by Staff Writer
Although most commonly used outside, benches have found a great amount of use inside the home. Not only do they offer additional seating, typically in a compact piece of furniture, but they also offer a great deal of versatility. Benches are great furniture for foyers, letting you sit when you take off or put on your shoes, and some styles will even have shelves to keep your shoes orderly. Benches also add style to bedrooms and living rooms, and storage benches give you a place to store items while keeping them easily accessible.
Determine your bench's primary function. You'll want to decide if you plan to use your bench primarily for seating or for some other function, such as a coffee table. If you plan to use the bench for seating, the height of the bench becomes more important. If you don't plan to use the bench for sitting, style and storage become much more important elements.
Consider what other functions you want it to perform. Benches are capable of serving many functions. Besides seating, benches are commonly used for storage and shelving or simply as decoration. A trunk style bench is great for storing blankets and larger items. Benches with cubbies are nice for storing children's book bags.
Choose a size that fits. Decide how big a role you want your bench to play in your decor and buy a bench whose size is proportional to its place in your home. Also, be sure to make the bench's height a priority if you will be sitting on it often. To find a height that is right for you, find a piece of furniture you already own that you feel is at a comfortable height and measure it.
Choose a material. Solid wood benches are very durable and can either blend in to your decor or stand out as elegant piece of furniture. Upholstered leather benches give a lot of color options and tend to be very comfortable. Benches with fabric upholstery often have patterns and usually have either a wood or metal base.