Restaurant: How to properly arrange your terrace?

For 1 year now, restaurants and bars have lowered the curtain, but their reopening is impatiently awaited. To prepare for this, what better way as restaurateurs than to arrange your terrace to make it welcoming, warm and functional! 

Here we give you some tips to help you transform, arrange and create a friendly place where your customers will enjoy spending a pleasant time with family or friends.

Install a terrace legally:

If you want occupy a public space such as a sidewalk or a place to install your terrace, you will first need to ask for a authorization for temporary occupation of the public domain with the administrative service of your municipality (town hall or prefecture): 

  • traffic manager (for parking permit : van (food), food truck, retail display or open terrace) 
  • in charge of the management of the public domain (for road permission for private occupancy : closed terrace, gazebo (fixed to the ground)). 

This authorization will allow you tolegally occupy the public road by respecting the standards established in the contract. 

Note: illegal parking in a public space entails a fine of 1500 €

Photo credit: Caveau du Palais

So that the request for authorization of temporary occupation of the public domain is validated to you, several rules must be respected

  • La free movement of passers-by (and mainly people with reduced mobility). 
  • La tranquility and free access for residents to their residences (if your terrace is near places of residence), 
  • Dates and times, specified in the authorization, to which you can install your terrace.
  • The hygiene rules

To obtain your authorization, you will need send several documents justifying your activity and your request to your municipality (certificate of registration in the trade or trade register, copy of your license, copy of the title deed, insurance certificate for the occupation of the public domain, description of your terrace and bank identity statement) . 

Note: the payment of the fee is set according to several criteria (surface area, duration, etc.) and therefore varies according to the municipality and the activity. 

How to arrange your terrace?

Whether you have a terrace inside your restaurant or on the public road, a suitable layout is necessary to create a welcoming and functional space. There are a few rules to be aware of before setting up your terrace. 

Measure the available space:

Before embarking on the development of a space, it is essential to know exactly the dimensions of it. Indeed, you can then adapt the furniture depending on the size of your terrace. In general, you should know that for safety reasons, you must leave: 

  • a distance of 1m between two tables back to back.
  • A distance ofat least 1 m between two tables side by side.

In addition, be aware that wide and unobstructed aisles will facilitate the movements of your employees but also of your customers. Large alleys will also allow you to respect the rules regarding the development of public places in accordance with Handicapped.  

Delimit the spaces:

Photo credit: Julia Berolzheimer

After measuring the space available on your terrace, you need to create spaces by delimiting them. 

The privacy that you bring to each of your guests will naturally be created by the distance provided between each table. However, nothing prevents you from adding various elements to separate without cluttering your terrace. 

To delimit your terrace without closing it totally, you can for example opt for Plant ! If it opens onto the public thoroughfare, arrange shrubs as “barriers” to create a separation between your customers and passers-by. Plants are an excellent technique for delimiting your space while providing a little greenery and decoration for a cozy and warm place. 

Other option, you can choose screens to prevent prying eyes from some walkers. Be careful, however, to make sure that they do not close the space because depending on the model you choose, they can quickly become imposing!

The layout also involves the furniture:

What would a terrace be without its tables and chairs? To arrange the terrace of your restaurant, choose the adequate furniture is essential. For that, here is what we advise you:
  • Choose tables for 2 or 4 people maximum: They will take up less space and you can therefore put more. If you need large tables, put them together and you will end up with tables of 6,8, 10 people or more!
photo credit: house side
  • Choose tables for 2 or 4 people maximum: They will take up less space and you can therefore put more. If you need large tables, put them together and you will end up with tables of 6,8, 10 people or more!
  • Opt for square tables : Although round tables are also used in catering, we advise you to choose square tables because you can more easily bring them together to form larger tables when needed. For the dimensions? 
    • benefits tables 60X60 cm 2 for people
    •  benefits tables 80 × 80 cm 4 for people
  • Light but resistant furniture : this will allow you to move more easily and quickly. Be careful, light does not mean plastic tables and chairs.

What materials to choose for your patio?

Le furniture is the key element in the design of a terrace. It is he who will allow your customers to enjoy a meal while being comfortably seated. It also allows you to delimit the spaces between each of your customers. So he wants to be practice et ergonomic format while being elegant, original et about (but we forget the basic and wobbly folding chairs!). 

To choose the right furniture, you must first of all decide on the style and mood that you want to give to your terrace because depending on your choice, it could be different! However, remember that your terrace must be in harmony with your restaurant and its interior. For example, if it mixes tones and natural materials like wood, stay in the same tones and colors for the exterior. 

However, you must be careful with the materials you choose, because some do not or very poorly outdoors. Here is some ideas of usable materials both indoors and outdoors.


Who, in a restaurant, has never eaten on these famous aluminum tables ? Although they are very common (perhaps too much for some to taste), they remain a staple of outdoor restaurant furniture. In format foldable or not, they are perfectly resistant (if well treated) to external conditions and time. In addition, it is a light furniture that you can handle and store very easily. 

Synthetic braiding:

La Terrasse de Madame photo credit: Pariszigzag

You have surely already seen them in Parisian cafes, these braiding chairs which give a real vintage style to the restaurant. Synthetic braiding has the particularity of resisting climatic conditions and UV rays!

However, for your resin wicker furniture to stand up perfectly to the sun, you will need to opt for treated furniture and whose fibers have been dyed in the mass and fixed to a reinforced aluminum structure (anticorrosion). 

Bonus point: It is very easy to maintain. What could be better for an outdoor patio. 


Alternatively, you can also opt for steel legs for your tables. This material has the particularity of being very resistant to bad weather and UV. However, be sure to treat it with a rust inhibitor to prevent it from deteriorating, or to opt for the finish powder coating. 

With steel feet you will have the possibility of choose any type of tray (wood, recycled plastic, terrazzo) depending on the style and atmosphere you want to give to your restaurant. 

To do so, here is a selection of our steel feet (also available in tailor-made) which can adapt perfectly to the rest of your furniture. 

In addition, our table legs are very functional, take up little space and once attached to the board, they move very easily

Comparative table of these 3 materials:

 AluminiumSynthetic braiding or braided resinSteel




UV rays

Severe weather





Temperature variations

UV rays (so well treated)



Resists very well:

 in time (better than aluminum)

 bad weather





Cost : 

1 table + 4 chairs

Table 2 people (70x70x72) in aluminum painted in anthracite: 95 € HT

Chair with armrests (for more comfort): 45 € / chair = 180 € HT

Set = 275 € HT

Table (80x80x75) : base from 117 € + laminate top at 100 € = 217 € HT (nf: 

Armchair : from 100 € / chair excl.

Set = 617 € HT

For Ripaton steel feet: 

bases from 20 € / foot (71cm) excl.

treated wood top (80 × 80): 90 € HT (nf:

Chair with armrests (steel structure and synthetic woven seat): € 109,96 for 4 chairs

Together : 259,96 € tax excl.

Care instructions


Daily cleaning using a damp sponge and soft cloth to avoid streaks. 

Limestone stain : hot water + white vinegar and dry immediately

Tarnished furniture : rub with lemon, wipe with a soft cloth, rinse and dry immediately.  


Cleaning with a sponge and soapy watere. 









Anti-corrosion treatment once a year. 

Daily cleaning: damp sponge 







(lightness, maneuverability) 


(fairly light metal that can therefore be moved easily)

Can be up to 2 / 2,5 times lighter than steel


(very light material)





(heavier than aluminum but provides excellent stability)



How to decorate your restaurant terrace?

We gave you the key elements to decorate your terrace : separation, furniture; but the decoration is also a part not to be forgotten when creating your terrace. Indeed, it is she who will allow you to clearly define the style and ambiance of your restaurant. It is also she who will allow you to capture the attention of passers-by.

Here are the three elements on which you can bet to give a real charm to your restaurant.

Colors :

In decoration, colors are the essential touch that will allow you toattract the attention of your customers. Depending on the style and atmosphere you want to give to your restaurant, you can opt for more or less bright colors. 

If you have sober furniture (gray, black, beige, etc.) add a few touches of color with seat cushions and parasols. However, nothing prevents you from choosing colored furniture for more originality.

photo credit: OKU Hotels

The accessories :

A well-organized terrace is good; an organized and tastefully decorated terrace is even better!

For this you can easily give a look welcoming, warm and / or cozy on your terrace, by arranging flower boxes, hanging garlands from parasols or adding cushions or even throws (for late-night meals). Arrange placemats and crockery in accordance with your decoration and you're ready to go. 

In short, you will understand, all accessories are allowed for decorate your terrace with taste and respecting the style of your restaurant. 


Photo credit: Petite Passport


Finding the right lighting for a patio can be tricky.

Too bright lighting that dazzles your customers or too dim that gives the impression of eating in the dark: the task is more complex than it seems. That is why we have decided to give you some ideas to illuminate your terrace and dazzle your customers without dazzling them. 

For themain lighting, we advise you to have ceiling lights in order to obtain a diffused light and not direct lighting (i.e. a light illuminating only the area above which it is located). For this, it is completely possible for you to suspend lighting from a tree or a pergola (very useful in bad weather). 

Of course, nothing prevents you from adding garlands in the trees, on barriers or parasols, for a cozy and warm effect. 

Wicker pendant lights metal suspensions

from 72 € the suspension of 35cm in diameter (nf: spotlumièreled) 

from 72 € : metal and glass pendant lights (nf: spotlumièreled)
ease of installation 1 / 5 
  • fixing with a rope (3m long) on ​​any type of support
  • rechargeable LED bulb with battery (autonomy from 6h to 20h) 
  • 3-level dimmer
  • If your terrace has a connection of a power supply cable, the installation of a pendant light is simple. Attach the support to your pergola for example and connect your ceiling light to the earth. 
  • If you do not have an electric power supply, you will have to find a way to bring the electricity to your terrace and then fix your suspension. The easiest way is to call an electrician.  
interest of use
  • slight
  • very resistant to bad weather and extreme temperatures
  • UV protected
  • resistant
  • UV protection
  • industrial style 

To summarize this article, here are the main points to remember to create a functional and welcoming terrace:

  • the layout : arranging your terrace requires a certain organization. The delimitation of spaces and choice of furniture are part of. Indeed, it is important to properly separate your terrace to bringprivacy to your customers but also for more than functionality : wide aisles, square tables for 2 or 4 people will allow you to have a well-appointed terrace by focusing on functionality. 
  • the furniture : outdoors, the latter is exposed to various weather conditions (rain, wind, sun, ...) it is therefore necessary to choose a resistant furniture to bad weather and UVs. For this, aluminum, synthetic braiding and steel are the materials you need. 
  • the decoration : as we told you, to attract the attention of passers-by, you have to bet on a beautiful terrace. And this mainly involves the decoration because it is one of the first things that your customers will notice. So bet on colors, decorative accessories (cushions, flowers) and lighting! 

We have given you some tips for setting up your restaurant terrace. Do not hesitate to contact us if necessary for the creation of your furniture! We remain at your disposal. 

Also find all our tips, tricks and DIY just here

The Ripaton team 🚀

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