small groups while maximising seating potential.

Back to Basics:

Consider the desired vibe. High-backed banquettes offer a more intimate and private feel, perfect for romantic dinners. Low-backed options, on the other hand, create a more open and airier atmosphere, ideal for casual dining experiences.

From classic buttoned backs to sleek, modern lines, the style options for your banquettes are endless. Explore a variety of inspiring ideas and discover the perfect look to complement your restaurant's unique character here.

Space Savvy:

Think beyond seating! Opt for banquettes with built-in storage compartments under the seats. This is a fantastic way to maximise space in a small restaurant and ensure a clutter-free environment.


How High Should Banquette Seating Be?

Banquettes are more than just space-saving heroes; they can be the focal point of your restaurant's design! Don't underestimate the power of incorporating style elements:

  • Upholstery Extravaganza:

    Unleash your creativity with the fabric! Choose a colour or pattern that complements your restaurant's overall colour scheme and theme. Don't be afraid to experiment with bold options or playful patterns to inject personality into your space.

    To ensure your banquettes are built to last and provide exceptional comfort, head over to our guide on banquette seating construction here for valuable insights on materials and crafting techniques.

  • Cushion Perfect:

    Don't forget the power of cushions! Scatter cushions in contrasting colours or textures can bring a pop of colour, comfort, and personality to your banquette seats.

  • Cost-Effective Choice:

    Compared to individual chairs and tables, banquettes can be a more cost-effective option for small restaurants. They require less furniture overall, and the built-in nature reduces wear and tear on your walls from chairs constantly scraping against them.

Now let's get down to brass tacks: dimensions and sizing. Remember, the goal is to maximise seating capacity while ensuring guest comfort. Here's a breakdown of some key considerations:

Standard Bench Dimensions: These are demonstrative figures; these dimensions can always be customised to fit your specific space and needs.

a table displaying standard seating dimensions

  • Seat Height:

    Aim for a standard dining seat height of 47 centimetres (18.5 inches) to match most dining chairs. This ensures a comfortable dining experience for everyone.

  • Seat Depth:

    Seat depth can vary depending on its purpose, whether it's for dining, lounging, or coffee. For dining purposes or coffee tables, consider a shallower depth, keeping in mind the legroom required under tables. For lounging a deeper depth may be more suitable.

  • Back Height:

    Backrests can range from a low 30 centimetres (11.81 inches) for a more open feel to a high 75-95 centimetres (29.5-37.4 inches) for a more private and intimate ambience, with higher options available. Consider the desired atmosphere when making this decision.

Seat Height
Seat Depth
Back Height


Optimising Your Space: These are demonstrative figures; these dimensions can always be customised to fit your specific space and needs.

a table displaying standard banquette seating and table overhang dimensions


Table Spacing
Single-Banquette Width
Double-Banquette Width


  • Table Matters:

    Consider your table dimensions when deciding on the length of your banquette. Ideally, the tables should align with the end of the seating. However, for longer banquette setups, leaving a space of 40-45 centimeters (15.7-17.7 inches) between tables ensures comfort and easy movement for guests.

  • Single vs. Double Banquettes:

    For narrow spaces, single banquettes along one wall with a width of 55-60 centimetres (21.7-23.6 inches) per person are ideal. In wider spaces, double banquettes can be arranged facing each other, with a total width of 110-120 centimetres (43.3-47.2 inches) to accommodate comfortable seating for two people on each side.

  • Corner Banquettes:

    L-shaped banquettes are a great way to utilise corners effectively. The shorter side can be the same width as a single banquette (55-60 centimetres), while the longer side can be adjusted based on the available space.

Remember: These are just starting points. Don't be afraid to customise the dimensions to fit your specific space and desired layout. It's always best to create a mock layout on paper or using design software to ensure everything fits comfortably before committing to a final design.


Comfort is King

Banquette seating unlocks a treasure chest of benefits for small restaurants. From maximising space and fostering a comfortable atmosphere to streamlining service and adding a touch of design flair, banquette seating is a true game-changer.

Ready to explore the possibilities and create the perfect banquette seating solution for your restaurant? Look no further than Atlas Contract Furniture! We specialise in crafting bespoke banquette seating tailored to your unique space and vision. Head over to our restaurant venue page to browse our extensive portfolio of restaurant banquette projects and get inspired to transform your small restaurant into a haven of style, comfort, and functionality.


Ready to discuss your project? Contact us today via our contact page to schedule a consultation with our design experts!