As far as multipurpose furniture goes, you can never go wrong with a bench or two. The location possibilities are almost endless—put one at the foot of the bed or in front of a window, create communal-style seating at the dining table or group a few together for a modular conversation pit. Today’s offerings are more stylish than ever, with clever storage, unexpected materials and silhouettes to fit every decor.
Quite possibly the most brilliant piece of furniture ever, the Cognita bench designed by BluDot for Herman Miller is equally at home in the office or in the bedroom. The upholstered seat lifts to reveal ample space for files or extra linens, while the hard section (which is the perfect spot to place a cocktail, by the way) opens to a removable tray with organizing compartments for smaller bits. A pair of drawers completes this smart instant classic.
Used indoors or out, Arktura’s laser-cut Coral table is bound to leave a lasting impression. Made from bent steel, the bench has soft lines, and is eco-friendly thanks to its no-VOC powder-coated finish. And the mesmerizing pattern is “algorithmically-generated,” which involves math.
I love everything Mariette Himes Gomez does for Hickory Chair, and the Calla bench is no exception. Shown here covered in red velvet, this small bench has a saddle seat with button details on the rolled ends. Its size makes it ideal as an extra party seat, while its good looks let it stand alone as a decorative accent.
Oly Studio is one of my all-time favorites, with their fantastical collection of transitional to modern furnishings. The Henry bench is just rustic enough with its natural plank seat and skinny legs, and would look lovely in an entryway or alongside a cool, casual dining table.
Although technically an ottoman, this amazing kilim from Restoration Hardware is oversized and makes for a plush spot to relax. The rich, hand-woven colors impart an autumn-inspired vibe, and turned legs on brass casters make it elegantly portable.
Another lovely from Oly! The Marco bench features a hand-hammered iron frame covered with a woven leather seat for a great texture combo. Three finishes and leather options further customize this chic seat.
From Viva Terra, a fantastic source for luxe-but-accessible-and-affordable eco wares, comes the Barcelona bench. The colorful stripes are sure to brighten up any room, the oversized baskets are perfect for stashing your stuff, and the chemically-free, enviro-friendly cushion will help keep you green.
And last but not least, CB2’s Fresca bench has a clean, high-gloss white finish that works in almost any situation, making it another great candidate for dining room or end-of-the-bed seating.