Today we are going to look at the different types of storage benches and delve into a bit of history as well. Benches – one of the oldest, most common seating forms. They have been used for ages; in the past, when chairs were reserved only for the most important people, benches were common seating forms for all ordinary people.
A bench is a long seat, typically made of wood (but also can be made of metal, stone, or synthetic materials) which allows multiple people to sit on it at the same time.
In the past, as well as today, benches are used both outdoors and indoors areas. That’s why, it is not surprising that benches come in many different shapes, sizes, materials, and designs.
One of the most interesting types of benches is the storage bench – a multiple purpose bench that offers both storage space and seating.
Before we go in-depth analyzing the different types of storage benches, we should go through some interesting historical facts about benches that will not only change the way you look at this piece of furniture but will also provide explanations on how storage benches came to be.
Fascinating facts about benches
What is fascinating about this piece of furniture is not how long it has been around, as stools and chairs roughly date from the same period, but rather what it symbolizes and remind us of, which is unity. Yes, you read that right.
Unlike many other seats, benches are designed with the purpose of sharing them; today they remind us of times spent chatting on the park bench with friends or socializing with strangers on the bus bench while waiting for the bus to come, or simply of all those times when we were kids and we sat on hallway benches waiting for our parents to tie our shoes.
Either way, the very nature of benches suggests the concept of community and sharing which for us, humans, is a need deeply rooted in our beings. This fact also speaks the historical use of benches.
Did you know that benches have not only been around in cities for millennia but also that they were built to express a gesture of generosity towards the public?
If we look through the historical usage of benches, we will see that they were created to express generosity and care for the community.
During the Renaissance, benches and stone seats were built into the Renaissance palazzi walls to express generosity and kindness towards the public, as another way to show that they care; moreover, the church porches and lychgates had benches which provided shelter and refuge to the homeless.
Years later, in the 19th century, the public bench became a symbol of the civic city; this is because benches set in cities suggest welcoming and generosity: you can come, sit on them and enjoy them without having to consume or pay for anything; all you need to do is just relax and enjoy the surroundings.
These benches simply offer refuge, even to those who society has forgotten, and they actually, in a way are positive reminders: while there is a bench, you haven’t yet reached the rock bottom level of the ground.
Different designs in benches throughout the history & the origin of storage benches
The early designs of benches were quite simple: they consisted of a plank supported by solid ends connected by brackets or a stretcher.
Later on, their designs changed so we got the benches with jointed legs, similar to an elongated joint stool.
As people started paying more attention to the designs and their practicality and functionality, the legs of the benches extended up past the seat to form sides and a back. This change in design resulted in the creation of another type of benches – a settle.
The settles were designed for houses lacking the linen fold frame and paneling; settles besides having sides and back also had a linen fold paneling; also they were available in two forms, self-standing or attached to a wall.
In the days before chairs were common, quite often chests and boxes were used as seating; as the benches became more popular and available, these chests were ‘hidden away’ under the benches, and in time, the storage benches were created.
There is no specific information or legend regarding how storage benches came to be, but eventually, it is safe to say that people started combining benches and settles with chests and boxes to create a piece of furniture that has double usage: it serves as seating and a storage unit – today is known as a storage bench.
Different types of storage benches
Today, storage benches are used because they are quite practical, easy to maintain and simply go with every space.
When one decides to buy a storage bench, the first thing they need to decide on is not the materials and the design of the storage bench but rather on its location – where they will place it in their home. Then, based on that, they will choose the materials, style, colors, shapes, etc. That’s why our first classification of storage benches is:
Different types of storage benches based on their location:
Outdoors storage benches: in the garden and patio:
By outdoor storage benches, we mean storage benches used on the patio or garden. Originally, storage benches were used in the gardens: they were a perfect option for taking a quick tea break while gardening, and a perfect spot to store the gardening supplies and equipment once done with gardening. These are also a great choice as patio furniture as you can keep the cushions inside when it’s raining outside.
The outdoor storage benches usually are made from wood, wicker or plastic as they are more resistant to weather conditions.
To see a large range of outdoor storage benches visit our other pages…
Indoor storage benches:
Inside the home the storage benches are used in almost any room due to their practicality, saving space and providing storage properties. Therefore, we have:
Bedroom storage benches
Bedroom storage benches usually are placed at the foot of the bed for convenience and better visual appeal and design. These usually are matched with the material of the bed, or at least its color and style; quite often they are used to store the extra sheets, blankets, cushions and they take the form of a backless couch or wide ottoman, with a cushioned top. Their overall design depends on the design of the rest of the room.
Kitchen & dining room storage benches
In the kitchen/dining rooms the storage benches usually are used as seating at the dinner table. Besides matching them with the overall design and style of the rooms, the storage benches in the kitchen/dining room areas usually in more rustic, soft, natural tons and have upright backs to support your body when seating; moreover, pay attention to the cushions and how comfortable these benches are when buying them because chances are, you will drink your morning coffee on them.
Hallway storage benches
Probably one of the best places for the storage benches is the entryway (hallway). In this area, people use the storage bench to put away their shoes and other things they don’t use frequently or are not in season. That’s why you should choose a storage bench made from hardwood with sturdy backs that will withstand the traffic that comes with the hallway; moreover, it should have removable cushions that will be easy to wash in the washing machine.
See our articles…
Kids’ room storage benches
In kid’s bedrooms storage benches are a perfect idea: on one hand, paired with kids’ table, they offer a seating area for your kid to play, draw, do their homework and eat, and on the other hand, their storage can easily be used to put away all the toys and books. Usually, these storage benches are with baskets (bins), they have softer edges, usually no back, and they are covered with cushions…
See our article…
Living room storage benches
Living room storage benches are perfect examples of combining comfort, style, and functionality. They are ideal for adding extra seating space and storage space in smaller living rooms. Some people, lacking space and furniture using the living room storage benches as extra sitting, as a coffee table, as a footrest, showpiece or as a storage unit. There is no limit to their usage!
Different types of storage benches based on their design:
Once you know where you will place your storage bench it is time to consider their design. You can match their style and colors according to the rest of your furniture, as these benches come in all styles: Scandinavian, traditional, retro, vintage, etc. However, when it comes to the design, there are few things you can choose from, such as:
- Wood (oak, redwood, mahogany, etc.)
The support they provide:
- With arms
- Without arms
- With back
- Without back
- With rolled arms
- With back and arms
- Without back and arms
- Flip-top Bench
The most traditional: it has one lid (eventually two) that you can flip; this type offers the most generous interior space for storing.
- Cubby Bench
This one features an open front with individual square or rectangular spaces to fit your belonging or eventually baskets/boxes.
- Drawer Bench
In this design, there is a solid frame with pull-out storage that can be hidden away when not in use. The advantage of this design is that you have access to the stored items without disturbing anyone sitting on the bench.
- Shoe Bench
As the name implies this bench is for storing shoes, and usually, it has individual shoe-size cubbies mounted along the front surface, to store the shoes.
- Cabinet Bench
This design is quite similar to the chubby type as it features storage access on the front surface, but at the same time, it has cupboard doors that allow items to be hidden away.
In summary there is plenty of different types of benches for the home. With different styles, shapes, materials, colors, locations, purposes, and more. Follow the links within this article for our top rated benches for each different type of bench style.