While the kitchen is often referred to as the heart of the home, the dining room could perhaps be thought of as the brains. It’s where we gather as a family to share the stories of our day and to discuss our future plans, a place where we break bread with friends and create new memories, it might be where we pay our bills or keep up to date with friends from abroad, it’s probably where we help the kids with the homework and plan our holidays.
The dining room table becomes a hub and hive of activity from day to night so picking the perfect seating for your table can be a little difficult. Do you go with individual seats or a flexible bench or perhaps a mix of both?
In today’s post, I’ll be sharing my tips on making the decision just a bit easier! There are pros and cons to each kind of dining room seating so being armed with knowledge is always best before making your choice.
Dining Chairs – The Pros
Now dining room chairs are probably the most traditional form of seating in a dining room and so if you love a more traditional look, then individual chairs work well.
When compared to bench seating, they are easy to get in and out of, even if you are sat in the middle of a large table.
They may also be considered just a bit more comfortable with built-in back support for when you simply want to sit and chat for hours, especially when they have padded seats and/or backs.
Dining Chairs – The Cons
However, there are a few downsides to individual chairs around a table that you might want to bear in mind. They do take up more room than benches and so the amount of people you can fit around your table will be limited to the number of chairs you have.
If you have small children, they may struggle with getting in and out of a weightier chair and of course, you can only sit one at a time on a chair so that may be taking up more room than you need.
When it’s time to vacuum, you may find it’s a bit more work to move each chair individually. That may not be a deal-breaker for some but if you have a very large table with lots of chairs, it could add to your cleaning time – and who wants to spend more time cleaning than they must?
Dining Benches – The Pros
With a versatile bench, you have plenty of options. For smaller spaces, a bench will tuck seamlessly away under the table, making it a great space saver. If you love to entertain in a casual buffet style rather than a more formal sit-down meal, it’s easy to set up the table, tucking the bench beneath and out of site, making it easier than ever to access the table top.
They are also the perfect solution for large families, enabling you to fit more small bodies along a bench then you can with individual chairs. They also make it easier when entertaining. Simply “shuffle up a bit” and you can almost always fit one more on the bench so you aren’t limited in your seating numbers.
If you love a more casual look, benches are the perfect choice, giving the whole space a less formal style, perfect for younger people or families.
They are also much easier to move about when you are cleaning or vacuuming under the table – it’s simply one item to move instead of many.
And finally, they are incredibly versatile, providing quick additional seating or surfaces in other areas of the home in a pinch.
Dining Benches – The Cons
Alas, due to their nature, benches have no backs on them, making them less supportive overall than a standard chair so this could mean that long lingering dinners get cut short to retire to more comfortable seating elsewhere in the house.
While bench cushions might help, for older people or those with back problems, it could prove even more difficult, making dining even for short periods an uncomfortable experience.
They are also more difficult to get in and out of, especially for those sat in the middle. You might have to worry about the ‘flash factor’ as well! Those with fitted or shorter skirts may have issues with getting in and out without performing a bit of gymnastics to save their dignity!
So Which Should You Choose?
While it may already be perfectly clear in terms of the best option for your lifestyle, if you are still undecided than perhaps you might consider a bit of mixing and matching for the best of both worlds!
Using bench seating on both long sides with chairs at each end would be great if you have a big family or want to save space. Or you may want to have individual seats on one side and a bench along the other for the perfect mix.