Benches vs Chairs: Which Home Seating Option is Best for You?

When you hear “bench” what do you think of? A park bench? That thing you may have sat on during your high school athletic career? Now, think about the seating you had in your house growing up and what you have now: was or is it exclusively sofas and chairs? There’s a strong likelihood that benches have perhaps never even entered your consciousness as a viable option for indoor seating, but it may be time to rethink this. When it comes to seating options, we are big proponents of designing your space for efficiency, beauty, and comfort. Every room will require something a little bit different, and looking into less common options may be exactly what your home needs.

Ultimately, your home has unique requirements that will influence the choices you make with your seating. Here are some things consider when making the decision between benches, chairs, or a combination of both.

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Benches vs Chairs: The Upsides of Each

For most, chairs are the first choice. They’re more common and closer to mind when choosing furniture than a bench might be, and they’re typically quite portable. Some of the other reasons to consider chairs for your space include:

Chairs have backs, and sometimes arms, making them more comfortable than benches, especially the longer you sit in them.

Chairs have a smaller footprint than benches, making them easier to move around the house, or even stack out of sight when you need to store them.

Few people will ever complain about having a chair to sit in, especially during long family gatherings.

Chairs work well in all types of areas: at the dining room table, at desks, in front of music stands, in the family/tv/sitting room, on the porch or balcony, in the workshop or garage, and in bedrooms and nurseries.

In short, chairs are great. But don’t stop reading yet, because benches have some amazing benefits as well. Benches are great at the table, at your desk, in front of the tv, out on the porch, in the workshop and in kids rooms. Here are some other reasons why we love benches:

Benches can seat many. While chairs may be more comfortable for an individual, benches are ideal for big family dinners and visits from friends and relatives.

Benches, unlike chairs, can be used for purposes other than seating. Benches make great storage areas for books, plants, speakers, and other household sundries. They can even do both—replacing a home office’s desk chair with a bench increases incidental storage space for papers, books, and other short-term references that don’t fit on the desk.

Benches can create a more equal seating arrangement, especially for young siblings, who will have one less thing to squabble about when sitting on an equal plane.

The Cons of Chairs and Benches

It doesn’t even seem entirely fair to say that there are downsides to either of these seating options—it really comes down to the fact that every space is unique and requires something different of its seating options. The big advantage of a chair over a household bench is comfort. The arms and back of the chair making sitting for a long time easier. If you or your loved ones have particular physical needs, this type of support may be essential.

The big advantages of the bench are space and versatility. Benches sit many, even if for a short time, and have a wide array of uses. Placed with a wall behind them, they can be just as comfortable for reclining as a wooden chair, and furthermore allow a person to stretch and nap in a way a straight-backed chair can’t replicate.

When you are researching seating options, just remember to take into account the details of the space where the seats will live and the needs of those who will be sitting in them.

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Settling on Seating for Your Family

So, what’s the best seating option for your family—a set of chairs or a bench? The answer is probably both. A house that only uses benches is difficult to imagine. Many square and rectangular tables only have room on two or four sides for a single seat, after all, and many people prefer to have their own seat, and some personal space, that they can call their own. A house without chairs might ultimately feel incomplete. Adding benches can give you more seating options, particularly on balconies or porches where only a limited number of chairs can be awkwardly squished together. They are versatile in foyers and mudrooms, and can be easily tucked against a wall when not in use. They even provide your toddlers with a great racetrack for their toy cars. Benches aren’t as necessary as chairs, but a tasteful bench or two in the home can add variety, visual interest, and character to your family’s seating options.

At Unruh, we believe that furniture brings the family together—often literally. Whether you’re selecting a set of chairs for your new dining room table, or bringing home a big bench to take in the view from your balcony, our handmade, custom furniture will fit your space perfectly, and is guaranteed to last a lifetime. Schedule a time to visit our Dallas showroom to see our seating options in person.

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Sam Unruh

I started Unruh Furniture in my garage in 2012 when my wife was pregnant with our first. Today I have 4 kids, 20 employees, and plenty of fires to put out every day. It's a great life and I am a happy man.


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