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From alters to lecterns: your church furnishings guide

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Churches are no different from other places of gathering in that they need furniture and amenities available for those that attend.

It’s most likely that your first thoughts when thinking about furniture in a church is the altar, lectern, pulpit or perhaps the font.

These are the functional piece of furniture that are used for reading, prayers, christenings and Sunday services. The majority of furniture in a church is functional as well as decorative.

Church furnishing and design inspiration

Despite these more historic pieces of furniture, churches also need furniture that can cater for the visitors, community groups and other events that are hosted in a churches space. It’s estimated that close to 90 per cent of churches are used for community purposes as well as for worship.

Things to consider when buying church chairs

church furniture ideas

Buying church chairs is not as simple as just finding a seat for a good price and going ahead with it. The chairs are going to be used for worship services, productions and other church activities so there are certain areas that need to be considered when buying church chairs and research should be conducted into the:

  • Price
  • Space of the room
  • Comfortability
  • Durability

Before taking the first steps, you should measure the size of the room that the chairs will be used. Think about how many people attend the church’s service and group events and how you’d like the seating to be arranged in the church. This should provide with the basis of how many chairs you will need and how many of each seat will fit into a row.

Because church-goers can spend hours seated through church service, comfortable seating is a must. Consider the benefits of wooden and upholstered seating: wooden may be more in keeping with the traditional appearance of a church but upholstery provides visitors with comfort during long services.

Perhaps ask your regular visitors what they would prefer in the church.

Like most furniture purposes, durability is key. Church chairs will be used frequently and for a range of activities, so it’s important that they are capable of withstanding use so that you don’t have to constantly replace them.

Switching from pews to chairs

Fitted church pews and furnishings

Pews, the long benches traditional used in churches, are beginning to be withdrawn in favour of modern, more comfortable seating in churches. A Church of England court has ruled that replacing pews with comfortable seating would encourage more people to attend services.

Many churches and cathedrals are now introduced different seating as opposed to the traditional pews. These are the plans of St Margaret's Church in Rainham who plan to remove the pews and install stainless steel chairs which will be upholstered with blue fabric.

Before making changes to the appearance of the church, priests must apply to the local church court for permission. Pews are part of the history of the church and need to be replaced seamlessly, not to affect the appearance of the church.

It’s important that new seating is an appropriate design and colour to match with the character of the church. Like the Church of England said, replacing the seating could result in more people attending. Nevertheless, it’s a big decision to make.

Stacking church chairs 

Stackable chairs and becoming increasingly popular for churches and cathedrals. More often than not, the church is at the heart of the community and used for meetings or as the venue for events, clubs and activities.

If the church has storage space, stacking chairs are an obvious option. By investing in stacking chairs, space is freed up in the centre of the church where pews were once present. This space opens up plenty of opportunities for a church.  

Church furniture tips and recommendations

There is a range of stacking chairs available in a number of different designs. Some popular choices for churches are the Balmoral aluminium stacking chair and the Richmond stacking chair. The chairs come in different coloured frames and a choice of coloured fabrics. This means that the church can alter the chair’s design to match the building’s interior. 

The comfort that these stacking chairs provide will be a welcome addition for many churchgoers. The ability to stack ten chairs high is perfect for storing away and using the space for other reasons and cleaning the church.

If a church wants to maintain the structured layout that pews provide, linking clips enable chairs to be temporarily connected in a row.

For churches that want to keep the appearance of pews whilst providing more comfortable seating, settle seating is a popular choice. The Killarney Settle can be upholstered in a range of fabrics and has an authentic appearance.

Where to buy church furniture

Trent Furniture is proud to be the chosen supplier of furniture for churches across the UK. With so many key decision makers in place at a church, the process can be long and it can be hard to please every member but at Trent Furniture there is a chair design for everyone.

What’s more, we offer a free chair trolley on order of more than 100 stacking chairs.

For more information about our church furniture or your requirements, call our team today on 0116 2986 185.

Furnishing for religious events

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The UK is home to a diverse population and so many of us hold different beliefs. Thankfully, this means that we’re able to experience a range of religious festivals each and every year.

A religious festival is a time of special importance to those who follow the religion. They typically run on an annual cycle and there are hundreds to note across the world. Amongst the many that take place, the religious festivals that are celebrated the most in the UK are Easter, Eid, and Diwali.

What do each of the festivals involve and what furnishings are often present for each?

church decorated window

Diwali

The festival of light marks the Hindu New Year. Hindu homes, shops and public places are decorated with small oil lamps called diyas. The lamps are lit to help Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, find her way into people's homes.

The festival celebrates light over darkness. So, as well as diyas, it’s common to see beautiful illuminations and firework displays as you walk the streets on festival day.

Just like New Year celebrations on 31st December, Diwali is a chance to throw a party. With colour being the main focus, any community space hosting an event should have furnishings that match the bright meaning of the cultural event.

Whether it’s colourful drapes covering tables or bright lampshades to cover lighting, colour is a must! This also goes for furniture, too. We mentioned the ability to cover tables with drapes but for seating, there are more options available.

Banqueting chairs come in a wide range of different upholstery styles, and because of its meaning, Diwali gives hosts the chance to experiment with colour more than any other occasion. Red upholstery matched with gold metal frames on seating is a popular choice for the festival.

However, there are plenty of other colours and patterns to choose from too. Just make the adjustments that you would like to make to the chairs before ordering.

Lent (Easter Sunday)

Easter Sunday can fall anywhere between March 22nd and April 25th. It’s commonly seen as the beginnings of spring and, if the weather is right, is the first time in the year that families and friends spend time outside for dinner and drinks.

Christians will gather at churches at midnight on Easter eve and then in the day spend time with family. Businesses often hold special Easter Sunday events and parades celebrating the day.
Colour schemes for an Easter celebration are typically greens, browns, whites and blues. Scattered around, there will be bunnies, chicks, plants and, of course, we all know that there are bound to be plenty of Easter eggs.

Whether indoor or outdoor, wooden furniture sits in well with the colours and theme. White wooden chairs such as the Washington side chair work particularly well. With the weather, hopefully, brightening up around the time of Easter Sunday, ensuring you have outdoor furniture is a must. Again, woods work well but to ensure the longevity of the product look for seating and tables with wooden tops and metal stands.

Complete the outdoor Easter look by hosting an egg hunt, tying ribbons to branches, scattering egg baskets around and having decorative egg ornaments.

Eid al-Fitr

Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, a month where Muslims across the world fast during the hours of daylight. Eid celebrates the end of this period and thank Allah for the help he gave them through the previous month of self-control.

Community space and homes celebrating Eid will all most likely have fresh flowers, sparkle and, of course, plenty of food! For Eid, it’s all about creating a welcoming impression so open seating and space for people to mix and mingle is a must.

Sofas mixed with armchairs and contemporary seating works well for groups celebrating Eid. After so long limiting their intake of food and drink, there is likely to be a buffet-esque selection of food on offer at most Eid gatherings.

Folding tables are ideal for these temporary functions and can be stored away after. Line each table up and there is plenty of room for all of the delicious food!

Furniture for religious events

Whatever the religion, festivals are events that are looked forward to by those that follow the religion are all about coming together as groups. Families, friends, acquaintances and strangers all coming as one to enjoy the moment together.

church cathedral interior design and furnishings

If held outdoor, banqueting tables and banquet chairs are ideal. They can be tailored to match the theme of the event and can be stacked away until the following year. Folding and stacking tables and chairs are easier to manoeuvre than those more conventional.

If you need help with selecting furniture for your event celebrating a religious festival. Get in touch with our team on 0116 2988 787 or browse our selection of seating and tables.

How to make your restaurant digital

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Going into a restaurant and asking for the WiFi password is becoming a more common theme. Some establishments are now so used to people asking that they provided the password details to internet heaven on a plaque on the bar or on a slip of paper on each table.

It’s no surprise that the way we dine is becoming ever more digital. We’re connected with the outside world throughout every experience that we have. Therefore, giving your customers the ability to easily share pictures of the amazing food and drink you’ve provided is a must.

New research has revealed the scale of younger persons using smartphones while dining. 2,000 regular eaters out were surveyed by Eagle Eye to understand their habits when dining.

Of those aged between 16 and 24, 40 per cent make call or message, 41 per cent check their social media and 37 per cent take photographs of their friends and family with food. The amount that this age group uses their smartphones increase the more regularly they dine out.

Improving the digital experience

When asked how restaurants could improve their experience, 42 per cent of 25-34 year olds and 39 per cent of 16-24 year olds said they would like to receive personalised promotions to their mobile.

Three quarters of 25-34 year olds also said that they would find a restaurant app useful for paying or redeeming vouchers and promotions. 

If developing an app is out of your price range, make the most of visitors needs to get internet access by getting them to register for access. The majority of visitors will have no problem exchanging their email address for free internet access.

By getting their email address, your CRM can be updated and you can fine tune communication strategies to increase the likelihood of a return visit.

Instagram worthy restaurant furniture

With visitors posting pictures and videos of their experience in your restaurant, your establishment needs to look the part. What’s better than your customers spreading free word of mouth with all of their followers and friends?

For more information about the range of seating and tables available to get your restaurant Instagram-ready, contact Trent Furniture today on 0116 2983 569.

How to shabby chic your café tables and chairs

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The shabby chic style can be used to enhance any type of interior or décor and make rooms look that bit more vintage. Whether your customers just pop in for a drink or dedicate a while in your café to satisfying their cravings, the shabby chic design will make sure they always return.

What is Shabby Chic furniture? 

The style of ‘shabby chic’ describes a form of interior design in which furniture and furnishings are favoured for their aged, traditional style of showing signs of wear and tear, or when a new item has purposely been distressed to achieve a sought after antique effect.

Where did shabby chic as a style come from?

The term ‘Shabby Chic’ was first coined in the early eighties by a British designer in American magazine ‘The World of Interiors.’ This was just at the time that a new wave of decorating styles had emerged in Britain using paints and pain effects. Designer Rachel Ashwell used the same term to describe her style when she arrived in America in the eighties and it became so popular she used it as her business name and trademarked it in 1989. 

How do you ‘shabby chic’ furniture?

The ‘Shabby Chic’ design is usually created by items being heavily painted through the years, with many layers showing through obviously time-worn areas. The style is then imitated by using glaze or by painting and then rubbing and sanding away the top coat to show the wood or base coats. This technique is known as ‘distressing’ the finish of the furniture to give it that antique look. Colours of cream or grey are often used to create this effect and result in the more traditional style most people favour.

How to ‘shabby chic’ chairs

Like most DIY projects, the key to a successful outcome is in the planning. Make sure to decide in advance how you want your finished piece to look, as winging it never ends well. Once you have decided how you want the end design to look, follow these next steps and take the plunge.

1. Prepare the wood – you will need to remove the finish on the wood so your new paint will be able to stick to the surface easier. White spirit and a wire pad will do the trick if your furniture is polished with wax and sandpaper will be more efficient if your piece of furniture is varnished.
2. Apply a primer – to give your furniture a smoother finish and make it easier for you to work on, apply a coat of water-based acrylic primer. It doesn’t have to be neat.
3. Apply the paint – Choose two different colours of acrylic water-based paint. Add the first colour onto your piece of furniture and let it dry completely. To create a clever two-colour distressed finish, you simply dab streaks of clear furniture wax using a paintbrush, cloth or sponge, where you want the wood to look distressed. The wax will then repel the next layer of colour after it is painted over the whole thing resulting in the base layer showing through. When the piece of furniture is completely dry, wipe it with a cloth to take the paint of the waxed areas giving you the favoured antique effect. 
4. If you wish for a more distressed look, then sandpaper can be used on the painted piece of furniture to scrape off the paint as deep as the wood level. If you go wrong, just paint over it and give it another go.
5. Alternatively, choose sections of a piece of furniture to focus on, such as the legs.  An example of this is our Shabby Chic Farmhouse Table, which combines a walnut wood finish with white paint.
Where to buy ‘shabby chic’ furniture

Due to the upcoming rise of shabby chic furniture, it can be bought in many stores from high street chains to small individual businesses sharing their unique styles. Whether you want to save yourself the hassle and buy pre-distressed shabby chic furniture or save money and upcycle your own pieces of favourite furniture, you will never be short of options and ideas!

For all of your furniture inspiration needs, visit the Trent Furniture website, where we have a huge range of tables, chairs, stools and sofas.
 

Creating a family affair in your restaurant

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The two main necessities for appealing to families are creating the right environment and having an appealing menu.

However, balancing between catering for families and other guests can be a difficult task. 

But with the summer holidays just weeks away, more families will be available to eat out. Here are some easy ways to increase you family appeal:

Healthy, adventurous options

The decision of where a family eats will often sit with what the children’s menu looks like. But gone are the days of parents looking for a basic menu filled with fish fingers, burgers and chips – at least not solely. Although treats are allowed when eating out, health is still in consumers’ minds. 

Children will always side with the more indulging option yet restaurants can reimagine the old classics with a healthy twist; these options don’t have to be deep fried to be enjoyed. Find a way of making these familiar children’s meals in a healthier way.

Allowing children to customise their own meal is a great way of engaging little ones. Children like to be involved and creating an interactive menu is a simple way of doing so. 

Fun and games

We all remember getting those colouring pencils and paper when we went out for a meal with our parents in our younger days. Something so simple can create the impression that your establishment welcomes families with young children. 

The pictures, games and activities for children should involve all members of the family and be regularly updated to increase repeat custom. By engaging and entertaining the kids, the parents are more relaxed meaning that the whole dining experience is more enjoyable. 

What families are looking for:

• Healthy meal options
• Deals for children
• Details of the ingredients and sourcing of child’s food
• Entertainment for children
• Play area (if enough space)

The summer holidays are approaching which means that there are six weeks for restaurants to make the most of the family market. This market is thriving but parents want healthy options and something to make the children feel welcomed and entertained. 

Family restaurant furniture

Our child’s high chair is designed so what the child can push right up to the table so that the child can join in with the rest of the family. They are also stackable, meaning that they can be stored using less room and can be easily used when needed.

To find out more about our seating, for every age, call us today on 0116 2986 248. 
 

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