If someone asked me what my favorite antiquing find of all-time is, that would be a pretty tough question. But I would have an immediate answer. I hate playing favorites, but the antique bench in my foyer is hands down my absolute favorite find. It’s over 100 years old and it was salvaged from an Amish schoolhouse that was being torn down. The ends were hollowed out as a place for students to store their books (my kids now stuff Legos and action figures in there). It is aged to perfection and I can’t help but smile when I see all the knicks and scuffs because I think of all the kids who must’ve sat on it during their school days!
The funniest thing about this bench is that I almost didn’t find it. I had been searching for an old bench for so long with no luck. One Friday, I saw an ad in a local antique magazine for a small shop a couple of hours away from me that said they carry “all types of antiques, primitives, furniture and more.” I gave them a call on a whim and told them about my bench search. The man on the other line said he had just loaded a really cool old bench onto a truck that was headed to New England for a big antique fair. He told me a little more about it and invited me to come out and see it if it didn’t sell at the antique show. I don’t know why, but I told him right there over the phone that I’d buy it sight unseen and that I’d even pay him extra to unload it from the truck! Long story short, I drove two hours the next day to pick up my sight-unseen bench and it was love at first sight. Some things are just meant to be, right?
I get a lot of questions about the source for my bench and I always tell people to scour flea markets, antique stores and garage sales for something similar. Keep an eye on your local paper and/or antique magazine, too…it never hurts to call and let proprietors know what you’re searching for. I do this often and, most of the time, people are more than happy to keep their eyes peeled for your specific item! But if you can’t find the antique bench of your dreams, don’t despair. There are a lot of great, ready-to-shop benches out there! One good way to find a foyer bench is to look at dining benches. These oftentimes come in various sizes/finishes and they can be way cheaper than a traditional “entryway bench.”
I decided to compile a few of my favorite, ready-to-shop benches. Some of these have that same rustic, aged look that my bench has…and others are a completely different style that I’m loving all the same! Some are splurges, some are steals. So take a look and let me know – which one is your favorite?
This Rustic Reclaimed Wood Bench from Overstock is a great price and has that patina of a well-worn antique find. I love the “waterfall” edges where the wood carries all the way to the floor. The hidden shelf underneath is perfect for baskets or shoes!
This Pottery Barn Toscana Bench comes in 3 different sizes, so you’re sure to find one that fits your space. I like all the detailing underneath that gives it a little extra style.
Another find with a great price tag! This is the Freya Bench from Birch Lane. The rich amber color would add instant warmth to a space. Add a couple of throw pillows and you could dress this up for any season or holiday!
This Nottingham Wood Bench in Weathered Gray by Perigold is definitely a splurge, but the style just really caught my eye. I love the mix of weathered gray wood with stainless steel legs. The shape of the legs really sets it apart, too!
Another waterfall bench alert! The Javen Wood Bench from All Modern is all about simplicity, but it has a little flair thanks to the rich wood grain. You could easily place a few baskets under this bench for added storage, too.
This Belham Living Ezra Dining Bench from Hayneedle definitely qualifies as a stylish steal! The price is great and the weathered wood and cross-brass detailing are perfect for a variety of styles! I’m secretly trying to find a place in my home for this because I’m having a hard time resisting it. I think I have a bench obsession!