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Cafe Furniture: Form or Function?

Aug 13, 2008
Putting up cafes seems to have become the hobby of many business owners. Coffee houses have proliferated all over the country because of the high demand for places where people can relax and unwind.

This is rooted from the fact that lifestyles are growing more and more hectic each day. A nice cafe is a great place to meet up and talk with friends, sip a soothing cup of coffee or read a good book. It can indeed provide wonderful break from one's very busy life.

If you are also gearing up to put up a similar business, one of the things you have to take into consideration is the cafe furniture. Being one of the largest investments that you will have to make for your cafe, this furniture requires careful thought and planning before purchase.

Even with the vast array of furniture for coffee houses that are available in the market today, buying is not entirely simple. One of the complications, which may arise during purchase, is being torn between two valuable aspects of furniture--form and function.

While some will say that form is more valuable, others will tell you that function should be your priority. Some will argue that functionality is useless if the furniture screams ugly. Others will contend that beautiful furniture that does not provide comfort and efficient service to your customers should probably just be thrown away.

So what really is more important?

The answer is you should aim for a perfect balance between the two. True for almost any business, furniture buying for your establishment entails that you weigh these two aspects carefully in order for you to come up with pieces that exudes beauty and functionality both at the same time.

You may ask why there is a need to achieve both qualities. One reason is that they have a causal relationship. Form has an effect on function and function on form.

Furniture's function will be futile if it looks hideous and no one will want to try it. You should keep in mind that furniture contributes to the ambience of the cafe, which in turn attracts or repels customers. Beautiful furniture gives an inviting ambience, one that will drive people to go into your cafe. Simply put, beautiful furniture means good business.

On the other hand, even if you have the most beautiful pieces of furniture but they do not work efficiently, they are also useless. Once your customers have come in (thanks to the beauty of the furniture that have fascinated and drawn them in), your cafe furniture should be able to provide them with utmost comfort and relaxation. This is where the role of function comes into play.

Furniture buying that entails careful weighing of these two values has been proved to be difficult and challenging. You may encounter pieces of furniture that are so beautiful that you are tempted to ignore the fact that they are not efficient. You may also find yourself wanting to buy those not-so-great looking couches that are very comfortable to sit on.

Also, to make your purchasing easier, always consider your customers. Unlike buying furniture for your home where your personal taste and happiness can be your guide, buying cafe furniture should prioritize the needs of customers.

Take into account the kind of market you are targeting for your cafe. If your cafe is more frequented by young and hip people, they may be more fascinated with the form of the furniture in your cafe.

On the other hand, if you are gearing towards the adults and professionals, who at the end of the workday just want to chill out, you may want to invest on furniture that will provide utmost comfort and relaxation.

If only you could bring the classic weighing scale and literally weigh these two abstract terms, you would. But since that is not possible, you should just ask yourself whether furniture's function is so great that it is worth overlooking its form and vice versa.
About the Author
Tony has written several books on cafe chairs, cafe tables and cafe furniture. He also enjoys to write about hotel furniture and gardening.
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