Dining Tables with Benches // Photo inspiration

modern dining room table with benches

I’ve been pondering the idea of double benches in our dining room but fear it will have too much of a picnic table feel. Though when I look at these gorgeous dining rooms, they say anything but “it’s picnic time”.

dining room table with benches instead of chair

modern-dining-room with benches

19722_0_8-8064-contemporary-dining-room

31265_0_8-6190-traditional-dining-room

dining room tables with benches

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My eye is used to seeing a dining room table with a bench on one side and chairs on the other, as we have it set up now, but TWO benches, I’m just not quite sure. With double benches, the question of comfort arises …as well as options. For instance, if I have a female guest in a mini skirt, the option of sitting in the middle of the bench is out. How would she ever get in and/or out? As for comfort, the quilted bench we have recently purchased is surprisingly comfortable, even for long periods of time but again, it leaves no options.

Here’s how we have it set up now …currently using the chairs from our old dining room table, which do work with the look but because they’re from the old table, I can’t help thinking that it just isn’t “finished”.

dining room+table with bench+bar+feather light fixture

dining room table+white pumpkins for thanksgiving+bench+old chairs

dining room+table and bench+feather light+white pumpkins+cow skull

This is the combo I’m thinking of going with if I do decide on double benches. Obviously, the matching bench for the opposite side of the table and two chairs, one for each end {which would most likely take the place of the two corner chairs on either side of the mini bar}

long tufted metallic bench for dining room table z gallerie shield-dining-chair

So Lovecats, what are your thoughts on the double bench look in the dining room? Should I go for it or leave it in the park?

 

LA native & lifestyle blogger Maegan Tintari writes daily at ...love Maegan.com sharing beauty & style secrets, including fashion DIYs, how-to nail art manicures, hair tutorials, and home decorating ideas, as well as a look into her personal life with her husband and adorable dogs, two Frenchies & an old Pug in wheels. Here you will find her talking about their journey & battle with infertility & recent relocation up to the mountains by a lake in search of a better life.

54 Comments

  • Angie

    November 12, 2010 | Reply

    the only thing about doing the benches, is while chic, I think of the dining room as a meeting, talking place, a place to be comfortable. sitting on a bench for any length of time w/o a back to rest against could be uncomfortable. HOWEVER, if you are going to give this a more balanced look, you have to go with the benches on both sides.

  • FASHION SNAG

    November 12, 2010 | Reply

    I agree with Angie completely! Benches can be uncomfortable even though I love the look! x

    http://www.FashionSnag.com

  • Sing

    November 12, 2010 | Reply

    The benches look great, but for practical and comfort sake, your guests will thank you for having chairs as well. I like the mix of the benches and chairs but a lower back chair would look better like your inspiration photo.

  • Heather

    November 12, 2010 | Reply

    It only looks picnic-y to me when the benches are matchy-matchy with the table. Say if you had black wood benches, instead of the silver cushioned one you have now.

    I think it looks fine with one bench and chairs. I’m a little surprised that I think this to be honest because I’m usually irked when things are unbalanced.

    I, personally, do not like to sit on bench seats. I have a bad back and I need support, but I think that it can look really chic!

  • Lauren @ Heya, Sparky!

    November 12, 2010 | Reply

    I think the most chic & comfortable dining room I know is a nook with chairs on the opposite sides.

    I’m having a hard time finding an example online & can’t really give it much research time, but this should give you an idea of what I’m talking about:
    http://homescape.honoluluadvertiser.com/august06/images/8living.jpg

    It’s the “come cozy next to me” feel of benches with the back support of chairs, & the ability to mix & match pieces.

  • tigerlily

    November 12, 2010 | Reply

    To enhance the versatility of the benches can you get two smaller ones? Also I think it is important to have chairs b/c elderly or injured people might need more support.

    I like the look though, and you can fit more people on benches too.

  • KK

    November 12, 2010 | Reply

    Im into the double benches with the two statement chairs at the heads of the table (like third pic down.)

    I hear you about the mini-skirted guest, but whatever, she will sit at the end of the bench, or dress appropriately (kidding.)

    Do you. No time for worrying about what potential guests may or may not be wearing!

  • MerciBlahBlah

    November 12, 2010 | Reply

    I agree with others – if you’re going to do a bench, do two benches w/matching chairs, but at the same time, I also see the validity in having some chairs juuuust in case. Love love love that tufted bench.

    Poysonally, I would die for a big old rustic natural slab of wood (free form would make it even mo bettah), on industrial looking metal legs, with patent leatha tufted chairs or benches. It HAS to be patent leatha in mi casa with The Trips. Wipe-able is CRUCIAL.

    Merci!
    Shannan

  • Anonymous

    November 12, 2010 | Reply

    I’m thinking that most adult people would prefer chairs. Kids wouldn’t mind benches. The way you have it now looks great….only one bench. I do love your chairs. I would leave it alone, as it looks very creative….high end magazine quality, for sure. Leave it alone, I would say.

  • Erin

    November 12, 2010 | Reply

    I say leave the chairs on one side to give you and your guests options. Someone may want back support sometimes :-) Plus, I love the asymmetry.

  • fashion junkie

    November 12, 2010 | Reply

    These tables and benches are to die for. Definitely has got me motivated to decorate my place ASAP! I have been putting it off for awhile, but now I am more than determined to start on it this weekend. Thanks for the lovely post, and for the lovely comment. :)

    Have a lovely weekend Love cat! ;)

    xoxo,
    MelRod

  • fashion junkie

    November 12, 2010 | Reply

    I love the benches, even though they aren’t as comfy, but oh well. That’s what the couch is for. ;)
    I love how you have some chairs on one side and the bench on the other. I love it!!

    xoxo,
    MelRod

  • Kat

    November 12, 2010 | Reply

    I think you have to consider what type of guests you normally have and how many.

    If when you entertain you have some elderly individuals, they may not like not having a back to their chair…

    There’s also the fact that a single person cannot adjust the distance they are from the table… and if you have 3 people on each side (I don’t know how many people you entertain at once) the middle person wouldn’t be able to get out readily.

    I really like that you have a bench merely on one side, personally… but I like asymmetric looks on a lot of things (apparently decorating included. hahaha)

  • LauraJ

    November 12, 2010 | Reply

    yes benches! 2 benches with 2 rad contrasting statement chairs at the heads of the table would look brilliant and dramatic!

  • Sassy Jen

    November 12, 2010 | Reply

    I like the way it is now. You want seating versatility and that’s what you have.

    IHMO your current chairs aren’t quite in balance with the bench. Parsons chairs upholstered to match the bench would help unify the look. Just a thought.

    I don’t usually comment, but I have to say I love your blog!

  • Brooke

    November 12, 2010 | Reply

    I like the way you have it set up. As you said, options! Your dining room looks more formal/chic. The double benches are too picnic-esque for me. I like asymmetry of your table. It looks great.

  • Anonymous

    November 12, 2010 | Reply

    Benches are great because they let you adjust the number of guests on a side, depending on the occasion. I love the bench you selected – looks comfy and would be great for kids. I am also a fan of the chairs on one side – I like their shape and how it echos the waves on the curtains. What about painting them dark pewter to coordinate with the bench top?

  • Emily S

    November 12, 2010 | Reply

    I love the look of the dining table bench!

  • Clair

    November 12, 2010 | Reply

    I love the look with the two benchs and while comfort is important you said they are comfortable and they look soft, so i say go for it, plus the idea with the two big statement chairs at each end i think looks amazing!! so i vote go for it!!

  • J

    November 12, 2010 | Reply

    I think the two benches will make it look complete. I normally like a chair/bench combo, but the type of dining room you have is better for the more formal matching all-chairs or two-benches look. And because of the type of bench you have, it will never look picnic-y. Plus, you’ll have chairs on the end for the mini-skirt crowd. I say go for it!

  • anhesty

    November 12, 2010 | Reply

    it looks cool either way.

    double benches, arm chairs, and side chairs for extra guests
    or the way you have set up now. chairs on one side and bench on the other…

    i know it doesn’t help… i say keep it the way you have it now.

    if you add more decor on the dining table it may piece the room a lil better.

  • Kendall

    November 12, 2010 | Reply

    agreed. these dining rooms look nothing like a picnic area. i’d say go for it. if you try it and don’t like it, you can always use the bench somewhere else for streamlined seating :)

  • Polyvorina

    November 12, 2010 | Reply

    I love your dining room the way it is now! Though my personal preference would make me switch the bench to the window side and the chairs to the other to balance things out – the window side looks cluttered and dark while the other looks rather empty. But I definitely wouldn’t add a bench. There’s the considerations you mentioned, like comfort and options, and also the formality of your dining room – I think two benches could work in a more casual, fun space. Yours is so perfect as is – love it!

  • myedit

    November 12, 2010 | Reply

    Moving into a new house on Monday and it has a HUGE dining room and I’m kinda stumped on how to use the space so that it looks open but full enough. Love the benches! Just showed my husband too…
    I say double bench it for your living room and if I’m ever invited over and I’m wearing a short skirt, I will remember to grab the outside seat.

  • Alex

    November 12, 2010 | Reply

    I like the bench & chair combo you are thinking of going with. But I think benches in dining rooms would be uncomfortable because a dining room (in my opinion) you’re using for dinner parties & holidays and usually you’re having a long leisurely meal and I don’t think benches would be comfy.

  • Jalila

    November 12, 2010 | Reply

    I personally love what you currently have. The current look is more versatile and appealing to the eye compared to two benches.

    I say leave it, it looks great!

  • AsianLily

    November 13, 2010 | Reply

    I love the way it looks right now and agree with your statement that two benches look like a picnic table, even in the sample pictures.

  • Tina

    November 13, 2010 | Reply

    I have double benches with my table and I love it. It is a sleek look and I do worry about guest not being comfortable but we migrate to the couch.

  • Anonymous

    November 13, 2010 | Reply

    I don’t care for benches at all, not to look at and not to sit on, but that’s just me.

  • Mr. Siena

    November 13, 2010 | Reply

    Would pews be too much so that there is ample back rest? lol! I love the look of double benches. As far as comfort goes when dinner is over just take your drinks into the living room! ;o) Have a great weekend!

  • Lindsey

    November 13, 2010 | Reply

    As someone who actually has two benches at our dining room table, I suggest not going there. We like to entertain frequently, and the two benches are just way too uncomfortable. Everyone ends up moving to the couches immediately after we eat since the benches hurt. We’re actually switching out on of ours and putting chairs in.

  • Stacey B

    November 13, 2010 | Reply

    I luuuve with a UVE the look of the double bench. I’ve always just wondered if it was really comfy when you have a bunch of guests for dinner.

  • Indi

    November 13, 2010 | Reply

    Ditch the benches… love the chairs… it’s ok to have benches in say quick food joints but not a classic house.. if you have long legs like I do, your in a h=chair, you can move it back… if your on a bench with several folk,,, ya gunna tell ‘em to move?

    Indi

    xx

  • NRC

    November 13, 2010 | Reply

    I like the setup you have now! Double benches would be ‘picnicy’

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    November 13, 2010 | Reply

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  • Poppy

    November 13, 2010 | Reply

    I like the bench look but I dont like it for both sides because there’s no back support. One side is just fine, maybe you should try moving the bench to the other side of the table & see how that looks. :-)

  • ...love Maegan

    November 13, 2010 | Reply

    I have to keep the bench on that side because that’s the walkway to the kitchen …it keeps the area cleaner …though maybe I should try the bench on the other side ….

    I love all your thoughts about this issue ladies! It’s very helpful.

  • AsianCajuns (Cath)

    November 13, 2010 | Reply

    I definitely love the look, but I would never do it. It’s just not practical or comfortable. The best dinner parties are where you spend hours after eating still hanging around the table talking. It’s hard to do when you’re sitting on a bench. Gorgeous dining room set up!

  • Ashley

    November 13, 2010 | Reply

    Well, I love, love that bench and the chair you posted. I agree, 2 benches probably isn’t the most practical thing, but I think you should get those chairs. They are beautiful and really would go well with your table and bench. Your dining room is so chic!

  • Meghan

    November 14, 2010 | Reply

    I do love a bench at a dining table. You can fit more asses on a bench than in a chair! I do have the same thoughts on picnic benchy-ness (which sounds like bitchiness) with two benches. I think two fancy armed chairs at the ends would kick the picnic bench feel to the curb.

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    November 14, 2010 | Reply

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  • Mae

    November 14, 2010 | Reply

    i think it’s gonna look picnic-y when the benches are not upholstered. Just do what you love. if you’re not crazy about it, then don’t do it. ;)

  • Shamini

    November 14, 2010 | Reply

    am totally for benches in the dining room! it’s actually what i would love to do the day we take a new home!

    kisses

  • Stephanie

    November 15, 2010 | Reply

    I grew up with a bench for my sister and me; my parents had chairs. I have to say, the worst part was that she would lean back on two legs of the bench, which meant I too had to be dangling in mid-air. NOT fun. ;) Our bench had a back on it, tough, so the balanced issue was reall…a non-issue. Maybe if you put your table off-center more towards the edge of the wall so the bench could use the wall as a back? The balance issue seems to come with the height of the sides rather than the depth from the seats.

  • Bella

    November 15, 2010 | Reply

    I noticed something about a lot of the pictures you chose as inspiration – most of them have the shortened look of two benches and then two great chairs on either end. Maybe the look seems unfinished because there are no large pieces to direct your eye toward in your room, aside from the one bench?

  • Life is Reed-iculous!

    November 15, 2010 | Reply

    i love the double bench look. especially the upholstered tufted benches. they add style and comfort.

    i really love the double bench with 2 amazing chairs at each end. to me, that brings it all together to produce one super chic dining space.

  • Shiriously

    November 15, 2010 | Reply

    I recently transitioned from a double bench setup to just chairs. The benches were awesome, but the need to scoot the bench in and out to accommodate people having to get up was too much. I love the bench you have, but would recommend sticking with chairs on one side.

    http://shiriously.blogspot.com/2010/04/battle-of-bench.html

  • madame b fatale

    November 15, 2010 | Reply

    Love the bench look and love the feathers around the light too, (that is what they are right?!)

  • Lorena

    November 16, 2010 | Reply

    Personally one bench is enough.

  • J.

    November 16, 2010 | Reply

    I agree with the people who pointed out the comfort issue. That said, I loved the pics!

  • jacobithegreat

    November 23, 2010 | Reply

    We had benches when we were younger, because I have 4 siblings. With that many kids it was easier to fit everyone at the dinner table on benches. So it seems like a great idea to me!

  • raynette

    December 10, 2010 | Reply

    one bench. there is more versatility and i tend to favor asymmetrical layouts. it has more sophistication. p.s. loved your thanksgiving table decor

  • Furniture

    August 6, 2013 | Reply

    I adore on seeing each picture..Particularly third one chanceless..it looks amazing..have a plan to model like this..

    Home Furniture

  • Nicoletuta

    March 24, 2014 | Reply

    I like using benches on dining tables, especially for a rustic look

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