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Whether for your home's kitchen or a commercial restaurant, a booth can be a viable seating option. Your restaurant booth can be customized to seat just a few people or a large group. Building a booth takes carpentry experience, and isn't a job for beginners.
Constructing the Booth Frame
Decide how many people you want to be able to sit at the booth. This will affect the construction process, as you'll need more materials to construct a larger booth. Large booth construction, particularly booths incorporating U- or L-shaped designs, is also more difficult. For the purpose of this tutorial, we will be discussing construction of a simple two-seater booth (single seats on either side of a table).
Select the dimensions for your booth. Industry standards suggest a seat at least 16 inches deep, with a seat back that is at least 26 inches high. For a single seat, you can choose a range of widths; the wider the seat, the roomier it will be. For this tutorial, we will make the single seat 20 inches wide.
Remember that the below instructions are for a single seat; if you want two seats facing each other over a single table, you will need to do all the steps below twice (to construct two separate seats).
Measure and cut the pieces that will form the seat back. You will need two pieces that measure 26 inches (these will form the vertical supports for the seat back) and two pieces that measure 20 inches (these will form the horizontal supports for the seat back). Nail the four pieces together (forming a rectangle), using a right angle at the corners to ensure they are the correct angle.
Follow the same steps described in Step 4 to build the frame for the booth seat. The only change you'll need to make is replacing the 26-inch pieces of wood with 16-inch pieces of wood; the 16 inches reflect the depth of the booth's seat.
Decide how you want to cushion your booth. You have three main options: foam wrapped with fabric, spring-mounted seats or solid wood. This decision will affect which of the below sections and steps you'll need to follow.
Making a Foam-Cushioned Booth
Measure and cut plywood to fit over the seat back and the seat itself. The dimensions for the seat back are 20 inches x 26 inches. The dimensions for the seat are 20 inches x 16 inches.
Hammer the plywood into place. The plywood should be flush against the frame of the seat back and seat, with no overhang. You may want to cut an extra piece of plywood for the rear side of the seat back.
Measure and cut foam, which will provide the padding for the seat back and seat. The foam should be the same dimensions as the plywood used in Steps 1 and 2. Four-inch foam padding will provide a comfortable seat without overdoing it, although this amount can be customized to your wants and needs.
Attach the foam to the seat back and seat using wood glue. You may have to keep pressure on the padding for several minutes as the glue takes hold.
Attach the seat back and seat. Industry standards suggest placing the two pieces at a 100-degree angle, so those sitting in the seats are not forced to maintain perfect posture and can slightly recline while dining. Attach the two pieces with nails. (Alternatively, you can attach the pieces at a simple 90-degree angle, and cut the piece of foam on the seat back so that it forms a 100-degree angle instead.)
Attach seat legs to the bottom of the booth. Secure four 4x4s to the inside corners of the seat frame from the bottom of the seat. Hammer the pieces into place using nails. You can choose any length for the pieces -- this will determine how high off the ground the booth is -- so long as you choose the same length for every piece.
Cover the entire seat with upholstery. Since the booth will be used for dining, you may want to pick a vinyl fabric, as it is easy to clean and maintain. Stretch the fabric tightly over the seats, and use a staple gun to secure it to the underside of the booth.
Making a Spring-Mounted Seat
Attach no-sag spring clips to the front and back of the seat frame. Attach them to the top and bottom of the seat back. Nail them into place.
Attach the springs to the clips. The number of springs (and clips) you decide to use is up to you; just make sure the springs do not rub up against one another once installed.
Cover the springs (on the seat back and the seat) with a double layer of burlap and a thin layer of foam padding (carpet padding can work in this situation). Use a staple gun to attach them to the wood frame.
Attach the seat back and seat frame to one another. Use the same guidelines as described in Section 2, Step 5, regarding angles. Attach four 4x4s to the underside corners of the seat frame and hammer into place to make legs.
Stretch a fabric of your choice over the seat. Use a staple gun to secure the fabric to the underside of your booth.
Making a Wood Seat
Measure plywood to fit over the frame of the seat back and the seat. The plywood for the seat back should measure 26 inches x 20 inches; the plywood for the seat should measure 20 inches x 16 inches. Cut the wood to fit.
Hammer the plywood into place. The plywood should be flush against the frame, with no overlap.
Attach the seat back and the seat to one another using the same process outlined in Section 2, Step 5.
Add legs to the unit. Use four 4x4s, affixing them to the inside corners of the underside of the seat frame. See notes in Section 2, Step 6, regarding length of legs.
Sand and finish the entire booth. Since this is the surface diners will be sitting on, you want to make sure the plywood is smooth. You can choose to stain the wood or paint it, depending on your preferences.
If you are looking for the easiest way to construct a restaurant booth, use the option outlined in Section 4. Because it does not require any type of upholstery, it is the most basic of the three options discussed in this tutorial.
Elizabeth Falwell has been writing for the TV news industry since 2005. Her work has appeared on WXII 12 News, WMGT 41 News, NewParent.com and multiple parenting blogs. A graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University, Falwell holds a Master of Science in broadcast journalism.