Cubby benches for your entryway
- The San Francisco Chronicle, 09/20/2009

You've dragged yourself out of bed, downed a bowl of cereal and dressed. But on the way out, you find yourself stymied by the heap of shoes in the doorway. Seems that a tsunami of sneakers has swallowed pumps, flats and dress shoes.

What's a body to do? Go to work barefoot or tell your boss about your cannibalistic shoe collection. Neither choice is savory.

We say: It's time to get your soles in order.

The cubby bench is more scenic than the shoe rack and can be used for seating as well as storage. Pottery Barn's Samantha Entryway Bench is one good option (potterybarn.com). The solid hardwood frame is topped by a birch veneer and retails for $299 in black and cream finishes and $399 for the mahogany stain shown here. The three cubbies can be outfitted with the company's honey-colored, wicker-and-rattan Samantha baskets, which are $79 for a set of three. Inside, you can stack newspapers, athletic gear - and, of course, shoes, shoes and more shoes.

On top of the bench, you can add the Samantha Tufted Bench Cushion for $75, which comes in different stripes - marigold, blue and red - as well as solid cream and sage.

Target sells a white MDF-and-plywood entryway bench with a similar tri-cubby structure. Included in the $199 price are three neutral, cream-colored cushions in canvas, as well as three wicker baskets for storage. (Many Target customers who purchased the bench commented on target.com that they re-covered the cushions in a brighter, more personality-filled fabric or simply replaced them.)

So next time you kick off your shoes, aim for the basket.

Pottery Barn Samantha Entryway Bench ($399, w/o cushion & baskets)

Target Entryway Bench ($199)