“ Brand: Futon Company / Bench / Type: Box „
I read somewhere that about 80% of the dirt brought into the average house comes in on our shoes - it's the reason why, in our house, we have a no-shoe rule - one which we don't enforce on visitors, but which does mean that in our hallway we need somewhere to put our shoes when we come in and change into our comfy slippers. I bought this shoe box bench about 3 years ago after quite a hunt - I don't know if it is me but the "right" storage is always so hard to find. The shoe bench provides storage and also a place to sit whilst you take your shoes off and is currently on sale at the Futon Company for £89.99 - it's flat pack so can be collected in store, which is what we did to reduce delivery costs.
Once assembled (from memory this was pretty straightforward on the scale of these things, the manufacturer says 25 minutes assembly, which would strike me as about right) the shoe box has no visible bolts or screws. It's actually solid birch wood, which will yellow slightly over time, but very sturdy once made. The top of the bench under the suedette finish cushion lifts to provide you with plenty of room for gloves, hats and umbrellas, or more shoes - though there is no slow-close hinge or divisions to the box which would be handy - we use ours with children so have to take care with little fingers. The space underneath is enough to stow at least one pair of shoes for each member of the family and is the right height.
This is a compact piece of furniture at 80cm long, 51cm and 37cm high - it sits neatly in the space we have for it and was a lot cheaper than other alternatives that I found - there's also a matching peg and mirror set which we don't own but which would allow you to create a small storage area. For us, bar the fact that the box lid is quite heavy and lowers quickly (caution with children needed), it's been a very good solution to the issue of where to put our shoes to prevent them being littered all over the hall, and it fits in well with the rest of our hall furniture.
The faux-suede cushion has worn very well - we chose brown in preference to the cream it also comes in, there's no washing guidance on the cover but I have put it through the washing machine on cold with no ill effects. Being a solid wood, the rest of the bench, which is well finished, is also in very good shape too - it's quite a modern piece of furniture so whether it's your style or not will be personal to you, but I think it looks good for the price we paid. As solving an issue we had - getting the children to actually put their shoes where they should is more problematic - this bench has been just perfect, we all use it daily to perch on and remove our shoes. I'm giving it 4 stars as it could have the box part divided into bits and also as I explained a slow-close hinge would be much better, but overall I would be happy to recommend this shoe bench and it's been a good purchase for us.