Safe and Stylish Contract Furniture

  • POSTED ON: Tuesday 01, 2018

When acquiring contract furniture for a hospitality or commercial establishment, it can be difficult to navigate the vast range of options available. To deliver a successful project, a number of factors must be taken into consideration – such as style, practicality and affordability.

However, it is of paramount importance that furniture is safe – particularly when it will be used in challenging public environments. Unfortunately, furniture accidents are common (faulty and defective restaurant chairs often collapse), but with the right product testing procedures in place, many accidents are avoidable. So what have we done about this?

The importance of furniture testing within the hospitality & commercial sector

As a leading contract furniture supplier to the hospitality & commercial sector, we understand that poor standards relating to furniture safety are not acceptable. As a result, we have developed RIGA – a state of the art endurance and testing facility at The Innovation Hub, Abingdon.

But what is RIGA furniture testing?

The “RIGA procedure” tests furniture to established British standards of endurance contract level 2 as well as BIFMA (the American furniture standard). In addition to these standards, we also subject furniture to a number of tests designed specifically for the hospitality & commercial sector.

Created by the industry, for the industry – as a trusted furniture supplier, we understand the needs of large hospitality chains – and have created tests with maximum impact and durability in mind. Ask us about RIGA furniture testing.

Do you need resilient designer furniture?

Are you looking for stylish furniture design that also meets the demands of a challenging environment? At UHS Group, our talented team will help you select suitable furniture from our range that’s in line with your specific needs.

  • POSTED ON: Tuesday 01, 2018


What do you do at UHS?

Provide graphic design content for brand publications, website development and social media engagement.

What do you do outside of UHS?

Go for walks along the Thames with my dog, brush up on my Table Tennis skills so Elston doesn’t beat me and follow the mighty Arsenal!

What is your favourite food?

Pasta… can’t beat carbo-loading!

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We are delighted to introduce the Kite Chair to our new furniture range… inspired by the red kite’s flying the skies of Oxfordshire where our head office is based.


With its swooping curves and wing tip angles, the Kite Chair is an iconic design with definitive angles that make it stand out.


Designed by UHS Studio, the Kite Chair is a statement in its own right. Customise the frame in any RAL colour, and seat/back in any standard UHS finish.


When furnishing or designing a bar, hotel, restaurant or café, it’s likely you’ll need a range of bar stools to provide ample seating (and to complement your interior). At UHS Group, a leading provider of furniture for the hospitality sector, we recognise that choosing a bar stool presents many decisions. This guide provides the advice you need on comfort, design, height, and details the number of bar stools recommended per foot of floor space.

Are bar stools comfortable?

Choosing the wrong bar stool for your establishment can lead to uncomfortable customers and not-so-fond memories of your venue. However, we believe that bar stools can be comfortable – despite their reputation – if they exhibit some of the following:

Padded backs and seats – support your customers with padded backs and seats if comfort is your priority. A number of designs will offer this in a range of materials.
Width – provide your customers with room to manoeuvre. That squashed feeling isn’t what your customers are hoping for when sipping on a cocktail or beer.
Arms – arms provide additional support and allow your clientele to sit back and relax.
A bar (foot rest) – shorter customers in particular will benefit from a bar to rest their feet upon. Feet left dangling certainly isn’t the height of comfort.
Stability – this goes without saying. The bar stools should absolutely not be at risk of collapsing, feel “rickety”, or pose a health and safety risk.

Finally, we’re often asked “are backless bar stools comfortable?” Although we have all experienced the discomfort of a badly designed stool, if other comfort features are present – such as adequate width, a footrest, a padded seat and stability – it is entirely possible for backless bar stools to be comfortable.

How tall should bar stools be?

To determine the perfect bar stool height, you will need to measure the height of the bar top or counter first. Once you have this figure, subtract 10 inches – this will reveal the approximate height that you should be looking for (or designing to) when acquiring or designing bar stools. Sticking to this rule will provide customers with enough room without the gap being too large.

How many bar stools should be used per foot of table space?

Another common question! Interior design experts often recommend allowing between 26 and 30 inches per table space. Therefore, if your bar is 12 feet long (144 inches), no more than 5 bar stools would be recommended. 14 to 15 inches from the middle of the end stool to the edge of the counter should also be factored in.

Popular bar stool styles

There’s a lot of choice, ranging from classics to more modern styles. Some of our favourites on offer at UHS Group include:

• Bar stool with winged back and swivel mechanism (The Memphis bar stool) – if you’re looking for comfort, this is the one – with adequate padding, a foot rest and swivel mechanism, The Memphis can be upholstered in any fabric or leather.

• Simple wooden bar stool (Pub bar stool) – sometimes, simple is best. The Pub Stool is made out of solid beech and can be finished in any stain or colour – perfect!

• Industrial bar stool (Johnson stool) – using engineering factories as our inspiration, we created the Johnson Stool. This look is perfect for industrial and vintage themes.

• Pouffs – strictly speaking, pouffs aren’t bar stools. However, they offer a stylish alternative for lower table tops and counters (or for areas without a table). The Sonata Pouff is an excellent option for lounge area seating.
Sonata Pouff - close up
• Lab/school style stool – school chair style provides a quirky option for bars and restaurants with a laid back vibe (think burger restaurants and alchemy inspired cocktail bars). The Zilo bar stool has a ply back and seat with a classic metal tubular frame.

• Comfortable spin/swivel bar stools – swivel style stools have been a staple in bars and pubs for decades. Our stylish take on the Spin Stool offers a steel framework that can be powder coated in any standard RAL colour.
Spin Stool

Designing your own bar stool with UHS Group’s product configurator

At UHS Group, we source and design bar stools for pubs, cocktail bars, restaurants and many other venues. When designing furniture, we’re able to subject furniture to a range of tests specifically designed for the hospitality sector too. If you’d like to customise our bar stools, our product configurator allows you to customise up to 7 different parts of a stool in a choice of:

• 420 fabrics
• 20 wood finishes
• 20 RAL colours

When your customisation is complete, you’re able to save your image (and request a price).


The perfect bar stool

Does such a thing exist? We believe the perfect bar stool should meet a number of factors:

Practicality – make sure your furniture can withstand your energetic bar or bustling coffee shop. Replacing furniture regularly because of damage or staining is costly (not to mention inconvenient).
Style – there’s absolutely no need to compromise on style for the sake of practicality. Practical and stylish contract furniture does exist.
Comfort – as mentioned earlier on in the guide, comfort is of paramount importance. Consider the factors mentioned above during design.
Affordability – cheap furniture may not last – but it’s also important that your furniture is affordable to purchase at scale (and replace should any accidents happen!).

We hope that you found the bar stool guide useful and have gathered some valuable inspiration and insights for your hospitality project. Please get in touch with any questions or share your thoughts, ideas and design projects with us – we would love to see your creations!

Reach us using the social media links below…

Twitter – @UHSGroup
Facebook – @uhsgroup
Instagram – @uhsgroup
LinkedIn – @uhs-group

Download Newsletter PDF here.

It’s 2018! Happy New Year and welcome to our newsletter edition TWELVE. After our last newsletter it went into a busy period for inspiration at events such as Design Junction, London Design Fair and so on… We burnt up a few miles whilst visiting these and have some inspirational images included in this edition. This year is a year of focus on many key areas of the business and the teams will be having a number of quarterly targets to hit in order to develop some exciting projects from product development to the new catalogue and global development. If you would like to find out about a specific project or product, please email us at [email protected] or contact our team on 0330 1222 400.


Another Place is a new collection of hotels. Whether on the coast, by a lake, in the countryside or the city, each hotel will reflect its distinct, exceptional location. Another Place hotels are for people who want to experience a new environment to its full, without losing a sense of home and belonging. UHS worked closely with the design team and the team from Watergate Bay to come up with a fantastic range of furniture for the inside and out to enhance the experience and comfort for the guests.


Our favourite trends at the moment is that comfy lounge look with the eclectic mix of sofas, ottomans, sheepskin rugs and coffee tables all perfect for that impromptu meeting or agile workspace where you can let the creativity with a coffee flow.


“Cooking is an act of love, I want to convey an emotion, I want to please you who comes to visit me, I want to make my guests happy” Alessandro Borghese. In this project we supported the architect Alfredo Canelli to achieve the outstanding restaurant for Celebrity Chef Alessandro Borghese.


Spot light on our newest team member – Kelly Gilbert:

As Key Account Manager I’m responsible for maximising opportunities with key accounts with the aim of becoming the sole or primary supplier. I maintain and nurture key stakeholder relationships enabling me to best understand and meet the needs of our customers. Representing UHS at all times with the highest possible levels of professionalism and integrity.
I love to cook and to share that with family and friends whether they want me to or not! Travelling is a passion I try to indulge as often as possible and often has the bonus of leading me to new culinary discoveries. I love meeting new people, seeing new places and learning about different cultures and ways of doing things, which fascinates me. I also love going to live music events and can often be found at various gigs and festivals.
Too many to list based on mood, season and which way the wind is blowing at any given time. However being South African I can’t really not say, quite simply, a well seasoned rare steak accompanied by a great Pinotage.


A new trend that is revolutionising the workplace! A new generation trend… UHS are currently collaborating with some of the top Co Working providers supplying a great range of products to furnish the spaces.


Located on Frith Street in Soho, London – this brand new Nando’s restaurant shows it’s true South African colours. Gold and Green leathers are ever present, with exotic reds and bright yellows popping out on selected dining chairs and tables. The table tops and fixed dining tables are real show stoppers, with light and dark stains creating the most amazing patterns. This restaurant is truly one of a kind, and we at UHS Group are delighted to have supplied the furniture for it!


ADVENT CALENDAR – We sweetened up our clients with a months’ worth of traditional sweets, every day in our advent calendars there was either a lemon sherbets, lime chocolates, rhubarb and custard or humbug!

END OF YEAR MEAL – As always we had a fantastic and happy ending to the year with a meal set on by the Directors! This time we had festive burgers that consisted of a high quality burger with bacon, deep fried camembert and cranberry sauce, fries and Beer battered onion rings… followed by a chocolate brownie and cream. We did not go home hungry!

ITALY STRATEGY DAY IN ROME – The Global team got together at the end of the year to strategise a collaboration and move forward on a global scale. A great couple of days with, as usual, amazing food that you al ways get in Italy.

Thursday 11th January 2018 was a big day for the UHS team as we launched our strategy for the year ahead. Representatives from our UK and Italy office in all departments came together to listen to the direction the company is going in, which is an extremely exciting one!

The day started with a team building exercise before taking a company photo (cheese!). The board and management team then reviewed performance in 2017, as well as their vision for the year ahead. The day was capped off nicely with authentic steak and frites provided by caterers “Gourdans” –

It was great to see members of different departments and countries coming together to reflect on the achievements of last year, and how to develop further as a company in 2018.

We look forward to implementing the strategy to provide a better level of service to a wider audience of customers in 2018.

If you would like to find out about a specific project or product, please email us at [email protected] or call 0330 1222 400.

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