Create more space with a bench at the dining table and camouflage the arrangement with these tips.
You may have deliberately sought out a bench as a novel form of seating, or you might already possess a bench needing new purpose—either way, incorporating a bench into your dining arrangement could do more than free up some space. A bench helps to create a casual and intimate atmosphere for meals, and in place of two side chairs, takes up significantly less space. The extra floor space can then go towards greater clearance around the dining table, providing generous elbow room for diners, or even cabinets for additional storage options. If you are faced with an especially compact dining space, read on, as you may find one or two practical ideas for slipping a bench into your dining arrangement.
Having found an available wall against which to set your dining arrangement, your next concern would be to ensure the furnishings complement the surroundings. In the pictured home decorated by Yong Studio, the bench is composed from wood that is similar in shade and grain to the floor of the kitchen. This exercise in unification is applied to the other components of the dining arrangement: the table features unobtrusive legs of minimalist design, while the material of its surface is echoed on the other side of the wall in a diminutive shelf, and in the background, with the kitchen island.
As benches typically entail the absence of a back, the natural impulse in dealing with a bench would be to place it alongside a wall for back support. The wall-hugging arrangement, however, does more than free up space: beyond the practical consideration of ergonomics, the linear arrangement demonstrated by Surface R takes advantage of the Helmholtz illusion—a concept popularly applied in fashion to skew the perception of body contours. Just as with waistlines, the array of straight lines makes the pictured dining space seem wider and brings the furniture arrangement into golden proportions with the long and narrow space.
Tip: The Golden Ratio is one of the few aesthetic rules, if not the only one, that governs everything from the composition of art to the distribution of leaves along a branch. To form the most visually appealing composition possible, divide the length of a rectangle by the width and you should arrive at a figure approaching the Golden Ratio (φ = 1.618).
Divide & Conquer
In tighter quarters, the placement of a dining surface against the wall is often necessary to preserve enough space for comfortably manoeuvring around the arrangement. In such a configuration, the substitution of two side chairs for a single bench frees up even more space, but requires that the bench be pulled out when needed and stowed when not in use. As Jashen Interior Design demonstrates with the pictured home, a wall bisecting the open layout is utilised as a background for the dining arrangement, with the bench tucked between the table legs to leave enough width for a walkway.
The open layout entailing fewer bisecting walls by definition, you may be hard-pressed to find a wall-hugging spot for your bench-augmented dining arrangement. If you find no free walls available, there exists the possibility for creative expression with a built-up partition. Without a readily available wall in the pictured open layout, Jashen Interior Design incorporates the bench side of this dining arrangement into a false wall built largely to serve as a decorative feature and primary focal point for the space. To keep the divider from overwhelming the open layout, a sizable portion of the wall is rendered reflective.
Tip: While projecting walls may detract from the spaciousness of an open layout, the up-side is that any interruptions to the open layout you design will automatically become a point of focus in the scene and another available plane to embellish with messages or functional additions.