iron garden bench

Metal Design Furniture and the History of Garden Benches

Garden benches are something we all know and, at Metal Design Furniture, love – they come in all shapes and sizes, made from wood, stone or metal, simple and rustic or elaborate and elegant. But garden benches were not always so common and in fact have a long and interesting history behind them – who knew?

Garden benches met popular demand in the mid-nineteenth century with the rise of attractions such as public parks and piers – and the masses simply demanded a place to sit and rest after a long day!

1700s-1800s Bench. Image Credit: liveauctioneers.com

Initially, benches were not attractive, refined or comfortable… but thankfully, they were slowly being designed to provide both comfort and a subtle aesthetic.

Garden benches are an essential part of any garden – they act not only as a place of rest or relaxation, but also often as a decorative piece! A Telegraph article suggests that you match the size of your bench to the size of your home, so that your garden remains proportional and balanced. You might also wish to choose a different style of bench according to the way your home looks and is decorated.

Thankfully, at Metal Design Furniture we have a range of garden benches, with different styles to correspond with your taste – to find out more, look out for next week’s post!

Metal Garden Bench or What is a Loveseat

Contrary to popular belief, the loveseat wasn’t invented for lovebirds. It actually began life as a large chair that was wide enough to accommodate the large gowns worn by fashionable ladies of the 17th & 18th centuries.

As these trends expired at the beginning of the 19th century, people began to notice the extra space in their chairs.  They were then produced under the name love seat, or ‘courting chair’.

Love seats got wider in Victorian era as courting couples were not allowed to get too close.  Ultimately they became a sofa for two, allowing room for two people to sit comfortably together.

In the glamorous 40s and 50s the courting chair was revamped.  Boudoir loveseats can be seen in furniture ads throughout this period; a 2-seater for the bedroom sporting luxurious upholstery and often a scantily-clad lady.

These days, it’s common to use a love-seat in the garden; a romantic metal garden bench or a two-seater sofa provides a tranquil spot for couples to enjoy each-others company.


And, if we need to convince you more about how fashionable the love-seat is again, the new portrait photograph of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, the first to be commissioned of the two together, shows them on a two-seater sofa.

Commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery London, to mark the Queen’s forthcoming Diamond Jubilee and in the year of the Duke’s 90th birthday, the artist Thomas Struth explained:

I wanted to leave them both in their royal environment, and of course not try to disguise who they are, but also show them as an elderly couple who are together.
I selected what in America you call a love seat, which is a small two-seater sofa which would make them sit together, and yet both in their own aura.”