How to choose chairs and stools for a cafe, restaurant or a bar

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Quality service and skilled cooks surely affect Yelp ratings but it’s furniture that establishes the vibe of a place. Interior design is a pillar of any restaurant, cafe or bar. Each element of it should be chosen with care and the client’s comfort in mind. If a guest can’t relax and keep fidgeting around in his seat, no gastronomic masterpieces will be able to save his experience.

So if you want to avoid putting your clients in such frustration and want your place not only to be known for exceptional cuisine and service but also for an outstanding and relaxing design let’s take a look at how to choose the most comfortable chairs.

This article is brought to you by Buschman Store team and links point at our category pages for illustrative purposes. At Buschman Store, we sell bar stools of all sorts (16 live categories like vintage bat stools and metal bar stools; 15+ coming soon categories).

Bar, restaurant and cafe chairs requirements

The most important thing to keep in mind is that the furniture in cafes and public places are used much more intensively compared with the domestic one. Choosing chairs for cafes, bars, restaurants you should take into account many things such as the concept and format of the place, the design and color palette and who are your target clients. But, regardless of these factors, furnishings must meet the convenience, functionality, ergonomics and aesthetics requirements.

Below are some specific numbers:

  1. First of all, the depth of the seats should be around 16-18 inches. Otherwise, the guest will be uncomfortable.

  2. The seat width for a cafe stool must be at least 15 inches and 17 inches for a cafe chair. The width of a high-end restaurant stool should be at least 16 inches and about 18 inches for a restaurant chair.

  3. The tabletop should be around 12 inches above the top of the seat.

  4. As for the classic bar which is usually 47-60 inches tall, we recommend choosing the 30 inches bar stools.

What qualities should you look for when choosing the furniture?

  • Comfort. The comfort of your visitors is a priority, so keep in mind that you will have quite different people coming to your place. Even for the sake of saving space don’t go for the narrowest seating.

  • Stability. An unstable and loose chairs ruin the whole experience. It distracts from the meal, causes frustration and besides increases the risk of spilling something hot. We recommend paying attention to models with very sturdy legs.

  • Wear resistance, durability. Give preference only to specialized items of furniture designed for high-traffic areas. Choose high-quality dining chairs with a wear-resistant coating and reliable hardware. Fabric upholstery would not the most practical option in this case. But if you really want it - you can check out the fabric with a special stain-resistant coating.

  • Easy to take care of. It can’t be stressed enough how important it is to choose the furniture that is easily cleaned, both dry and wet. The constant flow of people will cause a constant appearance of dirt or stains. It is important that the furniture can be quickly cleaned without irritating the customer or interrupting the work hours.

  • Compatibility with style. To maintain the vibe and aesthetics of the space, each element should contribute to the entire design concept; be it industrial, vintage, rustic or something completely different - there always will be a selection (Amazon alone offers a selection over 2000 bar stools)

When choosing furniture you need to take into account how spacious your place is. In the big spaces with high ceilings, you can place massive and solid high-end chairs, while cozy and elegant pieces would be a perfect fit for a small cafe. Taking into account the style of the cafe, you may choose furniture that attributes either to a more intimate atmosphere or to an open and more friendly one that creates a community kind of feeling.

The luxury of the place also determines the kind of pieces you would like to purchase for it. If you are creating a premium-level restaurant you may prefer to furnish it with pieces made from a natural material, whereas if it’s a local after work happy hour kind of place you may go with practical and cheap cafe chairs.

Restaurant marketing being so fierce today, that you have to use every possible leverage against competition.

What to consider when choosing chairs for a cafe?

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Of course, the cafes are usually smaller and less demanding than a restaurant. Usually, the chairs for outdoor cafes and coffee shops do not have armrests: this helps to organize a larger number of seats and ensure high traffic. However, even when choosing weightless and compact chairs, you shouldn't forget about their practicality, convenience, and safety requirements. You really shouldn’t be saving here, low-quality items will quickly break and as a result, the savings will be pretty dubious.

Even folding frames should be stable and able to withstand any visitor. Popular materials for the chair frames in family cafes and coffee shops are hardwood, metal or rattan. They are beautiful, functional and reliable. If you want soft chairs for your cafe to look at the ones with durable upholstery, or, alternatively, with eco-leather.

The specialty of choosing restaurant chairs

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A great option for a traditional kind of restaurant are the pieces made of solid hardwood.

Restaurant chains have massive dimensions, wide seats, soft upholstery, armrests - all so that the client stays longer, enjoys comfort, and then returns again. In addition to chairs, designers often compliment the interior with sofas with decorative pillows. Modern restaurants, however, usually go with a chair design that combines metal and glass.

In addition to the basic requirements, exclusivity is another one to keep in mind when choosing high-end furniture. The interior design should demonstrate a remarkable taste and sense of style.

In terms of wear resistance, the requirements for restaurant chairs are the same. It makes no sense to spend money on the regular model because they quickly lose their appearance, especially when it comes to upholstery.

How to choose a bar stool?

What is so special about a bar? Of course, the bar itself! And where the bar is there are bar stools. These are high stools or chairs with a rotating mechanism, footrest and sometimes with armrests and a back.

The best option for a bar is a stool with a height adjustment mechanism. However, these chairs are less durable and more expensive and often both.

The main piece of advice is to buy reliable bar stools. Since a bar falls into the category of places where visitors are not famous for the careful furniture treatment, chairs should be durable and withstand any kicks and hits.

Metal bar stools (and plastic) are more practical models. Superior options have fabric or leather seats.

Keep in mind that not all the customers prefer to enjoy their drinks at the bar: some want to spread around the place, so it is worthwhile to provide alternative seats. Their design and specificity depend on the concept of a place, but in general, when choosing such chairs, you can rely on the rules that are relevant to the cafe.

These simple tips will help you choose the right chairs for any cafe, bar, and restaurant.

Although the design of the place is extremely important, practicality is often a priority and it is what the owners of cafes start with when choosing furniture.