Dining Chairs vs. Dining Benches: Which is Best for Your Dining Room?
June 6, 2022
Est. Reading Time: 8 Mins
Everyone has a typical way of thinking about what a dining room is going to look like. Dining rooms have a dining table to eat at, dining chairs to sit on, and perhaps some storage for your cutlery and fancy china.
But what if I told you that you don’t need dining chairs to have a complete dining room set? You might be thinking, what would you sit on other than a dining chair? Consider a dining bench instead … or maybe even a combination of both!
Yes, dining chairs have been around for as long as anyone can remember. But dining benches are changing up the traditional ways that people are furnishing their dining rooms.
Zeina Badawi, an interior designer at La-Z-Boy and Canadel expert, says that benches are casual but practical, whereas dining chairs are classic and relaxing.
You might be wondering, just what are the benefits of having a dining bench, as opposed to a dining chair? Well, this article will hopefully answer any questions you may have about this unconventional piece of dining furniture, from the benefits to the disadvantages.
We will also be discussing how to properly mix and match dining chairs and benches so that you can have the best of both worlds if you love both seating options.
In This Article…
- Incorporating Dining Seating in your Home
- Benches vs. Chairs: Factors to Consider
- Which Dining Seating Option is Right for You?
- Dining Chair and Bench Selections at Canadel
Incorporating Seating in Your Home: Chairs vs. Benches
When talking about dining room seating, people tend to think first of dining chairs. However, dining benches and barstools offer unique interior design benefits.
For the purpose of this article, we will only talk about dining benches and not barstools. If you would like to learn more about Dining Barstools and Which Height to Choose, check out this article.
Dining Room Chairs
Dining chairs are commonly found in a dining room furniture arrangement and are used daily.
Since dining chairs are typically a more popular choice than dining benches, there is no shortage of options to choose from in terms of size, style, and materials.
At Canadel Custom Dining, for example, dining chairs are clearly more abundant than dining benches. Since this is the case, you can find a dining chair that coordinates with pretty much any dining room style.
To make things more traditional, many dining chairs have arms and are often placed at the heads of the table. With this, the armless dining chairs are typically placed on the long sides of the dining table.
If you’re looking for a rustic look, wooden dining chairs might be your best bet. If you’re looking for more modern styles, you might look for a clean and sleek-looking chair design. Further, a dining room with an industrial aesthetic calls for chairs with metal accents.
To learn more about different chair styles, check out our article Everything You Need to Know About Canadel Customization.
Dining Room Benches
While less traditional, homeowners are beginning to appreciate the unconventional, yet practical, design possibilities of dining room benches.
With that being said, you may not know exactly how to incorporate them properly into your dining room design.
Zeina says that incorporating dining benches into a dining room depends on the household. This means the number of people, the size of the room and the age demographic.
Benches can obviously hold more people than chairs. So if your household has a large number of people, you can easily accommodate with just one long seat instead of getting individualized seats.
Furthermore, this kind of seating works better when you have smaller children who are more energetic. They also have an easier time getting in and out of these seats because they are smaller.
Benches have a bigger canvas for design purposes. With that being said, you can usually choose from a variety of materials, such as wood, stone, or metal.
If the dining bench is made of wood, you can likely select a wood finish to complete the look. In this case, it is a good idea to coordinate the wood finish of the bench with the table to create a consistent look in your dining room.
Wooden benches can eventually feel uncomfortable, so if this is the case, consider dining benches with an upholstery cover. With a fabric cover, you can match the bench with the dining room or use the bench as a fun accent piece.
Blending Dining Chairs & Dining Benches Together
It might sound bizarre at first but combining dining chairs and dining benches in a singular dining room seating arrangement is not unheard of. In fact, it is fairly common for more casual dining areas, especially with children!
Zeina explains that mixing dining benches and dining chairs together in one dining room set is becoming a trend. “This trend is called creating an eclectic dining table,” she says.
The process of making an eclectic dining room is much simpler than you think. The proper way to mix and match dining chairs and dining benches at one table is by having chairs on one side and benches on the other.
Zeina also says you can choose to have dining benches on both sides and have dining chairs at the heads of the table.
Dining benches typically look better aesthetically next to or up against a wall since they have a flat surface. Further, some dining bench designs are built into a wall, especially in houses with smaller living spaces.
You can learn more about Dining Room Furniture in Small Spaces by reading this article.
Dining Chairs vs. Dining Benches: Factors to Consider
Dining chairs and dining benches each have their own pros and cons. This next section will highlight four major factors to consider when choosing between a dining chair or a dining bench.
Interestingly, when choosing dining room seating, dining chairs are a more favourable option for dining seating in terms of variety and style selection. Given that dining chairs are a more popular choice than dining benches, dining chairs offer a much larger selection.
You will also most likely find a wider variety of chair styles and designs to choose from. With dining benches, the selection is less abundant, which means creative liberties need to be taken more into consideration.
However, what benches may lack in the selection, they make up for in versatility. Yes, chairs are more versatile when it comes to choice and style, but benches are typically a more versatile piece of furniture. In fact, Zeina mentions that many benches have the ability to double as storage space underneath the seats.
Much like a multifunctional Ottoman or Coffee Table, dining benches can hold multiple items, depending on the size.
Further, dining benches have the ability to seat more people. While a dining chair is meant for only one person, dining benches can hold as many as they can fit.
This leads us to practicality. When it comes to dining benches, there is a lot of practicality for seating, inside and outside of the dining room. Not only are benches more practical for small children to sit on and easier to store in small spaces, but they are also known as casual seating.
This means that dining benches can work in any place that may require additional seating. This can refer to outdoor spaces, cottages, and even as an extra furniture item in the bedroom. Zeina says that even some Canadel dining benches look perfect at the foot of a bed frame.
The only downside about these practical dining benches is that they are much heavier than dining chairs. While you can move a dining chair individually sometimes moving a bench requires two people, depending on how heavy it is.
Dining benches, though practical, are also not meant for every setting. Because they are casual seating, they would not thrive well in a traditional dining room setting.
Dining chairs come in handy when it comes to creating an elegant and classic dining experience. They are also better for adults who love to host a lot, especially if you’re looking for fancier chair options.
When it comes to the comfort of a dining seat, people are looking for the most comfortable option possible. After all, who would want to feel uncomfortable when enjoying their favourite meal.
Dining chairs have back options that offer upper body support. In comparison, dining benches don’t always offer the same level of comfort. Sometimes dining benches may have a low back design, but these tend not to fulfill the same lumbar support that a chair would.
As much as an upholstered seat may provide some extra comfort on a bench, your upper body might still feel tired after sitting on a backless seat for a long period of time.
Cost plays an important part when considering dining chairs or a dining bench in your space. Although dining chairs typically require fewer materials than a dining bench, they are usually the more expensive option.
This is especially true given that your dining room will require multiple chairs. After all, you wouldn’t want to buy just one new dining chair to go with a dining table.
With dining benches, you would only need at least two if you want them to stretch from one end of the table to the other. Also, keep in mind that benches can typically seat about three people, depending on the length.
The typical price range of any dining seat on the market is around $300 - $800. This is also depending on the quality of materials used by the brand. Benches are cheaper than chairs, meaning they would be on the lower end of that price range if it is a better quality seat.
Cheaper dining seats at places like IKEA, Structube or Wayfair can be as little as $40, which is great if you’re tight on money but wouldn't be the most comfortable seat.
Canadel dining room seats are more expensive. Dining benches at Canadel range from $489 - $1,000. Chairs $410 - $1,300.
Dining Chairs vs. Dining Benches: Pros and Cons Breakdown
To summarize this section, here is a breakdown of dining chairs and dining benches to make your choice simpler.
Which Dining Seating Option is Right for You?
Now that we have weighed all of the pros and cons of each dining seat, which furniture piece is the right choice for you? To better come up with your choice, you must consider your budget, style preferences, and intended functionality.
When choosing multiple seats for your dining room, Zeina mentions that benches are typically the more affordable option, since you don’t need to purchase as many individual pieces. One bench can serve as many dining seats.
However, the cost ultimately depends on the manufacturer and the overall quality of the product. At La-Z-Boy and Canadel, for example, the cost of both dining chairs and benches falls within the mid to high price range on the market due to the quality of materials and craftsmanship used the make the dining furniture.
So, taking that into consideration, it is up to you to decide if you want to save on lower-quality dining seating or invest in long-lasting dining furniture items.
When it comes to functionality and style, dining benches and chairs each have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Benches do not have backs, meaning those who have back problems, may find it difficult to feel comfortable while sitting on a dining bench.
Ideally, a dining bench is a great choice for someone designing a more casual dining space. This may be an outdoor dining area, a cottage, or a casual kitchen nook. Further, benches are great for households with children because they can fit many small bodies, they are safe to get up and down from, and they are fairly easy to clean.
Alternatively, dining chairs are better if you are designing a more traditional and formal dining area. In this case, the dining room will be used for adults and perhaps for hosting mature dining parties. Dining chairs also offer individual seating and optimal comfort so you can sit down for a long time without feeling uncomfortable!
You can learn more about Dining Table Styles in Your Home by reading this article.
Dining Chair and Bench Selections at Canadel
Canadel is a custom dining furniture store that has partnered with La-Z-Boy for quite some time. Canadel has been around for over 30 years now, selling high-quality custom dining room furniture for many to enjoy.
Each collection under the Canadel brand has a different selection of dining furniture to choose from. You can venture into a more french country style with the Champlain collection, or stay in the big city with the industrial Loft and East Side collections.
Whether you live in a studio apartment or urban townhome, Canadel is sure to have a style that fits your preferences. You can take a look at each collection by reading our Canadel review articles:
- Review of the Canadel Collection
- Review of the Canadel Modern Collection
- Review of the East Side Collection
- Review of the Gourmet Collection
- Review of the Downtown Collection
- Review of the Champlain Collection
- Review of the Loft Collection
Within these collections, you will find a wide variety of dining chairs and benches to choose from each with varying styles and features.
After reading this article, you now have more knowledge about the advantages and disadvantages of dining chairs and dining benches. Now that you have an idea of what might work well in your dining room, why not check out some products today?
La-Z-Boy also offers design assistance on all things Canadel custom design. By visiting an Ottawa or Kingston showroom, or the Canadel Kanata showroom, you can receive one-on-one assistance in selecting and custom designing your Canadel dining furniture.
You can also book an appointment with our interior design experts for any burning questions you may have.
If you’re looking for comfortable living room furniture to go with your comfortable dining room furniture, make sure to check out some of our best-selling living room furniture at La-Z-Boy:
- 5 Best Selling La-Z-Boy Power Recliners
- 5 Best Selling La-Z-Boy Sofas
- 5 Best Selling La-Z-Boy Reclining Loveseats
Make sure to also check out Canadel’s UDesign tool so you can discover furniture products online. If you require assistance with this intuitive tool, check out our step-by-step tutorial.
Dining Buyers Guide: Learn How to Furnish Your Dining Room From Scratch
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