A dinette is a flexible piece of furniture often found on narrowboats and on some wide-beam canal boats too. It provides a seating / dining area and useful storage under the seating units. Generally a dinette will also convert in to a single or double bed as well.
Dinettes… Pullman or L-Shaped?
A dinette is a multi-functional seating and dining area that can be converted to a bed for either regular or occasional use.
Usually built along one side of the boat, the dinette uses a clever convertible system of cushions and bases which becomes a 4’ double bed when converted. Additional lift up seating can also be housed in the gunwale to add two additional seats to the dinette for times when 6 people need to be seating around the table.
Dinettes can often be built over internal waste storage tanks by slightly elevating the floor. This also has the effect of raising the dinette so diners can comfortably see out of the windows when dining. Dinettes also offer a valuable storage solution, from a simple lift up lid for cushion or bedding storage or even to house small appliances such as a box freezer.
The two most common types of dinette are either ‘L shaped’ or ‘Pullman’.
Pullman dinettes are popular due to the seating arrangements being more sociable as you are sitting facing the other person, whereas L-shaped dinettes are often also used as a sofa. The choice of dinette on your narrowboat will often be dictated by the space available and the layout of your boat.
The cushions are usually made with foam and covered with fabric. Foam is supplied in different densities; the higher the density of foam, the better the quality will be and the longer it will last. Over the years foam will start to lose its firmness and stability. If the dinette is regularly used as a bed, you may want to consider a higher density foam to ensure the foam does not deteriorate too quickly at the shoulder and hip pressure points which are inevitable when sleeping.
The choice of upholstery is vast for dinettes. Traditionally coverings were fabric but increasingly popular are leather covered cushions, both of which are available in an abundance of colours and textures. Due to the uniqueness of every canal boat, dinettes are generally made to order to ensure they fit exactly right for each boat, it is not something that can be brought ‘off the shelf’. Building the dinette to order allows the customer to chose the material and colour to suit their taste. If you are purchasing a second hand boat, having the dinette re-upholstered is a easy way to re-vamp the interior of the narrowboat to your taste.
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