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What Is Cafe Furniture?

Cafe furniture encompasses the array of chairs, tables, stools, and couches specifically designed to create a comfortable, inviting atmosphere for patrons to enjoy their coffee and meals. These pieces blend functionality with style, often reflecting the unique personality of the cafe. Curious about how the right furniture can transform a space? Let's explore the art of cafe ambiance together.
Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

Cafe furniture is any style of furniture used in cafe settings. Such furniture can, of course, be used at home, but the style is usually dictated by the size, shape, and features of furniture often seen in cafes or other food businesses. Cafe furniture is often fairly compact to allow for more sitting configurations and space within smaller businesses, and the tables and chairs are usually made from durable materials that can be cleaned easily and regularly. The aesthetics of the tables and chairs can vary significantly, since the overall decor of a particular cafe can change.

Bistro furniture is similar to cafe furniture. Bistro furniture features very small tables and usually two or three chairs in a set. Such sets are common on patios or decks, or on sidewalk seating at a restaurant. The table is usually large enough to hold drinks, or maybe a small plate of food or two, though in general, the table is small enough that full meals may not be easily eaten on it. Cafe furniture tends to be slightly larger to allow patrons to put drinks and plates of food on the desk, as well as other items such as laptop computers or books.

Bistros use small tables and few chairs.
Bistros use small tables and few chairs.

The materials used to make cafe furniture can vary. The most common materials are plastic and metal, and sometimes wood is used as well, though wood can tend to be more expensive. The key qualities of cafe furniture are convenience and comfort: the chairs should be comfortable enough for regular and prolonged use, and they should also be lightweight for stacking and smooth enough for easy cleaning with soap and water. Upholstered cafe furniture does exist, though upholstered chairs are less commonly included in cafe sets.

A sidewalk cafe may feature umbrellas to protect customers from the sun.
A sidewalk cafe may feature umbrellas to protect customers from the sun.

Outdoor cafe furniture is usually resistant to water damage from rain or other elements. The materials used can be plastic, metal, wicker, or wood, though in each case, steps may need to be taken to preserve the furniture and keep it from being damaged by rain or direct sunlight. Outdoor furniture very often features upholstered cushions for added comfort, though this is not always the case. The cushions are usually made from synthetic materials that can be easily washed and that are waterproof or water-resistant. Outdoor furniture needs to be lightweight, since it is likely the tables and chairs will be moved regularly; restaurants will most likely require that the furniture be taken indoors every day after the business closes.

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    • Bistros use small tables and few chairs.
      By: Adam Wasilewski
      Bistros use small tables and few chairs.
    • A sidewalk cafe may feature umbrellas to protect customers from the sun.
      A sidewalk cafe may feature umbrellas to protect customers from the sun.