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How To Choose A Bench

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Benches are a fantastic way to add more storage or seating space to a room without obstructing the view of any existing furniture. They work well in entryways, children's playrooms, master bedrooms, and anywhere else that needs an extra place to sit.

Benches are available in a variety of sizes, with or without storage features. They use a number of different materials and fabrics, so you can find one to match any décor. Here are the most important features to look for when shopping for a bench.

How large should a bench be?

Both storage benches and standard benches are usually around 18" deep, 18" - 20" tall, and 42" - 48" long. This allows ample room for storage or for two people to sit. Benches smaller than 40" long might not be comfortable for two adults to sit on. Some dining benches are longer than 48" to allow three or more people to sit comfortably.

Benches with overhead storage typically have hooks or shelves around 48" off the ground to keep items accessible for both adults and children. However, this can vary widely depending on who the bench is designed for. Look closely at the product description and choose** benches with lower shelves 36" - 44" off the ground for easier access for children**.

What materials are best for benches?

Dark Manufactured Wood Storage Bench
Manufactured Wood Shoe Storage Bench
Resin Garden Bench with Cushions
 Two Seat Wood Bench
Stainless Steel Metal Bench
Elegance Metal Bench with Cushion

Which fabrics are best for benches?

Not all benches are upholstered, but both standard and storage benches are available in upholstered varieties. Make sure to look for fabrics that are treated with stain repellents. Though some fabrics naturally keep most stains away, stain repellent treatments are an excellent way to protect your investment.

Polyester and Linen Bench in Beige
Blue Velvet U-shaped Bench
Green Velvet Bench with Golden Legs
Upholstered Storage Bench with Foam
Decorative Beige Polyester Storage Bench
Cream Rustic Upholstered Bench

What color bench should I choose?

What storage features should I look for in a bench?

Storage benches are ideal for storing an assortment of items in a variety of sizes, but the style of storage bench you need depends on what items your plan to store and the proposed location of the bench. Some common storage options include:

Flip-top storage

Flip-top storage requires the user to lift the seat, making it a great storage solution for items not used often, or for temporary seating in entryways and outdoor areas. Most flip-top storage is long and wide enough to store tennis rackets, roller skates, and bulky outdoor items, making them incredibly versatile.

Cubbies

These divided shelves are an excellent choice for storing shoes and other small items underneath the seat. The open design also makes them suitable for displaying keepsake items and accent pieces.

Shelves

A shelf underneath the seat offers you the flexibility to store long and bulky items or customize your storage system with baskets and boxes. Choose a slatted shelf for storing shoes as the airflow will prevent a build-up of dirt and odors.

Cabinets

Cabinets make a great choice if you need to store unsightly items like cables, recreational gear, or tools. Cabinets come with either hinged or sliding doors, helping you to save space in a compact room.

Baskets

Often combined with cubbies and used in place of drawers, baskets are both a stylish and functional option that works well with country or bohemian homes. They are the right choice for storing small items, toys, or extra bed linens, making them suitable for bedrooms, playrooms, and offices.

Hooks

Benches may also include coat hooks or small shelves attached above the bench. These hooks and shelves usually have low weight limits but are good for hats, jackets, backpacks, and handbags.

Solid Wood Shelves Storage Bench
Wooden Cubby Storage Bench
Wood Storage Bench with Cubbies
Light Wood Cabinets Bench
White Long Bench with Hooks
Grey Upholstered Shelves Bench

How much weight can a bench hold?

The weight limit on benches varies, but many can hold around 250 lbs. If you need two people to be able to sit on the bench at one time, look for a weight limit of at least 300 lbs. The weight limit includes the weight of any goods stored inside the bench, so avoid storing very heavy items inside if people will be sitting on it.

Which benches are easiest to clean?

Benches that are made of manufactured wood or metal are usually easy to clean. A damp cloth with soap and water is usually sufficient to remove dirt and stains. Make sure to double-check the manufacturer's specifications, as some harsh cleaning chemicals can damage manufactured wood or metal finishes.

Upholstered benches can usually be spot-cleaned or vacuumed but may require a little more effort than manufactured wood or metal. Fabric-covered benches may be a better fit for bedrooms and offices instead of mudrooms.

Which benches are the most child-safe?

Fabric-covered benches are the most child-safe option, especially if they have rounded corners and cushioning. If fabric is not an option due to cleaning concerns, look for wooden benches with rounded edges and corners.

Tip overs are generally not a concern with benches unless they have tall shelving on top. Benches with overhead shelving should be secured to the wall with anchors. Even if there is almost no chance of the unit itself tipping over, top shelves can wobble and cause objects to fall if the shelf supports are not secured to the wall.

Some benches with storage built into the seats have heavy lids that can pinch children's fingers. Avoid using these benches in areas with toddlers. School-age children can typically be trusted to open and close these benches, but children under 5 should be supervised until they have had some practice.

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