Why Café Tables are Crucial to Your Design & How to Choose The Perfect Table

Choosing Cafe Tables, Table Tops and Table Bases for Your Venue.

So you’ve spent the last 6 months meticulously planning the design and layout of your café, restaurant or bar. You’ve been up ‘til the wee hours scouring magazines and the Internet to make your venue the coolest in the street!

Now it’s crunch time. Time to put some real money down and buy the furniture.

You know the chairs you want, you’ve chosen all you colours and menu design – BUT how much time have you spent thinking about the best Table Base or Table Top?

Come on – be honest! Not much – huh?

What’s wrong with that you say?

Well here’s the problem: when a customer walks into a restaurant or café what takes up the most space? It’s not the chair or even the flooring – it’s the tables!

So the choice of your cafe tables will be absolutely crucial to the success of your design.

And it is not only the look of the tables that is important – its also the practicality of the Café Tables size, layout and material and the style of your base that will have a massive impact on your customers satisfaction.

At Instyle Seating we have been supplying the hospitality industry with tables for over 15 years. We’ve put together a 5 point check list to help you choose the perfect café table:

1. Buy Commercial Grade Tables

Don’t waste time and money buying residential quality and style tables for your venue.

Residential furniture will not stand up to the hard wearing, high volume demands of the restaurant or café environment. It will only cost you money in the long run and can potentially lead to legal issues if the furniture is not covered by commercial furniture warranty.


Commercial café tables and bar tables give you the option to choose a separate table top and table base to suit your environment whether it be indoors, outdoors, uneven flooring or space saving (foldable bases).

Modern Styles

You can achieve the funkiest looks with commercial quality tables there is a huge range of styles to choose from.

2. Indoor vs Outdoor Tables

The type of table top and table base you choose will depend on its use – indoors and/or outdoors.

The more cost effective Laminate table tops and Decco Tops are not suitable for outdoors and we also advise against timber being used outdoors (unless it is a hardwood like teak).

Dual Purpose

If you want all your furniture to be consistent in both indoor and outdoor spaces you should choose a material, which is suitable for outdoors to match seamlessly with internal furniture.

Separate Indoor and Outdoor Furniture.

You may choose to keep the furniture separate and have different tables outdoors to the material indoors – this is a great way to keep costs down. It is possible to get a close match using different materials.

Following is a guide to the table top and table base materials that are suitable for Indoors & Outdoors

Table Top MaterialIndoorsOutdoorsCost level
Compact LaminateYesYes$$$
Decco TopsYesNo$
Resin TopsYesYes$$
Timber - OakYesNo$$$
Timber - TeakYesYes$$


Table Base MaterialIndoorsOutdoorsCost Level
Stainless SteelYesYes$$$
Cast ironYesCovered$
Powder Coat Cast IronYesYes$$
Mild SteelYesNo$

3. Table Size

Choosing the size of your table will have a huge impact on not only the look of your venue – but also on the comfort of your diners.

If you only serve coffee and cake smaller tables will be suitable whilst a fine dining restaurant will require space for the large plates of each diner.

Following is a guide to standard table sizes:

Table Top SizeSuitable for
600mm round or square2 x people at a Café, Bakery, food court, take away
700mm round or square4 x people at a Café, Bakery, food court, take away
800mm round or square4 people at a Restaurant with full dining
1200 x 8006 people
1400 x 800 8 people

Check with your supplier that the base you choose is suitable for holding the size of table top as larger tops may require a Twin Table Base for stability.

4. Table Spacing

If you consider that every square inch of your floor space is a profit centre – then you can see why it is important to make the best use of your space.

But whilst you want the maximum seating arrangement, don’t cramp your diners or they will not be happy! A recent study found that the space between tables has a huge impact on customer satisfaction.

Allow approximately 1 metre between each table to avoid people bumping chairs when they get up.

5. Style & Finishes

Commercial table tops and bases come in a range of materials, finishes and colours.

Your supplier will have swatches they can provide to help you make a decision.

Laminate style tops come in 100’s of colours and patterns (similar to the selection available when choosing kitchen cabinetry). It is best to choose a matt finish and avoid gloss as this does not wear well in a commercial environment.

Timber Table Tops should be finished in a 2 pac lacquer to protect the timber from staining. Being an organic material wear can add character of the wood.

If you are using tablecloths you can use the more cost effective material as the table top will not be visible and the finish will not be of concern.

Enjoy the process of fitting out your venue!

Get the cafe tables right and you will be a long way towards your goal of a successful and thriving business.

For free design advice and Australia wide supply of Hospitality furniture and café tables contact our team at Instyle Seating Commercial Furniture on 1300 309 889.

Instyle Seating
1300 309 889