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The smooth, curved lines of bentwood chairs are synonymous with timelessly chic European cafe style. And although we take this style of furniture for granted today, when it first appeared on the scene in the late 19th century, it was a truly revolutionary design development and marked an exciting departure from the heavy straight lines of the past.

Who invented bentwood chairs?

All bentwood furniture, including Trent Furniture's extensive range, derives from the first bentwood chair made by German-Austrian cabinet maker Michael Thonet in the 1850s in Vienna. The first of its kind was named the Model 14 and soon became known as the 'chair of chairs'. This gamechanger in the world of furniture design received a gold medal at the 1867 World Fair in Paris.

Thonet died just a few years later in 1871 but his unique innovation survives to this day. Thonet-inspired Bentwood chair suppliers continue to use the technique to produce furniture in this classic style. Bentwood furniture for sale in the 21st century brings to mind that golden age of the late 1800s and still rivals many modern techniques for durability.

How are bentwood chairs made?

Part of the genius of bentwood chairs is the way they are made, with no need for any extra materials apart from steam. Thonet's in-depth experimentation allowed him to perfect the technique of using steam to soften the wood, bending it into the desired shape, and then leaving it to cool and dry back into a completely solid form.

The results are striking, even in the present day. A bentwood armchair offers gentle, sweeping curves that allow the seat, back and arms to be more ergonomically designed. This makes the chair as a whole not only aesthetically appealing, but also more comfortable for the natural shape of the human body.

What happened next?

Thonet's sons continued his legacy and bentwood furniture factories popped up throughout Europe. Slatback side chairs are a further example of the technique, combining the bentwood steam method with a straight or curved slatted back rest.

By offering excellent economy of materials used, particularly by avoiding the need to cut curved shapes of wood out of larger, rectangular timber, the bentwood method is perennially popular throughout bars, restaurants, cafes and bistros. Not only that, it offers good environmental credentials for the modern world.

Why are bentwood chairs used in bars?

Bentwood chairs make popular bar furniture for all of the reasons already mentioned. They look good and have a traditional appearance that suits a lot of bars and pubs. They are comfortable to sit in, encouraging patrons to remain on your premises for longer. And because they are manufactured by bending wood rather than joining it, there are fewer joints that might require maintenance in the future.

A slatback bentwood side chair coordinates well with upholstered seating, and many bentwood chairs feature a padded and upholstered seat or a slightly hollowed, ergonomically designed wooden seat, again giving customers a comfortable place to sit.

Finally, their primarily timber construction means bentwood chairs match well with other wooden bar furniture, such as our Wellington Table or cast-iron framed Rectangular Bistro Table.

Need quality bentwood chairs?

If you need quality bentwood chairs for a great price, view the Trent Furniture bentwood chairs range now. And if you have any questions or need further information about our furniture, contact us using the link below, we'd be happy to help you.

We all know that Instagram means big business for restaurants, so here’s the basics on which restaurants qualify as Instagrammable.

What does Instagrammable mean?

If you’re wondering how to get your business to stand out on social media or if you want your restaurant to keep up with the trends – in the 21st century your restaurant needs to be Instagrammable. But what does Instagrammable mean?

Instagrammable means a photo or picture which is worth posting on the social media platform, Instagram. Therefore, if you want your restaurant to be Instagrammable and receive lots of attention online, then it’s the interior (and sometimes exterior) design of your restaurant which needs to be an outstanding visual experience.

Make your restaurant a visual experience

A couple of years ago, it was all about the food. A great restaurant could attract attention with how tasty the food looked or the presentation of the food on the plate. However, this has changed. Now more than ever, a restaurant is chosen by customers depending on what the design of the restaurant itself looks like, rather than just the choice or quality of food.

This idea is backed up by the data. Research has revealed that 30% of people between 18-35 would avoid a restaurant if their Instagram presence was weak. People now actively choose restaurants depending on how visually appealing the décor of the restaurant is, and you can see why.

With the growth of influencers and bloggers, many more people post pretty pictures online for a living, so it’s their job to find the most stunning restaurants out there, and post them to satisfy existing and gain new followers. The benefit of this system for your restaurant is that these people sometimes have millions of followers which could do wonders for the profits of your restaurant as people flock in.

How to make your restaurant Instagrammable


1. Give your restaurant a theme

Before anything else, you can’t have an Instagrammable restaurant without a certain aesthetic. Crafting your restaurant to a theme, will make your restaurant stand out and it’ll be easier to gain attention. For example, Kym’s Restaurant in London has a faux cherry blossom in the middle of it, which compliments its Hong Kong-style dishes.


A post shared by Kym’s (@kymsrestaurant) on

Fortnum & Mason at the Royal Exchange has been described as the definition of the word Instagrammable.  Its sleek design paired with the grand buildings surrounding the bar and seating area, screams opulence and makes for a fabulous photo.


A post shared by The Royal Exchange (@theroyalexchange) on

Another themed restaurant which is certifiably Instagrammable is Brasserie of Light in Marylebone. Their theme is mirrors, as hinted in the name. The restaurant has many mirrors on their walls, making light bounce around the restaurant. It also has an enormous crystal Pegasus designed by Damien Hurst high up on one of its walls. Incredible.


A post shared by Ioanna Kodjapashi (@ioannakodjapashi) on

These themes really draw people in through the doors, however furniture is an essential part to any Instagrammable restaurant.

2. Choose the right restaurant furniture

The perfect furniture will make a restaurant truly Instagrammable. The chairs and tables are key, as that’s what takes up the majority of insta-worthy photos. Making sure your chairs and tables compliment the theme of your restaurant is key.

Leather chairs are especially sleek and add that modern touch to any restaurant. However every restaurant owner needs to find the right furniture for them, so having a look at everything on offer really allows you to find the right furniture for your restaurant.

Don’t let the furniture in your restaurant ruin its ability to shine online. Whatever design you decide for your restaurant, we cater to every style and taste. We have a wide variety of restaurant furniture ready to spruce up your business.

Our products are of high quality and are at an affordable price. All our furniture is designed for contract use and with UK fire resistant upholstery. To find out more about our ranges, get in touch today to speak to a member of our expert team.


Running a successful pub is both a science and an art. On the one hand, there's the admin associated with running any business - hiring employees, balancing the books and so on. On the other hand, the real secret of how to make a pub busy and successful lies in the atmosphere you create and customers' desire to stay for longer and come back sooner.

There are all kinds of different ways to achieve this, ranging from modern bar furniture to rustic pub furniture that gives your premises a traditional and homely feel. Of course it's not just about the decor, but your pub furniture creates the fabric of your venue, which you can then use to deliver services ranging from a good range of drinks, to home-cooked food, to entertainment like pub quizzes, jukeboxes and pool tables.

Pros and cons of running a pub

The pros and cons of running a pub can depend partly on how much freedom you have. If you're a bar manager for a large chain, you might not be able to make decisions that affect your business as freely as you'd like, but there are still ways to stamp your own personality on the way you interact with customers.

Friends meeting for a night out in a busy and popular pub

If you have much more management freedom, then you can really make the venue your own with your choice of pub furniture and decor, the types of entertainment you provide, and the selection of food and drinks on offer. Don't be afraid to try new things - you never know when you'll discover an untapped niche in the local market.

How to make a pub busy with benches

An often overlooked aspect of furnishing a public house is making sure you have enough pub and bar benches. Think of a traditional pub and they usually have bench seating running the whole way around the interior, providing a huge amount of extremely space-efficient seating for groups of different sizes.

Freestanding pub and bar benches create similarly space-saving seating but don't tie you down to having seating physically built on to the walls, so if you prefer to retain the ability to reconfigure your interiors for events or just to keep things looking fresh, they're a great option. A bench seat or sofa can also create a cosy extra seating area in a previously unused nook.

Cater for individuals

Groups might spend the most collectively but be aware if a large proportion of your clientele tends to visit your premises alone. Sitting alone at a large table surrounded by empty chairs can be quite daunting, but equally sitting alone at a table for one can feel very exposed as well.

Smaller tables with two or three chairs can be the Goldilocks option for lone customers while still catering for couples and small groups, and again consider benches and sofas as individuals can sit on these without feeling like there are empty seats all around them. For more ideas about how to maximise revenue from the space you have available, or to place an order, contact Trent Furniture on 0116 4736 834 or

A crowded bar in a busy pub

Valentine’s Day is the most booked day of the year for restaurants, according to research from the British Hospitality Association, so making the most of it can provide a huge boost for any restaurant. We’ve put together some ideas for promoting your restaurant and creating a romantic experience to remember.

Tweak your restaurant menu for Valentine’s Day

Creating a special Valentine's menu can entice people searching for a special place to choose you. Not only does it allow you to have a specially curated menu of top dishes on what is one of the busiest nights of the year, it lets people know your establishment is doing something special for the event. You can also use your menu as marketing collateral, sharing on your website and through social media to encourage bookings before the big day.

Take bookings to boost exclusivity

When it comes to Valentine’s Day, restaurants tend to get booked up in advance so even if you don’t usually take bookings, it can be reassuring for potential customers to know that their romantic meal is secured. It will also give you an idea of numbers and how you may want to arrange your restaurant furniture to cater for these guests. According to the BHA, the key time that a guest is likely to reserve a table for Valentine’s Day is 15-30 days ahead, so giving the option to book this early will help you secure these forward-thinking diners.

Create a romantic atmosphere

When it comes to Valentine’s Day, the atmosphere should be warm, inviting and of course romantic! Soft lighting and gentle music can set a great tone from the moment a couple walks in. Décor also plays a big part in creating the right ambience. Valentine's Day decoration ideas for restaurants could include adding tablecloths, flowers and candles, but the important thing is not to overdo it. Couples will want to be able to see and speak to each other across a table so keeping things simple is key – think a single candle or red rose in a vase rather than a full bouquet!

Move your restaurant furniture to maximise tables for two

Valentine’s Day is all about couples, so arranging your seating to have plenty of tables for two will allow you to comfortably seat more guests and take more bookings. Rethinking and reshuffling your floor plan beforehand will also be a lot easier and less disruptive to the romantic atmosphere than doing it on the night. However, it’s important not to try and fit too many tables in even with the high demand, otherwise customers can feel crammed in and will struggle to hear one another. Read more about this in our guide to the best restaurant furniture layout for Valentine's Day.

Hire a live band or musician

Nothing says romance like beautiful music! If your restaurant has the space for it, hiring a band or musician adds a huge boost to the atmosphere and offers something a little more special. You can also advertise that you will be featuring live music on the night on your website, social media and in promotional materials in the restaurant itself.

Couple outside a restaurant on Valentine's Day

Offer takeout meal options

Dining out on Valentine’s Day isn’t for everyone – some couples like to stay home and avoid the business – so what better opportunity to offer a takeout package option. A slightly more refined alternative to pizza or a supermarket meal deal, takeout meals give customers restaurant-quality food and allow you to serve more people even if you are fully booked. Pre-ordering can be important here and again this can be advertised weeks in advance.

Get your restaurant furniture just right for Valentine’s Day

Having comfortable and aesthetically pleasing furniture is an essential part of creating the perfect atmosphere all year round. Trent Furniture offers a wide range of options including chairs, tables and more in a range of wooden and leather finishes. View our full range of restaurant furniture here.            

In this commercial furniture buying guide we'll take you through 4 key things to remember when buying bar tables.

Tables are a key investment for your bar or pub, so it’s vital to make sure every box is ticked when it comes to finding a table that will withstand heavy use while looking great for years to come. Trent Furniture has a great range of commercial bar furniture, so it’s easy to find the perfect bar table and matching chairs and stools.

When making your decision on which bar table to choose, don’t forget to think about the following:

  • Bar table height
  • Bar table shape
  • Bar table finish
  • Bar table durability.

We'll now take you through each of these points in turn, and explain in more detail why they are all worth bearing in mind when choosing your bar table.

Getting your bar table height right

Trent’s extensive range of bar tables, chairs and stools are all standardised so that any combination of chair and table or high stool and tall bar table will work together seamlessly. However, if you are buying bar tables to go with existing chairs, it’s essential to make sure that the table is the correct height so that your chairs will stack under it neatly and provide ample legroom for customers. Also, when buying bar stools, it’s vital to check that they are the correct height for your bar as well as for any poseur tables on your premises. Again, Trent Furniture’s tall bar stools are designed to work with the standard height of most UK bars. 

What's the best bar table shape for your needs?

Rectangular and square bar tables are a popular choice as they can easily be used on their own or pushed together to accommodate larger groups. However, round bar tables provide an eye-catching contrast to square shapes and small circular bar tables paired with stools are the perfect solution when it comes to maximising your space in nooks and crannies where you may otherwise struggle to accommodate drinkers. This is particularly true in traditional pub settings where irregular floorplans are common. Styles like Trent Furniture’s popular Wellington bar table are available in a choice of shapes, heights and three finishes with various chair and stool options, meaning you can choose the same stylish theme throughout your varying bar furniture needs.

Perfect the look with a quality bar table finish

Wooden bar tables are the most popular choice for bars and pubs as not only does wood look great, it’s easy to care for too. Most of Trent Furniture’s wooden bar tables are available in a light oak, warm walnut or dark oak finish and your choice will depend on whether you wish to create a bright modern atmosphere or a more cosy and traditional ambience for your guests. As well as being available in a great range of sizes and shapes, all Trent Furniture’s bar tables can be supplied in either a solid or veneer finish.

Durability - buy bar tables that really last

No matter what style of bar table you choose, its ability to withstand heavy use by people who may not treat your bar furniture as carefully as they would their own dining table, is a must. Contract strength is essential to withstand everyday kicks and spillages. Trent Furniture’s bar tables have solid hardwood or cast iron bases, designed to look fantastic as they endure year after year.

A large bar table in a pub with a group of friends seated around it

Find the perfect bar table for your space today

To find out more about Trent Furniture’s extensive range of bar tables and matching chairs and stools please fill in our contact form or call 0116 2985 816 or 0116 2989 855.

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