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Tips for Choosing Outdoor Benches

May. 04, 2023
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An outdoor bench can upgrade a garden, yard, patio, park, retail center or other business and give your guests a comfortable place to relax and enjoy the outdoors. It’s the perfect time to help others gather with friends and family and spend quality time in an outdoor space. 

Placing benches in an area is a great way to make it more inviting and charming. There is a wide selection of benches to choose from, so doing your research ahead of time will help you choose the one that’s best for you, your space and your guests.

A good outdoor bench should be comfortable and sturdy as well as enhance the beauty of the area around it. This means your decision depends on more than just the bench. You’ll need to consider the location, space, material, design and color. Discover tips for choosing outdoor benches below to select the right one for your needs.

How to Choose an Outdoor Bench

There are many things to consider when choosing the perfect outdoor bench for your space. One bench may be better suited for a garden with just one or two people sitting on it once every couple of days. Another would be best for a crowded mall where many people want a place to relax. You can easily narrow down your choices by determining the following factors:

Consider the Location

First, where do you want to place the bench? Consider the purpose of the bench and the style that would best fit its surroundings. For instance, your bench may be going in:

A corner: If the area has corners, you may want a curved bench to place in one of the corners. Alcove benches also fit in corners and have a table in the middle. 

A spot with a view: Consider positioning the bench so you get a great view when you’re sitting on it, whether it’s the view of the mountains, a rose bush or some trees.

The shade or the sun: Is your bench going in the garden or on a patio? Will it be under the shade of a tree or in direct sun? If it will be direct sun, you may have to consider if the color will fade, depending on the material you choose. 

The location will play a part in all the factors of your outdoor bench choice. Note that you may also need to install multiple benches in an area to make it the most comfortable. Place the bench among tall shrubs or trees to give it more privacy. Or place your bench in an open area to connect a spread-out garden space. If people will only be sitting on the bench for a few minutes, a backless bench is enough to serve its purpose. 

Determine Your Space

In addition to the location, you will also have to consider how much space you have for the bench. Is it a large space that requires a larger bench? How many people should the bench be able to seat? Benches commonly come in either 4- or 6-foot lengths. If desired, you can also get ones in 8-, 10- and 15-foot lengths. 

The size of the bench shouldn’t look too small or too large for the space around it. If you’re placing multiple benches, think about if you want a few large ones or many small ones spread out over the area. Also, make sure there is room to walk around the bench comfortably.

Select the Right Material

The next thing to consider is the material of the bench. You can choose from wood, metal, wicker, plastic and concrete materials. For an outdoor bench, the material is essential as it contributes to:

Durability: Because your bench will be outside facing conditions from rain to UV rays, you want a durable material. Many outdoor benches are designed to prevent warping and fading, helping your exterior furnishings last longer.

Aesthetics: Your outdoor space may already have a variety of materials like wood, stone or metal. Try to choose a material that matches or complements what your outdoor space already has for a more cohesive look.

Weight: If you plan on placing your bench in a windy area, you’ll want a sturdy option that can withstand the gusts. A heavy bench made of metal or concrete is also ideal for public areas, as it can deter theft. If you will be bringing your bench indoors during certain seasons or times of year, you’ll likely want a lighter option that’s easier to move.

Comfort: Some materials are more comfortable than others, especially for extended periods of time. If you’re installing benches near an outdoor stage or where people will stop to sit and eat for a while, something like wood may be more comfortable. If your bench will likely only see use for a few minutes at a time, something like metal or concrete will be suitable.

Price: Every material comes at a different price point, and options within each category offer a range for different budgets. With wood, for instance, pine is often more cost-effective than options like teak or cedar.

Pick the Bench Design

There are many styles of benches, and you’ll need to find one that suits your aesthetic and complements your outdoor space. There are wooden, porch-style, English garden, straight, curved, backless and arch-back benches and plenty more. It’ll be easy to find one that suits your aesthetics, but it will take a bit of consideration.

Curved benches are great for corners or for sitting around a fire. Should it look traditional or contemporary? Benches are also often separated by the pattern on the bench, such as horizontal, perforated, diamond and more. Browse the different styles to get to know what you’d like in your space.

The design will also play a part in how comfortable the bench is. Consider features like arms or a curved seat if you’re looking for comfort, while flat seats and no arms will offer a more simplistic design. Benches with a back that is slightly angled back will also be more comfortable and create an eye-catching addition. You can also add mildew-resistant outdoor cushions to a bench to add comfort and style.

Choose a Color

Lastly, choose a color that matches your outdoor aesthetic. Whether you’re looking for browns, grays, reds, greens or blues, many of our benches have multiple options. Check out the different options for the Covington Collection for examples of the many options at Wabash Valley Furnishings. You’ll find that most benches have multiple color and configuration options to fit your needs.

If you’re not sure what color would look best, pick a neutral color, like white, gray, black or any shade of brown. These colors will go well with any outdoor color scheme. You can always spruce up the color scheme by adding decorative outdoor cushions, which you can easily swap out if your exterior design changes.



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