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Folding tables are a storage-friendly stalwart of wedding buffets and Christmas dinners, but there are plenty of more innovative uses for even the most basic trestle table.

Here are five of the best ways to use folding tables around the house - from the more familiar to some fun and even surprising alternatives.

A versatile addition

First of all, it's worth taking a moment to appreciate the versatility of folding tables for the most common uses.

With legs that fold flat to the table top, they can be stored away against a wall, under other furniture, or anywhere from a good-sized store cupboard to a garage or shed.

On commercial premises, table trolleys allow for several folding tables to be placed in position quickly and easily, with minimal manual lifting required.

Clubs and games

A folding table makes an excellent platform for all kinds of board games, card games and war games like Warhammer 40,000.

Round tables let everyone face each other, with smaller diameters of 90-120cm when you want to get up close and personal with your opponents.

Larger tables can suit more ambitious war game maps or accommodate several laptops for LAN parties, with diameters up to 150-180cm.

Sales and fetes

Few people really sell directly from a car boot anymore, and a folding table will often fit in your vehicle so you can set up a proper display on arrival.

You can use trestle tables for other kinds of sales too, such as books, clothing and general jumble sales, lemonade stands and bake sales.

For food and drink sales, a rectangular trestle table with a plastic top makes good sense, as any spillages are easily wiped away in an instant rather than soaking into exposed wood grain.

DIY and decorating

Around the house, folding tables can do more than just Christmas dinner, as a larger rectangular trestle table gives you a four-foot plywood top suitable for use in wallpapering and other household DIY jobs.

Smaller tables are a good way to keep all your tools and materials for a specific job in one place and in easy reach, and can be brought out in moments when the kids want to turn their hand to arts and crafts in a confined space.

If you're running out of room in a property where the children rule the roost, consider a small folding table as a way to reclaim some floor space and encourage them to keep it clear for when the table is needed.

Shovelling snow

And finally, one Canadian man went viral after appearing in a video posted online that showed him using a square folding table to clear snow from his driveway.

Although he eventually fetched a shovel to finish the job, the video proves that a square table works pretty well to clear a fixed width of pavement all at once.

It's just one example of a truly innovative use for folding furniture - and hopefully offers some inspiration for how you might use folding tables in the future too.

Whether you have a permanent table you use for work, a dining table that's heaving with paperwork when it's not dinner time, or a folding table that you just call into action when it's needed, there are always ways to use your table space more effectively for peak productivity.

1. Home office desk

More and more people have the option of flexible working, so make sure you're equipped to be productive when working from home - especially if it's something you do regularly.

That doesn't have to mean getting a boring desk - your home office doesn't have to look corporate - so opt for something that maximises your workspace without stifling your creativity.

2. Tech tricks

You can pay through the nose for a modern desk with holes cut out for cables - or you can save a packet by doing it yourself.

Buy a simple wood-topped table and you can drill the right sized holes wherever you need them, so if your workspace is a forest of gadgets and gizmos, there's no need to trail all the cables to a single hole in the far corner of the desktop.

3. Writing table

If you have a lot of correspondence to keep up with, it's smart to equip your desk for this with the addition of stationary holders, in-trays and a couple of box files to keep loose papers organised.

You might even want to add a groove in the desktop using a router (the woodworking kind, not the networking kind) so you have somewhere to put your pen without it rolling away.

4. Sensible storage

All kinds of tables can be augmented with the addition of storage space, for example by attaching shelves to the underside of the tabletop.

When you have a dedicated desk for crafts and creativity, you're free to install the specific storage that suits your needs, so everything you need in easy reach has its own place to live.

5. Mood board

If you're into crafts or work in a creative role, why not keep a table laid out on a mood board? A simple square table doesn't take up too much space but gives you a worktop on which to put anything that's inspiring you right now.

This makes it easy to pair up different influences, whether to combine contrasting elements to create something new, or to work out colour schemes you want to include in your work - all at your fingertips whenever you need it.

The Trent Furniture team invited a local photographer to take a look at the team in action and here is the end result.

Exclusive insight into the Trent Furniture team...

In this section of our site you get an exclusive snapshot into some of our latest furniture snapshots as well as a sneak peak into our furniture specialists daily lives

Our expert furniture team finishing a new wooden chair order:

Expert upholsterers in action - Rob from Trent Furniture

An insight into our furniture storage facilities and warehousing in Leicester:

Trent Furniture warehouse and storage facilities

Some of the tools of the trade:

Upholstery tools – tacks and hammer

Brighten up any space with some of our customer furniture favourites (in this case metal stacking chairs in stunning colours):

Stacking chairs in various colours

The finishing touches that make our furniture perfect for any occasion: 

Expert building and finishing a wooden chair

The chairs of choice for many a cafe and bistro business: 

metal stacking chairs - modern design

 

Ever since  Starbucks opened its first UK branch in 1998, on London’s King’s Road, our high streets have become overwhelmed by the big chains: Costa, Caffè Nero, Starbucks and Pret a Manger. 

There is no doubt that these chains have changed our drinking habits for the better, introducing us to a wider range of coffees and beverages, and bringing swift American-style service to the British high street. Twenty years ago, few of us would have been asking for a “latte to go” or ordering an Ethiopian-blend cappuccino. Ten years ago, according to the BBC website, there were fewer than 10,000 places to buy coffee in the UK and fewer than a third of those belonged to the big chains. By the end of last year, there were more than 22,000 coffee shops, and branded outlets had doubled in number.

Corporate uniformity for coffee shops and cafes

But the big chains have also brought with them a certain corporate uniformity: everywhere, we see the same logos, the same brands, the same chairs, tables and stools. Another high street, another Starbucks. And then there are the complaints that the owners of these chains don’t pay their fair share of tax, which adds to the sense that they have become too big and too powerful. 

But is the march of the high street chains coming to an end? It seems that we are seeing a fightback from independent coffee shops. Last year, Costa saw its share price fall on reports that its sales had been hit by renewed competition from independent cafés. Consumers, said Costa, are becoming “more demanding”. Market research and consumer surveys show that customers want more than just a cup of coffee in anonymous corporate surroundings: they want something individual, local, special, distinctive, authentic, real. In short, they are turning to independent shops and cafés.

Coffee shop discerning customers

If you are the owner of a coffee shop, or if you are planning to open one, you will doubtless know your latte from your cappuccino – but as consumers become more discerning, you will need to think about broadening your offering and making your business stand out from the high street crowd.

The flat white, for instance, is a relatively recent arrival on the coffee scene – a shorter, stronger coffee that was introduced to the UK by coffee-mad Australian baristas. Is it on your menu? And do you have a variety of different coffee beans on offer? Be aware, too, that these days people expect to find alternatives to regular cow’s milk, such as oat milk and almond milk. 
And what about tea?

This no longer comes in two varieties – with or without sugar. Green tea is increasingly popular, especially among younger customers, as are herbal infusions. Last year, research by Mintel showed that 37 per cent of British consumers aged between 25 and 34 had drunk five to six different types of tea over the previous month. The choice of drinks in your offering will help to distinguish you from the big high street chains. If food is part of your offering, handmade cakes and pastries will add an authentic flavour.

Cafe decor to be proud of

Likewise, you can make your café stand out from the high street crowd with your decor. Take time to visit some of the high street coffee shops in your locality, and ask yourself: how can I make my café look and feel different from these? As an alternative to bland, blank walls, you could source some vintage prints of your neighbourhood or local high street and get them framed and hung on your walls.

These will add individuality and would also be a talking point. Or you could feature the work of local artists. And do you have space for a bookshelf or two? In which case, you could become a mini-library, operating on trust, with customers free to borrow and return books at their leisure. Fairy lights trailed around the bar area add personality and a quirky touch to an interior. A handwritten chalkboard menu on the wall adds a personal touch – and also makes it easier to change things around and add new offerings. 

Tableware for cafes

Cups and saucers can help your café stand out. Do they all have to be exactly the same? Mixing things up can help create a homelier atmosphere. If you serve tea in pots, an array of different decorative teapots can add interest to your tables – and look attractive stored on shelves. Your takeaway cups are also an opportunity to offer something distinctive: branded cups will cost a little extra, but they are unique to your café – and they function as a little travelling advert every time someone takes one out.

Furniture...

And then there is furniture. This is perhaps where the big high street chains are at their worst: ranks of identical chairs and tables which vary little from one branch to the next. These chains will have a strict corporate identity, which will prevent them from introducing anything that looks too distinctive or different. But if you are running an independent coffee shop, the choice is entirely yours. 

Mix and match furniture for cafes

Why, for instance, should all your furniture look the same? Why not mix things up? Trent Furniture has a wide range of tables and chairs for use in cafés. Many of Trent’s chairs are upholstered in durable, easy-to-clean fabrics.

These offer a chance to add colour to your café – and they don’t all have to be the same colour; mixing and matching will create warmth and add to the sense that a human being rather than a faceless corporation is behind these choices.

Trent Furniture’s Italia bistro chair, for instance, is a classic design with an upholstered seat available in a wide range of colours and patterns. Or you could introduce a mix of wood and metal chairs and tables, combine traditional with modern, or source some vintage pieces to sit alongside new chairs and tables. Trent Furniture’s Bentwood Slatback side chair, for instance, could be used alongside Trent Furniture’s Dalton chair and its Napoli side chair.

How to arrange your cafe furniture

The way you arrange your furniture will also be important. Here again, you can stand out from the high street crowd. A typical high street chain café will have identical chairs and tables set out in rows, whereas a smaller neighbourhood coffee shop can set things out at different angles, as well as changing things around when the mood takes.

Mixing up furniture heights

Mixing high furniture with low is also effective: Trent Furniture’s Bella tall stool would look good at a windowside counter or alongside a Trent Furniture poseur table. Regular-height chairs and tables could fill the main space, while corners and walls could be occupied by low tables and chairs or perhaps even a sofa or two.

Finally, if you are independent and local, don’t be shy: shout about it. Publicity material and menus could be headed with a phrase such as “Your local independent café”. If you have a social media presence, make sure that you use it to emphasise your local independent credentials. 

Eco-friendly cafe products 

And with all the recent publicity surrounding the use of plastic cups and straws and their effect on the environment, perhaps now is the time to clean up your act and adopt more eco-friendly products such as paper straws and compostable paper cups with biodegradable lids. Again, if you are an eco-friendly café, don’t be shy: blow your own trumpet. Be proud of it. It will all help to make your café stand out from the high street crowd.

 

Take a look at our wedding venue furniture and you'll see that the vast majority of it is stacking furniture, while much of the rest consists of wedding dinner tables with folding legs, essentially making these stackable too.

Why is this so important? Well, there are two excellent reasons why stacking furniture is the best wedding venue furniture, and of course it all comes down to the amount of space available.

decorated wedding table

For most venues, keeping a ballroom permanently laid out with banqueting furniture is an unacceptable option, as you may need that space for other events, whether with a different seating layout, or no seating at all.

Meanwhile on the wedding day itself, it's not uncommon for the same room to be used in several configurations, for the ceremony, the wedding breakfast and the evening reception - so you need to be able to quickly and safely reconfigure your wedding venue furniture.

Why folding tables are easier to move

bride posing with flowers

Stacking tables with fixed legs are one good option for wedding venue furniture, as they can take up much less room than individual fixed-leg tables that do not stack - but if you need to move your wedding tables around quickly and safely, consider folding tables instead.

These have legs that lock securely in place when the table is in use, but can be folded flat against the underside of the table top for transportation and storage.

Combined with trolleys for rectangular and round tables alike, this makes it incredibly easy to pack away your wedding tables at times when you only need chairs - such as during the ceremony - or when you need to clear a space completely for the evening reception and dancing.

Space-saving stacking chairs for wedding venues

wedding guests book

Stacking chairs don't mean compromising on appearance, as modern frames are designed ingeniously to slot on top of each other, without standing out as looking like 'stackable furniture' when in use.

Frames are built in sturdy metal so only a small amount of care is needed when stacking chairs to avoid any damage, and there's a choice of fabric finishes so your upholstery can suit your venue's interior design scheme.

Swap out your seat pads

Finally, if you allow guests to choose their own colour scheme, consider investing in spare sets of seat pads for Chiavari and Henley banqueting chairs.

With these, you can offer wedding venue chairs with an appropriate colour of upholstery - removing the need for the happy couple to provide seat covers to suit their colour scheme, and helping to make their big day a little easier to organise.

See our range of wedding furniture at - https://www.trentfurniture.co.uk/products/all-industries/wedding-venue-furniture/1.

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