DIY Bookshelf Banquette

Unimpressed by basic banquettes, this blogger decided to build her own version using an unexpected find from IKEA.

ikea hack banquette opener

A small, awkward space led Krys from Melodrama on a search for a banquette that would complete her dining set. After striking out with standard solutions, she stumbled upon an IKEA bookshelf that inspired her to craft her own version. Read on to see how she made her IKEA hack a stylish and storage-savvy success. 



– IKEA EXPEDIT Bookshelf (now available as KALLAX)
– 4’x6′ piece of plywood
– 1″ thick foam
– Batting
– Fabric
– MDF, cut to size of bookcase
– 2-inch-thick foam



ikea hack banquette step 1

The seat of this banquette started with an EXPEDIT bookshelf from IKEA (now available as the KALLAX) that was turned on its side. For the back of the unit, start with a 4’x6′ piece of plywood. Pad it with 1″ thick foam and cover it with batting. My indoor/outdoor canvas fabric measured 55-inches wide, which would have been fine if I wanted to run the pattern horizontally. Since I wanted to run the pattern vertically, I needed to cut 2 pieces of fabric to 4 1/2-feet long and sew them together at the selvages, being sure to match up the pattern. I made sure the seam ran down the center of the board.



ikea hack banquette step 2

Start by placing a staple in the middle of each end of the plywood, pulling the fabric taut, and then working your way around with staples to secure it. You can use flush mount brackets to secure the piece to the wall if you want. We felt the EXPEDIT was heavy enough to hold the backboard up, so we decided to forget that step. If you have kids or want the peace of mind, by all means mount it to the wall.



ikea hack banquette step 3

Now it needed a comfy seat! I stumbled across similar types of projects on Pinterest that used a piece of MDF board. Genius! I didn’t screw the MDF into the EXPEDIT because, again, I wanted to preserve the bookcase. But, if you have kids I recommend securing it. I also decided against legs so it’s sturdier by being directly on the floor. We don’t use this piece every single day, but we’ve had game nights and dinner parties and it has successfully held 3 full-size adults with an estimated combined weight of at LEAST 400lbs, several times. Obviously the risk is all yours.



ikea hack banquette step 4

I had the piece of MDF cut to the right measurements at Home Depot and covered it with 2-inch-thick pieces of foam and covered it with batting. The 2-inch foam added to the height of the EXPEDIT brings the seat height up to 19 inches, which happens to be the exact height of our dining chairs.



ikea hack banquette step 5

Then upholstered like you would a chair seat. Upholstering pieces like this is super easy. It’s like wrapping a present but with fabric and staples inside of paper and tape. It’s really that simple. Promise!


ikea hack banquette end

Thanks, Krys! Visit Melodrama for more inspiring and achievable ideas.