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The Best Dining Room Benches in Every Style

If you love entertaining at home or enjoy playing host on big occasions, you’ll want to have a well-furnished dining space that can accommodate a crowd. And around the holidays when you’re expecting guests for dinner parties, making sure you have enough seats at the table is absolutely essential.

One of the best solutions for extra dining room seating? A dining bench! Whether you use it every day or just pull it in when you need additional seating, dining benches are true workhorses that offer major function with style to spare.

Find out why we love these pieces and how to choose a bench for dining room layouts—be it an open concept room with lots of extra space for furniture or a small eating nook where multipurpose designs are key. Then, shop our designers’ favorite dining bench picks!

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Dining Benches vs Dining Chairs

First things first, let’s take a look at what sets a dining bench apart from a regular set of chairs.

In most homes, dining chairs are the standard choice for comfortable seats you can lean back and sit in for long periods of time. They also have a relatively small footprint, making them easy to pull in and out from under the table or move around as needed. Since there are many types of dining chairs, you’ll find many designs that can work in any layout or style of room, and they’re especially useful in smaller spaces and apartments.

A dining bench, on the other hand, offers additional seating but in a loose way that can fit many people. It’s great for family homes with kids and for people who entertain a lot. The best part about a dining bench is that it can easily be repurposed outside the dining room, like as a catchall spot in the living room or as a display surface elsewhere in the home.

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How long should a dining bench be?

This depends on the length of your dinner table.

To pick the correct size dining bench, measure the length between the insides of the table legs. And be sure to come in at least 3” on each side (no more than 5”) so that your dining bench can easily slide in and out without hitting the legs.

If you have an oval table or one with a pedestal support, aim for a dining bench that’s 8” shorter than the total length of your table. Can’t decide on a table? Check out our guide on dining table shapes and sizes.

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Does the dining bench need to match the table?

The short answer? No, they don’t! There’s no set approach for how to pair dining tables and chairs, so the same goes for a dining bench. It can match your dinner table if you want or you can opt for mismatched dining chairs. You can also pull in a bench on side of the table and round out the other with dining chairs.

The one good rule to follow is to make sure you choose the right material for your bench. It can contrast with the material of your table also, which makes for a visually appealing pairing. Some other stylish combinations include an upholstered bench with a wood table or a long leather seat with a marble surface. Investing in a great dining table is a good place to start. Not sure what to look for? Check out our design buying guides for some pointers.

Here, browse some of our designers’ favorite picks for dining benches in the home!

Designer Picks: The Best Dining Benches

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Indoor/Outdoor Dining Benches

As a dining bench, an indoor-outdoor design offers the ultimate durable seat, with stain resistance and stylish construction that’s guaranteed to last for years. There are tons of options for an indoor-outdoor dining bench—from designs wrapped in weather-resistant materials to seats upholstered in performance fabrics to natural wood pieces.

Look For: Woods that are durable and built to last and can stand up to the elements as well as everyday wear. We love a dining bench made from teak, which develops a natural patina over time and will stay looking good as it ages.

Perfect In: Sunrooms, decks, and patio dining spaces. Though we also love using one in a normal dining room.

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Leather Dining Benches

Leather is another durable, fade-resistant, timeless material that makes for a popular choice for a dining bench. Natural leather benches add a touch of warmth and comfort to a dining space, while faux leathers, which are equally chic, will give your room a sleek outlook. Consider whether you want a natural tone leather, a darker one, or even a faux leather design to start.

Look For: Leathers can stain, so we always recommend a darker option for a dining bench that’s heavily used on the regular. If you prefer a lighter leather, choose one that’s medium toned like tan or caramel, which will develop a natural patina over time that gives it an extra sumptuous look.

Perfect In: Rustic or boho dining spaces with a mix of woods, eclectic colors, and lots of Mid-Century furniture.

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Wood Dining Benches

The most versatile material for a dining bench, wood is a good option if you’re after something simple, durable, and sure to stand the test of time. What’s great about a wood bench is that you have endless styles, colors, and designs to choose from, so you’re definitely going to find a seat that works with your existing room and decor.

Look For: A solid wood bench made of walnut, maple, or teak always makes for a strong and easy-to-clean seat. If you live in a rental or small space, there are many stylish wood veneer options in functional sizes—plus they’re also slightly more lightweight than solid wood pieces.

Perfect In: Any interior style space. This type of dining bench is guaranteed to last for years and will transition seamlessly with your evolving style, rooms, and even homes!

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Upholstered Dining Benches

For a softer, more sophisticated look, an upholstered dining bench will do the job and some. More comfortable than most other benches, it’s perfect if you love long dinner parties where you spend hours at the table.

Look For: An upholstered dining bench upholstered in a durable fabric, such as treated velvet or a microfiber, or one that’s stain resistant. When using upholstery in the dining area, function comes first.

Perfect In: Any modern or contemporary dining space, or a small eclectic one with a mix of bold fabrics, woods, and metallic touches.

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Dining Benches With Backs

For an elevated take on upholstered dining room benches, opt for one with a high back. It’s the perfect blend between a settee and a bench. And one of these designs makes for a luxe and sumptuous dining bench that will instantly dial up the glamour and comfort in your space.

Look For: A design in a darker fabric. Because these seats are practically mini sofas next to your dining table, dark materials will help hide stains and extend the longevity of your piece. The main thing to remember? Measure thoroughly and leave extra space all around this style bench to ensure it fits into your space.

Perfect In: A traditional or transitional dining space in a family home with kids. Also, entertainers who love hosting long dinner parties. Back on bench makes it more comfortable.

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Woven Dining Benches

If you’re looking to add texture to your dining space, a woven bench provides a wide range of tactile material options. From tightly woven rope seats to caning to leather basketweave designs, a woven dining bench offers comfort, crisp style, and a simple, clean-lined look.

Look For: Make sure these benches are tightly woven, so they don’t easily come undone. While they’re durable, they’re also a little tricky to clean, so keep that in mind when choosing the color of your woven bench. It is not impervious to stains and spills.

Perfect In: Coastal homes and contemporary spaces where they’ll add intrigue as well as a light, airy look.

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Kid-Friendly Dining Benches

Look for sturdy designs that won’t scratch easily and can stand up to lots of traffic, climbing, and spills. With a busy family home, a dining bench that is well-constructed and made with durable materials is always top priority.

Look For: Skip fine upholstery and opt for kid-friendly benches in materials such as rustic weathered woods that can conceal any dents and wear over time, performance fabrics that are stain and mildew resistant, and outdoor fibers that are durably weather-resistant. That said, our first choice for a kid-friendly dining bench is certainly wood, which is easy to clean and decorate with other furnishings.

Perfect In: Rustic dining rooms or classic contemporary homes where high and low style (and foot traffic!) meet.

Explore our gallery for more dining room design ideas!

Try on Dining Benches in Your Space

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Make It Multipurpose – 5 Ways to Work a Bench in Your Space

bench decor ideas

When you think bench you probably imagine something in a park or what you pull up to the kids table during holidays. And while many people think of a bench as just a bench – an afterthought to other staples of home decor – with a few clever bench decor ideas, a bench can easily become your favorite piece of furniture.

Benches are incredibly versatile and can be used in so many different ways. This makes them great investment pieces as you can repurpose them over and over when you move or get tired of seeing it in one spot.

Using one of our favorite multipurpose benches from Unison, we rounded up 5 of our favorite bench decor ideas to show you the many amazing ways to put a bench to work in your home.

Read on for 5 bench decor ideas and see if there’s a place for this versatile piece in your home.

bench decor ideas1. Seat in an Entryway

In busy households, there’s always a lot of traffic at the front door. A bench is a handy place to sit while taking off or putting on your shoes. They also have that handy area underneath the seat where you can put a basket to keep clutter tidy and out of the way, but still accessible when you need it.

We love the look of Unison’s Stippled Black Bench – it’s plush and comfy and the dark, textured fabric is great for kid-friendly households.

Need a little extra help containing the entryway clutter? Try a storage bench for a convenient place to stash winter boots, shoes, or umbrellas in a pinch!

bench decor ideas2. Coffee Table

Plot twist – You can even use a bench in place of a coffee table.

If that’s a puzzling notion, picture this: benches are ideal for small spaces where you need what little furniture you can fit, to pack an extra punch. By using a bench – like this Mesh Gray number from Unison – you get the same amount of surface area as a coffee table, but you can also use it as a foot rest or extra seating for guests.

Stylist tip: Place a tray on top of your bench to create a more sturdy surface to rest drinks and TV remotes.

bench decor ideas3. Tucked Behind the Sofa

If you’ve ever dabbled in the advanced art of “floating” a sofa – not a magic trick but a layout hack that can do wonders for your living room – then you may have asked yourself, what the heck do I do with the empty space in the back?

And – you guessed it – one way to have your sofa’s back is with a bench! This gives you another space for storage, a place for guests to put their purses or jackets, and can be easily pulled into the main living space as an extra seat for company.

Read this next: 4 Ways to Fill the Empty Space Behind Your Sofa

bench decor ideas4. Anchor at the Foot of the Bed

Every bedroom needs a place to sleep, but fully functional rooms also give you a place to sit while you get ready.

One of our favorite bench decor ideas is to place a bench at the foot of your bed. This gives you somewhere to sit and put on your shoes, plan your outfit, or plop your purse or bag at the end of the day (and keep your bed clear and clean!). A bench at the end of the bed is not only an attractive addition to your room, it’s practical as well.

Read this next: 7 Ways to Add Seating to Your Bedroom

bench decor ideas5. Room Divider

Open floor plans are great if you want a breezy space with great flow. However, they can cause a bit of a design conundrum if you struggle to separate the space into distinct zones.

If this sounds familiar, try using a bench to create a sense of division between the dining area and living areas, or the play space and entertaining room. Unlike a full wall, it won’t add any visual bulk to your space, and you can still appreciate the open layout while creating distinct zones or “rooms within rooms” in your space.

Explore Your 3D Home

Are you struggling to redesign your home? When you sign up for a Modsy design package, you’ll get expert design plans laid out in a 3D version of your home. Then you can shop your look, knowing exactly how all the pieces will look and fit in your home.

Ready for a design experience that’s guess-free and stress-free?