Whether you’re going for an industrial look, European cafe style, cool colonial or a sophisticated look with solid wood, Cafe Ideas has all you need to create the seating style you desire for a price you can afford. Planning your outdoor seating area requires thought and thoroughness; it’s not just about style but also smart layout and, of course, you also need to bear in mind size and height restrictions peculiar to your own licensing or planning regulations.


For many cafes and bars, outdoor space is limited, particularly in urban areas, so serious thought has to go into the design and layout. You need to make it comfortable for your customers, ideally with some shade and heating if you plan to use the space year-round. It’s also important to bear in mind access to tables and chairs so that your staff can use the space comfortably and safely. Although it’s tempting to cram in as many tables as possible, leaving plenty of space makes an outdoor seating area more inviting and safer.

Privacy, especially for diners, can be more important than you might at first assume. To make guests feel at ease and less on display when eating outdoors, look for high-back benches, partitions and banquettes that divide up your space and can provide a shield against passing pedestrians and road traffic.

For awkward shapes, tricky angles and corners, consider custom-made furniture. Cafe Ideas has a range of custom-made solid wood furniture and partitions that can be made to almost any specification. Long tables and bench seating work well in long, narrow spaces, or use partitions to visually divide large outdoor areas to make them more comfortable and intimate.

Custom-Made Furniture Bench Seating
Custom-Made Furniture Bench Seating

Materials and Design

For obvious reasons, materials used for outdoor furniture need to be robust enough to withstand the elements. While some furniture can work indoors and outdoors, always check that any metal is rust-resistant, fabrics are protected from UV fading and wood won’t easily warp or rot.

As well as ensuring that your outdoor seating design fits in with your overall restaurant scheme, you also need to consider whether you need to store it when not in use. For seasonal outdoor spaces or those that need to be packed up and locked away at the end of the night, look for smart space-saving design ideas. The obvious example is stacking stools or chairs, but folding tables can also save space and time.

Finally, consider how to make guests feel comfortable, especially for year-round outdoor seating or areas that will be used late at night, long after the heat of the day has faded. The most flexible solution is a mobile patio heater, but many of our clients are looking into permanent heating solutions such as specialist fire pits with heated bench seating. Even if you’re just hoping to extend the life and use of your outdoor seating, investing in heating can help to keep this extra revenue stream going well into the autumn.