How to Style Dining Tables with Bench Seats
You finally feel ready. You’ve always been fascinated by the idea of styling your dining tables with bench seats. Bench seating gives the allusion of togetherness and informality. But maybe you aren’t sure how to make it work. Table sets come in so many shapes, styles, heights, and materials. How can you get the table you want and find a bench that matches? Can you mix and match, maybe use a bench on one side and chairs on the other?
It also helps if you take the time to list exactly what you need from your kitchen or dining furniture. How much space do you have to work with? Are you looking for a table that will be used daily or just for special occasions? How many people do you need to seat? Before you start your search, reading this article will help you narrow down your options. We’ll show you how to choose the perfect bench and dining table set for your home.
Why Choose a Bench?
Benches have always been a popular choice when it comes to designing informal dinner tables. Who doesn’t have great memories of sitting at a picnic table, enjoying burgers and dogs during a family outing to the local lake or park? Bringing that feeling of togetherness indoors is a trend that’s gained popularity over the past few years. Besides adding a unique decorating twist to your dining room, there are many other benefits to opting for this style of seating in your home.
- Minimalism: Benches take up less space and open up a kitchen dining room that feels small or cluttered. They are great for small spaces or for a room where regular chairs would block a window with a view. If you opt for one with no back, you can tuck it under the table when not in use.
- Seating Capacity: With no arms, no back, and no spacing required, you can seat more people on a 48″ bench than you can on dining chairs in the same amount of space.
- Flexibility: You can get benches that work with any style room and any style table in your home.
- Intimacy: Guests naturally sit closer together at a table with benches, adding a certain sense of camaraderie to the air, making it easier to socialize.
- Price: Benches are usually much less expensive per seat than if you were to buy an equal amount of chairs.
- Storage: If you need extra storage in your home, get a bench that also provides a lift-up seat or pull-out drawers. It’s a great place to store linens, glassware, and even china if done carefully.
Types of Benches
When you think of a dining bench, the first thing that probably pops into your head is that picnic table bench, made of painted, hard rough wood. There are tons of different types of benches that will fit into any dining room setting. You can take a single dining table and have it take on an entirely new look with a different style bench.
Now again, we aren’t talking about that rustic, picnic table here. Imagine a beautiful wooden bench, sanded smooth and stained a beautiful, rich color matching your dining table. Wood benches look fantastic in Traditional, Farmhouse, or Shabby Chic decor. If you are worried about comfort, add some brightly colored cushions or even drape a couple of comfy throws over the bench in places people would sit. If space isn’t an issue, you can choose a bench with a back to give your guests some extra support.
Getting an upholstered bench takes care of the comfort problem, but now you’re looking at a completely different look. These benches tend to look better in a more modern setting compared to their wooden counterparts. The upside is that you can have great fun with different fabrics! Mix and match by putting an upholstered bench on one side of your table with chairs in a complementary color on the other.
Go With a Backrest
If you have the space to accommodate one, a bench with a backrest can make quite a statement with your dining table set. You can find both wooden and upholstered benches with a back. Adding a backrest helps it stand out as a real piece of furniture, not something to be relegated to the background. It also provides more support and comfort to those that sit on it.
Or Go Backless
A backless bench feels more traditional and is more practical for tight quarters and a smaller table. This style can be very understated and will not overpower a room. They are usually light and easy to move. If you buy one of high quality, they can also be quite comfortable despite not having the extra support of a backrest.
The Right Bench For Your Dining Table
Adding a bench to a dining table set is easy if you keep in mind a few simple rules. First, keep in mind that all dining room sets need at least three feet of clearance on all sides so people can move around easily and not be in the way.
Now consider the furniture you’re working with. Does your table have legs or a pedestal? A pedestal table works well with benches that span the full length of a table because you can tuck them in without worrying about hitting the table legs. If your table does have legs in the four corners, you may want to opt for a bench that fits into the inside measurement of the two legs on either side. When going this route, be sure to leave a couple of inches on either side, so the bench doesn’t continually hit the legs as it’s moved in and out.
If you want to think outside the box, try getting a corner bench and situate your table as if you are dining in the corner booth of a cozy restaurant. There is no limit to what you can do if you set your mind to what you want.
Examples from Amish Outlet Store
If you’re still unsure, Amish Outlet Store has some good examples you can search through as a jumping-off point. Check out our Benson Table and matching bench. Both items of furniture are traditional in style, made from high-quality hardwood, and perfectly stained to bring out the natural beauty of the wood grain. Our Hudson Bench brings an upholstered, modern style, especially when paired with two Hudson Chairs and our Falcon Double Pedestal Table. Were you intrigued by recreating that cozy restaurant experience in your own kitchen? Our kitchen nook sets may be what you need. They are great for small homes and apartments, nestling into the corner of your home with corner benches and a matching pedestal table.
What we were hoping you could take away from this article is that by thinking outside the box, bench seating is great fun to play around with. Different designs, styles, fabrics, and textures are at your fingertips. Mix it up by using a bench on one side and chairs on the other. Or use two short benches instead of one long one, giving you the chance to configure them any way you choose. Look around online, and you’ll find a lot of inspiration. As with any decorating project, let your imagination run wild and enjoy the process!
To see more handcrafted benches for your dining room, browse our selection of benches and hall seats.