Benches and Settees: A Perfect Home Accent

You have a space in your home, begging to be filled. Perhaps its in the hallway, or maybe the kitchen…even the bedroom. You don’t know what to do, because you already have enough occasional chairs and tables, but you want something that is usable as well. The answer to your decorating dilemma? An indoor bench or settee, of course!

For the sake of argument, let us first define an indoor bench or settee. Sitting chair height, or about 19” above the floor, this seating can consist of a back or backless configuration, with or without arms, in any number of materials. Typically, indoor benches range in width from 36” up to 50”. Any narrower, and they become a Vanity Bench. Any longer, they are a dining bench. Even within that range, we have a lot of possibilities.

First, there are upholstered benches. Constructed from either wood or iron, upholstered benches are highly customized, with the fabric of your choice. Typically, upholstered benches are used in bedrooms and sitting areas, because they are so comfortable. Some of our favorite upholstered benches are made by Vanguard Furniture, Palecek, and Lexington. Upholstered benches are usually backless, and can be a perfect fit at the end of the bed, or in a great room nook.

Upholstered benches made from iron tend to have removable cushions.
Non-upholstered benches are also made from wood or iron, although one tends to see them more in wood for comfort factors. Wood benches are seen in more transitional areas, such as sunrooms, foyers, mudrooms, and kitchens. They have a more casual appeal, and are usually offered in a variety of stained and painted finishes. One nice aspect to wood benches is that some are designed as storage benches, so you can hide away those muddy boots and mismatched gloves!

Another design consideration to benches is the back. Many ornate-style benches have large backs for greater support. We define these types of benches as settees, although this is a somewhat capricious moniker. There is no set definition of a settee, particularly from a manufacturer’s perspective. In any case, settees tend to be “floated” in a room, meaning not placed against a wall, much like a sofa. Backless benches are usually placed against a wall, or sometimes another pieces of furniture such as a bed.

Lastly, your bench can have arms, or be armless, just like any occasional chair. Armless benches naturally tend to be more casual and transitional in design. Benches with arms are usually wider, with greater accommodation for more relaxed seating. They can also be more formal, for use in living rooms or large foyers.
There are so many configurations for benches and settees, sometimes it helps just to start scrolling through your choices.

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