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A Guide to Choosing Cafe Table & Base Combinations

Posted by Ryan Owens on

You’ve finally done it: you are ready to launch your dream cafe business. The business plan is in place, the funding has been secured, and the menu is all ready to go. Now you just need to pick out furniture and decor.

You’re certain of the style and ambiance that the space should have. You know whether you want wood, laminate, or metal table tops. And you can already envision where things should be placed in your new commercial space.

As you sit down to look through restaurant furniture options online, you realize that you need to pick both table tops and bases. How do you choose the right combinations for the perfect effect?

We’ve put together a guide for you to help explain the various cafe table options. With a little strategy and planning, you’ll have the new restaurant in town that gets the rave reviews. Read on to get started.

Planning Your Space

Cafes become many people’s home away from home, especially if they have a vibe that makes a customer want to stay a while. These kinds of restaurants have dedicated patrons who come daily to sip lattes, enjoy breakfast and lunch, and cruise the web from their cozy nooks.

If this is your vision, then it’s crucial to create a dining area that feels a certain way. You need to place tables very carefully, creating little corners and areas that feel homey yet trendy. Steer clear of the cold, efficiency-focused designs of fast food restaurants. You want patrons to walk in, fall in love, and leave ready to spread the word.

You have several options to choose from when it comes to commercial tables. We recommend that you avoid using tables that are interior design-specific and not made for rigorous use. Each type of table material has benefits and drawbacks. They all give a specific kind of “feel” to your cafe as well.

One way to get an idea of how to design the space is to pretend that you are a customer. Walk through the front door and imagine you are there to grab a bite to eat. Look around the room and decide where you would want to sit. What kind of table would grab your attention? Walk yourself through your ideal customer’s journey to get personal insights into how to use the room.

When placing furniture, it’s also important to consider how people will move around in the space. If your cafe will be a bustling place of patrons moving quickly through the line and the room, make sure to not set furniture in their way. Place tables at specific intervals so people won’t bump into table corners or trip on chairs.

Your customers are also going to want to be far enough away from each other just for personal comfort. A general rule of thumb is to space tables at least 18 to 36 inches apart. If it’s an aisle that will have staff moving through at a fast pace, you’ll want to space the tables 24 to 30 inches apart.

Round or Square

When it comes to choosing the shape of your tables, you’ll have to think about what kind of food and drinks you’ll be serving. If plates will be large and heavy, you don’t want to provide tiny tables that will not offer adequate support. On the other hand, if you primarily serve steamy mugs of coffee and cater to the laptop-toting crowd, you might want to focus on smaller, cozier tables for just one or two people. In this instance, smaller round tables would work just fine.

Here are a few other considerations when it comes to round and square tables.

Round tables:

  • Are easier to move around
  • Are less like to be bumped into, causing upset customers
  • Are a little less balanced, so eventually can be tipped over
  • Don’t fit together so they cannot be combined to create bigger tables for large parties
  • Create a cozier feel

Square tables:

  • Fit well into spaces with an obvious square or rectangular shape
  • Are more sturdy and steady
  • Depending on the size, are more reliable with heavy table spreads
  • Can be combined to create tables for large parties
  • Can create an awkward flow in ill-suited spaces
  • Corners can be hazardous for people walking past the tables

Often, cafe owners opt to buy a variety of table shapes and sizes to appeal to a wide variety of customers. Take the time to consider your ideal customers and choose a few different types of tables based on what you think they would most enjoy.

Make It Fit

Now that you’ve considered the shape of the table, you need to select a base for the table. Each kind of base has its own features you may prefer. They also come in various sizes that work well with some tables and not as well with others.

Here are a few quick charts to help determine if you’re choosing the right size base for your table top.

Round Tables

Table Top SizeTable Base Size
24 inches22x22 inch X-base or 17-inch round
30 inches22x22 inch X-base or 17-inch round
36 inches30x30 inch X-base or 22-inch round
42 inches36x36 inch X-base or 30-inch round
48 inches30-inch round


Square Tables

Table Top SizeTable Base Size
24x24 inches22x22 inch X-base or 17-inch round
30x30 inches22x22 inch X-base or 17-inch round
36x36 inches30x30 inch X-base or 22-inch round


Rectangular Tables

Table Top SizeTable Base Size
24x30 inches22x22 inch X-base or 17-inch round
24x42 inches22x30 inch X-base or 22-inch round
24x48 inches22x30 inch X-base or 22-inch round
30x42 inches22x30 inch X-base or 22-inch round
30x48 inches22x30 inch X-base or 22-inch round

Once you’ve decided on the right sizes for your tables, it’s time to put it all together. Stand back, admire your space, and don’t be afraid to make tweaks here and there. Bring in some friends to test out the flow of the space. Get their feedback and incorporate their ideas. By choosing the right table tops and bases, then placing them in the dining room effectively, you can create a beautiful space that will have customers coming back time and time again to enjoy your business.

When you’re ready to buy your table tops, head over to Classroom Essentials Online for quality furnishings and excellent customer service. You can find us at classroomessentialsonline.com or by calling (866) 404-7671.