This Unexpected Piece of Furniture Is Indispensable in Small Spaces

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Decorating a small space can be a challenge. You have to balance having everything you want and need — without using up every bit of space. Double-duty furniture can be a lifesaver. Of all the multi-functional pieces out there though, one item stands (way) out from the crowd for me: the bench.

Armless, backless, and often slim-legged, benches are low-slung and visually light. You can see the floor under them and often part of the wall through them, which creates an illusion of space, which is always a good thing in a small home. For me though, the most exciting thing about benches is how many uses they have. There aren’t many (if any) other furniture pieces that work this hard while still having such a slim footprint.

First, a bench is a great alternative to a coffee table. They’re typically narrower than coffee tables, making them ideal for the flow of people around a small living space. When you need extra seating in those tight quarters? You guessed it; your coffee table can serve as your extra seating. 

A bench is also an ideal solution in an entryway. Being small doesn’t negate the need for functionality; with a bench, you’ve covered seating and a catchall spot. Plus, most have some room under them for stashing things like flat shoes, sneakers, or other smaller items. For this reason, benches are great at the foot of the bed in bedrooms, too. If you’re a true opportunist, you can even find a bench with a hidden compartment inside for extra storage in these spots.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Lastly, benches make great room dividers. Small homes often mean one room has more than one use. Zoning spaces with a bench is a clever way to create the illusion of separate spaces without the visual noise of a room divider, curtain, or actual wall. To further accentuate the zones, place a few tallish plants on the bench; that way, you get more of a semblance of separation, but light and air can still full pass through your little indoor living “wall.” 

One caveat: While we’re talking tiny spaces, it’s best to choose a bench with a slim profile. Think narrow, long, and leggy. Bulky ones will look, well, bulky.

The best part of having a bench? For small homes, one bench is all you need. Easily movable, place it where you need it the most on any given day.