During the hectic winter months, sometimes you just need to pause and take a quick break: look to the trusty bench to help you take a load off, virtually anywhere in the home! Read on for ways a humble bench can help you solve a number of design dilemmas, right from the front door to the bedroom, and beyond.
Divide and Conquer
In a modern open floor plan, the challenge is often to create the feeling of defined "zones" (so the space doesn't feel like one big dance hall), while at the same time preserving the sense of airiness and flexibility (so the space doesn't feel closed in).
This is where a backless bench comes in: it has the ability to both divide and connect spaces, even at the same time. Placing a bench between two zones allows it to be used as part of both, creating a division without taking away any elbow room, adding to the flexibility of your floor plan.
Tip: Place a bench between two sitting areas.
To give your dining table a visual twist, try replacing the chairs on one side with a bench (or to get even more quirky, replace just a few seats with a short bench and use a chair as well). The backless look helps put the visual emphasis on a beautiful table top, but it can be practical too: in a tighter space, the fact that a bench can be stepped over rather than needing to be pulled out fully can make it easier to get into the middle seat.
Have a tight foyer space? Rather than a console table, try a bench as a place to toss down your groceries as you step inside -- it'll keep your elbow room open so you aren't bumping into something every time you go to zip off a coat.
Tip: Choose a sturdy bench in rugged wood for a perfect balance of beauty and practicality that will stand up to kicks from winter boots.
Bench the Halls
Don't know how to fill in an extended hallway? A slim bench breaks up the monotony of a long narrow space to avoid that "bowling alley" look, and gives you somewhere to drop a bag or grab a seat while waiting for someone else to get ready. This works on a stairwell landing as well, adding some depth without cutting into the floor space too far.
Put Some Weight On
Sometimes the best frame for a piece of art isn't an actual frame, but rather a piece of furniture to subtly draw the eye in and add a sense of weight to the overall composition. Placing a low bench below a beautiful canvas gives the art a grounded feel, without trying to steal the spotlight -- plus, it's a good way to politely keep people from bumping up against a delicate canvas!
A bench makes a perfect cap to a beautiful bed for multiple reasons. It visually finishes the end of the bed like a foot board (one that doesn't get in the way of your feet), and gives you a place to sit and tie your shoe or drop a bag without wrinkling the freshly made sheets. Plus it can be a great way to introduce a little colour or a rich texture to compliment crisp white linens.
Tip: Measure the height of your bed when fully made-up and choose a bench that is at least 1-2" shorter for the right visual separation.
For more design inspiration and Toronto Interior Design Group projects, visit tidg.ca, and find me on Twitter and Instagram at @yanicsimard!