DIY Diner Booths

Written by adrian traylor
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DIY Diner Booths
A diner booth can give you that relaxed atmosphere you are looking for. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

A diner booth can add a certain ambience to any breakfast nook or dining room. Whether you are looking for a 1950s flare or just a functional and intimate area to share meals, a diner booth is a great and fairly easy option that can be completed with some basic materials and tools.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Chalk
  • Wood, either medium density fiberboard or 3/4-inch plywood
  • Saw
  • Drill
  • Screws
  • L brackets
  • Heavy foam rubber
  • Staple gun
  • Vinyl or cloth
  • Paint
  • Table post
  • Aluminium flashing
  • Laminate or tile

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    The Frame

  1. 1

    Measure the space where you want the booth. You should have at least a 16 square feet of space. You can make it either larger or smaller if you choose, but most diner booths have a footprint of about this size. Mark the area to be covered with chalk.

  2. 2

    Measure the wood. The booth consists of two seat sections and a table. For the seat, measure a panel of either medium-density fiberboard or plywood at the full length and desired height of the booth seat and mark the panel with chalk. This piece will form the back. Next measure and mark the sides at full height and seat height. Also measure and mark the depth of the seat at about 1.5 feet. Your measured piece should be L shaped. Measure and mark a straight panel for the seat back. The size will depend on the height of the bench you want, but it should be the full length of the seat. Finally, measure and mark a straight panel about 1 1/2-feet wide and 4-feet long for the seat and kickboard.

  3. 3

    Cut the wood panels along the marked lines. For the back section of the seat frame, cut one panel for each seat. Cut at least three of the side pieces for each seat. Cut two sections of the 1 1/2 feet by 4 feet for each seat frame. One will make the seat itself and the other will make the front of the bench, or the kickboard. Cut one seat back for each bench.

  4. 4

    Drill and screw the kickboard to the side pieces. Drilling pilot holes before driving screws both ensures accuracy in driving the screw and keeps the wood from splitting. Place one piece on each side and at least one in the middle for support. Also drill and screw L brackets to each side piece, at least one on the horizontal and one on the vertical. Leave the back panel off.

    The seat and seat back.

  1. 1

    Measure the heavy foam rubber and cut to fit the seat and seat back. The amount and quality of foam you use is up to you, but if you use too little or a light weight, the bench will be rather uncomfortable. A pad of at least four inches for the seat and three for the back is recommended. Cut the foam to fit and staple it to the panels with the staple gun.

  2. 2

    Measure and cut the material desired for the seat and back panel. Vinyl is always a good choice for durability and ease of cleaning, but canvas will also provide a durable seat. Make sure to measure the top distance, the height of the foam, and add at least two inches to secure it to the bottom of the seat and back. Attach the material on one end with the staple gun. Wrap the material over the entire seat and attach the other end. Staple the sides.

  3. 3

    Place the seat and seat back in their place and attach with screws through the L brackets. Be sure to use short screws that will not penetrate fully through the seat. They do not need to be long or weight supporting, just long enough to hold it in place. When finished, attach the back panel and paint as desired.

    The table

  1. 1

    Measure a sheet of plywood or medium-density fiberboard and cut. The sheet should be the full length of the booth and 2 to 2 1/2-feet wide. This will allow for enough space to use the table and enough space to sit at the booth comfortably.

  2. 2

    Drill and screw the table post to the underside of the table. If you would prefer a permanent attachment, you can acquire a bracket that fits into the wall and will support the weight of the table, but a table post makes the booth mobile. Use screws that are not too long, to avoid over penetration, but not too short to avoid having them slip out. Using a 3/4-inch sheet of wood, a 1/2-inch screw should be perfect.

  3. 3

    Apply laminate to the table top and aluminium flashing around the rim if desired. This will help to protect the table and add to its appearance.

Tips and warnings

  • Be sure to measure where you are going to place the booth thoroughly, taking into account any windows or power outlets. The booth will be rather heavy when completed and can be tough to move regularly to get at a blocked outlet.
  • Take care and proper precautions when working with wood and tools. Wear proper eye and ear protection to help avoid a potentially serious injury.

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