All Types Of Benches: Simply Explained

Not All Benches Are In The Garden

Church pews, piano benches, kissing benches... have you heard about all these? They are all benches. And guess what, I'll let you know more about them. Who said all benches should be in the garden?

Garden Benches

We have covered garden benches a lot on this site, reviewed them as DIY projects, and discussed their plastic version. Check the links for more information.

Park Benches

Park benches are used in public areas and parks. They don't always differ than the benches you may have in your garden. Typically they are made at least partially of steel to survive the heavier usage in public spaces. In most parks one or two designs of benches are used in the entire park for consistence. Another reason for this is to get better offer from the bench supplier


Cat on a park bench
Cats also enjoy park benches.

Friendship Benches

They are longer than the most other types. Friendship benches are used mostly in school yards to allow kids to chat to each other. There is no specific material used or design they should follow - some friendship benches are a bit unusual like this one. (There is nothing friendly in its price though!)

Friendship Bench
Photo by Daquella manera

Picnic Benches

More often called picnic tables, they are used from people who go to picnic. Most of them are fixed to the ground in public areas and picnic spaces. You can however buy your own picnic table from any store - they have two benches on each side which are usually fixed to the table. In this case the entire thing of course is not fixed to the ground.

Here is a good picnic table kit for about a hundred bucks. If you are a DIY fan it's not a problem to build a picnic table yourself too.

Picnic Table
Here's a typical picnic area with benches
By FredoAlvarez

Piano Benches

As you could guess these benches are often used to play on a piano. But not only. These are benches for one or two persons and are usually quite comfortable and have soft cushion. Their height is adjustable and in average ranges 19-23 inches from the floor. Of course you can also build one of these yourself.

Piano Bench
It almost makes me want to sit and play! Or only sit... no idea how to play piano.
By Unhindered by Talent

Church Pews

Yes, these are the long benches that are there in churches and similar buildings. They are wooden, long, very durable and sometimes can have carvings on the sides. If for any reason you may want to buy such pews (perhaps for your church or wedding hall), there are many places where you can buy them used and save money.

Church Pews
Photo by cincooldesigns

Swing Seats

Some benches aren't very stable and that's intentionally :) Swing seats are just benches that are attached to a swing frame instead of being directly on the ground. This of course allows swinging and often leads to many hours spent on the "bench". Swing seats are the favorite benches of the kids.

There are all kind of swing seats and swing sets - wooden, metal, plastic, for adults, with cushions, attached on a tree, and even indoor. They are also good projects for building yourself. Unless you are building a simple tree swing (which isn't technically a bench), building a swinging bench is more challenging than building a static one.

Swing Seat Bench
Photo by Ollie Crafoord

Weight Training Benches

This is a sport equipment used for weight lifting, building bench press and so on. Often they are built of steel and have a soft foam-vinyl covering. The covering allows lifting weights without breaking your backbone. There are several types of weight training benches found in the gyms. The incline benches are slightly raised while the decline weight benches are designer for training the muscles of the lower chest. There are vertical models for good back support and flat weight benches for bench presses and more exercises.

Here is a list of weight training exercises. Many of them are performed best on weight training bench. And here is how to build one yourself.

Weight Training Bench
Photo by Ulf Liljankoski

Courting "Kissing" Benches

Ever kissed someone on a bench in the park? It's not that comfortable to do it on a typical bench. Your neck starts to hurt. That's why people have invented the courting, kissing, "tete-a-tete" benches yet at the Victorian times. These benches have two parallel seats facing the opposite directions. They aren't very popular right now, but if you feel romantic you can put one in your backyard.

Here is one beautiful courting bench

Communion benches

This is another type of church bench. Here are few pictures and further explanations of the communion benches.

Folding Benches

Back to something more practical. Folding benches are in fact very practical, easy to take with you and bring anywhere. Most of them are backless, some mix canvas and lightweight aluminim frame, and some are used for exercises (like the folding weight benches).

There are also wall mounted folding work benches. You can make one yourself following this guide.

Some more resources

While I have covered the most important kinds of benches, there are even more you may want to explore. Here are a couple of resources discussing other or additional types of benches:

That's all for now.

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