How to Choose the Most Practical Outdoor Furniture for Your Café, Bistro or Restaurant

Selecting the right type of furniture is really important to the comfort, ambience and overall experience of your customers. However practicality plays a big part too. As such there are a lot of factors that you’ll need to take into consideration, especially when it comes to the elements.

In short there are four natural weather based elements that can have a dramatic effect on your furniture. These are

  •  Wind
  • Rain
  • UV Rays
  • Heat

The trouble is that whether your furniture is made of wood, aluminium, steel or polypropylene they can all be affected in different ways by any one of these elements.

So how do you know which types of furniture suits which kind of climate?

Here’s a quick run-down that just may help. From this you should be able to make a better informed buying decision.

Steel furniture by its very nature is heavy so it’s ideal for spots that are prone to wind. It also tends not to suffer from UV damage. However steel is a great conductor of heat, so if your terrace often hits temperatures of 30 degrees, then you’ll need to think about umbrellas or some kind of covering. This will stop the metal from holding too much heat and therefore being uncomfortable to sit on, or to touch. Because it retains the heat, it dries pretty quickly so is ideal for those locations that experience their fair share of rain.

Polypropylene is generally the best priced option for those on a budget and the furniture is light enough to be moved around to accommodate the needs of customers. However as it’s classed as lightweight, it wouldn’t be the best bet for windy conditions. That is unless you want to be chasing tables and chairs down the road every five minutes! It reflects the heat well and doesn’t store it, so it stays cool and comfortable, but it is affected by UV radiation.

Furniture made from aluminium is a very popular choice and not without good reason. It’s rust resistant and low maintenance. Direct sunlight can cause it to overheat, but on the whole it’s pretty durable. Not as heavy as steel and not as light as polypropylene it can withstand most gusts of wind, however sustained strong wind may be problematic. It doesn’t absorb water and is therefore quick drying too. If you have an outside space where the weather can be changeable, then this can be a good option.

If you’re looking for that natural rustic feel, then you may want to opt for solid wood. It is prone to UV radiation so long term treatments such as varnishes are often needed. However being relatively heavy your wood furniture is unlikely to blow away and it doesn’t retain heat, so overheating furniture won’t be an issue. Finally make sure you buy furniture that has a waterproof layer, otherwise it can be damaged by rain.

Other alternatives
If you still can’t make up your mind, then how about tables made from composite material? Companies such as Werzalit in Germany have patented their own design. Made from a mixture of hard and soft woods and melamine the tops are bound together using strong resin which are then pressed and kiln fired for added toughness. The result is a durable piece of furniture that can pretty much withstand anything that you, your customers, or the weather can throw at it.

So there you have it, some pointers on what furniture to purchase for which conditions! Get this part right and you’ll have an outside space that people will feel like coming back to time and time again.

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