Designing with benches and settees is a sure-fire way to add flair and elegance to your home instantly. Available in a variety of sizes and styles, a well-placed bench or settee can completely transform the look of any room.
Technically, both the bench and settee are similar in construction, and often the names are interchangeable. Both settees and benches can be crafted of nearly any material, most often wood or metal (I’ve seen sturdy pieces covered in brightly painted papier-mache in my travels) and fashioned to suit virtually any style. But to put a picture in your mind to the words, each has specific features.
The bench is basic in design, generally, four legs and a long seat. The seat can be upholstered or plain; painted, carved or gilded. Some have arms, which adds a touch of flair and seems to lend even more attraction to the piece – inviting you to sit upon it.
You might know the term “settle” more or less a bench with add-ons, like a high back or wings instead of arms. In the 18th century, some settles had drawers under the seat. Around the 17th century, the term “settee” came into play and described a bench with a back that made it look like a double chair. Today, the term describes a small sofa or any long seat with a back (with or without arms).
benches and settees
As with all things in your home, functionality goes hand-in-hand with style. Nothing epitomizes these two principles more than our benches and settees. Style plays a huge part in the feeling of your home. The pieces we feature are made in Italy and Belgium in styles for nearly every decor.
Place a bench in your entryway for convenience in taking shoes on and off. Place a French Empire bench or crescent back settee along a wall beneath a large picture or object d’art to add drama and interest. A short Baroque bench is perfect in a vanity or dressing room. A stylish upholstered bench without arms can replace the standard bench at a piano, which also serves as attractive extra seating at gatherings. A pair of upholstered neoclassic settees in the living room can replace chairs or a loveseat or add to your existing seating. An ornate upholstered bench with arms placed at the foot of a bed is a perfect accompaniment to your bedroom suite.
From French, Baroque and Neoclassic to more modern wrought iron styles, benches and settees add style and utility nearly anywhere you put them.