If someone asks you to meet them at a bar, what comes to mind? Perhaps you imagine a raucous sports bar where you are surrounded by die-hard football fans screaming their heads off. Or you may envision a dark joint filled with the sound of pool balls sinking into velvet-lined pockets and classic rock playing at the highest possible decibel.
But what happens when someone asks you to meet them at the local lounge? It’s a complete shift in expectations. The word “lounge” is almost synonymous with “leisure”, and you likely envision yourself relaxing in a laid-back atmosphere while seated on impossibly comfortable furniture as you enjoy a delicious drink and, perhaps, a tapas plate or two to share with your group.
When it comes to designing a lounge area in your establishment, details matter—from what you serve, to the music you play and the seating you provide. If you are preparing to open your lounge for the first time, or even if you’re remodeling a current establishment to embrace the lounge vibe, you’ll want to read on to learn our insider tips for creating a lounge environment with the perfect balance of casual comfort and relaxed luxury.
What Counts as Lounge Furniture?
By definition, lounging conveys a sense of relaxation. The act of lounging means to lie or sit in a way that is relaxed, and establishments calling themselves lounges should provide an environment that encourages guests to linger over food and/or drinks while nestled into comfortable seating. Commercial lounge furniture can run the gamut—from plush, private booths to pillowy and supportive sofas and loveseats. The idea is to create seating and spaces that feel intimate and inviting.
That’s not to say that lounge furniture is only appropriate in lounges. Many bars and restaurants have carved out a lounge area within their business to cater to guests looking for a more laid-back experience than what they would receive when seated at a traditional table. Lounge areas can be easily added to:
- Hotel lobbies
- Coffee shops
Materials matter when choosing lounge furniture. If yours is a more high-end establishment or a bougie speakeasy, you may want to use plenty of plush fabrics for your furniture like bouclé, velvet or velour. If you are going for more of a cigar-bar or old-fashioned gentleman’s club vibe, you cannot go wrong with the sumptuous feel of leather (or a faux-leather alternative) to keep with the rich and luxurious theme. The key is to use fabrics or materials that feel wonderful against the skin and encourage guests to linger and order that extra drink or appetizer they’re considering.
Options for Lounge Seating
Keep in mind the key to creating a lounge-y vibe is to celebrate comfort, and adding a few armchairs is a great place to start. Armchairs are infinitely more comfortable than your standard chair, thanks to their supportive arms that allow guests to sit back in comfort instead of leaning forward to rest their arms on a table or keeping them awkwardly folded in their lap. And unlike barstools that can leave spines aching, armchairs have wonderfully supportive backs. Wrap your armchairs in plush fabric or leather with plenty of padding and you’ll have seating your guests won’t want to get out of.
Ah, there is something inexplicably intimate about cozying up next to or across from someone in a booth. It’s as if you’re enjoying your own bubble of privacy…even if the rest of the room is packed. Some mistakenly assume booths are outdated relics appropriate only for diners and burger joints. But place high backs on your booths and blanket them in sumptuous fabric or leather, and you have the perfect space for guests to unwind and enjoy each other’s company.
If you have the space, loveseats are a wonderful addition to a lounge area as they, like booths, allow for more intimate seating. Love seats are a smaller version of a sofa—most allow a maximum of two guests to share the same seating. But you can add a small coffee table and a couple of comfy armchairs positioned across from the loveseat to create a lovely, lounge-y seating area for a larger group.
Other Points to Consider
- Keep the height of the furniture you’re considering in mind. You don’t want your armchairs or love seats to be so low that guests have trouble getting out of them with a cocktail in hand, and you don’t want them so tall that patrons feel more like toddlers than adults with their feet dangling above the floor.
- If you’re having your lounge furniture recovered, be sure to use commercial-grade fabrics that can stand up to the wear and tear commercial furniture must endure. Warwick Fabric carries a variety of commercial-grade fabrics and has several showrooms open throughout Australia.
Whether yours is a dedicated lounge or a restaurant or bar looking to add a lounge area, knowing which furniture to use to encourage guests to linger will go a long way toward making your lounge a success.
Thanks for reading,
Have a Seat
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