How to furnish a small bar, optimizing spaces

Not all bars have either large internal spaces or wide dehors available: most venues, especially in Italy, can rely upon just a few square meters, to be optimized at best.

How to make even the smallest sizes efficient? Here’s what to consider.

Coffee tables and chairs

Making customers sit comfortably is obviously one of the main goals when designing a bar. Chairs must be comfy and tables large enough to accommodate food and drinks (the type of venue therefore will influence the table surface width).

Seating must be sufficiently spaced to enable the staff to carry out the service easily and customers to have their privacy to chat without problems. In this period, the directives dictated by the Covid-19 emergency must be taken into account, according to which tables must be placed at least 1.5 m away.

Yet, there are some spaces that can be further exploited:

  • The counter, around which high stools can be placed;
  • The side or glass walls, on which long high tables can be placed, to be equipped, in this case too, with stools
  • The corners, where to place high tables for standing consumption


The counter is essential in a bar. It is the main preparation space (sometimes the only one), the payment point and the area for customers in a hurry, who have no time to sit down. Precisely because of its function, it takes up a lot of space and therefore it requires an accurate planning.

It should be designed according on three main factors: the number of people who work at the counter, the amount of foods and drinks that are prepared in the same place and the type of service given to customers at the counter (a simple coffee, an aperitif or payment only?).

Solutions in this case can be different, ranging from the counter as long as an entire bar side, with a single passage for employees to enter and exit, to a counter curved on two sides, featuring some high stools for customers.

More tips: colors and furnishing accessories

When space is very small, you can change its perception also through some optical illusions.

First of all, the use of colour: a light and neutral palette or pastel shades can immediately make the room seem larger and brighter. Alternatively, it is possible to opt for an entire wall in a bright and lively shade (such as yellow, red or light blue), combined with furnishings and other walls in white or light grey.

Another trick is the use of mirrors, which by reflecting the light and the elements of the room, immediately make it seem larger. At last, light should be natural. Very bright environments (for example where an entire wall is made up of a glass window facing South) immediately give a feeling of airiness and therefore of spaciousness.

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