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Online furniture buying can be a great tool for furnishing your cafe or restaurant. However, many of us write off the idea of buying online without physically seeing the product, deeming it to be too risky. How do you know the piece will work in your space if you haven’t had a chance to see it first? How can you tell if what you see is actually what you get?

As experts in the furniture field, we’ve put together a fear-free guide to buying furnishing items online.

Measure your space

Measuring is crucial to the process of buying online as the physical element of seeing the item you are buying is removed. Measuring the space in which you intend to place the item as well as its dimensions are key. If your furniture expands somehow —a recliner or extendable dining table for example— make sure you have accounted for the largest version.

Bear in mind you are likely to need extra measurements as your furniture may not be delivered to you already assembled. Don’t forget to measure any relevant doorways and stairways to make sure you can actually get it to where it’s supposed to go.

Read other reviews

Product listings are supposed to sound complimentary, and it’s likely that a piece of furniture is pitched exactly to meet your needs. Often, though, reviews tell a slightly different story.  Reviews are key to your success and we suggest focusing your shopping on items that have lots of available reviews.

Ask for swatches

Online photos of the product are oftentimes hard to judge. Although it may show the shape and style of a product, photos are usually taken in good lighting and can be retouched or edited prior to appearing on a website. Colours and especially textures can look really different on a computer screen than they do in person, so it's always a good idea to ask for swatches if viewing the product in person is not at all possible.

Check the return policy

Before you buy, make sure to read the fine print so you know exactly what you're getting into. Some retailers will allow you to return large items as long as you pay for the return shipping; others charge a restocking fee. Some items, like upholstered pieces in non-standard colors or products that were made to order, may not be returnable at all.

Postage and Shipping Costs

Most online shops charge a delivery fee, either in addition to or in place of normal shipping fees, for oversized items. While you're shopping, check delivery fees, and factor this into the cost of your furniture.

Buying furniture online doesn’t have to feel like you’re taking a big gamble. Keep these tips in mind for the next time you’re ready to make a big purchase. 

At Trent Furniture, we understand that every café has a different size, interior and budget. As such, furnishing a café is far from a one-size-fits-all approach. That’s why we have a wide selection of tables to cater for every type of café. Take your pick from different materials, styles and colours.

We’ve decided to pick out a small selection from our range of tables that we think are best suited to the café environment. These are our four favourite tables for cafés:

Farmhouse table

The shabby chic trend is going nowhere fast and this Farmhouse Table is the perfect addition to a quirky café. The traditional style with contrasting white legs and walnut table top finish is a popular style and works well with a mismatch of chairs. If you’re looking to add character to your café, these are the tables for you.

Take a look here.

Pyramid coffee table

Every café needs at least one sofa seating area. A sofa or armchair is the spot for those planning on spending a longer amount of time in your café, so it’s important to make them feel comfortable. To match the sofa and armchair height, a low-level coffee table is needed.

The Rectangular Black Pyramid Coffee Table has an attractive twin pedestal design and substantial concrete weight built into the base which is for great stability.

Take a look here.

Capra round table

When those rainy days hit or winter arrives, no one is going to want to sit outside. Outdoor furniture is great through the sunnier seasons but is often packed away between October and March. However, with a wooden effect top, the Capra Table can easily be seen indoors whilst being robust enough to endure weather outdoor too.

Take a look here.

Art deco pedestal table

If you are looking to create a stylish café interior, you can’t go wrong with the Art Deco Pedestal Table. Constructed of cast iron, the Art Deco base is very sturdy and weighty. The modern silver finish on the cast iron base brightens up any interior and brings this table to life. 

With a range of table tops, shapes and cast iron bases available, you can really make the table your own.

Take a look here.

Tables for cafés

It’s not just tables that we supply to cafés. Our Bistro & Café Furniture section includes a wide range of chairs and tables which are perfect for the cafe, bistro and catering industry.

Our Bistro tables & Café Furniture collection is made up of many different styles and finishes from stylish melamine and chrome chairs to traditional wooden bistro Chairs such as the Italia with an authentic seagrass seat. 

October 1st was International Coffee Day, a day where the world comes together to celebrate our unanimous love of all things coffee. In the UK specifically, according to the British Coffee Association, we drink 95 million cups of coffee every single day. That’s a rise from the 70 million in 2008.

The past decade has seen an unprecedented rise in demand for coffee. Not only are new cafés popping up on streets every week, but there is also an influx of different types of coffee, with quality becoming ever-more important. Gone are the days of a simple coffee order, the coffee menu is getting longer and longer, with new trends coming every year. 

Here are some coffee trends for cafés to follow:

Cold brew coffee

Cold brew coffee isn’t anything new. However, its popularity continues to grow. Cold brew is achieved by steeping the beans in cold water for up to 24 hours. By brewing the coffee beans in cold water, the acidity in the coffee is drawn out, giving a whole new flavour. Because it brews over hours rather than minutes, the result is a gentle extraction that leaves a sweeter cup of coffee.

The sweetness has brought with it a new wave of coffee fans because of the different taste. More recently, the cold brew trend has been mixed with flavours such as rhubarb and cherry.

Sparkling coffee

Sparkling water has long been a healthy alternative to sugary fizzy drinks. Carbonated water is now hitting coffee, too! It’s a new take on cold brew coffee and is being used in espressos as well.

This is an extremely refreshing take on coffee and is typically served with a cold brew, soda water and lemon/lime.

Turmeric lattes

Turmeric lattes are the latest health craze to hit the coffee market. Thanks to powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, turmeric has many benefits that turn a latte into a healthy option.

Bright yellow in colour, alternative lattes such as turmeric are also too good to not Instagram! If you want customers to share pictures of their coffee stop with their followers, alternative lattes are a must.

Latte art

Another way of getting customers to share your coffee creations is with latte art. Leafs and hearts are common courtesy now but some cafés are taking it a step further by training their barista to create 3D pieces of latte art with the foamy milk. They’re so good, you have to take a picture!

Different types of milk

Okay, it’s uncommon for a café to stock only dairy milk but the market for non-dairy options is growing and it’s more important than ever to have a range of options available. Soya, almond, oat, coconut, hazelnut are all household options.

Not only is having these types of milk useful for attracting vegans and those with dairy/lactose allergies, but research shows plant-based milk is healthier for us. Could coffee with cow milk soon be a thing of the past?

Café furniture

Our Bistro & Café Furniture section includes a wide range of chairs and tables which are perfect for the cafe, bistro and catering industry. Our Bistro tables & Café Furniture collection is made up of many different styles and finishes from stylish melamine and chrome chairs to traditional wooden bistro Chairs such as the Italia with an authentic seagrass seat. 

Winter is drawing in and the long, cold nights are soon to become a formality for another six months. A mixture of ice cold weather, expensive festive celebrations and private parties, makes the winter season notoriously more difficult for operators.

One way of getting customers through the bar’s door during winter is to add touches to give guests a respite from the cold. In a cosy, warm environment, sometimes, it’s so welcoming that you never want to leave! Here are some ways for bar owners to make their bars extra cosy:

Sofas

A comfortable sofa is the definition of cosy. On a cold night, there’s nothing better than snuggling up at home on a comfy sofa and evenings out should be no different. To truly have your customers relax and unwind, a sofa area is a must.

If they are comfortable and content, there’s no reason why they won’t stay for an extra few drinks. We’re not saying your bar should be full of sofas, but a mismatch of sofas, chairs and stools.

Blankets and cushions

There’s only one way to make a sofa even cosier; with blankets and cushions, of course. Line your sofas with accessories and you’re well on your way to having yourself a regular customer through winter.

Lighting

Choice of lighting is so important in creating a warm and inviting interior. Perhaps often underestimated, without lighting the goal of creating a cosy interior often fails. When considering lighting, the aim is to create a warm orange glow. There aren’t many who can walk past a bar with an inviting warm glow on a cold day.

A right balance of lighting can be achieved by using a mixture of fairy lights, candles, an open fireplace and setting LED lights to dim.

Hot cocktails

The winter is a great opportunity to make some much-needed changes to both your food and drinks menu. Ice cold drinks won’t be much use through winter so add a seasonal menu featuring warm and spiced cocktails. The thought of sipping on hearty cocktails and mulled wine is enough to tempt everyone from shoppers to after-work drinkers in.

Get the heating up!

If you aren’t blessed with an open fireplace, make sure you crank the heating up. Not only to fight off the chill in the air but to dry and warm up customers clothing. You should have a designated area for customers to leave their snow-dusted jackets, gloves and scarves to warm up and dry before they head out again. Customers don’t want to be stuck with their cold, dripping jackets whilst eating or drinking.

Bar furniture supplier

If your bar is in need of a refurbishing or you need some extra chairs or bar stools to get you through the winter season, browse our selection of bar furniture here. You’ll find plenty of options waiting to make up your cosy interior. You can speak to our advisors on 0116 2982 838.

As usual, it’s the Americans who are leading the way. In particular, the giant US technology companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter and Uber, whose Silicon Valley headquarters and offices are helping to transform the world of work. Facebook’s new headquarters in California, for instance, is a vast light-filled complex with a nine-acre green space on the roof, complete with walking trail. Apple’s new Cupertino base is surrounded by trees transplanted from the Mojave desert; the pizzas come in a newly patented box designed to prevent sogginess.

Everywhere you look in Silicon valley, there are ping-pong tables and table football games, beanbags, “living walls” of greenery, yurts, indoor bike paths, hammocks, saunas, meditation pods, chillout zones and play areas. The idea is to break down barriers: between work and leisure, and between the workers themselves, creating a less hierarchical, more productive work environment.

 

Shiny happy offices

Some of these ideas would look a bit silly in the typical British office – and some would be totally impractical. But the basic principles behind these shiny happy workspaces are feeding into our office design and business furniture trends. What this means is that the traditional office – ranks of desks in an open-plan office, or cubicles divided by partitions – is becoming a thing of the past. Walls and partitions are coming down. Spaces are opening up, becoming more organic, more flexible, more varied. An office might have desks in one corner, and sofas or armchairs in the other. At a time when the UK’s economy is approaching full employment, companies need to find new ways to attract and retain staff – and an attractive working environment can be an important factor.

The basic tool of the office worker – the desk-based PC – is now no longer essential. Laptops these days have similar computing power and can of course be carried around. This means that workers no longer need to be tied to a fixed workstation. It’s also reckoned that around 60 per cent of desks are unoccupied at any time in the working day, because the people who work there are out of the office on the road or elsewhere in meetings. So the traditional desk, where a worker would be sitting for almost all of their working day, is becoming obsolete. Today’s workers are much more relaxed about where, and how, they sit: on chairs, in armchairs, on sofas, beanbags, even on the floor.

Of course, many employees still need a base where they can store their possessions, start the day, keep their work folders and papers, and so on. So desks and chairs are still part of the furniture. But they don’t need to be as big, as substantial, as they have been in the past. And for those who are still tied to their desks for long periods, desks that are adjustable from sitting to standing – with motors that enable them to rise and fall at the push of a button - will help prevent posture problems and introduce variety.  

Workers these days are also more collaborative, more informal and less hierarchical. As more millennials enter the workforce, the old conventional ways of working are disappearing, replaced by people working together in groups. Where do they do this? In breakout areas, meeting areas – even in office canteens. Employers are finding that this leads to a more productive working environment.

 

Flexible and friendly

Creating this new working environment means creating a comfortable and attractive office with lots of recharging points for laptops and phones (ideally these should be wireless) and wall-mounted screens for presentations. Furniture could be sofas with low tables, cubes, comfortable chairs and tables that can be reconfigured for small or large groups. The office canteen or café, once a very functional place, is becoming a space where groups of workers will sit with coffee, snacks, lunch and laptops. Furniture therefore needs to be more flexible, easy to reconfigure for impromptu meetings.

Breakout spaces with soft furniture are another useful space. These can be semi-enclosed, or simply occupy the corner of a room, with its own furniture and its own character. Some companies are building booths, similar to those found in diners, with banquette-style benches for collaborative working. Sometimes, breakout areas are furnished with the kind of high “poseur” stools and tables normally seen in bars and pubs – ideal for a quick meeting or for sitting and catching up on emails.  

This new flexibility is leading to the disappearance in offices of walls and partitions. Of course, large spaces need to be broken up in some way to avoid aesthetic monotony, but this can be done with attractive semi-open room dividers, perhaps with plants on shelves. Nothing is hidden away in the new office space.   

The new flexible interactive office might become rather overwhelming for some people. Which is why some companies are introducing private areas where workers can relax, put headphones on and listen to music, catch up on social media, or just chill out. These areas need to be furnished in muted colours, nothing too bright, but the most important thing is comfort: it should be a kind of den, a sanctuary of softness and quiet, with perhaps beanbags or low soft seating and footrests.

 

Rise of the rented office

Some companies are doing away with head offices altogether, with workers based mostly at home and meeting up in hired office spaces when necessary. This has led to a rise in the market for rented offices – spaces that are flexibly furnished for meetings, presentations, and so on. In a competitive market, it’s important that these offices are attractive as well as functional; today’s flexible workers want more than a dull, functional, corporate-looking space. It might therefore be a good idea to introduce splashes of colour in the furniture or upholstery to give the rented office a homelier, more human atmosphere.

 

How green is your office?

Another important trend in office design and furnishing is known as “biophilic design”. This means, essentially, lots of greenery. The presence of plants and greenery has been shown to improve workers’ productivity. Indeed, a 2010 study from the University of Sydney showed that plants in offices reduce tension and anxiety among workers. Ambitious companies are introducing “living walls”, an entire wall of plants and greenery, constantly being watered and given plenty of natural light (another must for the 21st-century office). More modestly, plants placed on desks, on the floor or on small tables can bring an office, literally, to life.

 

Workers’ playtime

And finally, today’s younger office workers have a playful side that they want to see carried through into the work environment, in a world where barriers between work and play are disappearing. Companies can help them to explore this playfulness by introducing games, or even games rooms, if there’s enough space.

The games themselves might just be a selection of board games, played on low tables with comfortable armchairs or sofas; or they could be ping-pong, table football, or even computer games, with a special room set aside for gaming, with slouchy furniture and a vibrant, playful ambience. It’s a far cry from the formal, regimented nine-to-five life that was the world of work for their parents and grandparents.

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