The Bench… it’s the simplest of seating. The basic bench has been around since the dawn of furniture-making history. Once upon a time someone put a horizontal wooden plank on legs and created a place for folks to sit and rest. From its humble origins, the rustic, long, low-slung bench has evolved through centuries to become a home furnishings staple. In general, the bench is intended to provide sturdy, supportive seating for more than one person. It is its elongation that separates the bench from the stool, but there are some one-seater exceptions to rule like the piano bench or the vanity bench.
With so many different global and historical styles there is surely a bench to suit any design aesthetic and fit into any setting. Functional additions over the centuries… backs, arms, in-seat storage, upholstery…. have created even more types of benches from which to choose.
Benches are available, both old and new, in all sorts of styles that go from simple and rustic to formal and fancy.
A good bench should be one of your first home furnishing purchases. It has great longevity in that it may start in one place in the house, but then be moved from room to room over time depending on where it’s needed the most. A bench that can be easily moved from place to place at a moment’s notice is a great multi-tasker… especially if you think creatively.
A basic bench, with its unfussy frame, is perfect for pairing with more elaborate antique pieces or contemporary furniture. It goes from classic to eclectic with ease.
A more substantial bench with a back, arms, or both is a good choice in an area where a small scale sofa-like piece is just the thing. Add lots of pillows for a softer look.
Built in storage is a big plus, especially in apartments and smaller homes.
Or you may decide to let a truly eye-catching bench with loads of personality be the design star and set the tone for a space.
What rooms could use a bench in your home? They work in so many places!
A bench is an unspoken entry area essential. It can be stand-alone furniture that makes a colorful statement as well as being a catch all for jackets, bags, and such.
In the bed, bath, or dressing area a bench can offer extra seating for getting ready for the day and additional storage for clothes, linens and just about anything that doesn’t fit in your closet.
Benches have always been used as much more than seating. Throughout history they were often built wide enough to be used as places to sleep or to set out a meal. It’s the same today. Benches can be styled as impromptu places to recline, as coffee tables, or as anything at all… if shape, structure, and dimensions are right.
Benches that were originally designed for parks and gardens can feel right at home indoors as well.
The dining room is one of the most popular places these days to show off your personal style with an accent bench. Extra seating can be added without giving the table grouping a crowded look or feel. Just make sure the seat height is right for diners to enjoy the meal comfortably.
So take a look around your home and see where you could put a good basic bench to work. Consider all your possibilities for where and how to use it. The options are almost limitless for this hard working piece of furniture that can be almost anything you want it to be. Buy something that suits your style and is a good versatile size, but more importantly buy for strength and sturdiness. A bench needs to be able to handle anything you put on it for years and years to come. Good quality antiques, vintage furniture, and custom made are all good options.
Montgomery Antiques & Interiors