While plastic and metal benches are available and can in fact be customized, it is the wooden storage benches that are in heavy demand given the fact that wood does not conduct heat and provides a cool setting even on hot days. Another advantage is that mold, fungi and rot are not able to infect the wooden benches because cedar is naturally resistant against them. Storage benches are also available in two varieties, with or without backs. Furthermore the benches can have storage space tailored to your requirements. Some people prefer tiny drawers or compartments to store the clutter like shoes, socks or even umbrellas. Some others prefer to have chest-sized storage space that can hold larger items like quilts, blankets and pillows. If required for storage, benches can also contain cooler lines, meaning you can store your beverages in them. Most benches also have some sort of space beneath the arm rest. If the storage space is a chest, it is vital you look for a finger guard to protect from injury when opening the lid. Another option is to put cushions on your storage bench. This will make it more comfortable. However, the decision is now up to you.
A Jansen artist bench is the Cadillac of benches, and it is reflected in the price. Compared to other benches however, even those made by other American manufacturers, it is definitely worth the price, and like everything else is life, you get what you pay for. Take into account, that their benches are meant to last for many years, if not decades (they do use a thick, heavy duty polyester foam which will not break down), and that you are placing the piano bench next to a multi-thousand dollar instrument. When the piano is the focal point of your room, you do not want to put something cheap next to it, and putting a cheap bench next to a Steinway piano, it will definitely stick out.
For wood benches, look for one that comes in very few pieces. Try to get a feel for the joints although judging joints on a wood piece is a bit more difficult because it can be hard to see the quality construction. Try sitting on the bench and moving around a little bit. If the bench does not wiggle or creak, then there is a good chance that it is of high quality. For upholstered bench tops, look at how the cushion is attached to the bench. A cushion that is loose or looks like it is about to come loose will not do. The best choice is a cushion that is attached to the top of the bench and cannot be removed. Cushions that are attached with ties are usually not a good choice for a vanity bench. Also remember to look for cushions made of a material that is easy to wipe off and clean.
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