Wrought Iron Benches

New, Vintage and Antique Wrought Iron Benches

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Wrought Iron Benches

HOW TO USE WROUGHT IRON BENCHES INDOORS AND OUTDOORS

Outdoor furniture crafted of water-resistant polyurethane, PVC, and temper-coated glass may be all the rage, but sometimes bringing it back to basics is arguably the best approach. Case in point: vintage wrought iron benches. Wrought iron benches have been a garden mainstay for centuries, lending garden alcoves architectural intrigue and outdoor conversation zones dynamic appeal, all while racking up accolades for their unparalleled durability and never-goes-out-of-style aesthetics. When it comes to outfitting your personal outdoor oasis, it may be tempting to opt for new-fangled plastics, but there’s no denying the pared-back perfection that an antique wrought iron bench can bestow.

Part of the secret to wrought iron benches’ staying power is the wrought iron itself. Wrought iron out-performs virtually any outdoor furniture material on the market, from powder-coated aluminums to all-natural teak. Wrought iron is essentially iron that has been heated to chemistry-altering temperatures in order to create a malleable material that can be hammered into intricate shapes. Once set, wrought iron is near indestructible—hence the reason it's been used historically to cast everything from railways to warships. Weather, even the most inclement, has virtually no effect on wrought iron. So long as wrought iron isn’t nicked or chipped, it won’t rust, either.

Which isn’t to say that wrought iron bench seats won’t age. But rather than devalue a piece, age can actually enhance a vintage wrought iron bench. A bit of weathering can result in subtle rivets, divots, and coloration changes that actually beautify. To keep more drastic aging at bay, black wrought iron benches can be easily maintained by way of a seasonal wellness-check. Give your piece a once-over to search for any nicks or dents. Scratches should be immediately sanded and touched up with paint. Cleaning wise, antique wrought iron benches only require a mild soap and water sponge-down. For extra credit, some iron enthusiasts will recommend a spritz of automotive spray wax, but it's by no means a must.

Using Vintage Wrought Iron Benches Outdoors

When looking for an antique wrought iron bench to style outdoors, it’s worth taking stock of where you’ll be using it—As a stand-alone fixture at the end of a breezeway? As part of a conversation zone?—and pick accordingly. Small wrought iron benches can be best for small, secluded garden nooks, while more substantial benches, such as a full-back bench with Italianate villa-style scrollwork, are better for holding their own on a patio or deck. A curved wrought iron bench can also be a befitting option for a seating area surrounding a circle-shaped feature such as a fountain, fire pit, or even the base of a mature tree.

Especially if you have a garden, it can be great fun to consider a vintage wrought iron bench with elaborate scrollwork to train creeping vines. Look for high-backed wrought iron benches if you plan to indulge climbing greenery. For those looking to achieve a truly verdant masterpiece, it can be worth seeking out vintage wrought iron garden benches with built-in trellises or canopies. While it can be difficult to bear a bare-bones frame for a season, a quick grower like star jasmine, white jasmine, or any number of climbing roses will make for a stunning statement bench in no time.

If you run across a vintage wrought iron bench that grabs you, but the finish is less than pristine, don’t fret. Wrought iron is among the easiest outdoor furniture materials to perk up with a simple can of paint. Because wrought iron is relatively porous, it will take any color well, but there’s something especially quintessential-feeling about a white wrought iron bench. Create a playful perch by embracing the fresh-feeling palette and outfitting a white wrought iron bench with a throw pillow or a cushion decked out in a wide cabana stripe. Whether you opt for a black-and-white stripe or pink-and-white combo, the look is virtually no-fail. More partial to solid textiles? Co-opt a look from an interior design institution, the Beverly Hills Hotel’s famed al fresco hideaway, the Polo Lounge, and pair a white wrought iron bench with snappy kelly green cushion.

Using Vintage Wrought Iron Benches Indoors

Vintage wrought iron benches might be a garden mainstay, but that doesn’t mean they can’t beguile indoors as well. In fact, a styling sleight of hand is all that’s needed to turn an outdoor wrought iron bench into an interior power player.

Whereas wrought iron garden benches can remain relatively unadorned outdoors without appearing wan, softening their edges, whether it be with a throw or a tufted cushion, can help to better integrate them into the interior narrative. Because of wrought irons’ malleability, antique wrought iron benches tend to be elegantly shaped, making them a magnificent partner for high-end, decorator fabrics. In fact, when hunting for vintage wrought iron benches, you’re liable to run into many that have already been reupholstered by pros. Animal prints like zebra and cheetah pair extraordinarily well with wrought iron, as do more adventurous (and thoroughly luxe) textiles like high-touch sheepskins and other furs. Decked in tastemaker textiles, there’s no mistaking a wrought iron bench as an outdoor piece brought errantly indoors during the course of a particularly raucous party.

Indoors, an antique wrought iron bench can work just about anywhere, from the entry to the dining room. Deploying a pair to sit on either side of a fireplace can feel especially spot-on, however, as can using one to create a seating area at the end of the bed. Compared to upholstered benches or wood benches, wrought iron benches tend to have legs that are waifish which makes them easy to layer in front of other furniture. Use them wherever you want to make a statement, but still want some of your carefully curated background design to peep through.