Modern kitchens are much more about socialising and catching up than cooking and cleaning these days, and the perfect piece of furniture for doing this is the popular bench.
No longer just for the garden, a bench is a fun way to make room for extra guests and a great way to save space too.
One of the nicest things a family can do is to sit down together and catch up over a meal: no more TV dinners or squeezing round an old table which isn't big enough. With a proper eating area - a refectory-style table perhaps and two tidy benches which can be pushed under if more space is needed - you've got the perfect space for entertaining.
Benches have to be one of the friendliest seating options around - lots of restaurants and cafes use them to save space, but they also encourage customers to interact and get to know each other. Benches have taken off recently, with retailers recognising their appeal. The Scandi trend too has pushed the look.
But you don't need to just have benches, you can mix and match, with comfortable chairs for guests who prefer to have something to lean back on.
The Saint Martin dining range offers benches and chairs, with metalwork that mirrors the bentwood detailing.
Stools add an industrial feel to this Hyatt table and bench set.
Mix it up – contrasting chairs plus textured cushions and rugs create a boho feel.
But benches don't always have to go with a table. They're great on their own in a hall or against the wall in any room. With lots of designs to choose from at Arighi Bianchi, you're bound to find the one that works for you.
The Derby is a traditional design made from solid pine with beautifully carved legs, perfect for a county kitchen or dining room.
The Blake bench is more contemporary, with a rustic-industrial feel. It looks great in a modern setting with accents of concrete or marble.
The Magdalene bench has a lovely paint and natural wood finish that complements most interiors.
Add pretty patterned scatters, or drape faux sheepskin rugs for a great Scandi look.