The UK’s booming coffee culture calls for stylish café furniture

  • POSTED ON: Monday 11, 2017

When choosing a coffee shop, most high streets present a number of options ranging from well-known chains to quirky independents. Because of this, there’s little room for dull furniture and lackluster design in such a competitive market – with 70 million cups of coffee consumed in the UK every day, it’s never been more important for your café to offer something different (perhaps an avocado latte – don’t do this!) and most definitely, show off a stylish interior.

At UHS Group, a forerunner in the hospitality industry, we believe that the right interior can be the difference between attracting returning visitors or losing the lunchtime crowd.

So let our range of café furniture and product configurator inspire your cafes design

UHS Group has designed a huge range of café furniture to suit every taste. We’ve also developed a state of the art product configurator – using this tool, you are able to customise 7 parts of a chair in a choice of:

• 420 fabrics
• 20 wood finishes
• 20 RAL colours

Once you’ve finished customising, click the “save image” button to download your image.

Looking for more café furniture inspiration?

As a leading supplier of commercial café furniture, we’ve worked on a number of extraordinary café projects, such as:

Pennethornes Café – London
The Pennethornes Café is named after Sir James Pennethorne, the 19th-century architect.
The Pennethornes Café and the UHS Group worked together to create an atmosphere befitting of the Industrial Revolution era and the life and career of Sir James.

Café Murano – Covent Garden
The UHS Group worked alongside Russell Stage Studio to create the perfect setting for Angela Harnett’s Café Murano in Covent Garden. The design is led by Italian influences and a sleek appearance complements Angela’s Italian-inspired menu.

Pure – Holborn
Pure Café is renowned for its fast and healthy menu choices, catering to the crowds in bustling Holborn, London. UHS Group worked with Pure to create a bright, quirky and relaxing atmosphere fit for any health enthusiast on the go.
For advice on furnishing your space, get in touch with us to discuss your requirements.

  • POSTED ON: Monday 11, 2017


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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Whether it’s how we look for a new mortgage or insurance product, to how we digitally manage our accounts through mobile apps. Kids are now learning how to use a tablet sooner than they’re learning to read, and every business needs to adjust to this. In fact, the only thing that’s not changing is that things are constantly changing and moving forward. Banks and building societies (like everyone else) have to adapt, or risk falling behind in a sector that’s already extremely competitive.

A revolutionary banking experience for an evolving generation

A new building society branch recently opened near me with a new look. After walking in I was amazed with what I saw… gone are the days of harsh/dingy interiors. Banks and building societies are implementing the modern day retail experience in their branches. Bright walls, nice lighting, green plants and open spaces make it a much more welcoming space. Formal glass fronted cashier desks have been replaced with friendly open checkouts. The furniture has been designed to be comfortable and inspirational rather than functional… and with the benefit of iPads on tables and free Wifi, people are staying in branches longer, and engaging with the staff. Money as we know it is hardly dealt with in cash anymore, it’s either on a computer screen or a contactless card. Bank and building societies are re-developing their branches to accommodate these technological and behavioural changes.

So what about the furniture? No expense was spared on the furniture with well-known designer brands being used. Whilst the furniture may look good, it can be expensive and not fit for purpose in a commercial environment.

Heard of FIRA? What about RIGA?

At UHS Group, we ensure our commercial furniture is RIGA tested to meet the British standards set for putting furniture into a contract environment. It is quite simply doing your due diligence to ensure the safest environment for your customers and staff, as well as protecting the investment you’ve put into the furniture against breakages. This can quite easily be achieved without compromising the look of the furniture – see example below.

The proof is in the projects…

We’ve worked on several global commercial furniture projects to achieve this look – click below to view the projects.
– FinnCap offices, London
– Mediolanum Bank, Milan
– Reach Robotics, Bristol
– The Collective – co-working & co-living spaces
– The Hut Group offices

If you’re a bank or building society looking to upgrade your branch with fit for purpose contract furniture at reasonable prices, email [email protected] | phone 0330 1222 400 | visit

Beautifully designed, unique and on-trend hospitality or commercial furniture is vital when creating your venue’s appeal – your furniture should inspire visitors to capture their experience. Why? Because roughly 800 million people use Instagram on a monthly basis. If your venue’s interior is creative, design-led and memorable, your visitors will reach for their phone, share an image of your establishment to all of their followers (and maybe even “check in” – promoting your location too).

Selecting furniture with “instagrammability” in mind may not be in line with your modest character – but why deny your venue promotion on a potentially massive scale? Type the word “instagrammable” into Google and some of the suggested searches include “instagrammable cafes in London”, “instagrammable restaurants” and “instagrammable bars.”

Select your venue’s furniture to successfully capitalise on this ubiquitous trend. Do you require wooden furniture in line with your rustic concept? Or perhaps a more industrial look will place the emphasis on your bold lighting? Consider the options below.

Industrial café furniture – a favourite in the UK’s coffee shops

The utilitarian furniture trend has been around for a while now and it’s not ready to exit the stage. In line with recent trends, this furniture complements concepts with a heavy focus on lighting (expect to see more of this in 2018).

As a leading supplier of furniture to cafés and coffee shops, our selection of industrial café furniture is very durable and available in a variety of finishes and colours. For example, the Fero Side Chair exhibits classic bistro design, is stackable, and our product configurator enables you to customise the seat pad and frame in RAL colours in line with your interior design.

Surround your customers with nature using wooden café furniture

Bringing the outdoors in is set to be a popular theme for 2018 in the UK. Complement an array of indoor potted plants using wooden café furniture in natural and vivid colours. There’s plenty of Garden Café inspiration on Pinterest (

Our wooden café furniture section is vast and presents a range of options to suit a number of venues. For maximum effect, customise your wooden furniture using our product configurator – the seat, back, frame, legs, and pad are customisable in a number of wood finishes and RAL colours. Wooden furniture does not have to be dull; UHS Group will supply vivid tables and chairs (perfect for enticing visitors to share their experience of your café).

Retro café furniture – jump on this trend and lead the UK’s coffee shop scene

Retro finishes are very much on trend this year. Chrome and bright metals can be found in on trend restaurants (read more on Our metal furniture includes the Geo Coffee Table and Primal Coffee Table.

Furniture and interior design Instagram accounts

Need inspiration? Some of my favourite furniture Instagram accounts include:
Design Milk (also see Design Milk At The Office & Design Milk Everyday)
DesignBoom Magazine
Restaurant & Bar Design
Hospitality Design
And UHS Group (of course!)… follow us for furniture inspiration and impressive images of some of the latest trends. Check out our Instagram takeover below from December 2017.

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