The Unsung Hero - the Bench!

I think most people can agree that efficient uses of space are a high priority in how their home is designed and how it functions.  Who wouldn’t like an extra foot or two for the traffic lane in their kitchen? Who wouldn’t like a staging area for all things coming and going from their home?  I mention these two areas because they are high needs priorities for a majority of homeowners. Fortunately, there is one item that can serve to alleviate both of these problem areas!  The bench is an oft-overlooked option in these instances.

When a bench is incorporated into an island, it frees up A LOT of floor space surrounding the kitchen table.  No longer would one need to allow space for a chair to be pulled out, or for walking space behind the chair- incorporating a bench can give 1 – 2 feet more floor space. In addition to this benefit, you can simply fit more people on a bench than you can on chairs in the same space.  Keep in mind that Dura Supreme benches can have hinged tops, drawers or space below- making storage a breeze (who couldn't use more storage?).  Kitchen space for seasonal dishes, rarely used small appliances, or even craft supplies for children who often sit there are some of the many uses for the drawers or hinged tops in a bench. Let’s look at a few instances in which benches are thoughtfully integrated- some in ways you may not have yet imagined!  

Bench built into Kitchen Island, Designed by Chantry Kitchens in Harrogate, United Kingdom

A few things to take notice of that make this bench application unique: There is a lower level of countertop that actually wraps around the back side of this island, giving a useful surface to the adjoining bench. Imagine what a great homework/task space this would be.  Also, the bench is extended beyond the end of the island offering users a way to interact in either direction.  Here, the designer chose to have the bench and island all in the same finish, where the bench looks like a natural part of the island.

Below is another great use of a bench, also extending beyond the island, but a completely different style.

Bench incorporated into a kitchen island, designed by Chantry Kitchens in Harrogate, United Kingdom

Here the designer chose a round table with a pedestal leg, making it easier for people to get in and out around the table. I would suggest this type of table leg when at all possible.  Notice how the island is wrapped around the edges of the bench on either side, giving the sitters a nice corner to lean in against? Both of these features are thoughtful touches that make this sitting area so inviting and useable. Also, notice the bench is finished in a pale bluish-gray paint, whereas the island is a creamy white. Offsetting the bench finish from the adjacent island finish can help to pull in the other colors in the room, such as the circular island endcap, the marble veining in the table, the wall color and the decorative accents throughout the kitchen. 

Moving on to the Mudroom, a.k.a. the warzone tornado of a room where everyone in the house drops everything when they enter and looks to grab necessities when exiting...  The hardworking bench, when paired with Dura Supreme’s lockers is an excellent solution that not only provides storage but keeps individual people’s items separate, not to mention it looks beautiful!  Here are a couple of examples: 

Designed by Kitchens of Diablo, showing Dura Supreme Cabinetry, Craftsman Panel in Classic White

Here the designer chose to have some open space below the bench drawers- a great idea for getting shoes out of the way. They also installed hooks for bags and jackets and chose a decorative beadboard back in the lockers to add style points.  Wire baskets make it easy to see what is stored inside.

Even if the home is smaller and just a household of one person, the bench can make the day start and end better—Below is a scaled down version with all the same functionality.  A place for shoes, bags, jackets, and wire baskets for the smaller item (gloves, hats) round out this space.

Dura Supreme cabinetry with Homestead style door in White & Storm Gray finish, designed by Gwen Adair of Cabinet Supreme by Adair.

Dura Supreme offers lockers with or without doors, and the doors can be placed on the top and/or the bottom of the locker.  We also offer benches with and without drawers, decorative front panels, hinged wood tops that open for storage and decorative toe options. This kind of storage is great for off-season items, mittens, sports bags, you name it. Keep in mind all of our door styles, as well as all of our finishes- from Paint to Stain to Heritage, Heirloom and Patina, etc. are available to choose from.  With all of these options, customizing the space for how the homeowner lives is a very fun process.

Bedrooms also offer great opportunities for benches to complete the design.  They are not the high traffic/use spaces like the kitchen and mudroom, but a bench can serve a different purpose in a bedroom.  Here is a beautiful window seat providing the perfect place to drink a morning coffee, put on shoes, or to store out of season linens or clothing.

Window seat bench by Dura Supreme, designed by Studio M Interiors in Plymouth, MN

Bedroom benches aren’t just for grown-ups.  Below is a great little bench in a child’s bedroom.

Window seat in child's bedroom, designed by Michael Partenio of Rachel Reider Interiors in Boston, MA

Notice the thoughtfulness that went into its function- wired for lighting above to encourage reading, and hinging the bench top would make for some always needed toy storage.

Benches have been used in interior design since the beginning of time, documented through art by the Ancient Greeks through Renaissance artists all the way up to Modern times.  It is no wonder benches are still a staple when planning spaces within a home.  With all of the customization options offered by Dura Supreme, it is easy to work a functional, beautiful bench into your home!


Sandy Kloncz's picture

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