6. Furniture – Designing Your Next School Dining Hall

Always choose dining furniture that will give you the best whole-life value for money. The heavy use of dining spaces means that furniture will need to withstand a lot of wear. Look for suppliers with long guarantees and quality products, not necessarily the cheapest price.

When choosing furniture, you will need to consider the various users of the space, and select furniture to suit. For example, if a junior school dining hall is also used for parent functions in the evening, it is important to make sure that the furniture is not childish, yet not too large for the pupils.

If your dining hall is going to require constant reconfiguration, then it is also important to bear in mind how well your furniture accommodates this.

Consider the following factors:


  • Do your chairs stack easily out of the way when they are not required? Can the tables also be folded away, or do they require storing elsewhere?
  • If you are moving furniture around, do you have relevant storage space for when the furniture is not required? If you don’t have a separate room, consider using relocatable screening systems to hide furniture or other items when the space is being otherwise utilised.
  • Choose good quality fit-for-purpose furniture.
  • Always check for long furniture guarantees.
  • Choose furniture that is in keeping with your dining space design. 
  • Vary the furniture pieces in your dining space. Consider options such as block benching, banquet seating or high bar seating. Choosing bar seating gives you high density seating where space is limited.
  • Make sure that all furniture is easy to clean, and stain resistant. Where possible choose laminate tables.
  • If upholstered seating is included in your design scheme, then make sure that the fabric is wipe clean and has a high rub rating.
  • Wall space can be used for storage of disposables and cutlery.
  • When choosing tables, always consider the size of your trays and not just the plates.
  • Always pay attention to the bung on the bottom of your dining chairs or bar stools – this will either destroy or protect your flooring.

3 members of staff spending 15 minutes per day moving furniture in your dining space could add up  to more than of 4 whole days in just one year.  

3 members of staff spending 15 minutes per day moving furniture in your dining space could add up to more than of 4 whole days in just one year. How much time could you save if you were to implement some time-saving furniture layouts?

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