Benches: Practical and Decorative Possibilities

Home furnishings and the trends that drive them come and go. But, the classics remain.

Well, they tend to adapt to trends which is what makes them classics. The humble bench is certainly a great example of that. It is an expression of simplicity itself, and highly functional in all kinds of contexts, materials, styles, sizes, shapes, and designs. Benches are decorative, either ornately or in a more minimalist sense, depending on your taste.

Benches are highly practical, too. For front halls, they provide somewhere to sit down to put on your shoes. It’s a simple thing. But, I hate it when there’s no place in a front hall to put on your shoes!

Anyway, here’s something of a tribute to the bench in all kinds of contexts. Take a look:



We’ll start with the obvious. Benches are a simple seating solution in all kinds of contexts. They are practical, very often portable, and are about providing comfort. Sometimes, that comfort is about what I talked about earlier- a place to put on your shoes when you’re leaving (I hate having to do the one-legged mambo in someone’s front hall, struggling to get my shoes on!).

At other times, they can provide comfort for longer periods, as a part of a reading nook, or outdoor living space. With benches, you decide the context, and there is a bench to match it.


As you can see from the above graphic, benches can be incorporated into a variety of styles, and still basically retain their function. They can serve as colorful accents. They provide subtle horizontal lines that can bring balance to a space.

Benches can also provide contrasting visual texture as well; a plush bench in a corridor or entryway that also features smooth porcelain tile or marble tile, or a rough-hewn driftwood bench on a premium grade wood floor with an area rug. The bench can become a way to create visual variety no matter what you’ve got going on around it.


Another aspect of the comfort equation that a bench can provide is a place to store books, rain gear, shoes, and other sundry items you might have that often are the most notorious sources of clutter in a space. A bench that is integrated into a functional space that also has built in storage can help you create a station in your space that can act as a means to keep the forces of clutter at bay. Everything needs a home. A bench is one strategy to make sure that home fits in visually.

Your take

So, what’s your take on the bench, everyone?

Have you got a bench in your home? What part does it play in terms of decor and function?

Have you got memories of benches in other homes where you’ve lived? Maybe it was the place you learned to tie your shoes. Maybe it was a part of a favorite reading spot. Maybe it was an outdoor bench attached to memories of summer picnics in the backyard.

Tell me all about it in the comments section!


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