Versatility is one of the most valuable features to look for when purchasing furniture. That’s why one of my favorites pieces has always been a “bench”. It is hard to find a more adaptable design.

When incorporated into a hallway it makes the perfect drop zone for purses, coats, shopping bags or whatever fills your arms as you come and go.

I love to accessories a hallway bench with a decorative wall mirror and hooks for coats and hats. The combination transforms a plain foyer into a space that is both decorative and functional. Consider a tall oval mirror that is less than half the length of the bench so three or four decorative hooks can occupy the remaining wall space.

Benches have two sides.

The top and underneath. If the bench you select has a bottom shelf consider using it to display books or other decorative items. If you need additional storage, sturdy wicker baskets that fit neatly under the bench will provide the perfect place to stash the dog leash or boots.

Adaptable Design: The Bench

I love to move my furniture from room to room. Finding a new home and purpose for a beloved piece has a transformative effect on its new home. For example, benches make wonderful coffee tables. My favorite are leather ones.

Adaptable Design: The Bench

Benches are easier to incorporate than say a standard square or round coffee table for narrow spaces. If you select a padded bench it does double duty as an ottoman. Use trays to contain glasses or vases that are prone to tipping.

Adaptable Design: The Bench

A daybed can also function as a bench. Find an interesting rug or hide for the floor. Place it in the center of a room and accent it with interesting pillows. Consider texture and patterns that will bring the setting to life.

It is easy to go overboard and add too many pillows or accessories to a bench. Remember its main purpose is to provide a place to temporarily unload. The key word being temporary. Try to make it a point to unload the bench everyday day to eliminate clutter.

Adaptable Design: The Bench

If you have a walk-in closet in your bedroom and space allows, a narrow bench placed in the center of the room can be very beneficial. It’s a great place to sit down put on your shoes, place a suit case for packing or a surface for folding sweaters and T-shirts.

Interesting decors are created by setting up small vignettes that stand on their own merit but work collectively to pull the entire room together.When selecting a bench for a space, think about how you will incorporate its style and features with the overall room.

This doesn’t mean it must mirror the rest of the house. Instead, consider a bench like a piece of art. This is your opportunity to incorporate a fun whimsy style into your home’s décor. Don’t be concerned with matching wood tones. Try a metal bench or perhaps one of the new faux cement finishes.

The next time you find yourself struggling with where to place a visitors’ wrap or your shopping bag, ask yourself if a bench wouldn’t make your life more convenient.

Photo Credits: All photos provided by Four Hands.