Staff canteen benches


Spaceist have created a short guide to buying office breakout, staff eating or staff kitchen furniture. All good breakout area should contain separate areas to eat, relax and chat.

First decide what type of area you need and what it will be used for. We think it always a good idea to talk to staff members to see what they like and don’t like.

Please continue reading our guide below and for more information or planning advice call our furniture experts on 020 8840 6298



Breakout Furniture Guide:


  • Eating, Relaxing or Chatting Area?
  • Space Planning?
  • Types of Furniture?
  • Staff Lockers?
  • Power + USB Charging Sockets?
  • Hardest Wearing Materials?
  • Cleaning?



What type of areas?

  • Eating – there are several types of furniture for staff eating areas from canteen tables and benches to more formal cafe tables and chairs. Canteen tables are more relaxed social type of seating with everyone sitting together. This type of furniture is also great for casual working areas if power and USB sockets are fitted.
  • Relaxing – individual lounge chairs are more suitable for relaxing areas. Usually with a high back to rest your head after a hard mornings work. To reduce background noise try adding noise reducing panels or screens to the room.
  • Chatting – high backed sofas are great for chatting. The high back reduces the sound travelling and can usually seat 4 to 6 people on 2 facing sofas. Add a few cushions and it is a great way to let off steam with your work friends.
  • Games – use a standard meeting room table and add a net to turn it into a pingpong table. The net can then be easily removed to transform back into a meeting room.
  • Cinema or staff party – consider using modular sofas for your staff room. The sofas can then be rearranged into cinema style seating or moved out of the way for staff parties.



red school refectory table and benches jb walnut canteen benches school benches



Space Planning?

A floor plan is usually in 2D showing where the furniture might be located in the room plus making sure it will fit. A 3D plan will give you a more realistic idea of the possible outcome. Both options can show colours, features and scale.

It is very important to get the space planning right because this can make or break a staffroom. Talk to your staff to find out what they like and don’t like about the current space and how they would they improve it. It is always a good idea to have some initial ideas on the areas plus some examples of the of furniture. This will help generate ideas and guide the project in the right direction.



Types of furniture?

  • Canteen tables & benches are great option for communal eating areas. The tables can seat up to 12 people and can be easily cleaned and tidied up at the end of the day. The tables are made from laminate which is the same as a kitchen work surface. The surface is stain resistant and very hard wearing. If floor cleaning a priority this type of table and bench system will work best.
  • Cafe style tables & chairs are a more traditional type of breakout furniture. The configurations are usually 2, 4 and 6 seater tables though some tables can seat up to 12 people. If you prefer single tables with stacking chairs we would suggest using large round tables with a few smaller tables mixed in.
  • High backed sofas are the best option for quite areas or informal meetings. The high sides muffle any sound and help reduce any ambient noise.
  • Breakout sofas come in a verity of sizes, heights and colours to create small quiet areas or to break up large rooms. Choose a modular sofa if you need to change the configuration or layout at a later date.
  • Booth Seating is a great way to create separate areas for eating, chatting or just reading a book. The seating can be placed face to face and the backs can come in several heights. Create a distinctive separate areas by changing the colour or type of material.



Staff lockers?

When choosing staff lockers consider if the locker will be used for coats and bags or just bags and laptops. Consider fitting a USB charger to the inside of the locker or letter slot for staff mail.

The locking mechanism might also be important. the two main options being a key operated lock or combination lock. Lockers can also be used as a room divider and sound reducing panels can be fitted to the back to reduce ambient noise. This is a great idea when you need a separate quiet area.

Staff locker options:

  • Key or combination lock
  • USB charger
  • Sound reducing back panels
  • Letter slot
  • Room divider



Grey booth seating to seat 8 people Green sofa Half circle office sofa in blue



Power + USB Sockets?

Power, USB and wireless charger can be fitted into coffee table tops, canteen tables, inside staff lockers, sofa armrests or in the side of a breakout chair.

  • Rotating – perfect for occasional use. Turn the unit over to hide the socket points when not in use.
  • Fixed – for regular or long term use a fixed socket is ideal.
  • Pop-up – perfect for multiple plugs with easy access.
  • Wireless Charging – put your phone on top of the pad for a quick charge.



Hardest wearing materials?

There are several very hard wearing materials to consider when designing a breakout space. We have listed some of them below with links to some of our other buying guides.

Cafe + Canteen tables – laminate is the hardest wear material for these types of tables. It is the same as a kitchen work top and comes in as many colours. It can be easy cleaned and is stain resistant. For more information see our Cafe Table Buying Guide >

Sofas + Chairs – faux-leather or vinyl is one of the hardest wearing seating materials. It comes with a anti-stain protective coating and can be easy wiped down. When using in a breakout area we would suggest vinyl on the seat and fabric on the back in a matching or complimentary colour. For more information see our Choosing a Sofa Fabric Guide >




  • Laminate canteen or cafe tables
    Most laminate tables can be be wiped down with a damp cloth and a mild window cleaner to remove any grease. Always dry the surface off after cleaning and never leave standing water on a laminate top.
  • Fabric cleaning
    Most fabric upholstered furniture should be regularly hoovered to remove dust which can breakdown the fabric fibres over time. Some fabrics can be wiped down with a damp cloth.
  • Faux leather/vinyl cleaning
    Wipe down with a damp cloth using a mild window clearer to remove grease marks. For more stubborn stains see our vinyl cleaning guide which has a 3 step process for removing stains such as ink pen.



Catifa 46 pastel colour new high long canteen table jb-4-leg red-long canteen tables






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By Alexander Pickles / BA (Hons) Furniture Design


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June 2022

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