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Whether you run a pub, restaurant, hotel or club, spillages and wear and tear are a fact of life. As a result, your upholstered furniture is likely to require regular spot cleans as and when accidents happen as well as periodic all-over cleaning to keep it looking fresh and well-maintained.

Here are some top tips on how to keep your upholstered furniture looking as good as the day you bought it.

1. Vacuum first

Dust is never a good look, so it’s important to incorporate vacuuming upholstered chairs into your cleaning routine. For fully upholstered armchairs and sofas, begin by checking down the sides for any loose change or crisp packets that may have found their way down there. A powerful vacuum cleaner with an easy-to-use upholstery attachment and crevice tool is a must to remove surface dust and crumbs. For best results, use a slow side-to-side motion to pick up crumbs and dust before switching to the crevice tool to tackle the seams where everyday detritus tends to accumulate.

2. Check the label

Before you tackle a stain, you need to make sure you know what products can be used on your upholstery, so you don’t make the problem worse by using an inappropriate product on your furniture. At Trent Furniture we offer a wide range of upholstery on many of our ranges of furniture including our comfy chairs. We have something to match every décor scheme, including hard-wearing fabrics that will withstand constant use and the resulting need for regular cleaning.  

As well as looking at the colour and pattern, check the cleaning instructions before buying:

  • S or P: this means solvent-based cleaner only (dry clean only)
  • SW: this means water, solvent or steam are safe to use
  • W: this means can be cleaned with water
  • X: this means vacuum only – requires professional cleaning

3. Spot clean any stains

Ideally, spillages should be cleaned up as soon as they happen but in a busy pub or restaurant environment this isn’t always possible, not least because stains are not always noticed until closing time or the next day.

White vinegar works effectively to remove stains from most upholstery. Begin by making an equal parts water and vinegar solution, then use a clean cloth to blot the stain before gently wiping it with a spotlessly clean microfibre cloth and leaving to dry naturally. Some people like to complete the process by adding a final step of cleaning with a weak solution of mild detergent and tepid water.

4. Get rid of smells

A spilled pint of lager or glass of wine leaves an unwelcome mark in the form of smell as well as staining. Odour-neutralising fabric sprays are an option; however, a cheap and effective alternative is to sprinkle bicarbonate of soda over the affected area, leave overnight and vacuum off the next day. Even if you have no obvious stains on your upholstered chairs, this is a good habit to get into in order to keep your chairs looking and smelling as fresh as new.

Clean upholstered chair with fresh flowers

Quality upholstered furniture for the hospitality industry

Choosing upholstery for your pub, restaurant or hotel is an opportunity to make a style statement and create a unique atmosphere to welcome your guests. To discuss the wide range of options we have available at Trent Furniture call us today on 0116 286 4911 or fill in our contact form.

The modern officers’ mess should combine the traditional feel of this long-established British military facility with the needs of today’s army officers. As it is primarily a place for dining and socialising, bar and pub furniture is generally a great match and as a result, many of the rules of good pub furniture also apply to the officers’ mess.

Read on for some top tips for furnishing an officers' mess for maximum comfort, flexibility and respect to tradition.

The origins of the officers’ mess

The term ‘officers’ mess’ derives from the former use of the word ‘mess’ in connection with food which appeared in the English language in the 13th century. "Mess" was used to describe liquid food such as soup or porridge and is used to this today as the name for the pudding Eton mess.

Although today’s officers’ mess is not quite as formal an environment as it was in the past, it is still a place where protocol and tradition rule. As a result, the various functions of the mess must be taken into account ranging from relaxed socialising to formal dinners.

The dining environment

Flexibility is key when choosing officers’ mess furniture as the room needs to cater for occasions ranging from everyday meals to formal regimental dinners with invited guests. Elegant yet durable banqueting furniture is essential. Trent’s extensive range includes attractive stackable chairs and foldable tables that can be easily stored and configured to accommodate a wide variety of occasions and numbers of guests. It’s also a great idea to invest in a chair and table trolley to enable staff to safely and efficiently set up and clear away functions.

Traditional refectory furniture is also a great option for comfortable and flexible dining in the officers’ mess.

The bar area

This is the social hub for the regiment’s officers so it’s important to include a good variety of seating options catering for those who wish to enjoy a quiet drink alone to large social gatherings.

Poseur tables with tall chairs are a great contrast to lower tables. Our range of traditional pub furniture includes both options to ensure consistency in whatever style you choose. For added comfort, armchairs and sofas are a welcome addition for officers who wish to sit back and shut out the stress of the day. Chesterfield furniture with its deep padded cushions and leather upholstery combines comfort with traditional English country house style.

Clever use of zones

If your officers' mess is open plan, you can create instant zone boundaries using sofas, benches and settles, as well as by changing the height of your chairs and tables, for example, close to the bar or near windows.

This variety helps to make the space look more interesting and can also help groups decide where to sit by defining areas more obviously for different sizes of party.

Classic military style

The British officers' mess is a byword for traditional style and we have plenty of military-inspired designs among our bar and pub furniture.

Our rectangular Wellington table is available in standard height and as a poseur or bar-height table for areas alongside the bar, as well as square and round pedestal designs. For hard-wearing, low-maintenance luxury, our admiral's chair in dark oak is a great choice.

If you'd like to know more about our range of officers’ mess furniture, please get in touch with Trent Furniture today.

Unlike public cafes and restaurants that are constantly trying to entice new customers, cafeterias in schools and offices naturally become a part of many peoples’ daily routines, serving the same people day after day. However, it is still important to make sure your cafeteria is as inviting as possible, providing a relaxing and comfortable environment for people to enjoy their lunch break.

Whether it’s with several small changes in décor or large changes to the furniture, redecorating your canteen will help to keep it looking attractive and welcoming for its daily visitors. Here at Trent Furniture, we have a wide range of furniture ideal for use in canteens, providing both style and substance. This guide features our ideas and tips for refurbishing your cafeteria, using our 60 years of experience to help you maximise your canteen’s potential.

Canteen refurbishment: less is more

Ensuring your canteen is appealing to its users does not mean you need to buy a lot of expensive, extravagant furniture. Investing in a few simple yet attractive items can make a large difference when redecorating, producing a minimalistic design that still catches the eye.

Plain, wooden furniture fits seamlessly into any room, whatever the décor. Combined with a light coloured or white wall it can create a light and airy setting, making the room feel bigger than it is. Pops of colour can then easily be added with decorative items such as plants, framed prints and cushions. This also makes it easier to then change up the design of your cafeteria in the future, without needing to replace all of the furniture.

Wooden chairs such as our light oak Roma or Remo chairs match perfectly with a large number of our wooden tables, creating a simple but effective look. Alternatively, our Bella chairs are perfect for bringing more colour to the room, available in a wide range of vibrant shades from mint green to orange. Wooden and metal chairs like these are a great solution for canteens as they are easy to wipe clean, making them unlikely to be ruined by stains or spills.

Space-saving solutions for your canteen tables and chairs

When choosing your canteen furniture, it is important to think about how it will fit into your space. If your cafeteria is a large space, you may want to have rectangular tables, allowing you to accommodate a large number of people without taking up too much space. Alternatively, smaller cafeterias may benefit from small, circular tables, taking up less space whilst still providing a communal and social atmosphere.

If space allows, a mixture of large and small tables is ideal for creating a canteen suitable for everyone’s needs. Small, square tables are perfect for people wishing to eat alone or catch up on work during lunch. Larger, rectangular or circular tables, however, offer more space for those who want to socialise as they eat.

Canteen furniture

Versatile furniture for the canteen

In schools and community areas, canteens are often used for multiple different purposes. If your canteen furniture is constantly being rearranged or cleared, it may be worth investing in some stacking or folding furniture. This furniture is lightweight and durable, specifically designed to make it quick and easy to move about as and when it is needed.

Laminate tables are also ideal for versatile environments such as cafeterias due to their light weight, with their hard-wearing plastic edges keeping them protected from damage even when being constantly moved. Their surfaces are easily cleaned, making it quick and simple to move from one activity to the other. At Trent, we supply reversible laminate table tops, to help keep them looking brand new for as long as possible.

Trent Furniture are a leading UK canteen furniture supplier. All of our furniture is suitable for contract use, meaning it is hard-wearing and durable enough for use in busy canteens, as well as being compliant with all fire-safety standards. For more information about how we can help you refurbish your cafeteria, give us a call on 01162 864911 or email

School library furniture has to meet a long list of criteria, especially in the current economic climate when school budgets are under increasing pressure to deliver a good return on investment for every pound spent.

For any school, that means robust, hard-wearing library furniture that can stand up to the rigours of being used day in, day out by pupils of all ages. However, it's equally important for school library furniture to deliver on the needs of pupils, ranging from primary level right up to sixth form colleges and even university library furniture.

Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing school library furniture in order to create an environment that will support pupils and students in their learning objectives and academic achievements.

Include informal areas

Traditionally school libraries were very formal in design and atmosphere, but increasingly educators are looking to create a calmer, more welcoming environment by providing informal areas similar to the 'breakout' zones you see in digital-era businesses. These are achievable even when space and budget are an issue with the use of low tables, comfortable chairs and even homely touches such as rugs and beanbags tailored to the needs of the age-range of the students who will be using the library. All these options are space-efficient and portable seating choices for the modern school library.

Desk and chair school library furniture

Comfortable, hard-wearing chairs

When choosing school chairs for growing pupils of varying ages, ergonomics and durability will always be at the forefront of the decision-making process.

Trent Furniture’s stackable retro French school chair is inspired by the school chairs of the early 20th century. Of course, today’s classrooms are very different from what was the norm in the early 1900s, however the popularity of this chair, which our customers choose for a wide range of settings, is testament to its enduring comfort, practicality and aesthetic appeal. Indeed, this chair is so popular that it is available in a range of different coloured frames with bulk discounts available on quantities of 20 or more.

Safety first

Safety is obviously of paramount importance in school furniture, which is why it should always be built using the sturdiest of materials and designed for maximum stability. This is a particularly important factor when choosing shelving for school libraries as there should be no risk of the shelving falling over or accidents being caused by students trying to reach for books that are stored out of reach.

Occasionally it may be necessary to use the library space for other purposes. This means that chairs must be designed to interlock for safe and efficient stacking when they are not in use. A chair trolley is also a must to ensure staff can safely move stacks of chairs if they ever need to clear the space for events such as open evenings or drama performances.

Meeting your furniture needs

To find out more about Trent Furniture’s extensive range of high-quality, durable furniture, please get in touch and we'll be happy to help.

It began in Japan in the early 1970s: groups of people in bars would gather around a new kind of machine that played pre-recorded backing tracks. A microphone was included in the set-up, giving singers the chance to be a “star” for a few minutes. The machine, called the Juke 8, was pretty crude, using eight-track cartridges and a coin-operated timer, but after a slow start its popularity rocketed in bars in cities such as Osaka. Karaoke (which means “empty orchestra”) was born. Soon, soundproofed “karaoke boxes” were emerging, private rooms where people could sing their hearts out without disturbing others – or embarrassing themselves.

The man who invented the Juke 8, Daisuke Inoue, never patented his invention and missed out on a fortune. Soon there were many rival machines on the market. Before long, TV screens showing song lyrics were part of the package, and the number of songs available expanded into the thousands. The karaoke boom spread across Asia, and it became hugely popular in the Philippines (of which more later). By the 1990s it had spread worldwide and the karaoke night had become a fixture in British pubs.


Karaoke takes bottle

Karaoke comes in many varieties, but there is usually one common denominator: drink. Karaoke is a social event, a chance for people to let their hair down and unleash their inner divas and rock stars. Alcohol helps people to shed their inhibitions. All of which makes it an ideal form of entertainment for pubs and bars, where it has been shown to increase takings and customer numbers. Singing has also been shown to improve people’s sense of wellbeing. It fosters a sense of togetherness among disparate groups of people. In short, karaoke makes you feel good, and that feelgood factor will rub off on your pub or bar.

The popularity of karaoke has fluctuated over the years, but it seems to have undergone a resurgence in the past decade, perhaps thanks to TV shows such as The X Factor and The Voice. Developments in technology have brought digital karaoke systems on to the market, streamlining the process of song selection and vastly expanding the number of songs available.


Getting pubs and bars kitted out for karaoke

So, what does a pub or bar need for a karaoke night? First: a room of a reasonable size, ideally with a raised, well-lit area that can be used as a stage for the singers. Your pub furniture will need to be flexible so that it can be moved away or re-arranged to accommodate the equipment, the screens, and the singers and spectators. Give customers the option to stand or sit, depending on their preferences.

Licensing for any kind of musical performance in pubs and bars has become much simpler since the Music Act of 2012 was introduced (and updated in 2015). The Act states that any premises can host live music (which includes karaoke) as long as the audience is under 500 people and it takes place between 8am and 11pm; the premises must also be alcohol-licensed. Be sure that your event does not create a noise nuisance as this could risk your premises licence. A PRS PPL licence is required for any kind of musical performance, including karaoke – this collects royalties on behalf of songwriters and performers.

Hiring equipment for a karaoke night is straightforward: there are dozens of hire companies across the country that hire out the gear – microphones, mixing board, screens to display song lyrics, lighting, and the software and playlists. If your pub has a good, powerful PA system, this can be used – otherwise, speakers can be rented. You can present the event yourself, or hire in a karaoke DJ.

Karaoke room with leather pub seating and wooden pub tables


Karaoke for private functions and private parties

Increasingly, pubs and bars are creating specialist rooms for karaoke. These can be hired for the evening by groups of customers celebrating birthdays, hen nights, work outings, and so on. Drinks can be brought to the room by pub staff to order. Karaoke rooms are also a popular option in some Chinese and Japanese restaurants, where food, drink and singing come together to create a memorable experience.

If you choose to create a specialist karaoke room, it’s worth investigating other examples to see what kind of ambience they create: mostly these rooms try to create an atmosphere of cushioned seclusion, with low lighting, warm colours and soft furniture such as padded benches. The Old Queens Head in north London has opted for a tropical vibe for its karaoke room, with long soft benches, low tables and palm-tree friezes. One possible model to follow is that of successful karaoke chains such as Lucky Voice, where benches, disco-style lights and pink décor create a party atmosphere (props such as hats and plastic inflatable guitars are also provided).

The advantage of specialist karaoke rooms is that customers will feel less inhibited in a private space with only their friends and colleagues witnessing their performances. It also leaves the rest of the pub or bar free to carry on as normal. Revenues from hires and from increased drinks sales should soon repay any investment in equipment, furnishing and fitting out.

If space permits, you could even consider hosting a “live band” karaoke night. Bands such as Rockaoke can be hired, who come with a repertoire of hundreds of songs, giving customers the rare chance to sing in front of an actual band (lyrics are displayed on a monitor on the stage). Specialist karaoke nights are popular, too: hip-hop karaoke has even made it as far as London’s Tate Modern art gallery, where it is a regular part of the entertainment schedules.

Karaoke nights will of course need to be promoted and advertised: social media is an effective method – your pub or bar’s Facebook page can feature photos and musical highlights from recent karaoke nights and the dates of forthcoming events.


What are the most popular karaoke songs?

There are no official charts, but Lucky Voice says that Let It Go from the Disney musical Frozen is currently its most requested song. Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody is also a favourite, a kind of vocal obstacle course that only the most able singers are able to successfully negotiate.

Frank Sinatra’s My Way, too, is a stalwart of the karaoke circuit – though the song has a dark history. Karaoke is hugely popular in the Philippines, where it has become part of a macho culture in which singing “properly” is of paramount importance. Frank Sinatra’s My Way has unfortunately been associated with several murders, reportedly because the singers were singing out of key – though it’s possible that the killings simply took place in the feverish atmosphere of karaoke bars with My Way coincidentally playing in the background.

Thankfully British karaoke culture is generally inclusive, welcoming and forgiving: it takes a brave person to get up and have a go in front of a room full of people, and the joy of karaoke in our pubs and bars is that such bravery is usually rewarded with praise and applause, whether the performance is good or terrible. Anyone who has taken part will confirm that nothing brings people together quite like karaoke.

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