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If you run a business in the hospitality industry, then you’re likely to have heard the terms "contract furniture" and "commercial furniture". In this blog we will look at why opting for contract furniture could be the best choice for your venue.

What is contract furniture?

Contract furniture can be defined as furniture intended for commercial use. It is designed and manufactured with durability and commercial safety standards in mind. This makes it perfect for use in settings like restaurants, cafes, bars and similar venues.

Why choose contract furniture?

To go into more detail on why it’s a smart move to opt for commercial quality furniture, it’s necessary to explore the top reasons for doing so.


Domestic furniture tends to see less use than pieces in a commercial setting. Just think about how many times a chair is sat on, cleaned, and moved in a pub vs your kitchen at home, for this reason, contract furniture tends to be built in a more robust way, with strengthened elements and hardwearing finishes and upholstery. This often includes:

  • Weatherproof coatings
  • Scratch resistant tops
  • High density foam
  • Hardwood frames
  • UV resistance
  • Lacquer coating

A great example of durable commercial furniture is our popular Washington Side Chair which is made from hardwearing beechwood and coated with a hardwearing lacquer. Tables with cast iron feet are also a top pick as they are incredibly sturdy and durable – the Olympic Pedestal Table is a great option. Finally, when it comes to outdoor pieces, opting for furniture like the Plaza Armchair is a good move since it is both UV and water-resistant so can stand up to the elements.


Commercial furniture may seem like an investment at first, but the cost of replacing lower quality pieces over time soon adds up. When buying contract quality, you are investing in furniture that is designed to last and stand up to heavy use. Plus, you can often find savings when buying furniture packages or scooping up sales and offer prices when they come along.

Contract furniture standards and regulations

Furniture used in a commercial setting must meet certain legal standards and requirements. In the UK this is covered by regulations like British Standard BS 7176 and CRIB5 testing.

It’s important to ensure furniture purchased for commercial settings is compliant with these regulations. This is not only for the safety of customers and staff, but also from a business perspective. If your establishment is found to be using furniture that doesn’t adhere to these regulations, penalties could be enforced.

When purchasing commercial chairs from Trent Furniture you can be confident that they meet UK requirements. All of our products are made using fire retardant high-density foam and our upholstery fabrics are all CRIB5.

How to choose contract furniture for your venue

When it comes to choosing furniture for your venue you will want to opt for pieces that are fit for purpose but also look great. At Trent Furniture, many of our commercial furniture pieces can be customised with different finishes, so you can find something to fit perfectly with your existing decor.

You can contact the Trent Furniture team here and they will be happy to help with any queries you have, or begin browsing our contract furniture offers online now.

From the gilded thrones of pharaohs in ancient Egypt to the invention of the wheeled office chair many of us sit on today, chairs have seen many changes over the years. We’ve put together a short overview of some of the key points during the history of the chair.

Chairs through Ancient History


In ancient Egypt chairs were used by people of great importance such as pharaohs or priests who used raised thrones to place themselves above those they ruled over.

These thrones would likely have been crafted out of materials like ivory or carved and gilded wood and metal. If covered, they would have used luxurious and costly materials.


In ancient Rome we see a couple of new seating styles appear:

  • Roman daybeds – also known as divans, these long bed style seats were perfect for lounging and could be found in the homes of wealthy Romans.
  • Curule chair – often made of or veneered in ivory, this foldable, x-shaped chair was a symbol of political or military power.
  • Bench seating – found in the Colosseum, bench seating was the perfect way to cater for the masses piling into amphitheatres for entertainment.


In ancient Greece bench style seating for the masses was also a popular choice in amphitheatres.

We also see the introduction of the Klismos chair - a sleek looking piece of furniture thanks to its sabre-like legs and curved back and sides. Whilst not as exclusive as its Roman counterpart the Curule, it was still likely to have been used more by high status people like philosophers and scholars rather than the masses.

Chairs in the 17th and 18th Century

Jumping forward to more modern times, we start to see the development of chairs as we know them today. Whilst basic timber chairs became a popular choice, a few events led to the creation of some of the most popular chair styles we see today:

Charles Darwin and the Office Chair

Did you know that one of the earliest innovators of the office chair was Charles Darwin? The renowned scientist put wheels on the chair in his study so he could get to his specimens more quickly and from this the wheeled office chair was created!

The Industrial Revolution

When it comes to the production of chairs for the masses, the industrial revolution sped things up dramatically. Occurring between 1760 and 1840, the industrial revolution allowed more chairs to be produced quickly and for a lower cost, making them more widely available to those outside of the upper classes.

20th Century and Modern Chairs

The 20th century has seen the technology used in chair design come on in leaps and bounds. We begin to see more materials being used, such as metals and plastics.

Many of the designs from this period have led to the products we see used in homes and commercial settings today. Some of the standout styles include metal folding chairs, metal-legged chairs like our Oxford Steel Stacking Chair, moulded plastic chairs, recliner chairs, egg chairs and many more!

Want to learn more about the history of chairs? Check out our articles on the history of the Tolix chair, Bentwood chair and Windsor chair.

Chairs for your venue

Alternatively, if you’re looking for new seating for your venue, Trent Furniture has a wide variety of styles – from traditional wooden dining chairs to modern metal stools. Click now to view all chairs.

As people continue to become more conscious of the life-cycle of products, from fashion to furniture, the trend towards reclaimed and vintage pieces doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Whether your establishment has a classic vintage feel or is more contemporary and industrial, you can find (or even make!) some incredible repurposed furniture pieces to suit any style, that will really help set you apart from the competition.

Design to a theme

Having a consistent theme across your interior design and marketing assets will always help to make your business more memorable and enticing, especially in the current age of influencers and Instagram.

If your restaurant has a 1960s theme for example, a vintage car bonnet could be upcycled into the perfect eye-catching bar. Or, for a nautical theme, some old oars and reclaimed wood can be made into tables that are sure to get people talking. Alternatively, making use of pipes, metal and exposed brick is a tried and tested way of achieving an industrial look.

No matter the theme you choose, you’ll be able to find great pieces at affordable prices that you can turn into something truly incredible.

Combining old and new

Upcycling can be time consuming, especially for larger items of furniture and it can be hard to find multiple items that could work together once reclaimed. Unless you’re going for a ‘shabby chic’ or mismatched theme, the best approach when it comes to upcycling is to create one or two statement pieces, and combine these old items with newer items of furniture.

Our Chesterfield Three-Seater Sofa is the perfect item for casual dining or waiting areas, combining comfort with classic style. The brown faux leather offers a stylish finish that is understated enough to make your upcycled pieces the star of the show. Similarly, our Rectangular Gothic Table would work perfectly alongside vintage pieces from the early 20th century thanks to its striking case iron legs.

The benefits of upcycling furniture

Upcycling as an interior design trend arguably started due to the unique aesthetic it allows you to create, thanks to most items of furniture being bespoke just for your premises. But this is not the only benefit that your business can make the most of.

The purpose of upcycling is ultimately to give a new lease of life to old furniture and décor that may have seen better days. By finding furniture or unused materials at car boot sales and scrap yards you can get them for a fraction of the price of brand-new items, offering the perfect solution for a smaller budget. And, not only will you be saving money, but you’ll be helping to save the environment too by recycling products that otherwise would have been destined for landfill.

What’s more, upcycling can help set you apart from the rest thanks to the one-of-a-kind pieces you can create. This is especially great for chain restaurants, allowing you to establish a unique identity that is specific to your location.

Using upcycled furniture safely

When you buy new furniture for your business, it will have been designed specifically to meet a number of regulations for contract use, such as fire safety. When upcycling your own furniture, you must therefore make sure that it meets all the necessary guidelines in order to keep your customers safe, by ensuring it is finished to a high standard, can be easily cleaned and doesn’t use any highly flammable materials.

You will also want to make sure that it can withstand a high level of constant use, so you can get the most value from your money and it will last for years to come.

No matter the reason behind the choice to use reclaimed furniture in your pub, restaurant or café, there are many different ways for you to achieve your desired style. Whether you’re simply reclaiming old materials or completely repurposing objects, a few simple changes can make a big impact.

At Trent Furniture, we offer a wide range of furniture for pubs, restaurants and cafes to compliment any theme, including retro and classic styles that would work perfectly alongside a statement upcycled piece. Browse our range of contract furniture to discover the possibilities, or get in touch today to discuss your requirements.

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