Add a functional bench to any room

If you're ever thought that your living room just didn't have enough seating for everyone you wanted to have over, a bench may be the perfect solution. Benches are associated with convenient seating of many people for good reason – they don't take up much space, they can be easily moved and they can seat several people.

Bench Styles to Consider

Benches come in a variety of styles, making it easy to add one or more benches to an existing living room design. Wooden benches are especially versatile since they can painted or stained almost any color to match the rest of your wood furniture and decor. Teak benches are created from a particularly durable wood that is weather resistant, rot resistant and insect resistant, making teak the best choice if you intend to move your bench to the patio or outdoors on occasion.

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When looking to purchase a bench to augment your living room furniture, consider what designs you're interested in: Do you want a bench that has armrests on either side? Or would you rather have an extra armrest in the middle for an additional person? Keep in mind this prevents people from lounging across your bench. You might also want no armrests at all if you don't think people will be sitting on your bench for very long, and you'd like the bench to be more portable. This is common in hall benches, where guests may be seated for a short time on their way in or out the door.

You'll also want to decide on whether you'd like an upholstered bench, bench cushions or just a bare wood bench. Benches can be upholstered in several materials, including leather and fabric; custom-made upholstered benches can even incorporate fabric you specify, making it easier to create a cohesive living room. Consider the ability to clean the upholstery or cushions you choose, as well as the comfort of your guests.

Storage Benches

The best thing about benches is that, in addition to increasing the seats in your living room and being portable, many benches have storage capabilities, adding to their practical value. Benches with storage can still be attractive and comfortable places to sit while holding winter clothing, spare pillows and sheets or other miscellaneous items. A storage bench is practical in the living room and an ideal addition to a hallway, bedroom or home office.

Storage benches typically have a hinge that allows you to open the top, or seating portion, of the bench. However, other storage benches have an obvious cabinet or cubbyholes underneath the seating area.