Tucked into the entryway, benches serve a dual purpose as both seating and storage solutions. But all too often, form is sacrificed for function, resulting in bulky benches that fail to complement the surrounding decor. The key is finding the perfect balance between practicality and aesthetic appeal. With some clever solutions and styling tricks, you can have the best of both worlds – an entryway bench that effortlessly merges handy storage and seating with an inviting, decorative element.
When chosen thoughtfully, entryway benches don’t have to be an afterthought. They can become beautiful furnishings that add warmth, function and flair to your home’s entrance. Here’s how to select entryway benches that seamlessly blend functionality with an eye for design.
Choosing the Ideal Size for Your Space
One of the most important considerations when picking an entryway bench is getting the proportions right for your available floor space. You’ll want to maximize seating capacity and storage potential without overcrowding the area. Carefully measure the length and depth of your entryway to determine the best bench dimensions.
For especially narrow hallways and small foyers, opt for a bench no wider than 36 inches. Corner benches are great space-savers, tucking neatly out of the way. Wall-mounted benches can also work well for compact entryways when floor space is limited. Just be sure there is sufficient wall reinforcement to handle the weight.
Factor in Ceiling Height
Pay attention to bench height in relation to your entryway’s ceiling height. Standard bench heights range from 18 to 22 inches. Low ceilings call for a shorter bench so it doesn’t feel overly imposing or awkward within the space. Taller ceilings can potentially accommodate a slightly higher bench.
Make sure to maintain at least 30 inches of clearance around the bench, especially in front of doors, allowing them to fully open without obstruction. It’s helpful to map out your floor plan when determining the best bench size and placement.
Seek Out Smart Storage Solutions
A key benefit of an entryway bench is keeping belongings organized through built-in storage. When evaluating options, think about the items you want to corral. This will determine the ideal storage design.
For shoes, open shelves or cubbies allow for grab-and-go access. Enclosed storage with lift-up lids offer a tidier solution for hiding away messes. Removable baskets and trays are great for grouping together smaller objects like gloves and hats.
Look for quality craftsmanship and durable joinery when examining bench construction. Soft-close hinges prevent slamming. Sturdy benches made from solid wood or reinforced metal can handle heavier storage loads. Check weight limits if you need to accommodate lots of dense coats and bags.
Maximize Storage Volume
Measure the belongings you want to store to ensure adequate storage capacity. Optimal entryway bench depth for storing shoes and outerwear is around 16 to 18 inches. Shelving height of at least 10 to 14 inches accommodates bulkier coats and bags placed vertically.
For benches sporting baskets or built-in shelving, make sure openings are large enough to handle bigger items. Removable dividers let you customize compartments as needed. Some benches even include charging stations for devices and integrated lighting for visibility.
Blending Form and Function Through Design
Benches styled with elegance and visual appeal transform your entryway from purely functional to warm and welcoming. Luckily numerous designs exist to suit an array of tastes from traditional to contemporary. Materials, colors and decorative details provide ample opportunity to incorporate your personal style.
Complement Your Decor
Upholstered benches offer a soft, welcoming look and come in varied patterns and textures. Rich wood finishes like oak or mahogany work in both traditional and modern spaces. Metal and glass lend a sleek, contemporary vibe. Distressed paints and finishes provide vintage, rustic charm.
Opt for neutral hues like black, beige or gray for versatility. Make the bench a statement with bold colors and patterns that pop. Soften hard edges and materials with plush cushions and pillows.
Add Custom Touches
Look for benches that allow you to customize elements to match your existing decor. Some feature changeable drawer fronts or replaceable upholstery. Top a simple wood bench with your favorite throw blanket and pillows. Paint or stencil the bench yourself for extra personalization.
Incorporate baskets, trays and photo frames that tie into your color scheme. Floating benches are easy to move as your needs and style evolves. The options are endless for infusing character and flair.
Strategic Placement for Seamless Integration
Proper bench positioning is key for both maximizing function and complementing your design aesthetic. Place it in an easily accessible spot that doesn’t obstruct movement and flow.
Create an Inviting First Impression
A common placement is across from the front door, providing a welcoming perch for removing shoes before entering further into the home. Angle the bench slightly toward the doorway for conversation-friendly seating when guests arrive.
Incorporate a floor lamp behind the bench to cast a warm glow. A mirror above it visually expands the space. Baskets and artwork on the walls bring color, softness and visual interest.
Optimize Narrow Hallways
For tight spaces, position the bench lengthwise along a side wall. Floating wall-mounted benches maximize room when floor space is lacking. Store shorter items on open lower shelves, keeping passages unobstructed.
Incorporate a fold-down bench that can recess into the wall or a rolling bench on casters. For increased access, stow items on the bench itself versus in closed storage.
Seek Out Comfort and Ergonomic Design
You want your entryway bench to be accommodating for you and visitors to sit comfortably – not a stiff, unwelcoming perch. Seek out design elements tailored for ergonomic seating and support.
Cushion for Comfort
A padded seat cushion provides plush comfort and warmth that hard bench materials lack. Look for thick foam cushions covered in soft, durable fabrics. Add throw pillows to create an inviting living room feel.
Contoured back support helps maintain natural spinal alignment, reducing strain. Upholstered backs with tufting add softness. Armrests provide places to rest hands and aid in standing up.
Get the Height Right
The ideal bench height allows feet to rest flat on the floor, with thighs parallel and knees at a 90-degree angle. This takes pressure off the backs of legs. Low benches can make it difficult to get back up. Standard bench seat height is 18 to 20 inches.
Consider your own height and needs. Higher benches around 22 inches work well for taller individuals. Rounded edges are also safer for children.
Prioritize Durability and Low Maintenance
Entryway benches endure frequent use and wear. Seek out durable materials and construction designed to withstand daily life. Prioritize low-maintenance fabrics and finishes that are family-friendly and easy to clean.
Choose Kid- and Pet-Proof Fabrics
For homes with kids and pets, look for stain-resistant durable fabrics like faux leather, denim and heavy-duty polyester blends. Avoid cushions stuffed solely with down or feathers which compress over time. Removable slipcovers make spot cleaning a breeze.
Moisture-resistant wood finishes prevent staining. Metals like powder-coated steel resist rust. Choose darker finishes that help hide dirt and scuffs.
Examine the joinery and framework closely. Mortise and tenon joints last for years. Dovetailed drawers won’t loosen or fall apart. Avoid plastic hardware and unstable fiberboard backings prone to breaking.
Reinforced bench frames withstand years of regular plopping down. Choose solid wood over particle board for the seat. Soft-close door hinges prevent slamming damage.
The right entryway bench merges handy functionality with eye-catching style. Start by considering your space and storage needs. Seek out smart solutions that keep items organized while complementing your existing furnishings and color scheme.
Focus on comfort, durability and easy maintenance to handle busy family lifestyles. Add custom decorative touches that reflect your tastes. And place thoughtfully to allow accessible flow. With careful selection, your entryway bench can blend in beautifully while remaining an indispensable staple.