Benches can serve many functions in your home, and are charming furniture pieces no matter what your style calls for. But where should you start? Below we highlight some of the great features a bench can offer, including the aesthetic appeal.
Seating or Storage?
This is the first step you should take in deciding what kind of bench to select for your home: will it be primarily used for seating or for storage? If you choose seating, the most practical type of bench is one with padding, ideally an upholstered bench or even a hooked wool bench. This will add elegance to a room, and a padded bench brings its own style to a space depending on the fabric and shape of the seat.
Choosing storage, on the other hand, indicates that comfort isn’t as big of a factor in the use of your bench. Rustic wood benches with lift tops are perfect for function, as their simple and durable design will last season after season and year after year in your home. A lift top also hides away your stored items, so an entryway or mudroom can look instantly tidy. These benches are perfect for sitting down to tie shoes, displaying your favorite pillows and home accents, and they will fit in almost any space.
Cubby Benches are the best of both worlds. A bench pad can be added to the top for extra seating, while the cubbies below can store shoes, linens, and can even hold baskets or boxes for enhanced organization.
Back or no back?
The timeless Windsor Bench is famously known for its high-spoked back and Colonial charm, as well as its ability to offer comfort and style in almost any home. Turned legs and sloping arms enhance the traditional appeal of this bench, as the back enhances its relaxation appeal. If you are looking for a bench with a back that will be used in a family room or common living room as primary seating, look to the Windsor first.
For similar charm with a simple flat-top, choose a bench with detailed legs and a seat that differs in material or construction than the rest of the piece. A woven or seagrass seat adds a beachy or casual vibe to any space, while a leather seat offers a classic look against beautifully finished wood or metal – and both are comfortable for a seating option in a bedroom or den.
Finally, the size and color should be considered in one of two ways: are you redesigning a room starting from scratch? OR are you adding a bench to an already styled room? For the latter, you will need to be a little more particular in choosing the finish, fabric, pattern and size since the design of the room is already established.
A smaller bench is a better choice in a room with a lot of furniture; a larger bench may be needed to fill some space in an entryway with tiled floors or decorative wallpaper. Sometimes neutral is the best option, but you can also choose a color from your curtains, a rug or the
walls for a complementing bench.
If you are redesigning a room, well, the possibilities are endless! You may find inspiration in a floral fabric on an upholstered bench, or find a rustic wood bench charming enough to style the rest of the room in primitive decor. Refer back to our first and second considerations above, and work the room around your new piece of furniture.