Benches: The Universal Piece of Seating That Works Everywhere + A Roundup of Our Favorites

Take a seat… this is going to be a good one. But all hilarities aside, today’s post is all about benches and the functionality of them in just about every room. We are rounding up our favorites at all different price points and styles and giving you our tips for adding them into your own space, so let’s get into it. 

Photo: Jeff Mindell
Design: JDP Interiors

At The Foot Of The Bed:

We’ve all seen it done before and it is for good reason. Adding a bench at the foot of your bed gives you extra seating while taking up a very minimal footprint in the room. So if you need a place to throw on your shoes, toss your bag at the end of the night or want a little something to dress up the footboard of your bed, then a bench is the perfect option. But before you add a bench to the foot of your bed there are a few rules to adhere to.

  1. Your bench should be about 3/4 the total length of your bed. So that means if you have a king bed the bench should be at least 60″ inches long and if you have a queen bed the bench should be at least 42″ long.
  2. The bench should be lower than the height of your bed
  3. A bench with legs will open up the space, whereas a bench that is more solid in structure (like an upholstered cube or storage bench) will give more weight to the foot of the bed.
Design: CS Valentin
Photo: Tessa Hop

In The Entry:

If your entry is the type that isn’t quite large enough for a large console table or credenza but is big enough that it still feels empty without anything there, then a bench is a great option for you. Not only does it give your guests (or you) a place to sit down and remove your shoes and coat like you see here, but it can also visually make the space feel a lot larger if you add a mirror above the bench. Talk about a good first impression.


In The Dining Room:

Adding a bench into your dining room setup is perfect if you are tight on space but need some extra seating. We love to add a bench to one side and chairs on the other three sides which breaks up all the lines of the chairs and also gives a bit of informality to the space. A bench can also offer a bit more seating than chairs can (especially if you have a lot of kids at the dinner table). A tip on this one – unless you get a bench with outdoor fabric or one that is stain resistant we would recommend going with something that is easy to clean (wood, metal).

Design: Studio Niels

As A Coffee Table:

Your first thought isn’t “bench” when we say “coffee table” but the same rules apply here as they do when you use a square or rectangle ottoman into your living room as the coffee table. A bench is the slightly more slimmer and longer version of the ottoman which makes it perfect if you have a long and skinny living room. Ideally, the bench should be about 2/3 the width of your sofa so that it doesn’t feel too out of proportion and the same height as the seat height of your sofa or shorter. Another option – if you have a larger living room – is to stack two benches together to form one large coffee table like you see here. Not only does it double in size but it offers a lot of flexibility to the space and the floor plan.

Photo: Fran Parente
Design: Patrick McGrath

Behind A Sofa:

Viewing the back profile of a sofa in any room might not be the most sightly of views. So rather than placing a sofa table behind it that can feel large and tall in the space – opt for a bench which can be placed behind the sofa to add a little bit of extra seating as well as a place to style. If you go for something upholstered then you can add trays and books on top to create a flat surface for any accessories you want to add in, however, if you want it to be a place for people to sit down then keep the styling to a minimum.

  1. I love this! Genius to have a bench behind the sofa!