I'm facing a common design challenge with one of my newest projects: how to create an entryway out of a room that doesn't include one. In this case, the front door opens right into the living room, and there's no place for my clients to toss a bag, drop the mail, and generally just take a breath when they enter the house.
A console table would be a quick fix in most cases, but it's not a good solution for this one. The spot we're using sports a large window with an unusually low sill, and a table would look funny sitting in front of it. So I'm going with an alternative: a long, low bench.
A backless model will sit below the window, which will lend the space a cleaner line, like so:
A bench sits lower than a table, of course, which makes it slightly less convenient as a way station for mail and bags. But it does have a distinct edge over that other piece of furniture: it provides a place to put on shoes, and it offers some additional seating for the room in general, too. This should be especially useful to my clients, since they entertain often.
Nor must you position a bench under a window, of course. You could use the wall space above one to store a host of other entryway necessities, like a mirror, shelves or hooks.
That area is also a great spot to hang art. I love the grand gesture of a truly large scale piece, or a gallery wall of smaller ones. Either option will turn your little space into a distinct destination, even if it's a portion of a larger room.
So if your entry is lacking something, consider a bench. Its lowly profile packs some large scale utility, and its versatility can't be beat.