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Trent Furniture’s perennially popular Bella Chair is inspired by a true furniture icon, the Tolix chair, which combines durable practicality with timeless French industrial metal style.

Who invented the Tolix chair?

The original Tolix chair was designed by Xavier Pauchard in 1934. Pauchard’s father and grandfather were zinc roofers, and it was through his metal-related expertise that in 1907 Pauchard discovered it was possible to protect sheet metal from rusting either by dipping it in molten zinc or galvanising it.

Ten years after making this discovery, Pauchard set up his own factory manufacturing steel household goods under the brand name Tolix, which is still operational today. The 1934 Tolix chair, which was known as the Model A, was designed for indoor use as well as all-weather outdoor use, which is why it features holes in the seats for the rain to drain off. However, despite its instant appeal among café and bistro owners across France, they complained that the chairs were impractical as they wouldn’t stack properly. Taking this feedback on board, a slimmer-framed, stackable Tolix chair which could be stacked 25 chairs high to 2.3 metres, was launched in 1956. The chair’s popularity went from strength to strength, being used in factories, hospitals and offices as well as hospitality settings.

Since then, the Tolix chair has become a worldwide favourite in restaurants, bars and homes thanks to its hardwearing retro chic. Indeed, such is the iconic status of the design that examples are on display in New York’s Museum of Modern Art and Paris’s Pompidou Centre.

The Tolix legacy

Today, Tolix chairs, which are still manufactured from rugged steel, are available from around £200. While this is a great opportunity to own an original piece of design for those with money to burn or for collectors of fine furniture, it is not a practical or affordable option for the hospitality industry. Luckily, there are plenty Tolix-inspired options available, including our hugely popular Bella range.

Retro style with modern design

Our range of Bella Chairs are manufactured from high-quality steel and are precision welded to guarantee the durability needed for the demands of the hospitality environment. Fitted with rubber feet to protect flooring and facilitate smooth gliding across all surfaces, our Bella chairs can be stacked up to ten high, making them easy to store or move.

A restaurant furnished with Tolix Chairs

The perfect finish for you

As well as its retro industrial style, the Bella Chair is a popular choice because of its versatility. Available in black, blue, mint green, orange, red, silver, white and yellow, there is an option for every colour scheme. Alternatively, the Bella Chair with Wooden Seat and the Bella Chair with Upholstered Seat are both great options for indoor use in your restaurant, café or bar and the Bella Tall Stool is the perfect partner for bars and poseur tables. Another great benefit of the Bella Chair is its versatility when mixing with different tables such as our contemporary Chrome Pyramid Table or more traditional Shaker Table.

To find out more about how to inject some Tolix-inspired style into your restaurant, café or bar with our Bella range which starts at just £23.90, please fill in our contact form or give us a call on 0116 2987 397.

Outdoor furniture, and especially waterproof outdoor furniture, has become more relevant than ever for restaurant and pub owners. Providing alfresco options for dining and drinking has never been more important as the hospitality industry embraces its long-anticipated reopening. However, even as restrictions are lifted, as we know, the Great British Weather cannot be relied upon to provide the perfect outdoor dining experience.

Here in the UK, outdoor hospitality furniture needs to be strong, sturdy and resistant to everything the weather can throw at it, including the frequent downpours that often punctuate our summer.

Reasons for buying waterproof furniture

One of the most common issues with outdoor tables is swelling of the table tops caused by rainwater. Tables damaged in this way are quickly rendered useless as the table top buckles, making it impossible to safely place plates and glasses on them.

Long outdoor table for pubs and restaurants made in waterproof aluminium

When buying a table for outdoor contract use, the golden rule is to avoid tables designed with a separate plastic edging. Hardwearing tables such as our Vista table (pictured above) are constructed from a particleboard core with a stainless steel outer layer formed over the core to create a durable surface. The stainless steel top curves over the edges of the table top to create a continuous surface which prevents water gathering on the surface or coming into contact with the core, which causes the swelling.

With the rainproof Vista table, you can rest assured your table is ready to withstand the rain summer after summer. The large rectangular version mixes seamlessly with the Alma Round Aluminium Table to cater for parties of all sizes. These versatile tables can be paired with a wide range of chairs; one of the most popular choices is the comfortable and water-resistant Monaco Aluminium Stacking Chair, which is designed with fully welded joints throughout for maximum durability.

Contract furniture combining style with strength

All bar and restaurant furniture needs to be built to cope with the everyday wear and tear of constant use by an ever-changing stream of people who may not respect the furniture as they would their own, but toughness is particularly important when furnishing an outdoor space. Aluminium, stainless steel, synthetic teak and synthetic rattan are all great options for creating a stylish space that won’t start showing signs of wear and tear after just one summer.

Water-resistant black aluminium table and chair for outdoor use

Our new Cannes outdoor table (shown above) is entirely constructed from aluminium, with a black powder-coated finish for a stylish and modern twist. Its 80cm x 80cm surface provides ample dining space for a party of four. The matching Cannes outdoor armchair and Cannes outdoor chair can be mixed together to create a relaxed and comfortable outdoor dining environment for many summers to come.

Hardworking and durable outdoor furniture

Most of our outdoor furniture, including the Vista and Cannes range is equally at home in an indoor setting, meaning it’s a versatile choice for both inside and outside as requirements change. Not only that, it’s lightweight and stackable, meaning it can be easily stored and moved around as needed.

For more information about our great range of outdoor furniture, please click "contact us" below or call us on 0116 2988 405.

In small restaurants and cafes, it might seem like you should use the biggest items of furniture possible so you can fit in the largest number of customers. But having large furniture in a small space can just make it seem even smaller. Instead, you should be thinking about clever space-saving furniture solutions that will provide comfort and style while still being size appropriate.

What is space-saving furniture?

Space-saving furniture is compact designed furniture that either has multiple uses or can be tidily hidden away when not in use. In a pub or restaurant, this could include backless bar stools that can be tucked fully under tables when they are not being used, such as our Dusseldorf Hairpin Stool, or sofas and benches that have storage space within them for keeping your excess ambient stock or decorative items.

Another example of space-saving furniture for your restaurant or café is stackable chairs. There are a number of stylish seating options out there these days that are lightweight for easy movement and designed to be neatly stacked out of the way. Square tables can also help you save space as they can be used by themselves for small parties or joined together for larger groups. This means you can create more space between customers on quiet days, but fit in more people on busy ones.

What are the best sofas for small spaces?

Depending on the exact size and shape of your establishment, a combination of both small sofas and armchairs is usually best for a small space. Armchairs may seem like the obvious solution for small spaces as they take up less space, however, they actually take up more space per person. Two-seater sofas are therefore ideal, especially in cafés where fewer people will need to be sat at a table.

Manhattan Two-Seater Sofa – This sofa is made of thick brown leather upholstery that offers both comfort and a timeless look. It has a strong hardwood frame that can withstand years of wear and heavy-use and is also available as an armchair and three-seater sofa to mix and match in different areas of your restaurant.

Chesterfield Two-Seater Sofa – This button-backed sofa provides a classic and sophisticated look for any bar, restaurant, café or hotel. The faux leather is attractive but easy to clean, and it is sturdy enough for dining but comfortable enough for relaxing and talking with friends.

Berwick Buttoned-Back Bench – While it may not be traditionally what you would think of when choosing a sofa, benches can provide all the comfort of a sofa while saving space by lining the full length of a wall. Benches like this can be used alongside sofas, armchairs or regular dining chairs, giving you versatility within your restaurant design.

Where can I buy furniture for small spaces?

At Trent Furniture, we sell high-quality furniture for restaurants, pubs, bars and cafes of all shapes and sizes. From barstools to sofas, coffee tables to banquet tables, we can help you find the perfect items of furniture to fit in your space.

All of our furniture is contract grade, making it more sturdy, durable and long-lasting than standard domestic furniture, as well as certified for fire retardancy by the FIRA. Having been designed for commercial settings many of our furniture pieces are more compact than ones found in a home, to help you truly maximise the space available to you.

With the right furniture, small spaces can still be eye-catching and comfortable without being cramped or overwhelming. With more than 60 years’ experience supplying pub and restaurant furniture throughout the UK, we’re the experts you can trust. For more information give us a call on 0116 2989 854 or browse our range of products today.

With lockdowns seeing the nation’s pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues temporarily closed, many of us are finding creative ways to recreate the experience at home.

The popularity of the garden bar has risen rapidly in the UK. In fact searches for the term skyrocketed during mid-2020. Celebrities also jumped on the trend, including X factor star Sam Bailey who built her very own garden bar shed and furnished it with pieces from Trent Furniture.

The trend of tending bar from the comfort of your own home looks like it’s here to stay, so how do you create the perfect garden bar? We’ve put together some ideas to get you started.

Build a bar in your shed

Whether you have an existing shed or plan to purchase one, this is the best way to ensure you can enjoy your garden pub all year round. In fact, some home improvement companies are actually supplying sheds purpose-built for the job, complete with opening hatch and bar space.

With an indoor space you can choose furniture pieces, lighting, décor and equipment designed for indoor use to give the space an authentic feel. 

Create a fully outdoor garden bar

Achieve holiday at home vibes with an outdoor bar. This option is best if you are limited on space or want to keep costs a little lower. This is also the easier option to DIY and can be as simple or complex as you want – some people have managed to upcycle wooden pallets or old scrap wood into characterful outdoor bars.

Realistically, this option is only really suitable for dry days but it is ideal for the hotter summer months and as a centrepiece for BBQs and garden parties once these are possible again.

Choosing the perfect spot for your outdoor bar

Picking a location can be tricky. You’ll want to weigh up factors like sourcing electricity, whether you want to add a seating area to open out onto and how willing you are to dash through your garden in the rain for a pint!

Garden bar accessories

No garden bar is complete without accessories! If you plan to take the traditional pub route with your space, then beer mats, wall signs and even a dart board will lend that local feel.

If you want something a little more tropical, why not adorn your bar with colourful (outdoor safe) string lights, torches, and palm plants. Oh and of course you can’t forget to serve up your creations with colourful umbrellas!

Choosing the perfect garden bar table and stools

If you want a truly authentic bar feel, then picking out the right furniture is essential. Why not get your bar stools and tables from the same place that hospitality venues do! Trent Furniture supplies to both business and the public, so you can source authentic piped top bar stools and wooden poseur tables at low prices.

View our bar furniture range here or explore our collection of outdoor furniture here. If you have any questions just contact our friendly team who will be happy to help.

What does al fresco mean?

Al fresco is an Italian term which literally translates to ‘in the fresh’. It’s often used in English to mean in the open air or outside, hence terms like ‘dining al fresco’ being used to describe eating outside.

Should you offer al fresco dining?

It’s a great idea for restaurants, cafes and other hospitality venues to take advantage of any outdoor space available to them. Not only does it give diners an opportunity to enjoy eating outdoors when the weather permits, it also allows for an increase in the number of tables that can be booked.

Whilst you may not go as far as creating a unique al fresco menu to begin with, it’s important to create a welcoming and functional space for patrons.

Choosing al fresco dining furniture

When it comes to choosing outdoor furniture you need to be selective about which materials you opt for. Water and UV resistant aluminium, wicker and wood are all good options.

Our guide to the best long-lasting outdoor furniture features some of our most highly recommended pieces suitable for al fresco dining.

Traditional chair and table sets

Chairs for outdoor dining should be water resistant, hard wearing and easy to move and store. If space is very tight, you may want to opt for chairs without arms as these will be more compact and can be pushed underneath tables. However, arms do provide customers with added comfort, so it’s a good idea to mix and match with both

Our top pick is the Monaco Stacking Chair which are easy to pack away quickly in bad weather or overnight, making them an excellent choice for venues that are not fully secure. They can be stacked 10 high, so take up very little storage space and come in a variety of different finishes including Aluminium, Wood Effect and Wicker.

With tables you also need to consider how much space you have available. Selecting more compact tables will mean you can move and store them easily and seat more guests. You should always consider quality too when it comes to adding tables to outdoor areas which may have uneven ground and see a lot of foot traffic.

Our top pick is the Plaza Table which is not only compact but stackable so that it can be stored indoors. It’s also rust, water and UV resistant so you can be sure it’s a sound investment to bring out each year.

Stools and poseur tables

Create a holiday dining experience within a compact space by opting for a stool and tall table combo. This is an especially good option if you only have a tiny outdoor area but you still want to crate an alfresco dining space for patrons to enjoy.

Our top picks are the Monaco Tall Aluminium Bar Stool and Alma Aluminium Poseur Table which are both contract quality and water resistant.

Outdoor dining accessories

As the weather in the UK isn’t always reliable, it’s important to equip your outdoor space with accessories that add both flair and functionality.

Table umbrellas

Rainy weather doesn’t have to put a dampener on al fresco dining! Whilst customers are unlikely to choose to dine outdoors during heavy rain, a table umbrella can protect them from unexpected light showers and also offer shade on especially sunny days.

Lighting

Lighting allows you to utilise your outdoor seating area into the evening and can be used to create a relaxing atmosphere for patrons.

Patio heaters

Patio heaters are especially important if you want to offer al fresco dining in the evening or extend your offering of outdoor seating throughout the cooler months.

Fencing

If your outdoor space is located in front of your venue you may want to add fencing around the seating areas. This can give patrons more privacy from passers by and traffic and can also help to direct customers to a hosting stand to be seated.

Al fresco dining furniture delivered

Trent Furniture offers a wide range of affordable, high-quality outdoor furniture which is perfect for al fresco dining. You can view our selection of outdoor furniture here or if you would like to speak to one of our experts please get in touch.

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