A bench at a table is more friendly and less formal than a set of chairs. Benches are also commonly shorter than tables for function as well as design. Full-length benches maximize seating, and tucked-in ones work well in constricted spaces. But whether a bench should fit under a table is an option and depends on where it is and how the table is used.
As alternative seating to chairs, benches are a traditional and increasingly fashionable dining arrangement. The length of a bench is generally 4 to 5 inches shorter than a table and even shorter for a bench that fits under a table. Benches fit under tables when space for movement is needed.
A bench at a dining table is chosen for sociability and function. In a kitchen, a dual-functioning table for preparation and eating is easier with a no-back bench than a set of chairs. Here a bench should fit under a table. But not all benches, especially those with backs, fit under tables. Let’s see why we fit benches under tables.
A Bench Under A Table Is A Space-Saver
A bench next to a table is a fun décor element that allows for cozy mealtimes and an inviting place to sit down in a kitchen while watching a meal being prepped. The ease of sitting on a bench, even with your legs stretched out lengthwise, is a comfortable, informal seating arrangement. But being able to fit these under a table is necessary too.
Benches are also readily used informal dining areas. Again, having these, mostly upholstered benches tucked away under a table, is less intrusive than chairs. A bench under a table can also give a smaller dining area more space when fitted under a table. The space aspect is important, especially in small spaces with tight seating arrangements.
The length of a table will tell how long a bench can and should be. Mostly this is easy when you are not thinking of stacking a bench under a table. When you decide to put a bench under a table, though, the distance between the table legs will determine the length of a bench. The bench’s length needs to be five to six inches smaller than this opening.
For example, if you have a six-seater table at 72 inches long, and the table has a total overhand on two sides of six inches plus each leg is inches wide(2x 5 = 10 inches in total), to just fit in a bench’s length will be 56 inches. As this is a tight fit, you have to give a three-inch gap on either side, which means a six-seater table has space for a 50-inch bench.
If you are fitting a bench under a table, here are a few reasons to do so:
- In a kitchen, when the prep area and dining area is shared
- Small kitchens with limited space
- On a patio where space is limited
- In a small (even formal) dining area
These different reasons for fitting a bench under a table will be discussed separately below.
Related: A Dining Bench Height Guide
Bench Fits Under Table For Kitchen Prep And Eating Combo
The kitchen is the most likely place where you’ll want to push a bench under a table. This is a space with limited space as it’s also quite a busy one. There’s always activity in a kitchen, not only cooking but washing-up and meal preparations. A bench that can be neatly stacked under a table when not used is a good idea.
The space underneath a table is hardly used when no one is sitting at a table. It’s an empty space that can easily function as a temporary store for a bench. This would increase the walkable area in a kitchen and the ease of food preparation there. As easily as a bench is stacked under a table, it can be pulled out for seating when needed.
Fitting a bench (or benches) under a table till needed will create a more workable and walkable space in a kitchen.
Fitting A Bench Under A Table Increases Kitchen Floor Space
Kitchens are usually over full with goods arriving from greengrocers and shops. There are always plenty of activities, from preparing meals to making teas and coffees. Though seating in a kitchen is necessary, having seating arrangements that can be pushed away to aid workability is necessary.
To create space simultaneously, as not getting rid of seating is possible when fitting a bench under a table. That’s why it’s good to make sure that the bench you have or intend to get can fit under a kitchen table.
A Bench That Fits Under A Table On A Patio
Interior designers and planners agree that small space like a patio is best designed for a table and one or two benches on either side. The size of the patio is made functional by fitting the benches under a table when these are not used. The benches can easily be moved out as seating when needed.
As patio space is often confined, fitting benches under a table will leave this space uncrowded when not used. Also, the number of people sitting together on benches is more than those on individual chairs.
Fitting benches under a table in a small space visually creates a less cluttered space there as well as actually aids movement there when not used for seating.
Bench Fitted Under A Table In Small Dining Area
Like on a patio (see above), a bench that fits under a dining table is a space-saver. In a cramped or small dining area, a rectangular table with two benches that fit under a table is convenient. The benches can be pulled out for dining and can remarkably seat many guests though the space is tight.
Fitting a bench (or benches) under a table when these are not needed or used gives the impression of a space larger than one when the seating arrangement is a set of chairs. The benches that are fitted or pushed under a table in a small room are tidy and allow for movement in an otherwise small space.
Fitting Benches Under A Table As Opposed To Chairs
If you decide on a seating arrangement in favor of benches, you might as well consider a size that fits under a table. This form of seating is not only cozy and pleasant, but benches also fit more guests around a table. It is a flexible option for families and homes with high social activity.
A tucked-in bench has benefits, as seen above, not only as a space-saver but also as a convenient seating arrangement at the table that can fit under a table till used. Compared to full-length benches, tuck-in or benches that fit under tables allow for more movement in a room than either full-length benches or chairs.
A full-length bench fits against a table and is four and five inches shorter than a table. But this kind of bench is not short enough to fit under a table.
Fitting A Bench Under A Table Has A Drawback
A bench that can fit under a table has no backrest, which can be a drawback. But it can’t have a backrest to fit a bench under a table. It’s often argued that a pleasant bench without a backrest eventually gets uncomfortable.
Even though a bench can be padded and upholstered and comfortable in that sense, not having a backrest and fitting under a table does not make up for what some call the discomfort of sitting for long hours either slouched or leaning on the table. Backrests to benches have their benefits in aiding a comfortable seating arrangement.
But benches with backs can’t be pushed under tables when not used. To fit a bench under a table is a specific need. Mostly a bench is fitted under a table in an already small room. So while benches promote chattiness, not having backs to benches can be uncomfortable.
Often one has to think twice about why benches need to fit under tables because these are backless. One has to weigh up fitting a bench under a table with the discomfort of sitting (for long hours) without a backrest.
Fitting a bench under a table is one way of saving space in a cramped, busy, or constricted room or small space like a patio. But being able to do so means a bench would not have a backrest. By saving on space, you might be compromising on comfort.