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Interior design is forever changing. One minute it’s all about minimalism, the next it’s traditional and then it’s modern. For restaurants and public spaces, it can be hard to keep up with what the current looks are. 

One décor that has arrived and doesn’t looks like it is going anywhere, is shabby chic. 

What is shabby chic?

shabby chic standing table

Put simply, shabby chic furniture has the appearance that it has been well-used and is slightly old. The interior as a whole brings together different styles and colours that creates the impression of age and use. 

Remember that shabby chic isn’t about using garish furniture and putting it all together in hope that you achieve the shabby chic look. The goal is to create a homely interior and if done correctly it will do so whilst looking clean and stylish.

The extent of the shabby chic look can also vary from place to place. Some might commit to the décor and use a number of layers of colour on furniture so that different levels of wear can be achieved whilst some use it subtly and gently distress furniture with one coat of paint. It comes down to personal preference really. 

With the classic and elegant style of the shabby chic trend it’s no wonder that cafes, restaurants and bars are embracing this type of interior and using rustic and shabby chic furniture to furnish their dining areas.

How to shabby chic your furniture

Before you start getting the paint pots and all of the old furniture out of the cupboards, there are some things that you should do. Firstly, visualise what you want the completed space to look like. There’s no point in blindly buying every piece of old furniture in sight if it isn’t going to fit with the overall scheme. A quick browse on the internet will give you plenty of ideas and inspiration for your design. 

For restaurants, cafes and bars especially, you need to consider how many seats and tables are required and will fit in the space. Draw up and layout a plan, then buy your furniture accordingly. Lastly, you need to decide on a colour scheme. There aren’t particularly any ‘rules’ when it comes to shabby chic. You could, in truth, use an array of colour on pieces of furniture. However, most designs focus on traditional colours such as off-white, creams, greys, olive greens and baby blues. 

Right, now that you’ve done the planning and chosen your furniture, the fun can begin!

The five steps to creating shabby chic furniture:

1. Prepare a space to work in and remove any handles, hinges or metal work on the furniture. These can be reattached once the paint has dried. 

2. Remove the existing finish on the wood so that your new paint work will stick properly to the surface. To do this, lie the furniture on a dust sheet and work it with sandpaper. Stripping the varnish or paint can generate lots of dust so have a dusk mask handy.

3. Get painting! Apply a thick coat of water based acrylic paint in your chosen colour and then leave to fully dry. Once dried, sandpaper certain areas to create a worn effect and then paint a second layer, perhaps in a slightly different colour.

4. Scrape and sand. It might seem counterproductive to sand after just applying a coat of paint but to achieve the desired affect it’s a must. Don’t overdo it and try to scrape at edges and corners most to create a distressed look. 

5. Remember that it’s near impossible to get the shabby chic look wrong but once you’re happy with the appearance (you can repeat the steps above with as many coats of paint as you like), apply a couple of coats of varnish or furniture wax.

Optional extras for shabby chic furniture

shabby chic living room furniture

If you’re a dab hand with the paint brush, you might feel obliged to use your skills and paint some patterns or images on sections of the furniture. Spiralled patterns up some table legs can create an appealing affect. 

You may also want to keep certain areas of furniture untouched. By only painting the table tops, for example, it creates an elegant contrast. If you wanted to do this, follow steps one and two but then apply coats of varnish without painting.

How to shabby chic a chair

Once you have completed the steps in the process above, you can add upholstery to seating. These should match the colour of the paints used or could use decorative patterns such as floral. The textiles used on the upholstery should feel comfortable, welcoming and natural. 

Where can you buy shabby chic furniture?

While the shabby chic look can be achieved by transforming and decorating old, used furniture, it can be considered a wiser investment to buy new furniture that has a shabby chic-look. 
If you would rather buy furniture that already has the shabby chic look, Trent Furniture has a huge range of affordable restaurant furniture, which includes chairs, tables, stools, sofas and outdoor furniture for restaurants.  

View our shabby chic furniture range to see our huge range of products.

You’d be surprised at how simple it is to breathe new life into furniture. You might be noticing some signs of wear of tear and be considering buying new furniture to replace it, but this isn’t always the only option open to you.

There are many simple changes that can be made to restore furniture that can revitalise it and make it seem ‘as good as new’. For restoring seats, one of the most effective ways to reenergise a piece of furniture is to reupholster it. So long as the structure of the furniture is in good shape, a piece of fabric and a creative eye can go a long way.

Reupholstering and repurposing furniture

furniture upholstery on a leather sofa

Reupholstering is an effective way of bringing dated, used chairs back to life. However, the task can be quite intimidating to those that have never done it before. Even though money can be saved, many favour the easy option of buying new chairs. But once you’ve got you head around the how reupholstering is done, you will begin to see all furniture differently and notice that furniture is made so that the fabric covering it can be replaced.
To reupholster your furniture, all that’s needed are some simple DIY tools, basic sewing skills and a suitable piece of fabric.

Simple, right? If you’re looking for an alternative option to buying new furniture, here is a guide on how to reupholster and restore pieces of furniture.

How to upholster a chair

Depending on the manufacturer, chairs will be reupholstered differently. They are most likely to be fastened on the underside of the seat with either staples or screws. Check the furniture that you will be working on and get the appropriate equipment to remove whatever it is that is keeping it fastened. 

Chair restoration and upholstery tips:

1. Get all your equipment ready. For this project, you will need to have: pliers, screwdriver, staple gun, marking pen and scissors.

2. Remove the upholstery staples on the chair. This can be done with pliers but can also be achieved with basic hand tools. Once the covering is off, inspect the wood base and foam. If both are salvageable, reuse them! If they are worn or torn, replace them with new batting and wood, cut out to the shape of the one that is being replaced.

3. Once the batting and wood are fastened, cut the desired amount of fabric out; leaving at least three inches extra so that you have fabric to grasp when stapling it to the seat.

4. Place the fabric on the seat and centre the material. With the seat facing the work table, fold the fabric in and drive as many staples into the chair along the one side as necessary. Repeat this step along each of the four sides. Stretch the fabric as you work to ensure it is tight to the chair when stapling. 

5. When you come to stapling the corners, leave two inches space and fold the fabric in diagonally. You want the corners to be as neat as possible, especially on the two corners that will be on show.

6. When the fabric has been fastened, trim the excess fabric down with scissors and check that the fabric is correctly aligned and the corners are symmetrical and tight. When happy, reattach the seat to the chair.

Which upholstery fabric should you chose?

restoring wooden furniture in tool workshop

The fabric that you choose to upholster the chair with should complement both the piece of furniture and the decor of the space. There are many options available, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. All fabric materials should be considered before buying rolls of a fabric that may not have been your best choice. 

Here are some of the most popular fabrics to use when upholstering:

• Linen is best suited to sofas and relaxing areas. It will not withstand heavy use and is not the most durable but does resist fading.
• Leather provides an elegant look to a room and is easy to clean and maintain but it is an expensive material.
• Cotton is one of the most popular fabrics for upholstering. This is because it is durable and is easy to be personalised into different designs. 

If you want your fabric to be as durable as possible, be aware of the thread count. The higher the thread count, the more tightly woven the fabric is. Durability is important if the furniture is going to be used every day by the public, for example in a bar or restaurant. 

When it comes to the fabric’s design, choose one that suits the mood and décor of the room that it will be used in. While using the same fabrics on each chair keeps everything uniform, mixing fabrics and design patterns can create a visually appealing space if done correctly. Look at different fabrics and see how well they would complement each other. 

Where can you buy upholstered and restored furniture

man restoring wooden furniture in shed

At Trent Furniture, most of our chairs and seating comes with an upholstery option. This is where you can put your own unique stamp on the furniture. With so many fabrics and patterns to choose when upholstering seating, you can select fabrics depending on your current décor and match it with your vision. 

The fabrics shown on our website are the basic range that we always have in stock. If you struggle to find one suitable for your desired décor, contact us with a description of the fabric that you would like and we will endeavour to find an appropriate match. We can even upholster the chairs in your desired fabric. Just confirm that this is your preference when ordering. 

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.

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


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.

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