Learn From Vern: All About Benches

HGTV Star judge Vern Yip shares his smartest shopping and sizing tips with HGTV Magazine.

Photo By: Courtesy of the manufacturer

Photo By: Courtesy of the manufacturer

Photo By: Courtesy of the manufacturer

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Photo By: Courtesy of the manufacturer

Photo By: Courtesy of the manufacturer

Photo By: Courtesy of the manufacturer

Make a Statement With Seating

Two no-fail spots for a bench are at the foot of a bed or near a door. Use the bench as an opportunity to get creative design-wise — it’ll stand out more if it doesn’t look like everything else in the room. Kilim 58"W x 17"D x 18"H wool and wood bench in Anatole, $599, wisteria.com

For Functionality

Most benches are 18 to 20 inches tall, but the width can vary. To comfortably seat two people, opt for a bench that measures at least 48 inches wide. Darrin 59"W x 25"D x 19"H polyester bench, $585, jcp.com

Length Versus Width

A bench at the foot of your bed should be at least 4 inches shorter than the bed itself. So for a 60-inch queen, the bench should measure 56 inches or less. Anything larger looks awkward and is a toe-stubbing hazard. Palermo 48"W x 18"D x 18"H rattan, sea grass, and wood bench, $249, grandinroad.com

Go With a Classic

A backless wood bench is a great staple. It doesn’t have to match the other wood in the room, but the finish should stay in the same family — for example, yellow-toned oak with chestnut. Lugano 72"W x 14"D x 18"H wood bench, $200, worldmarket.com

Check for Quality

To ensure that a bench is well-made, flip it over. Check that the legs and base are solidly joined together with no spaces between parts. If the bench has fasteners, they should be screws, which are sturdier than nails or staples. Baja 56"W x 13 1/2"D x 17 1/2"H wood bench, $299, cb2.com

Pull Up a (Comfortable) Seat

If you put a backless bench at your dining room table, make sure it at least has a cushioned seat so it’s comfortable to sit on for long periods. Haslett 60"W x 17"D x 20"H bench in swish navy, $699, rowefurniture.com for stores

No-Mess Materials

An upholstered bench will show wear, so pick a durable fabric instead of a fine one. Microsuede is a good, easy-to-clean option, but I prefer indoor/outdoor fabric. It’s stain-resistant and comes in tons of colors and patterns. Double X 42 1/2"W x 20 1/2"D x 20 1/2"H bench in green Sunbrella, $374, ballarddesigns.com

Bring the Outdoors In

Some of my favorite "indoor" benches are from outdoor furniture stores. Patio benches are often made of beautiful, tough wood, like teak. Even metal looks nice inside — just add a cushion. Sigurd 44 7/8"W x 16 7/8"D x 17 3/4"H beech and particleboard bench, $80, ikea.com

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