Banquettes are commonly considered a custom furniture option. Due to this custom nature, the look, feel and construction of your banquette can differ immensely from one to the next, so too can the costs vary significantly.
It is also worth noting that Harrows manufactures banquettes using a standard system that is built off-site & installed. While we think our system is applicable for many situations, we realise that it is not the best for everyone. Some people will be better of working with their joiner onsite when their project is more complex and intricate. This article will hopefully help you to decide which route is best for you to take for your fitout.
What are the top five factors that influence the price of a banquette seat?
- Construction method;
- Straights, corners and curves;
- Trim and finish;
- Fabric, vinyl or leather; and
- Upholstery detail.
1. Construction Method – Offsite vs Onsite
The two most common construction methods for banquette are:
- Offsite – using a spine and rail construction the banquette is fabricated off site by a specialist before it is freighted and installed.
- Onsite – using framing or 4×2 timber construction the banquette is fabricated onsite by a joiner.
The offsite spine and rail construction method is generally more cost effective if the banquette is of simple configuration. Offsite construction can be an efficient method build a banquette as it allows for a streamlining in manufacturing process and labour costs, and the process can be standardised.
The onsite framing method is mostly used by an onsite contractor and joiner. If your fit-out has a more complex banquette that requires integrations with other joinery onsite, you will most likely find that a joiner will build the banquette onsite along with the rest of the joinery package. Typically this onsite construction process adds more to the cost of the overall banquette through labour costs and also due to the complex banquette design.
2. Straights, Corners and Curves – Does layout impact banquette price?
Straight sections of banquettes will be less expensive than corner sections, so it’s a good idea to keep this in mind when designing your space. Wrapping banquettes around corners is a great way to make use of a space, but it is good to be aware that corners (especially if they are curved) involve more design-time, material and manufacturing labour, all of which can contribute to an increased cost. In some cases, the installation of curves onsite can be more complex too.
3. Trim and Finish: Kickpiece and Infill Panel Material
Trim is the word to describe the surfaces that enclose and finish the carcass, and it is not limited to a single material. It is the materials used to finish the kickpieces, top caps or seen ends and backs. Again the choices for these trims are limitless and all will play a role in determining how expensive a banquette might be.
The simplest banquettes use only one material for the trim, and this is most commonly a LPL, HPL, timber veneer or ply. From these options, ply is commonly the most cost effective, it looks professional and allows you to choose your own stain colour. Options can be as creative as you can imagine including options like wall paneling, stainless steel, brass and tiles.
When selecting materials for the trim it is important to understand that both the cost of the trim material, and the labour cost in application time will have an impact on the overall cost of the banquette.
4. Fabric, Vinyl or Leather – Which material will cost more on a banquette?
Selecting the right material for the upholstery of your banquette will also have a significant impact on the overall price. Banquettes can be upholstered in fabric, vinyl or leather.
For fabrics and vinyls, there can be immense differences in price, but there are generally five approximate cost bands that a fabric or vinyl will fall under – being $30/LM, $50/LM, $80/LM, $100/LM and $120/LM (LM per lineal metre).
The seat and back panels of the banquette and divided into individually upholstered squabs, based on your overall length and the look you want to achieve. The number of squabs and height of the back can all influence the fabric requirements, but there is a basic starting point for fabric calculations. Assuming the banquette is upholstered with a plain seat and back, without specialized detailing, the fabric requirement will be approximately the length of the banquette multiplied by two. That means if you have a 10 metre banquette, 20 lineal metres of fabric will be required as a base.
Using this calculation, you can see how the lineal metre cost of the fabric has a significant impact on cost:
- 10m banquette upholstered in a $30/LM fabric: 10m x 2 x $30 = $600 fabric cost
- 10m banquette upholstered in a $80/LM fabric: 10m x 2 x $80 = $1600 fabric cost
A valuable piece of advice is that it is prudent to always check the price of the banquette if a fabric changes. Sometimes your original quote might have allowed for an $80/LM fabric, and design changes along the way result in a $30/LM fabric being used. Being informed about the implication of design changes like these will empower you to stay across it (and might mean more money back in your pocket).
Leather has a different set of considerations and it a more expensive material. Because leather is made and purchased in hides, rather than off a roll, the number of hides required can be variable due to the shape and condition of the leather. While leather is a highly durable and attractive commercial upholstery option, be aware that it’s higher price tag and increased wastage and offcuts will increase the overall price of your booth.
5. Upholstery Detail – How much does upholstery detailing cost?
The last key lever that influences the cost of a banquette is the upholstery detailing that you choose. The options are as far reaching as your imagination and range from simple to exceptionally intricate.
Each of them has an impact on your banquette cost in two ways – time and material. For example, deep buttoning requires the fabric to be folded before the button is pulled through. These folds and gathers means the fabric requirement increases, as does the time involved of the upholsterer, and in turn the cost of the finished banquette.
We’ve ranked a few of the most common upholstery detailing options below to give an indication on cost.
One last piece of advice
It’s important to remember that banquettes are a long-lasting investment in your fit out, and you are in complete control of the price tag. How much does a banquette cost? Well hopefully through this article you are able to understand all the variables and factors that influence the answer. With this knowledge, you can choose where to prioritise and where to compromise to make your booth seat suit your budget and your fitout.