From park to parlor

Next time you see a discarded park bench, think of it as a practical indoor seating piece, one that's bound to be a conversation piece, too. Hunt for one at flea markets, used-furniture shops, or from a demolition contractor in your city. There are also inexpensive reproductions found in gift and accessory shops or department stores. Whatever the source, the bench will provide good solid seating, and can always be painted or refinished.

Seat and back cushions will add comfort. Cushion fabrics should be in keeping with the casual informality of the bench, and solid colors or patterns will look equally well. Metal arms or brackets are usually black (or once were) , but can always be painted any color.

A small two-seater style would be just right in a small living room. Or put one on either side of a small table to create a dining area. The reproductions have the traditional slat seat and back and metal armrests just like the originals. Slats are usually finished in light to medium wood tones, with black trim. And while the new versions aren't quite so heavy as the old ones, they're easier to move around and provide the same use and effect.

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