Chairs, Benches, or both? The Dining Dilemma

Chairs, Benches, or both? The Dining Dilemma

Incredibly photogenic and often space-saving, benches have, over time, earned their place at the dining room table. But while benches can look cool, are benches well-received by guests? Just how practical is bench seating at a dining table?

We’ve made a short list of pros and cons as a reference for you.


• Casual look to your living space.

If you are going for a relaxed look in your dining area, benches can contribute to that easy-going feeling.

• Space saving.

Benches are ideal for small spaces and walkways to ensure easy traffic flow.  For maximum space saving, a bench placed along a wall, provides just enough space for your guests. They don’t need to move their chair in or out. Each guest simply slides along the bench to their dining place.

• Fit extra people.

A bench is great for children and smaller people. The space needed for two chairs could serve three smaller people on a bench.

• Easy to clean.

Simply wipe the top surface down and you are done!

• A Safer option.

For children, benches can be a safer option as they are less likely to tip over.


• Lacks comfort and back support.

Obviously, there is no back support. Benches often have less seating surface and are not contoured which can result in discomfort over longer time periods.

• Heavier and longer to move around.

Although only slightly heavier, benches are longer and cumbersome to maneuver around the room.

While children gravitate towards benches, adults naturally choose the comfort of a chair as their first choice of seating.

The Dual-Purpose Table

With the rise of the open floor plan in home building, formal dining rooms are less common. Many homeowners find their kitchen table serving as their dining room table. The need to save space clashes with the need for seating, making a bench or two an appealing option. Aesthetically, benches contribute to the “open space” feeling because they can be tucked under the table, with no backs to visually block the room.

Is There a Solution?

Ultimately, the answer to the question of whether bench seating is practical depends on you. Ask yourself questions like:

Do I have children or grandchildren dining at my table regularly? Would they benefit from the ease and safety of a bench? Would I appreciate the ease of cleanup that a bench can provide?

Do I entertain mostly adults who would prefer the comfort of a chair at my table? If I walked into my friend or family member’s dining room for the first time and saw a bench on one side of the table, would I avoid sitting on the bench if possible?

Do I need more seating than my space allows?

What is the look and feel of the living space? Do I want a formal or informal room?  Will it fit with the look of my living space?

From these questions, you should be able to determine if benches, chairs, or both are right for you! If you have questions, please contact George’s Furniture. We will be happy to discuss what table and seating options will work best for you.