Seating is an essential element of a well-designed patio. Without proper seating, you won’t be able to relax and unwind on your patio — not without standing, at least. But while there are dozens of different seating options for outdoor living spaces, few offer the same level of versatility as a bench. So, if you’re looking to update your patio with new seating, you should consider a bench for the following reasons.
The #1 benefit of bench seating is its natural ability to encourage conversations. After all, a bench is where Forest Gump spent most of his time telling his life story in the hit 1990s blockbuster movie. When two people are sitting together on a bench, they’ll feel a closer connection, both literally and figuratively. So, while traditional seating options like chairs create a distance between two people, benches bring them together; thus, encouraging conversation.
A high-quality bench is perhaps the most durable seating option for the patio. As most homeowners already know, chairs made of plastic and other low-quality materials are susceptible to breakage. They may hold up just for fine for several months or even years, only to fall apart the next time you sit down. And when a plastic chair breaks, it’s nearly impossible to fix. Fixing a broken wooden chair may or may not be possible, depending on where the damage occurred.
Benches, however, offer a superior level of strength and durability. You don’t have to worry about it falling apart or otherwise breaking. Assuming it’s made of genuine hardwood, it can literally last for generations when properly cared for.
A benefit of bench seating that’s often overlooked is its ability to save space. Due to their inherit design, benches are naturally a great seating option for tight spaces. If your patio has a limited amount of space, you’ll need to carefully choose the right furniture. Rather than cramming four bulky chairs into your patio, for instance, maybe you can use a single bench with a side chair.
How exactly does a bench save space? Well, it does so by allowing multiple people to sit. Depending on the specific type of bench, it may support two, three or even four people. That means a single bench offers the seating equivalent of up to four chairs.
Of course, benches are also easy to clean, typically requiring nothing more than an occasional wipe down with a damp washcloth. For more stubborn dirt — pollen, mud, mildew, etc. — you can add some liquid laundry detergent. In addition to making your bench look 10 years younger, laundry detergent will also leave it smelling nice and fresh.
Alternatively, you can often clean minor “surface” dirt by rinsing your bench with a garden hose. As long as the dirt hasn’t settled into the bench’s pores, this should do the trick. Some people assume that pressure washing is the best way to clean a bench, but the high pressure could actually strip away the coating or even take chunks out of the bench’s wooden material. To prevent this from happening with your bench, stick with the garden hose and washcloth methods.
Benches aren’t just durable; they are also stable. This is particularly important for homeowners living in areas prone to hurricanes and severe weather. If a storm front rolls through, the strong gusts of wind may blow over patio chairs and tables. Benches, however, can typically withstand severe weather by remaining in place.
The exceptional stability of benches is also good for theft prevention. It’s not something that most homeowners want to think about, but there are thieves out there who will steal just about anything, including patio furniture.
We can’t talk about the benefits of bench seating without mentioning aesthetics. Granted, benches are available in dozens if not hundreds of different styles. Whether you prefer the classic wooden style, rustic or a newer and more modern style, you can rest assured knowing that it will look great on your patio.
Finally, most benches are designed to be weather resistant. Manufacturers add a protective coating on the outside that prevents the intrusion of moisture and germs. Furthermore, some benches are designed with a UV-protectant coating, which as the name suggests, protects against fading caused by the sun’s ultraviolet light. And even if your bench doesn’t have a protective coating such as this, you can easily apply one using a standard paintbrush.
These are just a few reasons why benches make the perfect seating for patios and outdoor living spaces. When choosing a patio, however, you should consider the material from which it is made as well as the size. Wood is the most popular choice of material for benches, though cast iron is a popular alternative.
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